Oh, they're gonna crucify Mitt over this one, but that's what he gets for going on CNN and talking to the reprehensible Soledad O'Brien:
Romney says, "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair , I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich.... I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling."
O'Brien asked him to clarify his remarks saying, "There are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say, 'That sounds odd.'"
Romney continues, "We will hear from the Democrat party, the plight of the poor.... You can focus on the very poor, that's not my focus.... The middle income Americans, they're the folks that are really struggling right now and they need someone that can help get this economy going for them."
What, exactly, is wrong with this assessment? OK, his verbiage is awful, but hasn't the last half-century of American government been geared toward the eradication of poverty? And what has been accomplished? A massive expansion of government, a tremendous diversion of the nation's resources, and a warping of American morality. Oh, and the poor? They are still with us, in ever-increasing numbers (if you believe the Obama administration). So maybe this Jesus guy had a point all those years ago?
Over at Contentions, it is pointed out that welfare benefits kick in at wages below $44,000 for a family of four (99.4% of which own at least one television, BTW). A family at this income level would be eligible for approximately $28,000 worth of federal and state welfare benefits per year. And perhaps the right way to think about this particular inequality is to compare this $28,000 to what the average middle class American receives from the government in comparable subsidies, $0.
And Mitt is right: It is the middle class that is dying. And he needs to move the government in a direction that will help the Great Middle - really, just getting it out of our way would be a great start. The poor will not vote Romney anyway, they know Republicans (w/the help of Bill Clinton) took the welfare crack pipe away once before, and they'll do it again. But our candidate - be it Romney or Gingrich - cannot be afraid to speak honestly and openly, for fear of being jumped on and criticized by a hyper-partisan media. Jonah Goldberg reprints an email:
I would...if I could find a taker. Meanwhile, the middle class slowly dies, and the American dream dies with them, as gas and food become exponentially more expensive, income and job mobility have ceased, and the dream of owning a home has become an unaffordable one. All while the president, his party, and the media continue in lockstep to make priority #1 "helping" the class of people who have proven to be the most resistant to change, especially by the liberal's preferred method of lavishing cash upon them. Meanwhile, we all become poorer in the process, and the middle class, slowly deprived of its lifeblood of mobility and opportunity, wither on the vine...
"That's the problem with being middle-class. Anybody who really cares will abandon you for those who need it more..."
-Mr. Bergstrom's parting remarks, ``Lisa's Substitute''
Maybe we are tired of being abandoned by bleeding hearts? We'll find out soon enough...