Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has made several clumsy attempts to portray himself as a "Man of the People," down to wearing jeans at his campaign stops. Romney's trying to somehow identify himself with the common folks.
It's a silly exercise in futility, since a man worth more than a quarter of a billion dollars probably has little in common with the commoners. But he's tried. And failed. And now gotten himself in a bit of a pickle.
So a couple of weeks ago, Mitt Romney told an audience that he was frightened about getting a pink slip when he began his career. Just like the Little People now.
And when he began his campaign, he told another audience that he was currently out of work. Just like the Little People have been.
Most recently, when pressure to release his tax returns continued to climb, he hinted about what's in those returns, including money he made from speaking fees last year.
"Not very much," he said.
No, not very much. Just $374,000. Which by itself qualifies him as part of the top 1 percent of income earners in our country.
And how did Mr. Romney amass his $374,000 in speaking fees, how much was he paid for each speech?
$42,000. For an hour.
"Not very much."
No, $42,000 is not very much for an hour's talking. Heck, new teachers in Arizona make almost $36,000 for essentially the same thing.
That's $36,000 a year, of course.
And a family of four that qualifies for the dreaded food stamps: They qualify if they make up to $29,000. A year. A little more than half of what Gov. "not very much" Romney makes in an hour of talking. In fact, according to the New York Times, 53 percent of American families make less in a year ($36,000) than Romney did in a single speech.
Oh, and under Romney's proposed tax plan? He gets richer. The food stamp family is taxed more.
Mitt Romney, truly a "Man of the People."
The People just happen to be a select group: the top 1 percent.
Mike McClellan is a Gilbert resident and former English teacher at Dobson High School in Mesa.