A Philosopher's Blog

Right to Work

Posted in Ethics, Law, Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on October 5, 2012
Mitch Daniels - Right to Work for Less

Mitch Daniels – Right to Work for Less (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

The euphemism is a rather useful rhetorical tool and one beloved by politicians. Roughly put, a person uses a euphemism by substituting a positive or innocuous term or phrase for one that has a more negative connotation.  Metaphorically, I often describe the process of using a euphemism as sprinkling sugar on something unpleasant to make it more palatable. Or, in the words of Mary Poppins, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down in a most delightful way.”

Euphemisms are, of course, widely used outside of politics. For example, in my youth people bought used cars. Now people purchase pre-owned vehicles. As another example, people used to be fired. Now they are down-sized.

Euphemisms are often used in the naming of laws to make them sound better. In many cases, something rather unpleasant is hidden behind the sugar coating of a pleasant sounding (but inaccurate) name. One example of this is the naming of anti-union laws as “right to work” laws. Currently, there are 23 “right to work” states in the United States. The other 27 states have not yet passed such laws, but at least five of them are considering such laws. These laws, not surprisingly, are part of the larger attack on unions, including educators’ unions.

While there are various arguments given in favor of the “right to work” laws, one standard argument in their favor is that the laws should be adopted by a state because doing so will have an economic benefit for that state. As such, a key point of dispute is over the premise that “right to work laws” yield economic benefits.

Interestingly, the premise is both true and false. By this, I do not mean that it is some sort of violation of the usual laws of truth. Rather, the claim is true for some and not true for others.

For employers, “right to work” laws can yield economic benefits, but precisely because these laws inflict economic costs on those doing the work. Darrel Minor, a professor of mathematics at Columbus State Community College, recently completed an analysis of the data regarding “right to work” states and the other states.

One focus of the analysis was the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of each state. This is a measure of the goods and services produced in the state. Based on the 2009 data, the GDP of “right to work” states was $38,755. For the other states, the GDP was $43, 899. This is a 13.3% difference. Interestingly, this indicates that the “right to work” laws can hurt both the employed and the employers—after all the data indicates that states with “right to work” laws are actually less productive than other states, thus undercutting arguments based on the claim that these laws enhance productivity. However, it is also worth noting that salaries in “right to work” states are 9.4% lower than those in the other states. While this is bad for the workers, it can be advantageous for employers since they can pay less for the same work.

Another focus of the analysis was on poverty rates. Eleven of the fifteen states with the highest poverty rates are “right to work” states. In contrast, nine of the eleven states with the lowest poverty rates are not “right to work” states. In 2008, 14.4% of the population of “right to work” states lived in poverty. In the other states, the number is 12.4%. As Minor notes, if the poverty level of the “right to work” states was extended to all 50 states, this would mean 3,670,000 more people living in poverty. This data would certainly seem to indicate that “right to work” laws contribute to increased poverty.

Minor also found, interestingly enough, that the life expectancy in “right to work” states is lower than in other states, which is certainly a matter of some concern.

If this data is accurate, then there are rather good reasons to be opposed to “right to work” laws, even with their positive sounding designation.

It is, of course, worth noting that there are proponents of “right to work” laws and they point to different statistics, namely those showing higher employment and lower costs of living in states with “right to work laws” relative to other states. This raises the possibility that such laws can be beneficial in some areas while being rather detrimental in other areas, thus making the choice a matter of weighing these various factors. Naturally, the weight given to them will depend considerably on the values of those doing the assessment. So, for example, someone concerned with poverty and life expectancy would tend to regard such laws as more harmful than beneficial. Someone focused on the advantage of lower salaries in attracting businesses would tend to regard such laws as beneficial.

It is also worth pointing out that it is reasonable to be concerned that the alleged effects (positive and negative) of “right to work” laws are not actually caused by the laws but by other factors. It is also worth considering that the laws are actually an effect rather than a cause. For example, a state with higher levels of poverty might pass such laws in the hopes of reducing poverty. It is also worth considering that the laws and their alleged effects are both the result of a third factor. As another example, states with extensive and strong business interests would tend to have higher employment rates and these business interests would tend to support “right to work” laws because of their perceived usefulness in combating the threat of unions.

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  1. T. J. Babson said, on October 5, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Hey, if people have a job they won’t need free stuff and that would be bad for Democrats. Far better that they remain unemployed and dependent on the government–and reliably Democratic.

