It should be no surprise to anyone who reads this blog that I’m no Mitt Romney supporter. The day a “Romney for President” sign goes up in my yard is the day somebody else put it there. I’ve heard too many gaffes from Mr. Romney that leads me to believe that he has no compassion for anyone who isn’t worth millions of dollars. He says that corporations are people and he doesn’t care about the poor. He says he likes to fire people who provide services for him. He actually laughed about his father George Romney closing factories and firing people to move jobs from Michigan to Wisconsin.
Combined with the positions he espouses as a member of the Republican Party, I really find it difficult to think Mr. Romney would do anything that would truly help the black community. His tax proposals would do more damage to black neighborhoods. He wants to deregulate corporate America and leave responsibility for our environment to the self interest of businesses that could make far more profit by operating without any need to adhere to anything that remotely resembles required standards. He would everything he could to make the United States the most business friendly nation the planet has ever seen, and more than likely will ever see if he gets his way and reduces air pollution standards.
But I am willing to put my distrust and anxiety of Mr. Romney aside to give him some advice: Dump the Chump.
As I write this, Mr. Romney is arriving in Las Vegas, Nevada to conduct a fundraiser with fellow Republican Donald “The Chump” Trump. This only begs the question why. Republicans and conservatives are already focused like a warp powered phaser beam on doing whatever they can to get President Obama out of office for whatever reason. These people already have carte blanche to give to any super PAC they please until their heart is content. The super PACs are already collecting massive amounts of money. And while a warp powered phaser might sound good to the trekkies among us, few things in real life are more powerful than a practically limitless money powered political campaign. The super PACs aligned against Mr. Obama have already proven that they are ready to do almost anything to get Mr. Obama out of office. One super PAC already tried the strategy of rehashing Mr. Obama’s relationship with Jeremiah Wright. If money alone could buy the White House then Mr. Romney already has this election in the bag. So why does Mr. Romney feel the need to associate himself with The Chump?
Like a court jester performing to win the favor of his or her audience, The Chump would stop at nothing to win the favor of his audience. Long after the President has produced his long form birth certificate as proof that he was born in Hawaii and is in fact an American born citizen, The Chump continues to push the issue saying that he has yet to see a Hawaii state document that sufficiently proves to him that Mr. Obama is a citizen, noting that the document that Mr. Obama posted was not in fact a birth certificate but a certificate of live birth. Everyone thought the issue was laid to rest. But leave it to The Chump to create a technicality to keep the issue alive for all of the people who cling to their insistence that Mr. Obama is not legitimate. They are already united against the President. Why do they need more toxic fuel for their Obama hating fire already burning out of control?
The Chump says people are asking him to keep the birth certificate issue alive. That might be true. Like I said, a lot of people hate Mr. Obama for the sake of hating Mr. Obama. But a lot of people are scratching their heads and asking why we’re going back here when there are so many other challenges that are facing the nation? Why indeed! Far more people are asking The Chump to sit down and shut up. So why is Mr. Romney giving The Chump a platform to show his willful ignorance and his self importance of mythical proportions?
If Mr. Romney becomes fortunate enough to become President, he runs the risk of having his administration shadowed by his Chump affiliation. We will forever be the United States of Chumps. So it is in his best interests for Mr. Romney to stiff arm The Chump and does his campaigning sans the orange jester. Otherwise, The Chump and his distractions will become a distraction for Mr. Romney.
Nothing good will come from his affiliation with The Chump. He might be able to turnout more rich people who want to give more money. But then again, when it comes to donations, Mr. Romney already has the backing of a lot of people with a lot of zeroes in their accounts to buy whatever it is that their heart desires. And right now those people desire a change in the White House. The Chump might like to think he had a hand in making that happen.
But then again, the way he pushes people’s off button with his delusion of grandeur, The Chump just might be the manifestation that proves Mr. Romney doesn’t have the courage, insight, or good political sense to keep focused on running a campaign that is worthy of someone seeking the White House, but instead will do anything to make it happen. That is a sign of a desperate man. And if that is truly the case, then may The Chump be with you.
