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Jim Hightower
Otherwords / Op-Ed
Published: Thursday 4 October 2012
Mitt won $1.5 billion of taxpayer gold for the Salt Lake City Olympics.

Romney Passes The Torch to Taxpayers

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One of the mysteries of life in these curious times is that millions of Americans are enjoying the benefits of government — but are either unaware of it or in denial.

A 2008 study found that 40 percent of Medicare recipients, 44 percent of Social Security beneficiaries, 53 percent of people with student loans, and 60 percent of homeowners with taxpayer-subsidized mortgages answered “no” when asked whether they were using a government social program.

But whatever their confusion, at least they're not running for president. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is. And on the campaign trail he's disparaging Americans who turn to government to get what he calls “free stuff.”

He cites his experience as a private sector executive as proof that he has the managerial chops to run the government like a business. For evidence, he touts his stint as CEO of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, when he adopted cost-saving tactics, such as moving the Olympics' Washington office from a ritzy K Street building to a modest flat squished between a burrito shop and a hair salon.

Conveniently unmentioned by the heroic free-enterpriser, however, is that his success was largely the result of "free stuff" he got. Specifically, the games nabbed $1.5 billion in direct federal funding and indirect financing from Washington after Mitt's committee went grossly over budget and was unable to attract enough private investment. If lobbying lawmakers for "free stuff" were an Olympic event, Mitt would take the gold.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) called the level of federal subsidy "a disgrace," made all the more disgraceful by exposés documenting that much of the loot funded projects for wealthy Utah developers. One resort owner received $3 million to build a three-mile stretch of road through his compound — a breezy million per mile. Remember Mitt's Olympic haul of government gold the next time you hear him assail poor people for getting food stamps.



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ABOUT Jim Hightower
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be - consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks.

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6 comments on "Romney Passes The Torch to Taxpayers "

William Bednarz

October 05, 2012 9:31am

What is left off is that they are raising the age requirements
Medicare was raised from 62 - to - 65
social security has been rasied by one year 65 - to - 66 . . SO - FAR
student loans are repaid with interest.....a lower interest BUT interest....
entitlements ?.?.? to insure the sucess of our country???
LOOK AT THE MORONS IN WASHINGTON.... AND THEIR ENTITLEMENTS - - they cost alot more than those of the general population and haven't paid into them....only withdrawn benefits..

Leddy Smith

October 05, 2012 9:29am

People toss around the word socialism and have no idea what it truly represents.
Many believe that it means the government owning all property, and business and a guaranteed job for life at a fixed amount. This is Marxist style socialism.
Democratic Socialism is the type of socialism that exist in most of Europe and here in the U.S. as well. Most Americans are mis-informed and in denial about socialism in the U.S. We are already more democratic socialistic than some countries in Europe. This article alluded to many of the socialist programs we have. Under Democratic Socialism, the goevernment does not have to partially or fully fund the program, but provides the adminstrative support, such as with Social Security. ACA or (Obamacare) is another social program that people will pay for, to the extent that they can afford it, and the government administers the rules and keeps the health providers et al in line to protect against fraud, waste and abuse. I lived in Germany from 1990 to 2008, and the quality of life was very good. They had good healthcare, good law enforcement with little crime, great highways and infra-structure and a strong sense of family. They had a tremendous industrial base of successful corporate and privately owned businesses. They had a financially strong upper-class and middle-class, with very little poverty. The poor were usually imigrants that moved there from the East. They were subsidized until they could get on their feet and ultimately joined the middle-class. Socialism was not a bad word and they enjoyed their shared benefits. The U.S. needs to understand that they are already a democratic socialist country and embrace the benefits they enjoy from that fact.
It is time to stop living under the cloud of myths and lies and work together to take advantage of all the things that are already good in this country and all the
great things it can become through procactive thought.

JoeWeinstein

October 04, 2012 12:49pm

ARKY70's shorter comment is on the mark - I think it quite explains why many who receive SS, Medicare or Student loan moneys don't think of themselves as 'using' a government 'social' (i.e. social welfare) program. These moneys may be 'entitlements' but are in fact (or in perception) pre-paid by the beneficiaries.

arky70

October 04, 2012 11:13am

When GOP say "free enterprise" they really mean they are free of any and all regulations, free to scam and defraud consumers, free to pay what they want to their workers, so they bust unions, free to buy elections, free to exploit and endanger their workers, free to pollute at will and suffer no consequences of their actions. We have no free enterprise anymore in this country, we have monopolies who trample the little guy to eliminate competition.
As for Mitt's time at Bain, people need to take a look at the business he was in which used to be illegal before Reagan quit enforcing the Sherman Anti-trust laws. So called Private Equity Firms are very predatory and are not a business, but a destroyer and plunder' of business. They are vulture capitalists at their worst. During the 80's they were called Merger and Acquisition or M&A's, LBO's, leveraged buy outs, which meant they leveraged a companies' assets to buy them, not using their own funds. They take out a big loan making the company they are taking over pay it back. This should be illegal again. These companies serve no purpose except to make their owners very rich. Beware, should Romney win, he may apply those "business" principals to our government.

arky70

October 04, 2012 11:05am

In the first place, I do not consider SS to be a government social program. It is an insurance program to help prevent poverty in old age, so I'd definitely answer no on that one as well as for Medicare, which I paid into and pay a monthly premium for. While these are distributed by the government, they are not social welfare.
Social programs, in my view, would pertain more to food stamps, welfare benefits, and even Medicaid, for example. Student loans are loans that have to be paid back with interest, so I don't get why you think these are social welfare programs?

Sunflowerbio

October 04, 2012 1:03pm

I agree that many respondents would not consider SS or Medicare government social programs, but I think this is splitting hairs. These programs were established by government action and are administered by quasi government agencies according to policies established by Congress. This all looks pretty ducky to me. SS is not just a pension program either; it supports the disabled, widows and widowers, and dependent children such as Paul Ryan. Student loans, as opposed to grants such as Pell Grants, must be repaid, but the interest rates are subsidized by Uncle Sam. Home mortgage interest deductions are a government subsidy.