In response to F&B: On Honor, Wealth, and Romney
It is logical to believe that someone who has experience creating and managing wealth and jobs will do a better job with our economy than Obama has done.
- F&B, October 1, 2012
It is not logical to believe that. Mitt Romney's private sector experience does not uniquely qualify him to make decisions for our entire economy. If we want to know how Romney will be as a president, we should look at his record as Governor of Massachusetts.
Why the democrats insist on demonizing success and successful people, as if Americans should be ashamed of being successful and gaining wealth...
That is your (or the Right's) invention. Democrats do not want people to be ashamed of success and wealth. Romney is condemned not because of these factors, but because he has offshore bank accounts, pays less in taxes than much less wealthy people do, speaks of 47% of Americans as dependent victims who will vote for Obama, seems out of touch with the average American, and so on. Whether or not you find these behaviors to be worthy of condemnation, Democrats do and therefore think little of him as a man. It is not as simple as your account in which Romney is condemned because he has money. Your willingness to believe that shows only your own bias against Democrats.
That he only did it because of the apparent social status or wealth of the individual he was helping is purely your fictionalization of the account. It is interesting, however, that you are able to discern Mitt Romney's intentions and feelings as well as interpret his actions.
I don't care one way or another about the story of Romney helping Marriott, but you proceed to condemn Obama for actions that he did not and would not (except in your mind) take. Is the hypocrisy not apparent to you?
But somehow, democrats seem to believe that Obama's actions deserve merit and approval while Mitt's actions should result in condemnation. And not just condemnation of the actions, but of the man as well.
Welcome to politics. Actions are interpreted according to the context that we perceive and the context that we bring to the table. Character is part of context. Republicans don't like Obama, so they interpret meaningless (or even good) behavior as diabolical, which reinforces their attitude toward him. Democrats do the same for Romney. It is a feedback loop.
In fact, it is not unique to politics. Our emotions interfere with reasonable judgment. But you know this, so do not act like Republicans are innocent. Even you are not.
In addition to his generous contributions here, Ryan also writes for his own site, where he applies principles of logic to real life propositions.
Please visit Secular Ethics.
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Yes! It frustrates me when I hear people saying that a businessman is automatically qualified to run the country like running a company and running a country are exactly the same thing with the same goals and demands.
I find it odd that this is the tactic the Romney camp wants to take for this election. The argument that Mitt's experience at Bain would have been more effective if this were the 2008 election cycle. The President has been at the helm of our Government for over 3 years now; I think I'd trust the President's insight into the overall economy over Mitt's at this point.
Yes! We should look at his ONE term as governor. At least it is better than a half-term.
Obama, quite obviously, denigrates business owners and the private sector in general. His own book references the private sector as "the enemy camp." He states very clearly that profit-seeking behavior is less noble and less moral than other activities like community organizing.
In a country that is driven by the free market, I think it is reasonable to think someone who understands the free market and has been successful in the free market is more qualified than someone who denigrates the free market and whose policies (arguably, of course) have harmed business owners. Our economy needs the former, not the latter.
No, it isn't that Romney's experience *automatically* qualifies him. It's that we need someone who understands how the economy works to fix what ails it. That someone is not Obama.
I agree that Romney’s financial experience alone does not “uniquely qualify” him to be President, but his qualifications are much better and much more relevant to the job and the road ahead than were Obama’s. While you claim, Ryan, that my statement is not logical, it certainly is not illogical to believe that. Romney has created a legacy of success – with his Governorship, with the Olympics, with Bain Capital. He has been extremely successful in all his endeavors. Obama has created a legacy of . . . well, Nothing. Other than somehow, someway deceiving the nation into electing him to be President, Obama has done nothing to distinguish himself.
“…but because he has offshore bank accounts…” - Pelosi has offshore bank accounts, so does Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and many other democrat “leaders.” Why is it wrong for Romney but acceptable for democrats to have offshore accounts? (And you accuse me of hypocrisy?)
“…pays less in taxes than much less wealthy people do…” – Romney pays the proper amount of taxes for his income, and he donates massive amounts of his money to charities. After deducting his donations, he pays 15% on his net capital gains (his only source of income) just as the Federal Tax Code requires. If the democrats succeed in increasing this to 28% as they are trying to do, then Mr. Romney will pay 28%.
Trey, I might be able to agree with your statement except for the fact that after nearly four years, we are still suffering from the problems that Obama “inherited.” He had four years and he has Failed. There is no reason to believe he will do better in the next four years than he has done in the last four years.
If I had a choice between an Obama with private sector experience and an Obama without that experience, I would choose the Obama with private sector experience. It is not unreasonable to say that experience tends to provide some insight.
