“The Bitter Politics Of Envy”

Jan 12 2012 @ 1:23pm

That's how Romney frames debates about inequality in America:

Dan Amira expects this message to flop:

This is not a gaffe, really, just a particularly stark reflection of Romney's true beliefs as he's repeatedly expressed them. Still, it's a ballsy way to handle issues of income–power inequality, particularly when he's already being portrayed as an unfeeling, opulently wealthy corporate monster by Democrats and Republicans alike. And Romney might soon find that the 77 percent of Americans (including 80 percent of independents) who believe there is "too much power in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations" and the 61 percent (including 61 percent of independents) who say that "the economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy" don't find his ideology very relatable. 

Ryan Avent likewise questions the wisdom of Romney's argument:

[I]t seems strange to me to refuse to acknowledge that what has happened [with inequality] has happened, and stranger still to lack any sensitivity to this divergence in outcomes. After all, it is those who have benefited most from recent labour-market developments that have the most to lose from a breakdown in the system. One would think that if a return to Clinton-era top tax rates was what it took to purchase the quiescence of the 99%, that it just might be worth it to avoid any broader populist movement. That doesn't seem to be how the 1%'s political leadership views the issue, however.

A reader watched the above segment:

I honestly could not believe what I was hearing. In no way did Romney attempt to find some middle ground and admit that perhaps, just perhaps, there was some truth in the claims that the income distribution in this country is unfair. And then he doubled down, seeming to say that public discussion on the matter was not OK, that it was something to be discussed only in private. This man is completely tone deaf to the needs and opinions of most informed Americans. I don't blame the majority of the Republican Party seeking a different candidate; they are sharp enough to know this guy is not a winner.