George Graham

Would You Trust Mitt to Rescue the Economy?

Watching CNN over the weekend, I saw a poll result that boggled my mind. It came and went so quickly that I can’t be sure of the exact figures, and searching the web today I can’t find anything that looks like it, but unless I was dreaming (mesmerized as I was by the ennui of weekend television viewing) there was a poll that had Mitt Romney leading President Obama as “the one who can best jump start the economy.” Leading him by a substantial margin to boot.

Who are these people that respond to polls? Nobody ever asks me anything. Do you ever get calls from pollsters?

Anyway, somewhere in America there must be people so deluded that they believe Romney has the answer to the country’s economic problems.

Have they been listening to this man?

He has no new ideas – just the same old slash-and-burn nonsense Republicans have been touting since Ronald Reagan.

I’m sure you’ve heard it.¬† The theory is that if we make corporations and the rich even richer (by cutting taxes and eliminating regulations on safety, consumer protection and the environment) they will give us jobs.

I can understand why Reagan’s policies seduced voters. They had not yet lived through the horrors of the policies’ implementation. But now we’ve been there. We’ve seen the rich get richer – immensely richer. And the jobs have gone overseas in droves.

The Romneys of this world aren’t focused on creating jobs; they’re interested in getting richer. And if they do create jobs as a byproduct of their greed, the jobs are usually in a country where they can oppress the workers. The only way they would bring jobs home to America (as Romney promises) is if wages here got so low and conditions so deplorable that they were comparable to Third World¬† standards.

Is that what Americans are willing to accept?

But apparently some Americans are still lining up to buy the Republicans’ snake oil.

The New York Times offers some reassurance, however. In an editorial on Sunday, the newspaper reported that:

Republicans are indeed in growing trouble as more voters begin to realize how much the party’s policies – dismantling regulations, slashing taxes for the rich, weakening unions – have contributed to inequality and the yawning distance between the middle class and the top end.

The more President Obama talks about narrowing that gap, the more his popularity ratings have risen while those of Congress plummet. Two-thirds of Americans now say there is a strong conflict between the rich and the poor, according to a Pew survey released last week, making it the greatest source of tension in American society.

That makes Mr. Romney and his party vulnerable, as he clearly knows. He said on Wednesday that issues of wealth distribution should be discussed only “in quiet rooms.” And he accused the president of using an “envy-oriented, attack-oriented” approach, “entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.”

Mr. Romney’s image of a country where workers have nothing but admiration for benevolent, job-creating capitalists (and no one is so impolite as to mention jobs destroyed) bears very little relationship to reality. But his suggestion that it is un-American to talk about rising populist resentment is self-serving and hypocritical. Republicans, in particular, have eagerly stoked such resentments against minorities and the poor.

What The Times doesn’t mention is that the Republican strategy is not only loathsomely unfair but also totally ineffective.

Taking money from the poor and middle class in America to line the pockets of an essentially international elite does nothing for the American economy. Any benefit that ensues goes to emerging economies in far-off places.

A Romney presidency would not “jump start” America’s economy; it would aggravate the erosion of America’s standard of living. The wealthiest few would continue to thrive but the country and the mass of the people would pay a horrendous price as global corporations are let loose to plunder our resources and despoil our environment.

About the author

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com