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Sunday, June 26, 2011

REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES: REGRESSIVE MILLIONAIRES

As I said in my last post:  “at least two-thirds of these (presidential) candidates (and the two most recent aspirants – Rick Perry and Dan Huntsman) are millionaires. Their views represent and benefit just 1% of the U.S. population, and they, themselves, stand to gain personally from their own proposals!”

In doing some research online, I came across a number of quotes about each of the candidates that just beg to be shared.  So this particular post is full of quotes from others as to the “qualifications” of the Republican Regressive candidates.  The up-front characterization of each candidate is my own introduction.

Mitt Romney: the great flip-flopper who changes views depending on whose vote he needs; the initiator of state health care that doesn’t even adequately cover a young adult with MS; unemployment suits him.

Romney has a personal fortune estimated in 2008 at $190 million to $250 million.  (Reuters quoted on msn.com) "I should tell my story," Romney told a group of unemployed people in Florida. "I'm also unemployed." 

Ron Paul:  some of his ideas sound good until you actually examine them or implement them; he obfuscates very well; unfortunately he’s more anarchist than libertarian.

Turns out, the old doctor, Ron Paul, (he's even older than Sen. John McCain) is a millionaire, a few times over.  An Air Force veteran and ob-gyn who often champions the cause of the little guy, Paul disclosed 41 separate financial holdings that have a combined value of between $2.29 million and $5.3 million (in 2008). (latimes.com)

Michele Bachmann:  she touts the fact she has 23 foster children; but has no qualms about cutting programs that could enhance the lives of other children, teenagers or young adults, especially those struggling to afford college.

When (Michele Bachmann) and her other millionaire pals in Congress such as Paul Ryan (another Congressional preacher of austerity who also happens to be a man born to wealth who has never personally known economic hardship himself and sits on an inherited wealth of over $3 million) use words like “austerity” it means different things to them than it does to the majority of us.
For the 261 millionaires in Congress, austerity means that maybe they sell that vacation home. Perhaps they sell their speedboat but keep the sailboat. But to those of us on Main Street who are not millions of degrees removed from the cliff’s edge of economic disaster, austerity has an entirely different connotation.  Apparently members of Congress are not aware that today 77 percent of all Americans live from paycheck to paycheck [From a Report issued Jan 2011 by CareerBuilder]. (Letter to the Editor, Tiftongazette.com)

Tim Pawlenty:  girly-man who refused to take on Romney’s state health plan to his face; Minnesota Flat and boring.
 
In a GOP presidential race peppered with millionaires, Pawlenty is the closest thing in sight to a regular guy — and it’s a card he plays often.  (Gainesville Sun)
Is he perhaps a bit intimidated by Romney’s wealth, and that of the others?

Rick Santorum:  doesn’t watch Leno or Conan; believes that terminating any pregnancy is out of bounds; lives in another century; is also a loser of big elections.

Rick Santorum is a candidate whose assets are difficult to pin down: his income disclosures (open secrets.org) show little income other than congressional salary and some income from his wife’s two books, but there are some real estate purchases and other investments that appear to put him in the millionaire category.  In 2006, a case could be made for him having over a million in assets, but it is difficult to determine.  One interesting quote states: “While experts and politicians may debate the propriety of Santorum’s real-estate dealings and PAC spending, one thing became clear during a recent visit to the Estates at Shenstone Farms. Very few of the development’s residents can afford the bulky $750,000-plus homes without two sources of income.”  (prospect.org)

Dan Huntsman:  snappy dresser, but boring so far; an unknown.
 
The chemical company and Huntsman name would …help the family scion win Utah’s governorship, make him a multimillionaire and position him for White House appointments, including as President Barack Obama’s ambassador to China.
Huntsman Corporation’s revenue in China surged 57 percent from 2009 to 2010 during his ambassadorship, almost two decades after its entrance there, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.
Huntsman, grew up middle class – until his father Jon Huntsman Sr. became a billionaire when he founded the Huntsman Corporation. Huntsman Jr. has held executive positions at the Huntsman Corporation, but spent most of his life in politics – so he's not worth quite as much as his Dad. Some estimates say he has up to $90 million in his pocket. (mogulite.com)

Herman Cain: the Pizza guy; wants to be a problem-solver but only has solutions that fit his ideology; doesn’t know how to solve problems by soliciting a myriad of solutions from many sources
 
As the son of a chauffeur to a former Coca-Cola executive, it's worth recognizing that Herman Cain is a self-made millionaire who at one time was the chief executive of Godfather's Pizza. Such a story embodies the American dream and is understandably alluring to some Americans in need of such symbolism.  (grio.com)

Rick Perry:  another Texas Governor?  Spare me the agony. He’s a “tweeter” all right.

How did Texas Governor Rick Perry become a millionaire while being a politician for most of his adult life?  None of his political jobs paid enough to make him a millionaire.
Looking at his financial background, it seems he believed Texas would prosper, and purchased real estate that appreciated in value. (yahoo answers.com)
"Rick Perry has become a millionaire on the public payroll," the narrator says in a TV ad that was posted on YouTube Oct. 4. "He's a career politician who's taken a government check for 25 years, and today, he's a millionaire." The words "Murky land deal mark Gov. Rick Perry's past" and "Gov. Perry wealth fueled by land deals" appear on the screen.
It's not novel for (democratic gubernatorial candidate, Bill) White to niggle Perry about his wealth; he earlier zeroed in on the governor living in a posh rental home while the Governor's Mansion was repaired. But we haven't yet explored White's claim that Perry's gotten rich while a state official. (PolitiFact)

Newt Gingrich:  has $500,000- $1 million line-of-credit at Tiffany’s on jewelry and wants to tell us how to balance the federal budget?

The 67-year-old former speaker, who led a conservative resurgence in Congress during Bill Clinton’s presidency, has become a multi-millionaire as an author, speaker and commentator, with his services packaged through Gingrich Productions, a company co-run with his wife. (London telegraph.com)
Joe DeSantis, a spokesman for Gingrich, said that the candidate’s personal financial disclosure filing, which is due within 30 days of his formal entrance into the presidential race, will “show that the Gingriches had a $500,000 to $1 million line of credit at Tiffany’s...”  Need we say more….

Yes, we do need to say more, for even Barack Obama is now a millionaire…with an estimated net worth of $10.5 million dollars.  Obama’s base salary is $400,000 a year. He also has access to a $150,000 expense account as well as a $100,000 tax free travel account and $20,000 entertainment budget. (celebritynetworth.com)

According to The Wall Street Journal, the president’s reported assets are between $4.25 million and “well north of $23 million,” most of which can be attributed to royalties from his two books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope.  While those income estimates may be vague, they do hint at Obama’s growing wealth. “The value of his book royalties alone is between $2 million and $10 million,” the Journal reports. (mainstreet.com)

Perhaps we can only hope that the President has been enough influenced by his past, by the struggles of a single mother and those of attentive middle-class grandparents, and by the struggles of those with whom he worked as a community organizer, that he can still place himself in the shoes of the 77%  who must live paycheck to paycheck, the millions without a job, and the 98% of us who will never know what being a millionaire is like.  We need him to be our advocate, because the Republican REGRESSIVES running for President are not ever going to desire or accept  that role.