Posted by | September 18, 2012 10:49 | Filed under: Politics

by Stuart Shapiro

I’m not sure what is the most appalling thing about Governor Romney’s comments that have set the political class abuzz.  Is it the condescension to those less fortunate than he?  Is it their inaccuracy?  David Brooks makes a good case that it is the fact that they reveal that Romney understands almost nothing about the country he is hoping to lead:

This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey. . .

The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.

Unlike many, I don’t think these comments will cost Romney a race he is probably going to lose anyway.  However, it will define what people think of Romney from this point until people have forgotten him.

By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.