Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Romneys

A couple days ago, a political aide to the White House Staff commented that Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life. That, of course, sparked a good amount of outrage, and Hilary Rosen has been on damage control since she made that statement. Here is her apology:

Let’s put the faux “war against stay at home moms” to rest once and for all. As a mom I know that raising children is the hardest job there is. As a pundit, I know my words on CNN last night were poorly chosen. In response to Mitt Romney on the campaign trail referring to his wife as a better person to answer questions about women than he is, I was discussing his lack of a record on the plight of women’s financial struggles. Here is my more fulsome view of the issues. As a partner in a firm full of women who work outside of the home as well as stay at home mothers, all with plenty of children, gender equality is not a talking point for me. It is an issue I live every day. I apologize to Ann Romney and anyone else who was offended. Let’s declare peace in this phony war and go back to focus on the substance.

Very heartfelt, no? Feels like one of those, I'm-sorry-you-decided-to-get-so-upset kind of apologies.

One writer took the time to enumerate the genius behind her decision to be a stay at home mom in this piece here. And here's an excerpt:

According to one estimate from a hostile party, Mr. Romney earned about $6,400 an hour at Bain Capital. The Romneys’ personal net worth is somewhere between $190 million and $250 million, but that understates things a bit: The Romneys set up a trust for their grandchildren worth an additional $100 million or so.

Assuming a 2,000-hour work year, Mrs. Romney as a higher-end CFO would have earned about $132.94 an hour, or about 2 percent of her husband’s hourly wage. A 40-year career at $265,882 would have given Mrs. Romney lifetime earnings equal to about 3.5 percent of the family’s net worth.

The Romneys, who are notably charitable people, have given away far more money than Mrs. Romney probably would have earned in a career that would be considered by most of us wildly successful and highly paid.

Conclusion: Ann Romney is economically a hell of a lot smarter than Hilary Rosen.

The marginal value of the wages earned in a typical C-level career would have been almost nothing to the Romneys. But there is that other scarce resource: parental time.

It is difficult to put a dollar value on parental time, but it is clear that to the Romneys one hour of Mrs. Romney’s time at home with the family was worth far more than one hour in C-level wages; further, a 2,000-hour annual block of time invested in earning C-level wages would have fundamentally changed the character of the Romney household for the worse, while providing negligible economic benefit. Instead, she provided the family with a critical good that Mr. Romney, for all his riches, could not acquire without her cooperation. If we think of the household as a household, Ann Romney’s decision to stay at home makes perfect economic sense: Her decision to be a full-time mother enormously improved the quality of life for Mr. Romney, for the couple’s five sons, and — let’s not overlook this critical factor — for Mrs. Romney herself.

Mrs. Romney’s personal investment model — marry a man who turns out to be wildly successful in business and politics, escape the tedium of what is sometimes described romantically as “a career,” have five children and the pleasure of raising them — is not open to everybody, of course: The supply of future centimillionaires is limited, and they are not easy to identify. But making intelligent decisions about forming a household and about the division of labor within that household is an option open to many of us, though unhappily not to all of us, given the state of the family.

Ms. Rosen’s remarks were criticized as being snide; the real problem is that they were stupid.

In another article that I already posted on Facebook, Kevin Williamson makes note of the challenges that Romney faces in the general election regarding his religion. You can find the full article here. From the article:

Mormons and Catholics are alike in that they matter. Everybody knows who the pope is, and when there’s a papal vacancy the drama of the election leads practically every newspaper in the world, and all of Europe holds its breath. Very few Americans could pick Bryant Wright out of a police lineup or tell you that he is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. What the Catholic Magisterium teaches influences public policy — and life — around the world. Mormons, likewise, have a kind of cultural electricity about them: There is no Broadway musical assembled to lampoon the beliefs of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, but The Book of Mormon keeps selling out. There are few if any websites dedicated to “unmasking” the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., but there are dozens dedicated to Mormons. The Catholic Church matters in part because it is global, and in some quarters it is still held in suspicion for that reason. The Mormons represent precisely the opposite condition: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only major worldwide religion bearing a “Made in the U.S.A.” label. Forget apple pie: With its buttoned-down aesthetic, entrepreneurial structure, bland goodwill, and polished professionalism, it is as American as IBM.

Also, it drives people crazy.

“A Mormon One-World-Theocracy Brought to You by Mitt Romney?” Apparently, Romney has a 59-point plan for that, too, if you believe the more hysterical anti-Mormons, the doyenne of whom, quoted above, is Tricia Erickson, a Mormon apostate and professional opponent of all things Latter-day Saintly. She is the author of, among other works, Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? The Mormon Church Versus the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America. (She also is fond, as you can see, of rhetorical questions.) She believes that the fact of belief in the Mormon faith is in and of itself disqualifying for an aspiring president.

She is hardly alone in that belief. One in five Americans declare that they would not vote for a Mormon presidential candidate — even if that candidate were a member of their own party. There is no other religious group that comes close to inspiring that kind of widespread hostility in U.S. voters. Seven percent of Americans say they would not vote for a Catholic, 9 percent would oppose a Jew. Five percent would oppose a black candidate, 6 percent a female candidate. Twenty-two percent would oppose a Mormon. The only groups with higher negatives are homosexuals and atheists, and their numbers are improving. Anti-Mormon hostility has been more or less constant since Gallup added the question to its survey in 1967, an innovation occasioned by the presidential campaign of a moderate Mormon ex-governor and millionaire business executive by the name of Romney. George Romney’s candidacy was hobbled by his infelicitous use of the word “brainwashing” to describe his experience on a Department of Defense–organized tour of Vietnam (“A light rinse would have been sufficient,” quipped Eugene McCarthy) and by the New Hampshire machinations of Nelson Rockefeller, who saw to it that Romney’s 1968 campaign was over before it began. For his ineptitude, Romney pere was rewarded with the secretary’s chair at Richard Nixon’s Department of Housing and Urban Development, a career-ending appointment that prevented the country from answering in 1972 or 1976 the question that went unanswered in 1968: How big a problem is religion for a Mormon presidential candidate?

There's much more to that article that's worth reading. Interesting stuff.

I took a PEW quiz about political knowledge, and this quiz just asked which party - Democratic or Republican - has this person as a member, or supports which issue, etc. It got me thinking a lot about freedoms, and who supports liberty, and that got me thinking about the expansion of the federal government and how in many ways that is actually restricting our freedoms in many ways. One example is how the deficit is becoming so unsustainable that at some point, it's going to require a drastic reduction and cutbacks in major services that will really dampen the lives of many Americans. Another article I read was talking about how Democrats are intending to create a government dependent society so that people become entrenched in power. Then I was reading about North Korea and how the Kim family has been able to maintain control over their people for so long through creating dependency and its manipulation of its people. It's a story that continues to repeat itself over and over: some support the cause of liberty, but others seek to suppress it. (You can probably guess where my loyalties lie in this one.)

Sometimes it happens in very egregious forms like when a government mutes the press and forces particular way of thinking, as was the case with the various forms of communist governments. And other times it's as simple as coaxing someone to eat a piece of fruit.

1 comment:

Chris said...

Well said on all points. We just finished Watching the last session of conference. I loved Elder Ballards talk, so straightforward and so correct about the family and the role we all play in the family. Such a contrast to the message championed by Hilary Rosen and the left she champions.