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Mitt Romney: A Case Study in "Out of Touch"

So Mitt Romney finally decided to bite the bullet and release his tax returns. They were worse than we could have imagined. He paid just a 14% tax rate on an annual income of 42.5 million dollars. That's less than half of what his primary rival Newt Gengrich says he paid. It is half of what President Barack Obama paid. We could argue how flawed a tax policy needs to be to let something like this happen, but that's not the discussion we need to have right now.

For the last year or so, Willard "Mitt" Romney has been attempting to connect with the average American worker. In June 2011, Mitt spoke with a group of voters in Florida. When told that a few of them were unemployed, he responded that he too was unemployed. Let's think about that for a minute. He made 42.5 million dollars last year and considers himself "unemployed" just like the working folks he was speaking with? That might not be the dumbest thing I've ever heard, but it comes close.

Just for some perspective, let's look at some numbers. The average weekly unemployment benefit in Indiana is about 300 dollars. Mitt made about 817,000 dollars a week in 2011, or 2723 times as much as the average unemployed Hoosier. That means the average Hoosier had 40 dollars a day to live on. Mitt had 116,438 dollars a day to survive on. How did he not starve to death?

Sarcasm aside, Mitt has very little, if anything, in common with the average American and these numbers prove that. His claims of being a successful businessman and honest immigrant are half-hearted and half-honest. Anyone could be a successful businessman if they inherited 450 million dollars, like Mitt did when his father died. And yes, he comes from a Mexican family. Of course, his family was Mexican because they fled the United States years before to avoid anti-polygamy laws.

Mitt should just own who he is and let the chips fall where they may. He's a extraordinarily wealthy man who makes money by buying struggling companies, firing the employees, then parting the company out for scrap. He has very idiosyncratic social views that have been both liberal and conservative depending on what was convenient at the time. He wants to get elected and does what's necessary to meet that goal. His business mind is just like any other mediocre business mind in the United States. They do what's easy and leave the real work for others.

Mitt is a political and financial opportunist. He should own that identity. Republican voters would probably reward him for it.