Mitt Romney says he will not apologize for being a rich guy who lives large and can buy whatever he wants by writing checks from his offshore bank account in the Caymans. The former governor of Massachusetts believes that what he and his father before him accomplished — that is, raking in the big bucks — is to be celebrated. Perhaps Romney’s campaign slogan should be: “I’m rich. Deal with it.”
As a rich guy myself, I completely understand Romney’s mindset. Somehow I have managed to become a 1 percenter, and while I don’t care very much about material wealth, I am proud that I made my money honestly through hard work. When I graduated from Boston University in 1975, I was broke. I had to borrow money to travel to Scranton, Pa., for my first job in television. Over the years, I sacrificed much to become a proficient TV news guy, and I also took some big risks. That has paid off.
Class envy is a fact of life everywhere. That’s what drives socialism and communism. Why should one human being have more than another? That is a divisive moral question that is certainly relevant in this year’s presidential election.
Barack Obama apparently believes that the fix is in as far as American capitalism is concerned. The president thinks his Republican opposition wants to help greed heads at the expense of working folks. That is what Obama is putting out there. Maybe his slogan should be: “Greed is good. Just ask Mitt Romney.”
According to the polls, most Americans believe the wealthy should pay more in taxes, and I don’t disagree. The United States must bring down the record-breaking $16 trillion debt, and this 1 percenter is ready to help out. But, like any reasonable investor, I want to see exactly where my money is going. So far, President Obama has not told me that.
Here is a partial list of things I do not want my tax money going toward:
— Vegas junkets featuring hot tubs and $4 shrimp appetizers for federal bureaucrats.
— Seed money for the president’s environmental friends and donors.
— The Chevy Volt.
— A swanky condo in London for corrupt Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
— Hillary Clinton’s hairdresser.
Unlike Romney, my father did not succeed in building wealth. He was a spaghetti-and-clam-sauce guy who counted every penny. In his entire life, my dad never bought a new car or a big-screen TV.
But I do believe my late father would be proud of my success and would not be supporting the class warfare tone that Obama has embraced. William O’Reilly Sr. had no use for the swells; he openly mocked material showoffs. But he admired honest accomplishment, and I believe he would look Romney in the eye and tell him he has nothing for which to apologize.
But he’d also tell the governor to go easy on the Cadillacs.