    • biomass2 said, on October 5, 2012 at 9:39 am

      Yep. Democrats engineered the recession that led to the current unemployment levels. . .

      The unemployment levels weren’t increasing during the Bush administration?
      Seems for all the world as if Democrats should have been praying for a third term of Bush. That “State of the Statistics” chart’s a real mind-blower, no? More unemployed and dependent on government in ’08 than ’00. And a perfect economic environment created to maintain that situation well into the next president’s term.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 5, 2012 at 10:06 am

        You forget, biomass, that the Dems totally controlled Congress from 2007-2011.

        If Obama wins a second term and the Repubs take the senate, it will be fun to blame Obama for everything that happens.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 5, 2012 at 10:22 am

          It would be more fun if bad things didn’t happen.

          • magus71 said, on October 5, 2012 at 10:50 pm

            It would be even more fun to pass a law forbidding any liberal from ever using George Bush’s name again.

            • biomass2 said, on October 5, 2012 at 11:01 pm

              Conservatives are doing this this already, so why make it illegal for liberals? How many conservatives do you know who will actually introduce GWB’s name into a conversation (unless, of course, they’re denying they voted for him)? They’ve been denying him like Peter denied Jesus. And I haven’t heard them repent yet. .

        • biomass2 said, on October 5, 2012 at 10:59 am

          You want to forget two wars with an accompanying tax cut (during time of war?), Medicare D, etc. (have the costs of life long care of severely wounded vets been considered yet?). . . . .
          All under complete Rep executive and legislative control. Short term memory loss, TJ?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 5, 2012 at 10:24 am

      You seem to be assuming that many (47%?) people prefer free stuff to having a job. Also, why think the Democrats just want to hand out free stuff rather than have people work? Also, why think that the Republicans do not? After all, they support all sorts of free stuff (usually wealthfare rather than welfare) for the right people.

  2. T. J. Babson said, on October 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Also, Mike, raw per capita GDP numbers mean little. You also need to compare costs of living. Here is a handy calculator:


    For example, you can live as well in Amarillo, TX on $50,000 as you can in Boston on $73,000. I suspect that if you include the reduced cost of living in right to work states you’ll find you actually live better there.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 5, 2012 at 10:21 am

      I do note that in the post. As you say, if the cost of living lowers more than the wage reduction, then their would be a gain for the worker. What matters (as you indicate) is not how much one makes, but how much one makes relative to what one has to spend to maintain a certain standard of living.

      However, even if we assume that RTW lowers wages less than it lowers the cost of living, the lowered wages is not the only reason to be concerned about RTW laws. After all, the overall result is what should be used when assessing the impact.

      Being a rational person, if RTW laws create more benefits for everyone impacted than not having RTW laws, then I would support them. However, this does not seem to be the case. Not to be suspicious, but it is a bit odd that business folks would spend so much lobbying for RTW laws if they did not think they would benefit them. Now, it could be said that they are altruistically spending money to battle the evil and foolish unions so as to help everyone (even the union members). But that would be odd.

  3. T. J. Babson said, on October 5, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    Are FAMU grad students unionized, Mike?

    I am often amused that the universities, although greater than 90% Democrat, are usually remarkably insensitive to labor conditions. You touch on this a bit in your Migrant Professors post.

    It is almost as if by voting Democrat people feel they receive a pardon from actually having to behave ethically.

    • magus71 said, on October 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm

      “It is almost as if by voting Democrat people feel they receive a pardon from actually having to behave ethically.”

      That’s what I’ve said. All the Democrat pining for higher taxes is merely a way to shirk responsibility onto the government to help people. Apparently if we insist that the rich pay more money in taxes, that proves we are good people and did our part.

      • biomass2 said, on October 5, 2012 at 11:31 pm

        “. . .to shirk responsibility onto the government to help people. ”

        The weak link in your argument, as I see it, is that it’s very debatable that enough people country-wide would take on the responsibility of ‘helping people’,country-wide, to provide enough aid to needy families, parents and children, who are experiencing disastrous times. And it would take a massive amount of voluntary ‘helping’ to provide the care needed to the provide for the elderly poor, survivors, and disabled. But you have faith that , apparently without government encouragement through tax breaks, the American public would use the money they’re not putting into social security and medicare to build their own retirement funds and to ‘help [other] people’ who are in need. That they’ll somehow voluntarily ‘pool’ the money they and others could be spending on beer, cigarettes, extra boats, extra houses, car elevators,closets full of shoes, doggie TV’s — ‘my money’ as so many people are so fond of calling it–“my precious”–to help people who can’t afford costly medical care for themselves or their families .
        Do you believe that it’s very likely that the concept of “need”, the definition of poverty, will be redefined to include fewer and fewer people, when the money that you apparently expect to appear doesn’t?

