Two weeks ago, Ann Romney told Republicans that she and Mitt had known lean times:
“We were very young. Both still in college. There were many reasons to delay marriage, and you know what? We just didn’t care. We got married and moved into a basement apartment. We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on sawhorses. Our dining-room table was a fold-down ironing board in the kitchen. But those were the best days.” Oh, what fun to be poor!
It was easy to believe that poverty was fun, writes Richard Cohen. Ann and Mitt were living off the stock that Mitt's father -- the president of American Motors -- had given them. Romney's assertion simply proves that today's political class knows nothing about poverty:
Poverty, after all, is not about bookcases made of planks and bricks but about utter hopelessness. The poor do not have affluent parents. The poor do not have college degrees. The poor often do not even have high school degrees. The poor often don’t have a man in the house or, to be perfectly frank, sometimes the discipline and work habits to lift themselves out of poverty.
At the beginning of the Great Recession, Stephen Harper's said, "The stock market will sort itself out. I suspect some good buying opportunities are opening up with some of the panic we’ve seen in the stock market in the last few days.” As always, he was not thinking about the little guy.
The Star's Richard Gwyn writes that the old class system -- best illustrated by passenger allocation on The Titanic -- has re-emerged. The wealthy on the upper decks were given a chance to survive. The miserable in steerage never had a chance.
That same structure, writes Gwyn, has now been revived:
According to the Tax Justice Network, the holdings in these tax havens now amount to an incredible $21 trillion. That sum is equal to the gross national product of the U.S. and Japan combined.
That unimaginable horde is owned or controlled by just 92,000 people in the world. They constitute not Occupy Wall Street’s 1 per cent of all taxpayers but a mere 0.001 per cent of them.
They and the lawyers and accountants and bankers who serve them — as substitutes for the butlers and gardeners and downstairs maids of earlier years — do indeed live lives utterly different from everyone else, and can indeed pass on their wealth, as little taxed in today’s global world as it was a century and a half ago, to their children. Even the old dukes and duchesses didn’t do as well.
If today's politicians -- like the Romneys -- are not wealthy, they are the servants of the wealthy; and, therefore, they are well cared for. But most of the world lives in steerage.