When I heard about former Massachusetts Governor and presumptive conservative presidential nominee Mitt Romney going to West Philadelphia to visit the Universal Bluford Charter School, I thought it was a good thing. If by chance Mr. Romney is able to unseat President Obama and become our forty fifth President then it would be a good thing for Mr. Romney to become more involved with and introduce himself to the black community.
There’s little doubt that the black community is heavily tilted towards Mr. Obama’s favor. This morning I heard that the estimate is somewhere between ninety five and ninety eight percent of black voters. Former conservative presidential contender and comedy relief Herman Cain would simply write the majority of black people off as brainwashed against the conservative agenda. But all the rhetoric conservative candidates made and make against the black community, sometimes referred to as the blah people, really had and has a way of offending black people.
Nevertheless, here’s Mitt Romney making an attempt, albeit a very tepid one, to reach out to the black community in his latest bid for the White House. The last time Mr. Romney and his staff tried to engineer a photo op with the blah people happened four years ago when he posed for pictures with a few young black people participating in a Martin Luther King Day parade in Jacksonville, Florida and asking no one in particular, who let the dogs out. Tasteless and totally void of any context for any issues pertaining to the blah community, Mr. Romney’s wearisome display did little to inspire anyone to support his presidential aspirations. He lost his bid for the conservative nomination to his good friend Arizona Senator John McCain who went on to lose to Mr. Obama.
Seeming to have learned from that enthusiastic yet meaningless visit, Mr. Romney has taken another stab to undo the brainwashing that drives black people away like hell drives away snowballs. Compared to Mr. Romney barking with his dark skinned homies, the visit to the charter school was a photo op with black teachers, administrators, faculty and students with cameras and reporters recording and watching his every move and word. And then Mr. Romney used the event as an opportunity to pitch his plan to expand student vouchers and cultivate more charter schools.
But even in the charter school friendly environment, Mr. Romney wasn’t able to avoid controversy completely. Mr. Romney referred to a McKinsey & Company study that compared student performance in the United States with the performance of students in countries like Singapore, South Korea and Finland and concluded that class size was not a factor. Mr. Romney dismissed the push for smaller class size as nothing but a ploy by the teachers unions to get more teachers hired in order to increase the size and political influence of their unions.
Mr. Romney should have remembered that unions are people too. Music teacher Steven Morris spoke up telling Mr. Romney that he couldn’t think of a single teacher throughout his thirteen year career as a teacher who ever thought that more students in the classroom would be beneficial. Mr. Morris went on to say that he couldn’t think of a single parent that would want a single teacher to be in a room with lots of kids.
Another teacher whose classes ranges from twenty three to twenty eight students, explained that a teacher with a smaller class size can give more personalized attention and time to individual students. A third teacher emphasized the importance of keeping class size below eighteen students in early primary grades.
The presidential hopeful admitted that it would be wonderful if classes were limited to five students. He said that a class of fifty students would be impossible to manage. But then he reiterated his contention that the previously mentioned study proved that class size doesn’t matter. According to the study the schools that are among the best performing in the world have classroom sizes that are about the same as in the United States and therefore the number of students in the class is not a determining factor in the success of those school systems. Although it wasn’t mentioned in the study it is Mr. Romney’s contention that parental involvement, top teachers, and supportive administrators that makes the difference. It is two parents in a home that makes the difference.
And right there, on the home turf of the teachers and administrators, Mitt Romney throws down the gauntlet and lets the world know that he does not value smaller class sizes. Singapore and others do more with less. They have better grades with fewer or the same number of students in a class as we do. Money is not the answer. The answer is that parents will have to figure it out. We need to get more involved in our students education instead of relying on teachers to do the heavy lifting by their lonesome.