        Now of course if your initial premise is that few should be in need, that most are merely shirkers and don’t need assistance, that everyone can ‘pull themselves up by their own bootstraps’ in any kind of economy, facing any kind of disaster, the chances of your high expectations succeeding might be a bit more likely.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 6, 2012 at 7:58 am

      I’m not sure if they belong to the UFF-we don’t have a grad program in philosophy/religion, so I don’t know for sure. I can ask the next grad student I see, though.

      As far as the shot at Democrats:
      1) I’m not a paid defender of the party. Rather, I am a Democrat because the party is closer to my values than the current Republican Party and I want to be able to vote in primaries.
      2) While faculty tend to be Democrats at state schools, the budgets and policies are set by the state legislature. In Florida, the Republicans run the show.
      3) I certainly do not think that I am relieved of my moral responsibility. I cannot speak for all Democrats, of course.

  4. T. J. Babson said, on October 5, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Elizabet Warren. Hugely wealthy Harvard lawyer–no record of ever doing pro bono work.

    Voting Democrat means never having to actually walk the moral walk.

    But as of now, we have at least 22 court cases for major corporations, including chemical, coal and insurance companies, but not a single court case in which Warren offered her services pro bono for an indigent client, or even for a middle class client who has been hammered.


    • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 6, 2012 at 8:01 am

      While that is an interesting ad hominem attack on her, what do you think it proves?

      As I recall, she works as a professor (at least when she is not doing political stuff) rather than a lawyer.

      • T. J. Babson said, on October 6, 2012 at 8:27 am

        She was the one Obama got the “you didn’t build that” line of reasoning from.

        And yes, she ran a law practice out of her Harvard office–at least for those who could pay her big bucks.

        It is fun to lift the curtain–Wizard of Oz like–on these people.

        • Anonymous said, on October 6, 2012 at 10:02 am

          TJ: “It is fun to lift the curtain–Wizard of Oz like–on these people.”

          What I’m more concerned about is whether Mitt Romney is one of “these people”, or one of “those people”? He just baffles me. One side of his mouth says one thing and the other sides say other things. Depending on the audience he’s either denigrating 47% of the American population, or he’s for the 100%. When we lift the curtain there, there’s nothing there.

          But damn!Yes! If only we could lift the curtain on Romney’s wealth, this game would be lots more ‘fun’:
          Why, sometimes it seems he’s downright poor. He could be one of the 47%! $250 million? Pshaw! Chicken feed.

          But if a man can run Bain and the Olympics, those same principles work on the national/international economic stage. Right? He can always fall back on his Bain experience when international crises, economic and otherwise, cross his well-planned path to solving all of our economic woes. Right? If he doesn’t do too well. . . well, he can find an excuse. Or become someone else. Or fudge the figures. Or “cross the same river twice. . .” and make it appear that he never said what he said in the past. That what he’s saying now, right now, not in the past or in the future, is what he really means.

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 6, 2012 at 11:08 am

          “She was the one Obama got the “you didn’t build that” line of reasoning from.”

          But the claim is true. As individuals, we did not build the roads and other infrastructure that makes a modern economy and state possible. That was done via our collective efforts and contributions. That is, via the artificial body we call the state. That is, “I did not build it alone because we did it together. God bless America.”

          Wait, let me get this straight. Your attack on Warren is that she ran what you claim is a highly profitable law practice and did not do pro bono work? If she is truly such a hard core capitalist, why bash her? Do you think she is a LINO (Liberal in Name Only), an ethical egoist in altruistic clothing or something else?

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm

            The point is that those “evil capitalists” almost always show more charity in their personal lives than the ones who criticize them. Warren is just the latest example.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

              Ah, so your argument is that the critics of the wealthy are less charitable than the wealthy. Do you mean in total dollars or percentages?

              There is some interesting data on charitable giving here The middle class give a larger percentage of their income than the wealthy, but there is also interesting data showing that the folks in Red states give more than Blue states.

              Now, do you claim that this is widespread, so that statistically a critic of the wealthy will be less charitable (adjusting for wealth and opportunity) than the wealthy they criticize? Is it specific types of critics or just general?

