Is envy one of the seven deadly political sins?
Thursday, January 12, 2012
It is the disparity that dares not speak its name: Income inequality. The focus of the Occupy movement and an increasing number of studies and reports, the gap between rich and poor has now become a prime battle in the most unlikely of places, the GOP presidential primary.
President Obama has made it clear that increasing taxes on the wealthiest
will be his focus on the campaign trail. Three of Mitt Romney
’s fellow White House wannabes are hammering the frontrunner for his time spent with Bain Capital
, buying and selling – and in some cases, dismantling – smaller companies while reaping hundreds of millions in profits.
A “Super PAC” supporting Newt Gingrich has released a 30-minute video hauntingly titled “When Mitt Romney came to town”
and is running $3.4 million in ads in South Carolina
based on the film’s premise -- that Romney and Bain strip-mined smaller companies and then left them to die while throwing people out of work and into the streets. You’d almost think they were channeling the ghost of Ted Kennedy
The film, by the way, could also have an unexpected effect of pumping up President Obama’s health care reform, the bane of Republicans everywhere. All the people in the film who talked about losing their jobs also said that when they became unemployed they lost their health care coverage and some talked about having to pay for treatments of children with cancer.
Gingrich, who’s beginning to slowly back away
from his attacks, had called Bain’s investment strategy “indefensible”
while Rick Perry
labeled it “vulture capitalism.” Jon Huntsman
jumped on Romney’s declaration that he likes “being able to fire people”
to show he’s out of touch with people who are hurting in the economy, even though the statement came in reference to health care providers who are not performing their jobs.
Romney had been trying to stay above the attacks, claiming they give succor to the Obama campaign
and just feed into the class warfar
e that the term income inequality engenders. Romney takes the position that many wealthy people have: It’s distasteful to talk about your – or someone else’s money – in polite company.
“I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms,” Romney told NBC’s Matt Lauer
Following his New Hampshire
win, Romney has dismissed the attacks from the Democrats as “the politics of envy”
and has left it to GOP stalwarts to put the hammer to fellow Republicans
to get away from the line of attacks lest they stick like cooked pasta to the wall.
Some conservatives are even denying any real gap exists anymore than it has in the past
. But very few others who see the damage done by a persistent five-year recession will admit there is not an increasing chasm between rich and poor. We devoted our Fall issue to the American Dream
and the gap between the 99 percent and the 1 percent. Romney’s preference for quiet contemplation among friends is relevant now; as the issue will blare from television, print, and the Internet. There’s no putting the toothpaste back in the tube and the Republicans have as much responsibility for squeezing it out as do Democrats. --JACK SULLIVANBEACON HILL
State Treasurer Steve Grossman
defended the decision to allow bettors to use debit cards to purchase Lottery tickets
and left to door open to the use of credit cards
.Gov. Deval Patrick
explains how the state benefits
from trade missions.The Bay State Banner
looks at a racial discrimination case
that the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
had to be prodded on to render a decision.MUNICIPAL MATTERS
A New Bedford
city councilor wants to extend the term of mayor from two years to four
, saying the job requires running for reelection almost immediately after inauguration with the current setup.
officials gave the first ever State of the Town address
after a year of upheaval since the community changed its form of governance and said the switch has brought some positive results.Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse,
who ran on an anti-casino platform, tells Hard Rock casino developers and their local allies that the city isn’t interested in a destination resort.
The developers say that they didn’t hear “anything definitive” about casinos from Morse. Really? Perhaps they should read the current CommonWealth profile
of the mayor. Meanwhile, Brimfield
, which already hosts one of the country’s largest outdoor antiques and collectibles fairs three times a year, throws its hat into the casino ring.
Boston City Council President Stephen Murphy
abandoned plans for a special committee on gambling and indicated that the gambling issue would be dealt with by the economic development committee, the Globe reports
There’s a labor fight brewing
.NATIONAL POLITICS/WASHINGTONWarren Buffett
calls the GOP’s bluff, pledging to match one for one (and 3 for 1 in Sen. Mitch McConnell’s case) every voluntary tax contribution they make to pare down the national debt, Time reports
in a cover story on the billionaire.ELECTION 2012 The Washington Post
examines Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital
and the idea of “creative destruction.” The Romney campaign says
his showing in New Hampshire
shows the attacks failed, but GOP oracle Karl Rove says
Romney needs to come up with a better defense against the Bain attacks. Because they’re letting Rick Perry back
into this race, for Pete’s sake!
Show us the money: The Post
also wonders why Romney won’t release his tax returns.Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren
continues to outpace US Sen. Scott Brown in fundraising, bringing in $5.7 million during the last three months of 2011, the Worcester Telegram reports
Not sure what else there is to explore. After announcing formation of an exploratory committee
to look at a run for the new 9th Congressional
district, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter
said, “I’m in, I’m running.”Keller@Large
says if Mitt Romney
wins in South Carolina
, it’s over
. South Carolina is a long way
from New Hampshire, though. And for that matter, so are Florida
says that if “Massachusetts moderate
” has replaced “Massachusetts liberal” in the world of GOP insults, the state should embrace it. Joan Vennochi argues
that “Massachusetts moderate” seems to be the title Scott Brown
is aiming for. BUSINESS/ECONOMY
The Fall River Herald News
picks up the CommonWealth
story about what went on behind the scenes in the battle between Meditech and the Massachusetts Historical Commission
.MGM Resorts Internationa
l reportedly has its sites on a casino location in Brimfield, WBUR reports
(via AP). The Sun Chronicle
looks at the Kraft Group
’s shifting stories
on its private meeting with town officials.
professor says the U.S. Postal Service can save itself
by entering the email management industry. Via Universal Hub
. The Boston Globe reports
on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
renovation, to be opened to the public on January 19th. EDUCATION
The state appoints Jeffrey Riley, the chief innovation officer for the Boston Public Schools, to be the receiver for the Lawrence Public Schools
, the Eagle-Tribune reports
. The newspaper has local reaction
and a small profile
of the first receiver to take over a public school system and run both its educational programs and its finances.Radio Boston examines disinvestment in higher education
in Massachusetts.TRANSPORTATION The Boston Globe argues
that the MBTA
should follow the example of the Washington, DC
transit system in concretely demonstrating its value.ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT
The Cape Cod Times
looks at a proposal to close sections
of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
to fishing.CRIMINAL JUSTICEDNA testing
from evidence in an unsolved 1991 Seattle
murder connects the suspect to a family that came over on the Mayflower
. Well, not them but one of their male descendants and now it’s just a matter of finding the suspect among the thousands of descendants centuries later.
A lawyer for Onyango Obama, the uncle of President Obama who has been charged with driving under the influence, says that he is seeking the driving records of the police officer
who cited him.MEDIA
The Nieman Journalism Lab answers
why a media company would also want to be a tech incubator.PLAYOFFS AND JESUSFran Tarkenton
takes to the Wall Street Journal
op-ed page to ask
: Does God care who wins football games?