Mitt the Plutocratic Rominee

By Allison MacDonald

On last week’s show, Mitt’s plutocratic status was raised as yet another puzzling element of this year’s election. While not uncommon for U.S. presidential candidates to be prosperous, why is Mitt Romney, the picture of extreme wealth, likely to land the Republican nomination in such dire economic times?

Romney is the richest candidate we’ve seen in a decade, with his personal fortune estimated to hover around $270 million. Adding to his recent stream of elitist gaffes, this week Romney shrugged off the $374,000 he received last year in speaking fees as “not very much.” Not very much? Maybe for someone in the top 0.001 percent. Romney gives new meaning to “out of touch,” as this figure is over seven times the median household income and someone earning this would find their place among the 1%. As The New Yorker’s, John Cassidy puts it, Romney “puts a human face of what has happened to the American economy over the past twenty-five years.” Cassidy is likely referring to this:

 The widening gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” is not something that should be discussed in “quiet rooms,” as Romney so callously suggested last week. Although Romney often talks about the importance of the middle class, his policy proposals suggest otherwise and do nothing to address economic inequality. According to the Tax Policy Center, Romney’s tax plan – which permanently extends the Bush tax cuts, reduces corporate incomes taxes, and eliminates the estate tax – would cut the taxes of millionaires by an average of $295,874. In contrast, Romney’s tax plan would raise taxes on some people earning less than $40,000 a year. Do you think middle class voters would vote against their own economic interest and support Romney?

As electoral politics heat up and Romney’s business background and low tax rates get more media attention, will this be enough to turn voters against him, or do they see his success as something they themselves could attain? Will Romney’s plutocratic status turn voters off?