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

              Mike, I know you are into the “we did it together” reasoning these days, but can you name one great work in philosophy that was created “together”? Were not all the great works the result of individual achievement?

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 6, 2012 at 5:01 pm


              Plato’s dialogues are a mix of Socrates’ words, the words of the other participants and Plato’s writing.

              St. Thomas Aquinas bases his ethics, epistemology and metaphysics on the works of Aristotle (plus the additions of Jewish and Muslim commentators on these works). Aristotle learned from Plato.

              Kant credits Hume with waking him from his dogmatic slumbers and his works include significant responses to Hume.

              Locke and other empiricists explicitly base their approaches on the physics model of Newton. Hobbes models his work on Galileo’s physics. Locke’s work in political philosophy is an excellent assemblage of the ideas of the time.

              I would, of course, be remiss not to mention Marx & Engels.

              Descartes draws heavily on Plato, Augustine and others.

              In general, the great works are written “atop” the works of other great works. Newton famously acknowledges this.

              Human knowledge is actually a clear example of “we did this” since no thinker creates everything ex nihilo from his/her own empty mind. Naturally, individual contributions are significant and deserve due credit. Roughly put, we should justly praise the individuals who make great contributions but also accord the praise due to those others who made these contributions possible.

              Philosophers, when we are not being arrogant, acknowledge that our works are built upon the works of those who came before us. I would not go so far as to say that all philosophy is a “footnote to Plato”, though.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 6, 2012 at 5:39 pm

              I would argue that a philosopher like Aquinas was indeed profoundly influenced by Aristotle, but was nevertheless strikingly original.

              And all of your examples are of influence, not creation. The creations were all achieved by individuals.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm

              Aquinas did add to Aristotle-as I tell my students, he added a Christian layer to Aristotle’s pagan ethical cake. In the case of Aristotle’s first mover argument, he makes God the first mover. However, without Aristotle’s works then Aquinas’ philosophy would have been rather different.

              This seems to be a dispute over how credit should be assigned and what is meant by the key terms (“creation”, “influence” and so on). So, for example, Aquinas essentially just uses the unmoved mover and first cause arguments of Aristotle (who was “influenced” by Plato) but takes God to be the unmoved mover and the first efficient cause. In this case, Aristotle certainly deserves considerable credit (which Aristotle is given by Aquinas).

              In more general terms, this can be seen as a matter of causal responsibility. That is, to what extent is a person to be justly credited or blamed for his/her actions.

              So, how do you define “influence” and what general standards do you use to distinguish from what is mere influence and what is an actual contribution? For example, does Aquinas’ use of Aristotle’s arguments, ethical theory, epistemology and so on count as mere influence or did he actually contribute to Aquinas’ works?

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm

              I guess I don’t see that acknowledging the work of others in any way detracts from one’s own accomplishments.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

              So, we are in agreement.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 7, 2012 at 11:38 am

              As long as you are not a collectivist who believes in the Hive as opposed to the individual.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 7, 2012 at 1:34 pm

              Aside from the Borg and the Bugs, who really believes in the Hive?

              I know the narrative that Obama is some sort of Hive fellow, but that does not seem to be his actual view.

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm

              The Islamic Ummah is close to the Hive, so there’s a billion or so people right there.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm

              If they are a Hive, why have they not simply rolled over the world?

            • T. J. Babson said, on October 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm

              Same reason the bees haven’t rolled over the world.

          • T. J. Babson said, on October 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm

            Contrast with Warren:

            In a Kindness Competition, Romney Wins over Obama by a Landslide
            By Karin McQuillan

            The highlights of the last day of the convention, for me, were the ordinary people who spoke of the impact of Mitt Romney in their lives. I wish these speeches had been prime-time, and that every wavering voter could see them. This is what kindness looks like. This is the supposedly uncaring, greedy, rich bastard in action.

            Grant Bennett, a fellow volunteer pastor at the Romney’s Massachusetts church, explained that while building his business and earning his millions and raising five boys, Romney volunteered two evenings a week and every weekend — ten, fifteen, twenty hours a week — in acts of personal service and pastoral counseling.

            He met with those seeking help with the burdens of real life…unemployment, sickness, financial distress, loneliness…single mothers raising children, couples with marital problems, youths with addictions, immigrants…individuals whose heat had been shut off.

