John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Why Mitt Should Be Concerned

Posted on February 1, 2012
I get what Mitt was saying.  He wants to focus on the middle class.  The middle class is where the votes are.  The middle class is gettable.  The very poor?  Well, they don’t vote and if they do vote, they certainly won’t vote for Romney.

But his statement is not only incredibly stupid from a political point of view.   It is not only incredibly stupid from a moral point of view.  It is also incredibly stupid from a budget point of view.

Let me put it in terms that Republicans should appreciate:  The very poor need to be helped because it is better for our budget situation.

The very poor are very poor for a variety of reasons.  Many have had incredibly bad luck.  Many of have substance abuse problems.  Others have diseases, whether it be cancer or mental diseases.  Still others have really bad habits.  And still others just aren’t very bright and don’t have any marketable skills.

The social safety net is important.  It keeps people from starving and it allows them to get medical care if they need it.

But it ought to be the goal of every American to help the very poor to be able to get off of public assistance and take care of themselves.

And it ought to be goal of every politician to make certain that the very poor don’t stay very poor for very long.

There are ways to make this happen.

There are some programs that work.  Some of them are private/public partnerships.  Getting people off of crack and heroin and other bad drugs should be an important public policy priority.  Because when people are off of drugs, they become more productive and eventually they pay taxes.  They contribute to society rather than take from society.

Welfare to work is important because some of these people have no work skills, and if they are going to get jobs, they have to have skills.

We need effective policing in troubled areas.  We can’t just let the criminals run big swaths of our cities.  Look at Detroit.  It is finally making a bit of a comeback. But only because the police and the community are fighting back.

But you have to care about the poor to understand ways to help the poor stop being poor.

You have to be committed to better schools and yes, that takes resources, sometimes from the federal level.  If you don’t focus on making those schools better, those kids will never learn how to compete. And when they can’t compete, they turn to drugs and all kinds of other illegal things to do.

Our social safety net needs to improve.  We need to do a better job at attacking the disease of abject poverty.  We can’t just ignore the problem.  The reason?  Kids in the ghetto eventually go other places to rob people if they can’t find a job and lead a productive life.

Romney better start figuring out this campaigning thing and he better start understanding better what his job is going to be once he is President.

Romney better start caring about the very poor, because our government needs to work to make them the working poor and then eventually the middle class.

This is not only smart politics.  This is not only compassionate and moral philosophy.  This is good budget policy.