Monday, March 15, 2010

To Romney Retirees Are To Be Put On An Iceberg

According to Public Policy Polling: “One particular source of strength for Romney at this very early stage is that he's doing even better with senior citizens than the overall electorate. In Florida he's up 47 with voters over 65.”

The surprising poll result this past week giving Romney 52% of conservative support in Florida started me thinking of how astounding this percentage is, especially taking in consideration Romney’s past comments. In a November 2008, New York Times opinion piece, Romney wrote the following, “Furthermore, retiree benefits must be reduced so that the total burden per auto for domestic makers is not higher than that of foreign producers.” It was remembering Romney’s quote from the NYT’s which left ones mind boggled at the 52% support for Romney in the Florida poll. Romney’s opinion piece doesn’t deal with the retirements lost when Romney took over companies while he was over Bain Capital, closing companies down and sending jobs overseas.

No doubt, Romney also down played that in 2007 he nixed “legislation, that would have increased the amount of money that public sector retirees could earn while working part-time for the state or local government, was enacted by the Legislature”, but rejected by Mitt Romney while he was governor.

As companies were in the middle of offering early retirements, in attempts to down size, Romney outlined his solutions to issues of social security and Medicare in a 2008 interview with Glenn Beck:

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, I think the best way I've been able to get it across, and it is in my view why I've been able to do as well as I have in the season so far is that I say quite bluntly and with a major sign that's standing up behind me says Washington is broken. We simply cannot keep on going the way we have gone. We have to deal with the challenges we have. The good news is Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security can be fixed so that they don't have to weigh down our entire economy. The annual spending is --

GLENN: How? How do you fix it?

GOVERNOR ROMNEY: Well, yeah. Well, Social Security's the easiest and that's because you can give people a personal account, you can extend the retirement age and you can calculate the initial benefit based on inflation for higher income people rather than the wage index which goes up so much higher. Those simple arithmetic changes will keep Social Security from bankrupt.

GLENN: Hold it just a second. I can -- hold on. I think I just heard a politician say "Extend the retirement age"?

I am not sure Mitts statement is simpleton, or wishful thinking, at the least he is not thinking rational to the realities of people forced into the bulging retiree population due to downsizing, much less the ones forced into unemployment.

Maybe Romney, during his Florida tour, has been grooming his speeches to appeal to the audience he is speaking in front of at the moment; one wonders if in the land of retiree’s in Florida, both the blue and white collar workers know in the cold pits of Romney’s heart, the first to be sent out on an iceberg are the aged and retired.

Most people do not have the luxury which Romney enjoys, of jet setting to one of his multi-million dollar homes, popping off for a sunny excursion overseas, zipping down exotic ski slopes, or spending millions, and millions on a failed presidential run. One wonders how Mitt can go to the land of palm trees and fixed incomes, asking for their vote.

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