And in that light, I say parents should get more involved. One place that they could be more involved is in the voting booth. Parents need to make sure that they vote for politicians who have a complete understanding of what it takes to make our schools better, and not just follow the recommendation of a single entity who may have a vested interest in helping to push a conservative agenda that promotes the idea that more money for more teachers in school districts with poorly performing students in large class sizes is not the answer.
Parents should definitely get involved. That means more than just making sure students get their work done. It means making sure the school district has the tools to make sure every student has access to quality education in the same environment that somebody like Mitt Romney went to school in. The Cranbrook school that Mr. Romney attended back in the day has a strict limit of eighteen students per class in early primary grades. But when you’re a private school whose clientele includes the children of state Governors, tuition rates probably make it easy to afford such a luxury.
Mr. Romney wants to compare the performance of our public schools to the performance of public schools around the world, but not the private educational institutions in our own backyards. If smaller class sizes are good for the well to do, why not apply that standard to the rest of us? To hell with what the McKinsey & Company said in their little study. It’s a fair bet that the executives at McKinsey & Company send their children to schools that strive to control class size. What’s good for the high dollar goose is just as good for the gander that relies on the public for the education of public students.
When Barack Obama was tossed the keys to the White House back in January of 2009 by his predecessor President George Bush, Jr. the Dow Jones was trading just a tad above eight thousand, falling precipitously from its high of fourteen thousand on its way down to sixty six hundred in the early following March. If the Dow was an accurate indication of the economy then Mr. Obama had a pretty good mess on his hands.
But from that point forward, with a few noticeable exceptions, the Dow has done nothing but gone up ever since. Right now, the Dow trades a little shy of thirteen thousand. Not quite the high of fourteen thousand back in October of 2007, but still a far cry from the doldrums in the first few months of Mr. Obama’s presidency.
People whose wealth depends on a healthy stock market have done well under Mr. Obama’s tenure. He’s helped to stabilize and repair the economy. And while the job market still sucks for everybody looking for work, people whose sole job is the creation of wealth are having a field day.
Unfortunately, the people who fit into this category are sometimes referred to as the one percent, the very pinnacle of the wealth pyramid that controls something like ninety percent of the country’s wealth while the other ninety nine percent slug it out for what’s left over.
As a group, the people at the top are doing extremely well. Some may not be worth as many millions or billions of dollars they were when Mr. Obama took over. But the majority of people at the top have seen their wealth grow with Mr. Obama. And yet, as Election Day looms, many of the people at the top want to give Mr. Obama his walking papers and pin their hopes for their future growth on the presumptive conservative nominee Mitt Romney.
The people at the top make a good majority of their income on their capital investments. The current tax rate on such income is fifteen percent, about half the rate poor slobs have to pay for actually doing work to earn a living. It’s why somebody like Mr. Romney, who primarily makes his money off of his investments, would pay less than fourteen percent on his income while the average joe will pay a twenty eight percent federal income tax rate.
While it might come as a surprise that Mr. Romney would like to cut taxes for his well to do peers even further, Mr. Obama says that the upper echelon should pay their fare share of taxes. Mr. Obama pushes the Buffet Rule as a way to bring some fairness back into our tax code. Mr. Romney defends the break on the wealthy saying that they are the job creators, they shouldn’t be penalized for being successful (implying that the rest of us should be penalized for not being as successful), and the arguments put forth by Mr. Obama are divisive and amounts to nothing more than class envy and class warfare.
Mr. Obama has been painted as someone who is hostile to corporate America, even though corporate America has been doing very well and corporate America is responding in kind. As a collective, corporate America is donating more of its political funding into the Mr. Romney campaign than it is donating to the reelection campaign of Mr. Obama.
It has been speculated that the one percent are offended at the denigration, the vilification, and the scorn that they feel Mr. Obama puts squarely on their shoulders. Even though they are doing financially well and are benefitting greatly, they are tired of the characterization that they are trying to avoid paying their fare share into the national treasury. The defamation is just too much for the well to do to handle. And rather than do well and suffer the indignity of being called out for the appearance that they are resisting paying the same rate as everyone else, they’d rather hitch their wagon to the Romney horse.
