Wineke: Envying (And Resenting) Mitt Romney

By Bill Wineke Special To Channel 3000

So, am I envious of the fact that Mitt Romney makes more money in a day than I ever made in a year?

Damn straight, I am.

I probably don’t need a quarter-billion dollars to make me happy but it does occur to me that Mitt is approximately 365 times wealthier than I am. And his money isn’t being depleted. It’s just the interest on his fortune that earns him as much in a day as I earn in a year.

So, yeah, I’m envious. In fact, I’m even envious of some of my friends who don’t earn nearly what Mitt earns but who, nevertheless, have a lot more than I have.

Now, do I begrudge Romney his money? Not really. Ever since the sainted days of Ronald Reagan our financial system has been tilted toward favoring the rich and the ruthless and betraying everyone else. Romney just took advantage of a system that rewards the haves and punishes the have-nots.

Here’s what I do resent, however: I do resent Romney’s attitude of naive entitlement. I’ve watched him time and again as he smugly asserts that he didn’t receive an inheritance and that he earned his fortune by working for it.

People who question how he actually obtained all that money are just attacking the “free enterprise system,” practicing the “politics of envy” and castigating “success,” Romney says.

Really Mitt? You’re a self-made man? Your father was the CEO of American Motors, governor of Michigan and a serious candidate for President of the United States, for Pete’s sake. You don’t think that gave you a tiny leg up? You are the living embodiment of the 1 percent. Don’t you think you could show even a trace of humility?

Apparently, he has used part of his fortune to establish a $100 million trust account for his kids and, apparently, he used tax-free money to do so. He must not be totally against inheritances.

Do you know what else I resent about Mitt Romney? I resent the fact that he has money in Swiss bank accounts and in the Cayman Islands. It’s not that I begrudge the accounts themselves. It is that Romney has been running for president for a good part of my adult life. Yet, it never seemed important to him to repatriate those overseas bank accounts.

Did he think we’d never find out? Or did he just assume it is none of our business?

Finally, I begrudge Romney his definition of “success.”

He has been successful in many areas. He seems to have a nice family. When his wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis he didn’t trade her in on a younger model (remember when Republicans prided themselves on “family values?”). He rescued the Winter Olympics and, as governor of Massachusetts, he helped pass a model health law.

When Romney uses the word “success,” however, he always refers to money. He likes to refer to his father’s advice, which was to never run for office if you have a mortgage to pay (that might be good advice but it would limit the nation’s governance to the rich, surprise, surprise).

Is this really the best the GOP can do?