            Typical of Mitt Romney, he let others give the sermons. He did the work. He did not delegate kindness: Mitt shoveled snow for the elderly, brought meals to the sick. He led by example. “Mitt’s response to all who came was compassion in all its beautiful varieties. He had a listening ear and a helping hand.”

            “I treasure every minute we served together,” sums up Bennett.

            I can hear Democrats scoffing. Bennett obviously loves Romney as his mentor and friend. That is just the point. Bennett worked with Romney for “thousands of hours over many years” and took over the job when Romney left. Romney earned Bennett’s love and respect and loyalty by his empathic, compassionate love of and service for his fellows.

            Then we heard from Pat and Ted Oparowski. “Evening ,folks. My wife and I are people of modest means. I made my living as a professional firefighter for 27 years.” There followed rip-your-heart-out testimony about the many tender kindnesses of Mitt Romney to their 14-year-old son, David, dying of cancer, thirty years ago. The cameras panned over an entire convention hall in tears.

            I felt keenly that these bereaved parents were on stage because they want the country to benefit from the blessings a deeply good and kind President Romney will bring to us all. Love of family, gratitude to Mitt, and love of country brought them to that stage.

            “The memories are still painful, but we wanted to share them with you, because David’s story is part of Mitt’s story, and America deserves to hear it. …the true measure of a man is revealed in the …quiet hospital room of a dying boy, with no cameras and no reporters. This is the time to make that assessment.”

            Romney arranged a fireworks party on the beach to bring David a time of joy; he gave him solace and respect by helping David write a will, to leave his prized possessions to his best friend and brother. “How many men do you know who take time out of their busy life to visit a terminally ill fourteen-year-old?” asked Pat, the boy’s mother. “We will ever be grateful to Mitt for his love and concern.”

            Next, we hear from another congregant who became a personal friend of the Romneys, Pam Finlayson. She started with a simple but telling anecdote. Mitt Romney, captain of industry, folding laundry in a spontaneous act of helpfulness. If only people would hear Pam talk, Democrat caricatures of Romney as a cold-hearted man, out of touch with ordinary people, would be seen as the shameful lies they are.

            I knew Mitt was special from the start. We didn’t own a dryer, and the day he stopped by to welcome us, I was embarrassed to have laundry hanging all over the house. Mitt wasn’t fazed. In fact, as we spoke, without a word, he joined me and started helpfully plucking clothes from round the room and folding them. By the time Mitt left, not only did I feel welcome, my laundry was done!

            Pam and her husband had a very ill premature baby.

            As I sat with her in intensive care, consumed with a mother’s worry and fear, dear Mitt came to visit and pray with me….I will never forget that when he looked down tenderly at my daughter, his eyes filled with tears, and he reached out gently and stroked her tiny back. I could tell immediately that he didn’t just see a tangle of plastic and tubes; he saw our beautiful little girl…

            When Thanksgiving rolled around, Kate was still struggling for life. Brain surgery was scheduled, and the holiday was the furthest thing from our minds. I opened my door to find Mitt and his boys, arms loaded with a Thanksgiving feast. Of course we were overcome. When I called to thank Ann, she sweetly confessed it had been Mitt’s idea, that most of the cooking and chopping had been done by him. She and the boys had just happily pitched in.

            It seems to me when it comes to loving our neighbor, we can talk about it, or we can live it. The Romney’s live it every single day.

            … It is with great excitement and a renewed hope, to know that our country will be blessed as it is led by a man who is not only so accomplished and capable, but who has devoted his entire life quietly serving others. That man is Mitt Romney.

            Mitt Romney is known in his personal circles for his lifelong acts of reaching out a helping hand — ordinary, human to human, personal acts of kindness that are all about empathy and fellow feeling.

            Everyone who knows Romney in the church community seems to have a story about him and his family pitching in to help in ways big and small. They took chicken and asparagus soup to sick parishioners. They invited unsettled Mormon transplants in their home for lasagna.

            One Saturday, Grant Bennett got up on a ladder outside his two-story [house] intent on dislodging a hornets’ nest. . . .The hornets went right at him, and he fell off the ladder, breaking his foot. . . .About nine thirty that Sunday night, Romney reappeared. Only this time, it was dark out. Romney was in jeans and a polo shirt instead of his suit, and he was carrying a bucket, a piece of hose, and a couple of screwdrivers. “He said, ‘I noticed you hadn’t gotten rid of the hornets,” Bennett recalled. “I said, ‘Mitt you don’t need to do that.’ He said, I’m here, and I’m going to do it. . .You demonstrated that doing it on a ladder is not a good idea.'” Romney went at it from inside the house, opening a window enough to dislodge it. Soon the hornets were gone.

