Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has some rich advice for Americans coming of age in an economy where jobs are scarce: Borrow a lot of money from your parents, and then take that money and invest it in risky ways.
“We’ve always encouraged young people — take a shot, go for it, take a risk and get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business,” was his advice to American teenagers yesterday.
Mitt Romney’s advice doesn’t fit well with economic reality in the USA. Economic reality is that most new businesses fail. If young Americans take everything they’ve got to start new businesses, nine out of ten of them will lose all the money they invested, and probably create additional debts as well, needing to declare bankruptcy and starting out again far behind their peers.
Mitt Romney doesn’t seem to realize that, even if starting a new business was a reasonable risk, most Americans have not been fortunate enough to be born to parents who have large amounts of money to give to their children. We’ve had years of declining wages, even before the recession, which has wiped out the reserves of most parents.
It’s easy for Mitt Romney to advise young people to take big risks with their parents’ money: He was given millions of dollars at birth by his wealthy parents, and that money earned interest all throughout his childhood. Mitt Romney never had to worry about student loans, and his politically-connected parents could arrange for him to have every advantage. Upon graduating from college, Mitt Romney used his inherited fortune to buy his way into a stable business. He didn’t have to build one from scratch.
Time and time again, Mitt Romney demonstrates that he just doesn’t understand the way that most Americans live. He doesn’t understand the way that the choices of everyday Americans are sharply limited. He doesn’t understand that the barriers to success placed in the way of most young Americans are a consequence of the system set up by members of the One Percent, like himself, to keep money concentrated in the offshore bank accounts of a privileged few.
A person who doesn’t understand these economic realities is unqualified to be President of the United States of America.