Envy, one of the seven deadly sins, I guess Willard Mitt believes we are all sinners because we envy him his wealth. Somehow I think I can hear echoes of his parents telling him as a child, “If the other kids don’t like you it’s because they are just envious,” a belief that he seems to have internalized and carried forward into adulthood. I wonder if Mr. One Percent has any idea of the lives that most people live. Looking back on my own life, and the hundreds, probably thousands of other people I have known, I cannot think of a single example of anyone who aspired to be wealthy at the level Romney is wealthy. Most ordinary people aspire to become engineers, physicists, chemists, doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, firemen, policemen, historians, geologists, botanists, psychologists, sociologists, and whatever. Others, not fortunate enough to attend a University settle for becoming plumbers, electricians, clerks, and so on. Virtually no one I have ever known aspired to become multimillionaires or billionaires. It is possible this is because they knew that would never happen to them so they did not think about it in the first place, but in any case they tried to make the best of their lives doing something they thought possible for them and managed to live reasonably happy and productive lives. In my own case I can assure you I did not wish to become an anthropologist because I believed I would ever become wealthy. I don’t believe Romney has any appreciation of these facts of life. I also believe his candidacy for President is now dead. I do not see how the Republicans could possibly run a candidate labeled Mr. One Percent, who has now proven to be even more wealthy than that, at a moment in history when inequality has become the leading issue in the race.
I think his insistence that anyone who dares to bring up the subject of his wealth or inequality is merely envious is simply disgusting and betrays an enormous ignorance of life in the world of ordinary people. He, and the others in his tax bracket, unless perhaps they have actually personally earned their wealth through invention and hard work, simply live in another world entirely from ordinary people. They live in different neighborhoods, eat in different restaurants, live in more elegant housing, drive better automobiles, go to better schools, and for the most part do not fraternize with lesser souls or peasants. This is precisely why Romney comes across as totally inauthentic when he pretends to be someone he is not.
Having now been informed of the true size of his fortune and the fact that he apparently makes $57,000 a day, more than most people earn in a year, and does nothing to earn it other than possess a fortune, I am outraged. And if he believes he is entitled to accumulate so much money so easily I am even more outraged. The fact that he also is allowed to pay less in taxes than ordinary working people outrages me even more than that. Quite frankly, I believe that anyone who makes more than, say, a million or two a year should be taxed 100 per cent. And no one, under any circumstances, should be allowed to have a billion or more in personal wealth. I don’t know exactly what the limit should be, but once that generous limit is met they should be taxed at 100 per cent. If the limit is established high enough this would not hurt anyone and would greatly benefit everyone. I do not believe anyone should be allowed to make millions year after year simply because they inherited or otherwise accumulated large fortunes which then have no further purpose other than allowing them to make even more money by doing nothing. Let them have plenty to live the high life up to a reasonable extent but no more.
I am not personally much of a hater. I have trouble staying mad at anyone for more than five minutes no matter how they might have offended me. But I can easily understand how envy (if it exists as Romney thinks it does), disgust, and outrage can lead eventually into outright hatred. When a few have so much, and so many have so little, and there is such an enormous disparity, it is not difficult to see potential trouble ahead. This situation can be made much worse when those who have so much resist even giving up a little. Some of them, like Warren Buffet seem to understand this and are willing to at least consider parity in their percentage of taxes. But even here we are talking about a mere five to ten percent increase in the taxes of the absolutely incredibly wealthy. I find this absurd, outrageous, and hateful. A person with billions of dollars could easily pay hundreds of millions in taxes and still not even notice the difference, a five or ten percent increase is little more than a tip for the shoeshine boy. I find it incredible that the American public accepts what is happening with our tax code, and now that it is becoming more public I doubt they will for much longer. In the case of people like Romney this is not a case of rewarding the successful, it is simply rewarding the accident of birth. If for some reason you have money you can easily make more money. If you are poor you are doomed to stay that way. The situation is getting worse. It is not as things should be.
Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth.