When Romney’s Reach Exceeds His Grasp


The New York Times blog has the piece When Romney’s Reach Exceeds His Grasp. In it, David Firestone discusses Mitt Romney’s love of the song America The Beautiful.

“O beautiful, for patriot’s dream, that sees beyond the years,” he said, discussing the fourth verse and asserting that this dream referred to political and especially economic freedom. “The freedom to choose one’s course in life, to be an opportunity nation, a merit-based society” – that, he suggested, conflicts directly with the president’s vision of America as an entitlement society, where everyone is equal and thus more impoverished.

If, over time, this turns out to be his rebuttal to the president’s new campaign theme of reducing economic inequality, he will have to do better than “America the Beautiful,” because that is not at all what the song was originally about. The lyrics were written in 1894 by the Massachusetts poet Katharine Lee Bates, an ardent feminist and lesbian who was deeply disillusioned by the greed and excess of the Gilded Age.

Her original third verse was an expression of that anger:

America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
Till selfish gain no longer stain
The banner of the free!

Of course, what do poets know of visions of America?  It does seem to show that Mitt Romney’s vision of America is different from the author’s.  If Obama’s vision of America is anything like mine, the describing it as an entitlement based society shows that Romney doesn’t understand what this vision of society is all about.  If the word entitlement belongs in my vision at all, it is that I do not believe that wealth and power entitle you to steal what I am entitled to by way of me being  a human resident of this country.

Maybe this election campaign really will get down to the nitty, gritty differences between the two visions.  One favors the accumulation of wealth whereas the other side favors justice wherever that may lead.

When a mortgagee loses a home to the bank in a foreclosure because the bank had a clever salesperson that knew the trap that was being set for the mortgagee, but the unsophisticated mortgagee could not foresee the trap, would Romney consider this to be an outcome based on merit?  The salesperson had a better grasp of the rules of real-estate transactions and was able to use that to his advantage to dupe the unsuspecting buyer into signing a disadvantageous contract.  You see it is all a game that is won by the person who can play the rules to his or her best advantage.  Of course, the homeowner who is now homeless and the family’s children that will go hungry and might lose there chance for a good education, consider it more than just a game.  Economics and business is not only about playing the game of who gets more points measured in dollars, but it also affects the noncommercial aspects of human life.  Perhaps the true capitalist doesn’t believe that there are any noncommercial aspects of human life.

The Occupy Movement and I consider the mortgage transaction to be a con job that ought to land the con artist and the con artist’s knowing employer before a judge and a jury for adjudication as to where justice lies.

There is one game that has rules about special knowledge.  In the game of contract bridge, one side is not allowed to have bidding systems where certain bids mean something to the partners that the opposition does not know about.  If the team is going to use a bidding system with out of the ordinary meanings, then they are duty bound to disclose these meanings to the opposition before play begins.

In commercial transactions the creditor has protection from the debtor via laws against fraudulent conveyance.

“Actual fraud” typically involves a debtor who as part of an asset protection scheme donates his assets, usually to an “insider”, and leaves himself nothing to pay his creditors. “Constructive fraud” does not relate to fraudulent intent, but rather to the underlying economics of the transaction, if it took place for less than reasonably equivalent value at a time when the debtor was in a distressed financial condition.

How come the rich and powerful never think of protecting the weak from fraudulent conveyance on their part, but they are keen on making laws that protect them from the poor and weak?  That is part of the merit based society from which Mitt Romney made his fortune.  No wonder he wants to be President to protect those  rules that promote the merit of the con artist over the naivete of the pigeon.

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