The Old “Us and Them” Mentality

Ari Shapiro’s October 19 piece on National Public Radio aired with the heading “White Men, A Key GOP Demographic, Discuss The Romney Appeal”. In it, one biker interviewed stated, “Have you ever been hired by somebody that was broke? Have you ever been hired by somebody that was poor? Have you ever been hired by someone that was on welfare or food stamps?” he asks. “I don’t think I ever have. I don’t think I’m ever gonna get there. So the question is: Who the heck hires us? People with money.” The minute that argument came across the air, I smelled a rat.

Mitt Romney’s campaign has been appealing to certain constituents who would rather vote for someone else, but who feel Romney is their only choice. In our traditionally two-party system, the media, of course, haven’t shown the alternative contenders like Ron Paul who could, if aired, make a dent in undecided voters, taking a small slice away from either Obama or Romney. It’s a slice that could matter when voters actually get their ballots and find, to their pleasure, someone to vote for who goes unmentioned. At any rate, what causes me alarm about the interviewee’s comment is not the truth of his statement, but the surprise that he sounds like what Romney accuses 47 percent of American’s of being: dependent. However, he’s not dependent on the government, but on someone with money willing to risk hiring on employees in an uncertain economy. It speaks volumes on the devil’s choice the poor, unemployed, underemployed, and undereducated have, and they do weigh it every time they consider the breadline or the hiring line. They do the paycheck math, and it doesn’t matter where that piece of paper comes from.

The argument that giving rich people a break so that they hire people for their businesses is that the rich get a better return from simply investing any more marginal gains they get. Sure, a good deal of investment works its way through the competitive filters to actual manufacturing or technology industry startups. But those are high stakes gambles. Sure bets are government bonds, land, and other low-risk, long-term investments that could be liquidated more easily than cashing in (selling their share) on a business investment.

A better solution for self-reliance in this economy is touting sole proprietorships, making it easier for small businesses to obtain loans, bring products to niche markets, and support them as the hinge of family wage earning. After all, sole proprietorships make up about 70% of the businesses in the United States, and they tend to follow the same secure math-minding that many family budgets are constructed on. These people aren’t freeloaders, loafers, or dependent on the government for a hand-out. Encourage small business proprietorships, make it enviable and easy and common, and we can all make a living without dependence on corporations or our federal government.

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