Yesterday, Mitt Romney told Matt Lauer on the Today show that any discussions of economic inequality are about "envy" and should happen only "in quiet rooms," away from the 99%.
QUESTIONER: When you said that we already have a leader who divides us with the bitter politics of envy, I’m curious about the word envy. Did you suggest that anyone who questions the policies and practices of Wall Street and financial institutions, anyone who has questions about the distribution of wealth and power in this country, is envious? Is it about jealousy, or fairness?
ROMNEY: You know, I think it’s about envy. I think it’s about class warfare. When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on 99 percent versus one percent, and those people who have been most successful will be in the one percent, you have opened up a wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God. The American people, I believe in the final analysis, will reject it.
QUESTIONER: Are there no fair questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy, though?
ROMNEY: I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like. But the president has made it part of his campaign rally. Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street. It’s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.
Today President Obama's chief economics advisor delivered a smackdown to Mitt Romney and his "envy" argument:
Today, Alan Krueger, chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, told ThinkProgress that addressing income inequality is “not about envy at all,” but about ensuring that all segments of the population share in economic growth:The trends that have taken place in the U.S. over the last three decades are particularly of concern to economists and others. We’ve seen a steady decline, erosion, in the size of the middle class. That’s not good for the economy. That’s not good for all segments of American society. And I think some of our policies have exacerbated that … .
There are certainly legitimate policy issues, and as the President’s economic adviser, it’s certainly something that we’re focused on. I don’t think this is an issue about envy at all. I think we’d like to see all segments of society do well. The President has said ‘when all Americans do well, America does well.’ The accumulating evidence suggests that the erosion of the middle class has been bad for the economy.
According to Krueger, the shift in income inequality over the last three decades is the equivalent of moving $1.1 trillion of income from the 99 percent to the top 1 percent every single year. This has led to a severe shrinking of the middle class:
Yes, Mitt, the suffering of the middle class you aided in causing to create your own wealth is not about "envy."
The steady decline of the middle class is immoral, bad for the economy, and harms America.
Mitt is the 1%. We know which side he is on.
At another point in his victory speech, Mr. Romney complained that his controversial remark about “liking to fire people” had been taken out of context: “The full quote was, ‘I like to fire people – and then laugh at them.’”
After seeing "When Mitt Romney Came To Town," I think that may be reality, not comedy.