One wonders if these people ever think about the defamation that many people in the black community suffer at the hands of many conservatives who promote the idea that in general black people are a burden on the nation. What was going through their minds when they heard conservative contenders say things like they don’t want to give black people the tax money from hard working Americans? Did they give any thought to how black people feel when one of their candidates says that he would be more than happy to tell black people to earn a paycheck instead of being given a welfare check?
And what’s worse is that the denigration of the black community doesn’t come with the benefit of being well off. The vast majority of the black people don’t have income from an investments portfolio that allows us to make millions of dollars in a year’s time but pay half the tax rate of the rest nation. Black people don’t have it good only to complain about being belittled.
The vilification of black people comes complete with a belief that black people are social sponges that only take without giving anything in return. The widely held belief is that the only jobs that black people make are for police officers and other jobs that require investment in law enforcement and the legal system. It helps explains why so many people will hear about an unarmed black teenager being killed by a neighborhood vigilante and, without knowing anything about the case, will deem the murder justified because the black kid was probably just a thug.
Rich people feel that they are vilified because they live well and pay lower taxes than everybody else who earns a living above the poverty level. Excuse my language but boo-fucking-hoo. It really must be a burden to be subjected to such ridicule as they visit their accountant firm to discuss their investments and the best strategy they can use to avoid paying one penny extra in taxes than they have to.
The man best known to many for his heroics of saving his neighbor from a burning house is suffering a bit of difficulty in his attempt to save his reputation as a loyal liberal to the Democratic Party as well as his ability to serve as a surrogate for President Barack Obama. After his interview on Meet the Press with David Gregory, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker is trying do defend his self from his self. During the interview early Sunday, Mr. Booker said that he was interested in trying to indict private equity at this time where in America where so many pension funds, unions and others are investing in companies like Bain Capital that have done a lot to support and grow businesses.
According to Mr. Booker, or at least according to what he said during the interview, the attacks against private equity equate to the attempt to once again inject Reverend Jeremiah Wright as an issue in the political race. Mr. Booker said that he found both issues nauseating and wants both sides of the political aisle to stop.
In many respects, Mr. Booker sounds a little like former presidential contender Rick Santorum. In a fit of political passion Mr. Santorum was inspired to sharpen his appeal to the conservative base by saying that former President John F. Kennedy’s speech on the separation of church and state makes him want to throw up it was so disgusting. While his statement may have won him applause amongst his immediate audience at the time, many people from a much larger and wider political audience found Mr. Santorum’s statement about the beloved JFK disturbing and drilled him to explain himself. And Mr. Santorum tried. But whether or not it was a direct result of the resulting controversy, Mr. Santorum’s bid for the presidency began to peter out and he fell by the wayside, the last real impediment to Mitt Romney becoming the Republican’s nominee to be President.
Although it’s a different script, the play still appears to be the same. Mr. Booker wants to earn points for his own political goals. In a sharply partisan political environment, Mr. Booker wants to make his self more appealing to people on both sides of the political aisle by taking the leadership of both political sides to the tool shed. It’s a maneuver worthy of Mr. Obama his self who early in his presidency made the political calculation that it would be more advantageous to alienate his political base in an attempt to win more favor with the conservatives who would prefer to see Mr. Obama as an illegal alien with a fake birth certificate than as the rightful President of the United States.
Now Mr. Obama is trying to win reelection based on his record as President. But with his record of ceding so much of his political beliefs in order to try and compromise with people who swore never to compromise with him, Mr. Obama doesn’t look as strong as he could have been in his bid for a second term. His opponents did a lot to make him look as ineffective as possible.
Mr. Romney knows this and is hitting Mr. Obama where it hurts the most. Mr. Romney claims that Mr. Obama has been unsuccessful in his attempt to lead the country out of the recession that resulted during Mr. Obama’s predecessor, President George Bush, Jr. Mr. Romney says that by returning to the national economic policies that helped to cause the recession in the first place is his plan to get the country out of the recession for good. That sounds a lot like putting out a gasoline fire by throwing gasoline on it.
