In his Washington Post column, Eugene Robinson argues that GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney's cavalier dismissal of poverty in America highlights just how culturally unaware and ignorant he is about the nation he hopes to lead.
I wish Mitt Romney’s cavalier dismissal of poverty in America could be chalked up as just another gaffe, but it’s much worse than that. The Republican front-runner seems dangerously clueless about the nation he seeks to lead.
When I first heard the now-famous quote — “I’m not concerned about the very poor” — I thought it might be fodder for a snarky column about the wee little Mr. Monopoly who lives inside Romney’s head and blurts out things like “Corporations are people, my friend,” or “I like being able to fire people.” But I realized that being “very poor” is no laughing matter to millions of Americans.
Putting Romney’s words in their full context makes them worse. Here is what he said on CNN:
“I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”
For my part, I’m concerned about what sounds like shocking ignorance about the extent of poverty in this country and an utter lack of urgency about finding solutions.
According to a U.S. Census Bureau report released in September, the poverty rate began rising sharply in 2007 as the recession took hold. By 2010, the report says, 15.1 percent of Americans were living below the poverty line — 46.2 million people who apparently do not merit Romney’s attention.
Read Eugene Robinson's entire column at the Washington Post.