            When a neighbor’s 12-year-old son died, Romney organized the effort to build a playground in his name and then led the cleanup crew to maintain it. When a neighbor’s house caught on fire, he organized neighbors to run in and save his belongings.

            Two sons of Mark and Sheryl Nixon broke their necks in a car accident on their way home from a Mormon youth activity …. Both Rob and Reed Nixon were quadriplegics. After hospitalization and rehabilitation, the boys were home with their parents on the morning before Christmas when Mitt and Ann Romney showed up with their sons. The Romneys did not know them personally but had heard about the accident and the need to remodel their home to make it more accessible for the two sons. The Romneys brought a stereo for Rob and a check for Reed. Mitt told Mark Nixon he would pay for his sons’ college educations if necessary, and he continued to give the family support financially. … “What is more important to me than the dollar amount is that Mitt could have sent the checks in the mail instead of taking time out and coming over to see us,” Mark Nixon says. “I’m much more impressed with the family values he demonstrated and what it says about who Mitt is.”

            And then there is this extraordinary story. When a partner at work told Romney his 14-year-old daughter had snuck off to a rave party in New York, taken ecstasy, and disappeared, Romney shut down Bain and organized 200 employees to fly down to New York to find her. Thanks to Romney’s signature leadership and competence, they did. But it all began with Romney’s core character: his loving concern, self-confidence, and taking responsibility himself to get things done right.

            Romney set up a command center at the LaGuardia Marriott. He hired a private detective firm to assist with the search. He established a toll-free number for tips, coordinating the effort with New York City police. …Romney and others from Bain Capital trudged through Manhattan, even scouring Central Park, and talked with everyone they could – prostitutes, drug addicts – to try to develop leads.

            The man who helped save my daughter was Mitt Romney. Mitt’s done a lot of things that people say are nearly impossible. But, for me, the most important thing he’s ever done is to help save my daughter.

            These are the sorts of good deeds Ann Romney was referring to in her convention speech, when she said her husband does not believe in boasting about how he helps people.

            This is important. I want you to hear what I am going to say. Mitt does not like to talk about how he has helped others because he sees it as a privilege, not a political talking point. We are no different than the millions of Americans who quietly help their neighbors, their churches and their communities. They don’t do it so that others will think more of them. They do it because there is no greater joy.

            Democrats want us all to know that Mitt was born rich, as if that disqualifies him from being an excellent president. Romney inherited a fortune from his father, who was an all-American rags-to-riches story, a working man who never graduated college and went on to head American Motors. But listen to this: Mitt Romney turned around and gave away every dime he inherited to charity, honoring his father’s memory by funding a school of management in his honor. I’ve never heard of anyone who has done that — give away his entire inheritance.

            Mitt earned his own wealth, and he has always been generous with his money. Both Mitt and Ann have volunteered and given prodigiously their whole lives. Mitt and Ann gave away 13%-19% of their income the last two years. That is two to three times the norm for philanthropy.

            Giving to their church heads the Romney list. The Democrats want to make tithing sound like a bad thing, something required and therefore meaningless. The Mormon church should be honored and famous for its charitable efforts. From 1985 to 2009, for example, Mormons donated over a billion dollars to humanitarian aid in 178 countries.

            In addition to giving to and through the Mormon Church, the Romneys’ main donations are to cure cancer, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis; to help the blind; and to help disadvantaged inner-city youths and disabled youths. They have given to libraries, to AIDS victims, to Harvard. In addition, Romney in 1997 created and led the Bain Capital Children’s Charity Ltd., which spends more than $1 million annually on youths. Romney served for years on Boston’s City Year, a group that works to help at-risk kids stay in school and graduate.

            The Romney family commitment to help underprivileged children dates back to when Ann and her five boys saw a vehicle carrying a group of boys to a Massachusetts Department of Youth Services detention center. Ann became a remarkable volunteer.

            She was a director of the inner-city group Best Friends, for teenage girls. She was a volunteer for the Ten Point Coalition for urban youths and for Families First, a parent education program. She was a volunteer instructor of middle-school girls at the multicultural Mother Caroline Academy in Boston.

            She served on the board of the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, again focusing her work on at-risk youth. By 1996, she was a member of the Massachusetts Advisory Board of Stand for Children.