But Mr. Romney is a financially successful business man who in some circles is estimated to be worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars. As an executive with Bain Capital, Mr. Romney says he has the business acumen to be a President that would create the policies that would result in jobs across the nation, even though as the Governor of Massachusetts his record of job creation placed that state at the bottom of the list ranking states by the number of jobs created.
Mr. Obama’s reelection campaign counters that while it may be financially successful Bain Capital was not and is not in the business of creating jobs. Bain Capital exists to create wealth for its investors. If that company can create wealth by cutting jobs, then Bain Capital will cut jobs and fire people in order to create value for its investors. If Mr. Romney is going to claim that he created jobs as an executive with the private equity firm, then the flipside of that coin, his record as a job destroyer, is part of the equation as to whether or not Mr. Romney has the experience to create jobs as he claims.
Mr. Booker equated the examination of Mr. Romney’s record as a job destroyer as an indictment of private equity. Mr. Booker then equated the examination of Mr. Romney’s record as a job destroyer to the political strategy of making Mr. Obama’s relationship with Reverend Wright an issue in the bid for the presidency. The Reverend Wright affair was settled in the last rounds of presidential campaigning that took place four years ago. Mr. Obama addressed it and for most people it is no longer an issue. But for some people who refuse to accept Mr. Obama as anything legitimate, it ranks right up there with where’s the birth certificate. And while kicking that sleeping dog might be disgusting with its racially prejudiced implications, it hardly exists at the same level as carefully examining both sides of Mr. Romney’s record offered as proof of his presidential suitability by none other than Mr. Romney his self.
As a surrogate for Mr. Obama, Mr. Booker should have understood the difference between these two issues. By blending the two into the same nauseating group, Mr. Booker has given some credence to Mr. Romney’s assertion that the examination of his record for any inconsistencies with his job creation claims should be off limits.
Mr. Romney’s supporters have built an advertisement around Mr. Booker’s statements. The pro Romney advertisement asks the question, do you know what Mr. Obama does with people who stand up for job creators. The advertisement then answers, he silences them and tells people to sign the petition, I stand with Cory Booker. The surrogate for President Obama has at least for the moment become the surrogate for Mr. Obama’s opponents. That’s got to be embarrassing.
Mr. Booker hates the fact that his own words are being used against his the man that he suppose to be supporting. When asked, he said that the new Republican slogan had and his entire staff fit to be tied. He now says that Mr. Romney’s supporters have turned him on to work harder for Mr. Obama all the way through Election Day. He promises that people will hear a lot from him. But if his statements Sunday morning are any indication, Mr. Booker might be more helpful if he simply said nothing.
Nick Hanauer is an entrepreneur and venture capitalist with a net worth of about a billion dollars. He earned his money as a co-founder of the venture capital company Second Avenue Partners and by selling tech companies. He was the first non family investor in Amazon.com. He was the founder of gear.com which was eventually merged into Overstock.com. Mr. Hanauer is also the co-founder of the political action think tank known as The True Patriot Network, which is based on the ideas of he shares with Eric Liu and presented in their book called The True Patriot. He is a co-founder of the League of Education Voters, a non partisan political group dedicated to improving public education. He is a member of the board of the Cascade Land Conservancy, The University of Arizona’s Mount Lemmon Science Center, and The University of Washington Foundation. This is a very busy man.
Earlier this year, Mr. Hanauer gave a speech at the TED University conference. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It is a set of conferences owned by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed for the primary purpose of distributing worthy ideas. TED was founded with an emphasis on technology and design. The conferences now address an increasingly wide range of topics regarding science and culture. Past presenters include Bill Clinton, Jane Goodall, Al Gore, Gordon Brown, Richard Dawkins, Bill Gates, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and many Nobel Prize winners. TED’s current curator is the former computer journalist and magazine publisher Chris Anderson.
