Mitt Romney’s “Get Used To Being Poorer” Plan for the Middle Class
By James P. Hoffa, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Published In The Detroit News on August 8, 2012
Mitt Romney’s “plan for a stronger middle class” reads like a manifesto in the war on workers – for the other side.
It isn’t even a plan and it certainly won’t strengthen the middle class. It’s simply an outline of results that he wishes will happen: lower taxes for the wealthy, smaller government and weaker rights for workers. In other words, he wants to redistribute more income to the 1 percent.
He would never say it out loud, of course. But in Mitt Romney’s world view, low wages are the solution. For America’s working families, low wages are the problem.
Most Americans’ standard of living will fall if Romney is elected president. I have no doubt that he would take us to a race to the bottom on wages and competition with slave labor overseas.
He was a serial outsourcer during his business career, and now he supports job-killing trade deals. He also wants to eliminate taxes on American companies’ overseas profits. According to a new study by the Center for American Progress, Romney’s plan would “further accelerate the outsourcing of American jobs to foreign countries.”
Worse, Romney would attack workers’ ability to bargain collectively. He pretends that his proposals would help workers, but his real intention is to undermine them.
Workers need collective bargaining now more than ever to protect themselves from corporations that ship jobs overseas and cut wages, benefits and pensions. Collective bargaining helps level the playing field for employees so CEOs aren’t the only ones who benefit from a company’s success. The last thing workers need in this economy is weakened collective bargaining rights.
Government austerity is something else Romney champions. They’ve tried austerity in Europe with disastrous results. In Britain, the ruling coalition adopted the kind of austerity that Romney promises for the U.S. – and now the British economy is shrinking because consumers don’t have enough money to spend. Last month, Lord Archibald Johnstone Kirkwood, a former member of Parliament, said Britons had to get used to being poor.
Finally, Romney would rub salt into a wounded middle class by raising taxes on working families and cutting them for the wealthy.
Romney claims he will create 12 million new jobs as president. That sounds an awful lot like Scott Walker, who said he’d create 250,000 jobs during his first term as Wisconsin’s governor. Walker cut corporate taxes, shrunk government and undermined government unions. So far, it hasn’t worked so well. Wisconsin has been leading the country in job loss since Walker’s budget took effect over a year ago.
Perhaps Mitt Romney should listen to someone who may even be richer than he is -- billionaire Warren Buffett.
“If anything, taxes for the lower and middle class and maybe even the upper middle class should even probably be cut further,” Buffett told ABC News. “But I think that people at the high end — people like myself — should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we’ve ever had it.
“The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.”
To read archived articles from General President Hoffa, click here.