Opinion: Bitter Politics of Envy?

Publication: The New York Times

Author: Charles M. Blow


01/13/2012 - You’re just jealous. At least that’s how Mitt Romney sees it. The millionaire who posed for a picture with the boys at Bain Capital with the long green clinched between their teeth and poking out of their collars and jackets now says that people who question what he did there, and what rich people do now, are just green with envy.

In his New Hampshire victory speech on Tuesday, Romney lambasted his Republican opponents (who have raised real issues about his role at the private equity firm Bain Capital) for following the lead of President Obama, whom he described as a leader who divides us “with the bitter politics of envy.”

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report released on Wednesday by the Pew Research Center found that about two-thirds of Americans now perceive a strong conflict between the rich and poor in this country. That was up 19 percentage points from 2009.

As The New York Times pointed out in regard to the report, “conflict between rich and poor now eclipses racial strain and friction between immigrants and the native-born as the greatest source of tension in American society.”

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Indeed, a November report by the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Economic Mobility Project pointed out, “In the United States, there is a stronger link between parental education and children’s economic, educational, and socio-emotional outcomes than in any other country investigated.”

Pew has found that most children raised at the top of the income spectrum stay there and most raised at the bottom stay at the bottom.

Read the full editorial Bitter Politics of Envy? on The New York Times' Web site.

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