Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Romney's "Macaca" Moment

Don't  they both take a lovely photo?

Forget about the Duchess of Cambridge's topless photos. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's remarks about how the U.S. is composed of 47 percent freeloader/victims have taken front and center.This is Romney's "Macaca" moment. Get ready for the Obama campaign to play these tapes over and over again until Election Day.

Listening to him speak at a May fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida, I hear a Romney who is fluent and at ease. He appears to believe in what he is saying. Usually when I listen to him speak, I hear the halting sound of someone who is beholden to donors who are basically paying him to stay on script.

As sick to my stomach as the ignorant and contemptuous remarks captured on video make me, I'm glad they're out there. Now they can be debated.

Here's the antidote to the ignorance about what the working poor actually make, courtesy of reported wage statistics and Franci Tartaglino, who compiled them:

A list of workers (who pay 0% in Federal income tax because of the standard deduction on form 1040) and what they make per hour:
Waitress - federal food service minimum wage - $2.13/hr, plus whatever tips people offer
EMT - who scrapes your bloody carcass off the highway - $14.50/hr
Nurses' aides - who keep your grandmother's diaper changed - $9.91/hr
Teenage cashier - subminimum federal wage allowed - $4.25/hr
Food packagers - keeping you E.coli free everyday - $6.37/hr
Lifeguard/ski patrol - watching your kids - $9.09/hr
Garbage Collectors - $15.57/hr
You know who else pays 0% federal income taxes? A large portion of our enlisted military! Starting pay for an enlistee is $18,000/year! 

I wish I could be part of Romney's middle class, who make $200,000 to $250,000. My husband and I are both college educated. He has a masters degree, and I did some postgraduate work. We make less than $200,000, and we pay income taxes and other taxes. I am proud of what we earn and the fact that we're raising two sons on it. I don't feel victimized because I don't meet Mr. Romney's standards for middle-class status, and I don't feel victimized because we pay income taxes and other taxes. We, like many other Americans, believes that's the price of living in a the United States of America, where people believe building a great country is about way more than making sure the wealthiest stay that way and waging wars against enemies. It's about investing in education, health care and ensuring that people can pursue happiness.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

2012, not "2016"

In the 80s, I went to see "Roger and Me," Michael Moore's first documentary chronicling General Motors CEO Roger Smith's oversight of the automaker's downsizing, and the subsequent decline of the standard of living for former GM employees. Moore reminded me of Columbo, who played a harmless idiot to disguise that he was onto the criminals. I also liked "Bowling for Columbine," the expose of the National Rifle Association's role in liberalizing gun sales to deadly effect. Moore lost me when he exchanged his rumpled Columbo-ness for being another loudmouth on cable news.

It's the same way I feel about watching MSNBC. While emotionally it makes me feel good to watch people with philosophies similar to mine sticking it to some Tea Party wingnut, I know that what I'm hearing are extremely one-sided opinions. I can't watch Rachel Maddow or Lawrence O'Donnell for very long without feeling queasy and changing the channel.

Because propaganda of any kind makes me physically ill, I have no intention of paying good money to see "2016: Obama's America," the extreme right's version of a Michael Moore documentary. Here's what Daniel Larison, a columnist for the American Conservative (not a fawning guest on Rachel Maddow's show) has to say about Dinesh D'Souza's assessment of President Obama:

"It is hardly necessary to delve deeply into the Kenyan past or trace the roots of anticolonialist thought to discern why Obama, a thoroughly conventional center-left Democrat, favors raising taxes on wealthier people. This is a standard part of the Democratic agenda and has been for the last decade. Having opposed tax cuts for wealthier Americans earlier in the decade, Democrats are continuing to be against them. This is not mystifying. What is a little mystifying is why so many conservative pundits and writers feel the need to construct preposterous, overly-complicated Obama theories to explain what is perfectly obvious and straightforward."