“When the men and women who settled the Iowa prairie saw a fire in the distance, they didn’t look around for someone else to save them or go back to sleep hoping the wind might blow another direction. They knew that their survival was up to them. A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation and every day we fail to act that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love.”
– Mitt Romney, campaigning in Iowa Tuesday
So I have a few questions:
Would Mitt Romney — he with $250 million in estimated wealth, the $100 million trust fund set aside for his sons and the $21 million in investment income last year alone — accept paying higher taxes as just PART of a larger national effort to stop this “prairie fire of debt” that threatens our nation’s survival?
Of course, nobody expects them to stop the fire on their own. They’re going to need a lot of help, and government spending is of course going to have to be cut. But given the apparent severity of this crisis, surely the most affluent — patriotic Americans such as Romney who are paying a smaller percentage of their income in taxes than many of their fellow citizens — should be willing to pitch in and help.
Or would that be too much to ask?
Yes, I know I’m being impertinent. I know that we’re not supposed to talk about such things in public. But still — is this prairie fire a problem that the poor and middle class are going to have to handle on their own, through increased sacrifice and adversity, while Romney and others cheer them on from the rear?
For example, we already know that health insurance for poor children, nutrition support for low-income families and tuition aid for college students as well as many other programs are being targeted by Republicans for cutbacks. Those vulnerable populations are going to be forced to “take a haircut” on this deal, as Romney and his friends in the investment community like to put it.
But is this sacrifice going to be shared, and if so how? What exactly do Romney and others in his tax bracket intend to contribute to this fight? Given the gravity of the situation, would a return to the tax rates paid during the Clinton administration be too outlandish a request of our most prosperous citizens?
OK then, how about this:
With the United States already spending 50 percent more on its military than the next nine nations combined, Romney has promised to increase defense spending significantly and add 100,000 active-duty personnel should he take office.
Won’t that just add fuel to “this debt and spending inferno” as it draws “closer to the homes and children we love”? Or is there some kind of magic by which defense spending adds nothing to the inferno, while Medicare and Social Security do?
Or am I missing something?
– Jay Bookman