TED attracted controversy when it chose not to put a copy of Mr. Hanauer’s speech on their website as is the customary practice. The speech analyzed the impact of taxes rates on unemployment and the economy. However, Mr. Anderson felt that Mr. Hanauer’s speech could not be released because it would be regarded as too political in the middle of a presidential election year for an organization that is supposed to be nonpartisan.
But Mr. Hanauer is a hard man to keep down. When he found out that his TED speech would not be posted, he hired a public relations firm to promote the talk independently. While the officials at TED may have been too timid to post the speech, plenty of sites were waiting in the wings to promote it. Regardless of your stand on the issue of taxes, Mr. Hanauer’s speech is worth a notice. Considering that TED promotes itself as an organization committed to the distribution worthy ideas, one would think this topic would be right up their alley.
The following is the text from his speech.
“It is astounding how significantly one idea can shape a society and its policies. Consider this one. If taxes on the rich go up, job creation will go down. This idea is an article of faith for Republicans and seldom challenged by Democrats, and has indeed shaped much of the economic landscape. But sometimes the ideas that we are certain are true, are dead wrong.
Consider that, for thousands of years humans believed that the earth was the center of the universe. It’s not, and an astronomer who still believed that it was, would do some pretty terrible astronomy. Likewise, a policy maker who believes that the rich are job creators, and therefore should not be taxed, would be equally terrible policy.
I have started, or helped start, dozens of companies and initially hired lots of people. But if there was no one around who could afford to buy what we had to sell, all those companies and all those jobs would have evaporated. That’s why I can say with confidence that rich people don’t create jobs, nor do businesses, large or small. Jobs are a consequence of a circle of life-like feedback loop between customers and businesses. And only consumers can set in motion this virtuous cycle of increasing demand and hiring. In this sense, an ordinary consumer is more of a job creator than a capitalist like me.
That’s why when business people take credit for creating jobs it’s a little bit like squirrels taking credit for creating evolution. It’s actually the other way around. Anyone who’s ever run a business knows that hiring more people is a course of last resort for capitalists. It’s what we do if, and only if, rising customer demand requires it. And in this sense, calling yourselves job creators isn’t just inaccurate, it’s disingenuous. That’s why our existing policies are so upside down. When the biggest tax exemptions and the lowest rates benefit the richest, all in the name of job creation, all that happens is that the rich get richer.
Since 1980, the share of income for the top one percent of Americans has more than tripled, while our effective tax rates have gone down by fifty percent. If it was true that lower taxes for the rich and more wealth for the wealthy led to job creation, today we would be drowning in jobs. And yet, unemployment and under employment is at record highs.
Another reason that this idea is so wrong-headed is that, there can never be enough super-rich people to power a great economy. Somebody like me makes hundreds or thousands as times much as the median American, but I don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times as much stuff. My family owns three cars, not three thousand. I buy a few pairs of pants and shirts a year like most American men. Occasionally we go out to eat with friends. I can’t buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and under employed Americans can’t buy any new cars, any clothes, or enjoy any meals out. Nor can I make up for the falling consumption of the vast majority of middle class families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages.
Here’s an incredible fact, if the typical American family still retained the same share of income that they did in 1970, they’d earn like $45,000 more a year. Imagine what our economy would be like if that were the case.
Significant privileges have come to people like me, capitalists, for being perceived as job creators at the center of the economic universe. And the language and metaphors we use to defend the current economic and social arrangements is telling. It’s a small jump from job creator to the Creator. This language obviously wasn’t chosen by accident. And it’s only honest to admit that when somebody like me calls themselves a job creator, we’re not just describing how the economy works, but more particularly, we’re making a claim on status and privileges that we deserve.
Speaking of special privileges, the extraordinary differential between the fifteen percent tax rate that capitalists pay on carried interest, dividends and capital gains and the thirty five percent top marginal rate on work that ordinary Americans pay, it’s kind of hard to justify without a touch of deification.
