One of Mitt’s ‘victims’ actually makes a good case

Sep 19 2012 - 6:16pm

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Trentelman
Trentelman

Mitt Romney sure started something when he said the 47 percent of the nation that won't vote for him are people who don't pay income taxes and are "victims" who "won't take responsibility for their lives" and want government to take care of them.

It's true 47 percent of households don't pay federal income tax -- Reagan's tax reforms really boosted that -- but the rest is hooey.

Everyone pays some taxes. People who don't pay federal income taxes come from both parties. They're either too poor to qualify or rich enough to afford shelters.

Is it workers' fault wages have been stagnant for a decade?

Most did the right things. Life stepped on them, anyway. If these are Romney's "victims" he ought to have a little sympathy.

Consider Bill.

Bill, who lives in Syracuse, asked me not to use his last name because he needs his job. He wrote me a long letter showing how his plans were ruined by the recession.

He's angry. I don't blame him. His piece is titled "Ah, Retirement!" and I have boiled it down.

"I'm going to be 67 in a few months and I planned my retirement. I would take road trips, go on photo shoots.

"Instead I work two jobs, one part time and one full time. Maybe you wonder, why is an old guy like me working like this?

"Here is the scenario. I stuck a few bucks in an investment account, let it build up until I retired from civil service in 2007.

"It wasn't much but it was all I had until the Wall Street swindle backed by Bush and other politicians took it away.

"It's gone! My retirement went out the back door into someone's back pocket. I hit the skids in March of 2008.

"Desperate to find a job, I looked at McDonald's, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Gateway Mall, for any minimum wage job available. That didn't work.

"Greedy swindlers grabbed me again by raising interest rates on credit cards, then cut my line of credit to what I owed and stacked more and more on top until I realized that Pay Day loans is a better deal.

"I drive a paid-for Mazda with 192,000 miles. It works, no payments, which is a blessing, but I'm having to work two jobs to get rid of the debt the bankers have so generously heaped onto my life.

"Did I mention I was 65 when I was looking for a job? Eye rolls, exasperated expression, and I suffered through the 10-minute job interview. The hiring authority knew the moment I entered the room I wasn't going anywhere.

"Yup, that's life! Old is better!

"So here I am. I drive a truck part time and I'm on call most weekends. My 40-hour job is a crappy early morning shift in a call center. Phone mule! Headset in place, answer the same question 60 or 70 times a day.

"Have you wondered why call centers are always hiring? 100 percent turnover in 12 months. People who need an income, who are old, are the new slaves in an abusive empire of greed.

"So I plug away, hoping my car will last another 100,000 miles. This is the only way to retire!

"The saddest part of this is my daughter has MS and no doctor will treat her. She's without medical insurance.

"My granddaughter has cancer, no medical insurance, except for Obamacare, or she'd be living in a box in Mesa, Ariz. I can't help them financially. I can barely pay my overhead.

"Wall Street slugs did a great job for millions of people. They got rich off the backs of their customers, always trying to find a new angle to squeeze another few cents with a new fee. Executives are expensive!

"And life goes on!"

The Wasatch Rambler is the opinion of Charles Trentelman. He can be reached at 801-625-4232, or ctrentelman@standard.net. He also blogs at www.standard.net.

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