Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

GOP voters like that Mitt Romney is so rich, he doesn’t care about an extra $374,327.62

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In the current economy, you have as much of a chance of getting a camel through the eye of a needle than to earn $374,327.62 in a year. I would bet money — not $10,000 — that the camel would pass through before you would look at that amount as being “not very much.”

We talk about the 1% and 99%, but the division is even deeper. In 2008, then Sen. Obama pointed out that 94% of Americans make under $100,000 per year. Given the economic collapse, that number is definitely higher. If you don’t live in a major urban area, the chances of you making close to $80,000-$90,000 is highly slim.

Let’s pretend for the moment that you make $70,000 and somehow don’t live in the region of a Top 10 city. If this is you, your strata is considerable higher than most Americans.

True, you might have 5 children, a home, and maybe a vacation house. Still, you are doing well by modern American standards.

You would have to work at that level for more than 5 years to get as much money as Mitt Romney says is “not very much.” And you will pay a higher tax rate than Romney does.

The almost $375K is 7.5 times the median U.S. household income — median paycheck for 2010 was $26,364. Median, for the non-math majors, is where half made more, half made less. So if you made $27,000 in 2010, you would be in the top 50%.

Rick Santorum has tried to self-portray himself as the grandson of a coal miner, but in this extended era of greed, few care about his background. Newt Gingrich made $1.6 million from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and no one blinks at the number.

Democratic politicians are better at portraying a sense of growing up poor: Bill Clinton, John Edwards. Barack Obama probably had the worst of those scenarios, but like a lot of his background, has worked hard to downplay that story.

Democratic audiences care more about this than Republican audiences do. When they say Americans don’t want to punish the rich because they think they will get there, most of those Americans vote Republican.

With Romney winning the polls in South Carolina, the chances of him not winning the nomination are sharply dwindling. Pundits point out that the teabaggers and social conservatives haven’t united behind one candidate, and that is most of the story. Deep down, the GOP wants to nominate a rich guy who isn’t ashamed to be rich. Filthy rich. The GOP faithful want a nominee who thinks $374,327.62 is “not very much.” The question is whether independents want that kind of nominee in November.

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