We’ve had it backwards for the last thirty years. Rich people like me don’t create jobs. Jobs are a consequence of an eco systemic feedback loop between customers and businesses. And when the middle-class thrives, businesses grow and hire and owners profit.
That’s why taxing the rich to pay for investments that benefit all, is such a fantastic deal for the middle-class and the rich. So ladies and gentleman, here’s an idea worth spreading, in a capitalist economy, the true job creators are middle-class consumers. And taxing the rich to make investments will make the middle class grow and thrive. It’s the single shrewdest thing we can do for the middle-class, for the poor, and for the rich.
The bottom line is very plain and simple. For some people, mostly conservatives, the controversy linking now President Barack Obama to his former spiritual the Reverend Jeremiah Wright is about as dead as the controversy regarding Mr. Obama’s birth certificate and the doubt that he is a legal citizen of the United States. The Ending Spending Action Fund, a conservative super PAC with the goal of ousting Mr. Obama from the White House, was exposed by the New York Times as planning an advertising campaign reviving the link between Mr. Obama with his former pastor.
When questioned about the ad conservative presidential hopeful Mitt Romney tried his best to distance himself from the super PAC plans saying that he repudiated the effort and hopes to focus the issues back to jobs, the economy, and about how his vision for America’s future differs from Mr. Obama’s. But with super PACS operating under significantly looser campaign finance restrictions that were given the green light by the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision and the strict condition that prevents politicians from exercising any influence over super PACs, there is little guarantee that Mr. Romney would have any impact on groups willing to make Reverend Wright and the issue of race a factor in this year’s presidential campaign.
But unfortunately for Mr. Romney, like many things he says, we can point to an occasion where he said the opposite not too long ago. Back in February Mr. Romney made an appearance on FOX’s Sean Hannity where he resurrected the reference to the controversial pastor. Mr. Hannity played a sound bite of Mr. Obama saying that the United States can no longer consider itself just a Christian nation. In response to the clip, Mr. Romney said that he didn’t know which was worse, Mr. Obama listening to Reverend Wright or Mr. Obama saying that we must be a less Christian nation.
Earlier this week, after his statement repudiating the attack ad against Mr. Obama, Mr. Romney was asked for clarification over his statements on Sean Hannity and Mr. Romney replied, “I am not familiar, precisely, with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was.”
We have yet another example of how Mr. Romney reveals his single most notable core conviction which can be summed up as say anything that will expedite him getting what he wants. It sounds good to repudiate the recently revealed, ugly rewind to the political racism of the previous presidential elections where there was an ugly attempt to stoke white people’s inherent fear that a black President would hand the keys of the kingdom to the black community. The past forty months or so has shown that the fear of some racial retribution led by Mr. Obama were unfounded. The negative reaction to the racially charged advertising campaign by the super PAC made it apparent that Mr. Romney doesn’t want to go there.
But Mr. Romney already went there when he did his interview with Mr. Hannity and says that he stands by what he said then. Based on his latest statement, it would be a reasonable conclusion that Mr. Romney doesn’t stand by his more recent repudiation? But it’s just as reasonable to assume Mr. Romney doesn’t stand by what he said back in February and really does mean to repudiate what he says now but simply wants to sound like he has convictions that are strong, good, and consistent.
But more than likely, the most reasonable conclusion is that Mr. Romney doesn’t really care about what he said then and really doesn’t care what he says now. He truly has an etch-a-sketch approach to politics and will say anything that will make him look favorable to the people who are listening to him now regardless of what he said before. He doesn’t even bother to find out or remember what he said before. He stands by what he says until he doesn’t, but reserves the right to go back to what was said in the middle. Whatever it takes to get whatever he wants is his only conviction.