            During the 2002 Winter Olympics effort, she co-chaired the Olympic Aid charity, whichs provides athletic activities and programs for children in war-torn regions.

            Charitable giving does reveal who a person is. Romney went to the NAACP to deliver this message, in a speech that received several standing ovations, but I doubt anyone there knew that the Romneys have been helping the black community for many years.

            Some of you may wonder why a Republican would bother to campaign in the African American community, and to address the NAACP. Of course, one reason is that I hope to represent all Americans, of every race, creed or sexual orientation, from the poorest to the richest and everyone in between.

            But there is another reason: I believe that if you understood who I truly am in my heart, and if it were possible to fully communicate what I believe is in the real, enduring best interest of African American families, you would vote for me for president. I want you to know that if I did not believe that my policies and my leadership would help families of color – and families of any color – more than the policies and leadership of President Obama, I would not be running for president.

            The opposition charges that I and people in my party are running for office to help the rich. Nonsense. The rich will do just fine whether I am elected or not. The President wants to make this a campaign about blaming the rich. I want to make this a campaign about helping the middle class.

            I am running for president because I know that my policies and vision will help hundreds of millions of middle class Americans of all races, will lift people from poverty, and will help prevent people from becoming poor. My campaign is about helping the people who need help.

            The Democrats are right in one thing. Mitt Romney is not an ordinary person.

            Romney is an unusual man in every way — unusually ambitious, unusually capable, unusually wealthy, unusually kind, unusually compassionate, unusually generous, unusually dedicated to serving his community and country. He is an unusually wonderful friend and neighbor.

            He has earned a level of love, loyalty, respect, and admiration most of us only imagine — has earned them by his good deeds. Not just in his church, but everywhere he has participated. He worked in business and created jobs — not for a hundred, not for a thousand — for over a hundred thousand other families. Then Romney moved on to public service, where he worked without pay, to save the Olympics after 9/11, and to be governor of Massachusetts.

            As governor of Massachusetts, he won intense respect and loyalty from Secretary Jane Edmonds, a liberal Democrat and a black woman, whom he chose as cabinet secretary for education and workforce training. Jane Edmond’s speech was another highlight at the convention:

            He is the real thing. Authentic. Honest, transparent, and inclusive. …I wanted to be around him… where my energy, skills and talents would be channeled, along with others, towards the public good. ….The governor was in office, not for himself, or to promote himself, but for the people….During the four years I served in the cabinet, I saw him up close and personal. …He is an amazing steward and leader. … Unselfish leadership….Motivated by doing good for others. That is how I see Governor Romney. He is authentic….He brought out the best in me, and as President, he will bring out the best in our country.

            Now Mitt Romney wants to be president of the United States. We are very lucky people to get the chance to elect a man of this moral caliber.


            • Michael LaBossiere said, on October 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm

              That is certainly a very different narrative of Romney than the one presented in his 47% speech. The 47% Romney does not seem very charitable.

              That said, it is generally a bad idea (morally and logically) to judge a person based on one speech (with some notable exceptions) and certainly a bad idea to judge a person based on snippets lacking context. People have bad days, they get tired, they get caught in a bad mood, they get caught up trying to appeal to an audience and sometimes stuff just comes out a person’s mouth that is not in their heart.

              I am always willing to give a person the benefit of the doubt because people can be complex and complicated, with nuances of character and blends of good and bad. The straw zombies that get animated by political magic to frighten and anger people are just that-monsters that vaguely look like real people but lacking the qualities that make them real people.

              So, Romney can have moral flaws that lead him to regard the 47% as essentially parasites while also being a kind man who helps someone fold laundry. I accept this because I have said mean things myself, yet I also help people out when they are in need.

              I do not know Romney personally, but the idea that he is a decent man is certainly a plausible claim. Complete villains and complete saints are rare, so I would be surprised if Romney was a monster without a heart. I would actually like to speak with him, person to person with no recording devices. 🙂

            • biomass2 said, on October 6, 2012 at 7:25 pm

              “Complete villains and complete saints are rare.”
              Very true. But in etch-a-sketch world it’s especially difficult to know with certainty when one has encountered the rare saint or villain.

  5. magus71 said, on October 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Just because:

    • T. J. Babson said, on October 7, 2012 at 8:05 pm

      • magus71 said, on October 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm

        This could easily be a doctorate thesis on postmodernism.

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