However, if we are going to speculate about what Romney will accomplish as a president because of his experience, it makes more sense to examine what he accomplished as a governor--not what he accomplished as a businessman. The role was more recent, more relevant to the presidency, and showed how he would act given his private sector experience.
Alternatively, we could just ignore the candidates' experience and focus on their policies. Isn't that what matters? If Romney had the same experience but supported Obama's policies, conservatives would not vote for him, so his experience is clearly of secondary importance at best.
"He states very clearly that profit-seeking behavior is less noble and less moral than other activities like community organizing."
That is hardly controversial. Profit-seeking in itself is for personal gain, which people usually contrast with altruistic or "moral" desires. Even many conservatives and libertarians would not dispute this, but claim that, regardless of the motivations behind it, profit-making can be good for everyone. Obama agrees, but, like most Americans, believes that we ought to curb the harms of unchecked profit-seeking.
I have not read his books, but I would guess that the "enemy camp" described as the private sector is really more to him an ideology of "I get mine, you get yours." Correct me if I am wrong.
"While you claim, Ryan, that my statement is not logical, it certainly is not illogical to believe that. Romney has created a legacy of success – with his Governorship, with the Olympics, with Bain Capital."
His success as a governor is disputable, but that is precisely the record that should be under scrutiny if we are to look at past experience and behavior at all.
"Other than somehow, someway deceiving the nation into electing him to be President..."
Deceiving? Really? He was a liberal Democrat who followed two terms of George W. Bush and faced a candidate who chose Palin to be his Vice President. It is not a surprise that he won.
"Why is it wrong for Romney but acceptable for democrats to have offshore accounts? (And you accuse me of hypocrisy?)"
Do not put words in my mouth. I never said that it was acceptable for Democrats, but not for Republicans. My opinion of Pelosi and others was not brought up at all.
Either way, however, you were indeed hypocritical for inventing a scenario in which Obama destroys Marriott's boat (according to your ridiculous understanding of Obama's motivations and intentions) even as you accused Burr of seeing phantom motivations in Romney's simple act of kindness.
"Romney pays the proper amount of taxes for his income..."
Proper as defined by the law, which is distinct from ethics. Whether or not his tax rate is ethical is certainly up for debate; I brought it up only to point out that many Democrats are not happy about it, that they take it as one piece of evidence among many that Romney is not "one of us." Again, I did not offer my own position.
"There is no reason to believe [Obama] will do better in the next four years than he has done in the last four years."
You did not say this to me, but I will respond anyway.
I am not inclined to disagree with you. However, for me, this election is not so much about re-electing Obama as it is about not electing Romney or giving Republicans power.
"Profit-seeking in itself is for personal gain, which people usually contrast with altruistic or "moral" desires. Even many conservatives and libertarians would not dispute this, but claim that, regardless of the motivations behind it, profit-making can be good for everyone. Obama agrees, but, like most Americans, believes that we ought to curb the harms of unchecked profit-seeking."
I would argue that profit-seeking is amoral behavior, neither moral or immoral. I see nothing wrong with earning profits. Obama does. Perhaps you do, as well. Some actions to earn profits may be immoral, but earning profits alone is not. What one does after earning profits may be immoral, but the act of earning them is not.
You refer to "unchecked profit-seeking" without defining it, so I don't know how to respond. I don't want anyone in government "checking" profits to see if they are valid or were morally earned. That is not a free country. So perhaps you can define "unchecked profit-seeking" so that I may better respond.
"I have not read his books, but I would guess that the "enemy camp" described as the private sector is really more to him an ideology of "I get mine, you get yours." Correct me if I am wrong."
The quote comes from Obama's short time working in the private sector -- in a mail room, I believe. He hated working for a corporation, the enemy camp. A president who sees corporations as enemies will not do a good job in his role as president over a free market. That's my opinion.
"Amoral" is a good term for profit-seeking. I need money to live and I want money to satisfy other desires that I have. Nothing is wrong with that. Nevertheless, it is contrasted with altruistic behavior, since it is selfish (or, if you prefer it, self-interested). In conventional moral perception, it is indeed less noble than behavior that helps other people directly and with the intention of doing so.
"You refer to "unchecked profit-seeking" without defining it, so I don't know how to respond. I don't want anyone in government "checking" profits to see if they are valid or were morally earned. That is not a free country."
Unchecked profit-seeking is simply profit-seeking without limit: assassinations for money, theft of others' property, pollution, bribing or strong-arming Congressmen, etc. I would guess that Obama is afraid that, if left unchecked by law, powerful corporations would not willingly limit themselves according to some ethical framework beyond "make profit."
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