Mr. Romney is that rarest of politician who thinks he can refer to his often changed record as proof of who he is and what he stands for. What he stands for today has nothing to do with anything he stood for in anytime in his past. It takes a rare politician to admit he doesn’t remember what he said, doesn’t care to find out what he said, but stands by his statement in the past even though it is the total opposite of what he said just the day before. He is the true epitome of an etch-a-sketch politician.
The Facebook initial public offering is upon us and the result is nothing even remotely spectacular. In fact, if I had a dog in that fight, I may have been driven to pull a Michael Vick. The shares are up a scant eighteen cents on each initially priced at thirty eight dollars share. That’s an increase of less than half of one percent. Typically, an IPO is good for a ten percent increase in its first day. And although the share did jump as high as forty two dollars, it obviously could not hold that value.
But compared to the hype? Facebook was supposed to have been the second coming if a financial Christ. Mark Zuckerberg was to the youngest zillionaire ever to get a gazillion dollars with milk still behind the ears. For the past three days NPR has been reporting that Facebook was used by one out of eight people on the planet. Only breathable air and drinkable water had more users. Anybody with half a brain and a half billion dollars was supposed to have been stupid not to make an investment so that they can get that other half billion. The Facebook IPO was supposed to be the next best thing to investing in the sliced bread.
It has been estimated that Facebook was worth just over a hundred billion dollars. That’s a serious sum of money. But what’s kind of interesting to me is that if the company is worth a hundred billion dollars, what was the point of raising a hundred billion dollars to run the company?
If I owned Facebook and needed a hundred billion dollars I think I’d just put the company in hock for a loan. If banks believed half the hype over Facebook’s worth, I would’ve been able to borrow at least fifty billion dollars. And then once I borrowed that money, then what? What does Facebook need with another fifty billion dollars? Are they creating more jobs because they’re the job creators? Nope. Although I’m not privy it’s a fair bet that the company has all the revenue to hire all the engineers, software developers, business analyst, marketers, and business executives it needs with the allowance Mr. Zuckerberg gets from his cash cow. Do they need to purchase any more assets like a new office building or a bit more office furniture? That’s pretty doubtful as well. Even if they bought their office furniture from the same company that furnished Saddam Hussein’s most luxurious palace they’d wouldn’t scratch the surface of their petty cash. What was the point of all that money changing hands today?
In essence, all that money was used to pay a small group of people, Mr. Zuckerberg and the rest of the previous Facebook owners, for the privilege of letting other people make money on the future profits of the Facebook, Inc. A small group of people get an influx of cash immediately. A larger group of people are betting that they’ll get their return on their investment in the future. And considering how Facebook came so far so fast, people are betting that the privilege of being in the loop is worth the thirty eight dollars a share.
But the average joe isn’t about to get a chair at this table. This offer is only for people and entities that are already part of the financially well off. This is a game for people who already have a healthy access to revenue, be it their own money or a seriously healthy line of credit to borrow against. If you had a hundred dollars burning a hole in your pocket and you were looking to do a little investing, don’t even think you’re going the chance to buy a couple of Facebook shares and get in on this game. Only people with money can afford to make more money. The rest of us have to do it the old fashioned way, the way Mark Zuckerberg did it. We either have to roll up our sleeves and do some work, or we have be smart and think of a way to exploit others to work on our behalf since we can’t afford to pay people to work on our behalf.
However, the Facebook IPO brings to question an issue that is front and center in this presidential election year that’s riding the back of a sputtering economy; how does the average joe benefit from this? We hear that raising taxes on the wealthy will only hurt job creators and job creation. But what jobs would suffer if somebody making bank pays taxes on it? An educated guess here, where there’s little doubt that the influx of cash money would be used to make wealthy people wealthier, would be that zero jobs would be in jeopardy.
Despite today’s dismal performance there is little doubt that the Facebook stock will eventually go up, at least for the near term future. Further down the road, the company’s stock might hit hard times and take a tumble. When that day comes, company management might let decide to cut staff in order to make the company leaner and more profitable. That’s just what all the job creators do when their future profits are at stake.