Largely because the comment was made in passing as though it were absolutely nothing, I was incensed when I heard Mitt Romney's latest interview about his income and income taxes this morning on my way to work. The topic of discussion was specifically the fact that Romney's tax rate is apparently closer to 15% than the 28% most of us pay.
As part of that discussion, Romney volunteered that a portion of his 2011 personal income came from speaker fees. He characterized this portion of his income as "not much." In reality, he brought in $375,000 in speaker fees last year.
That's "not much?"
If $375,000 - regardless of what you do to earn it - is "not much," you are too out of touch to be my president. You're too out of touch to be any elected official. The fact that probably every single presidential hopeful including my favorite, Ron Paul, could cut $375,000 out of their annual income and still live well is disturbing enough. But, when they no longer even realize the significance of that kind of wealth, when they can publicly state that over a third of a million dollars which makes up just a part of their annual income is "not much," I really have a problem with that.
$375,000 is several times my entire annual gross. For $375,000 I could pay off my entire mortgage and quit work for the next four years, actually living better than I do now by virtue of no longer having a mortgage payment.
Perhaps what he meant was that, compared to his overall income, $375,000 was only a small fraction. As in, "Not much of my annual income came from speaker fees. Just $375,000." Yeah, that makes him sound much more like the rest of us, much more in touch with what the vast majority of Americans live on.
Mitt Romney can go on national radio and say with a straight face that $375,000 is "not much?" And he wants to run this country? You've got to be kidding.