Mitt Romney came up with a rather controversial comment during his interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien. “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it,” Mitt Romney said yesterday.
He mentioned how he was least concerned about the rich because they were doing fine, nor was he concerned about the very poor. But that his campaign was focused more on the 95% of middle class Americans.
“I'm not concerned about the very rich, they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.” – Mitt Romney
Soledad obviously pressed him on his comment, adding that his comment might sound a little odd to the ‘very poor.’
“Well you had to finish the sentence, Soledad…I said 'I'm not concerned about the very poor that have a safety net but if it has holes in it, I will repair them. The challenge right now -- we will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor. And there's no question it's not good being poor and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor. But my campaign is focused on middle-income Americans.”
Romney went on trying to solidify his rather controversial comment saying, “We have a very ample safety net…And we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it. But we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor.”
Questions that Romney needs to ask himself is, if he is sure that the ‘very poor’ as he label them have an adequate ‘safety net’ at all or not. Is it not evident that those being taken care of this ‘safety net’ are suffering a lot during the economic recession? Medicaid is facing cuts as the state is trying to balance the budgets, these cuts are implemented at a time when more people are using the program. Cuts have also been made by GOP lawmakers in food stamps with the hiking food prices.
It is like a vicious cycle, where the economic recession is causing more to fall under the category of ‘very poor,’ so obviously the numbers of people who need to use such programs are increasing. So the logical way around it would be to increase the amount going into the programs in an ideal case scenario. Contrary to that an inversely proportional step is being taken, that is to have cuts in such ‘safety net’ programs.
Romney’s policies call for cutting federal spending and reconfiguring the social safety net. His call for an immediate five percent cut on non-discretionary spending would obviously hit the safety net hard. He also proposes to turn Medicaid into a block grant program and undertake a ‘fundamental restructuring of government programs and services.’ He even suggests capping spending at 20 percent of GDP – a significant cut –and adds that he ‘will pursue further cuts’ as spending comes ‘under control.’
This is not the first time that Romney has managed to come under the axe by his competitors for his ill phrased remarks. His enormous fortune which is between $190 million and $250 million and such remarks accumulate for his competition to question his understanding of the economic recession faced by the Americans. In fact only yesterday a video mocking Romney surfaced ‘Rich Kids For Romney.’
Romney's statement is part of a pattern of previously poorly phrased remarks that give his competitors fodder to call the former Bain Capital founder -- who is worth between $190 million and $250 million -- out of touch with the economic recession.
“Don't try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom,” – Romney said this last October in Las Vegas, the metro area that was hit the hardest by the foreclosure crisis.
Then, in January Romney went on to saying, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me” this he said as he explained why he favored competition among health insurers. “If someone doesn't give me the good service I need, I want to say I am going to get somebody else to provide that service to me.”
Obviously his comment on CNN yesterday attracted reporters and their pressing questions towards Romney on a plane to Minneapolis. But his response was not as satisfactory, “No, no, no, no, no, no, no…No, no, no. You've got to take the whole sentence, alright, it's mostly the same.” He repeated his previous comments about the safety net, and added that “if there are people that are falling through the cracks, I want to fix that."
Romney’s spokesperson said, “President Obama has destroyed the middle class. His policies have given us a stagnant economy, high unemployment, declining wages, increase in poverty, and record amounts of new debt…President Obama is so detached from what is happening in the real world that he finds it hard to believe an unemployed engineer can't find a job. President Obama calls the plight of the unemployed ‘interesting.’ Mitt Romney calls it ‘inexcusable.’ We look forward debating President Obama on how his policies have failed the middle class.”
Following Romney’s comment, Jon Stewart mocked him for placing the ‘very rich’ and ‘very poor’ as equals on ‘The Daily Show.’
Clearly the next president of United States has a huge responsibly on their shoulders. A responsibility to fix the economic crisis in a sustainable fashion. A way in which the growth of today does not mar the growth of tomorrow, in a way that addresses to all those who are affected. A way whereby America can revive its ‘American Dream.’