Friday, September 2, 2011

Rich Lifestyles of the GOP's Starve-the-Poor Presidential Candidates | News & Politics | AlterNet

A look at four GOP candidates' lifestyles and actions contrasted with their statements and positions on "entitlement" programs like welfare, social security and medicare. This does really drive home the importance of economic capital in maintaining and creating wealth, not to mention the myth of meritocracy (a post about which is forthcoming). 

I do wish that they had looked at some of the key democrats as well, unfortunately we find hypocrisy on both sides of the aisle. We cannot forget that some of the biggest hits to social welfare programs in the past decades have come under the democrats.

Rich Lifestyles of the GOP's Starve-the-Poor Presidential Candidates- ALTERNET
September 1, 2011    AlterNet / By Rania Khalek
With the campaign season for Republican presidential primaries in full bloom, the candidates are falling all over each other in a fierce competition to tout their conservative bona fides. Even as housing foreclosures reach all-time highs, and unemployment in some states climbs into the double digits, Republican presidential contenders remain insistent in their demands for reducing government assistance to those suffering under the weight of economic disaster. So, let's have a look at how the candidates themselves are faring on this dismal economic landscape.
1) Rick Perry
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP's presidential frontrunner, according to the latestGallup poll, is hardly an elitist. Born into a farming family of modest means in rural Haskell County, Perry continued farming cotton and raising cattle even after he was elected to the state legislature in the mid-1980s, according to theTexas Tribune, yielding him and his wife a combined income of just $45,000 -- a pittance compared to his current $150,000 annual salary as governor (not to mention the millions he's earned on the side in real estate).
You would think that a past of manual labor would have instilled in Perry a sense of solidarity with the working class, but it's just the opposite. Although Perry wasn't born into wealth, he might as well have been, given the ease with which he became accustomed to a life of privilege, which is currently being funded by the taxpaying residents of Texas.

Based on Perry's tax records, the Texas Tribune's Jay Root reveals that "Perry's biggest income gains have come from buying and selling land" during his 30 years in public office. "Since the early 1990s, when Perry began serving as a statewide elected official, the transactions have helped him earn about $2 million in pre-tax profits," according to Root.

Even with all that money, Perry finds it appropriate to use taxpayer funds to pay for his extravagant and temporary mansion, while he and his family await renovations and repairs to the governor's mansion. (An unknown arsonist practically destroyed the residence in 2008.)                                                                                            "

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