Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bobby Newport Gets Ambitious

The current Parks & Recreation storyline features protagonist Leslie Knope running for city council against Bobby Newport. Newport is the son of the wealthiest man in town (owner of a candy company), and he is basically an utterly unaware moron. He's not a "bad guy", per se -- in fact, his main flaw is he seems utterly oblivious to how anything matters to anyone. As far as he's concerned, everyone should be happy all the time -- not realizing that not everyone has a trust fund they can dip into when times get rough.

I'm starting to view Mitt Romney as similar. He's not as obviously dumb as Bobby Newport is. But he just seems completely unaware that not everyone has a free pile of familial wealth to dip into when things aren't going well. Responding to the issue of student debt, Romney recommends ... having mommy and daddy give you a $20,000 loan. Of course, I'd imagine a substantial majority or recent college grads don't have parents with a spare 20 grand they can just lend at will. But for Romney, it just seems clear as crystal.


PG said...

I think you may have misread that slightly. First, like the majority of Republicans and pretty much all Democrats, Romney supports extending the 3.4% Stafford loan rate; also like most Republicans, he wants to pay for it on the backs of people who need health care, instead of through the elimination of tax loopholes for oil companies or wealthy S-corps.

Second, in the article you linked Romney is suggesting that young people become entrepreneurs and suggests that they get a loan from their parents to get the new business started. The underlying empirical point (a substantial majority or recent college grads don't have parents with a spare 20 grand they can just lend at will) is correct, I'm just pointing out that he wasn't exactly responding to the student debt issue.

(Actually, by citing his generous donor Jimmy John as an example, Romney apparently was saying that you shouldn't go to college or into the military, but instead should borrow $25k from Dad and start a business. It also seems a bit imprecise even to refer to it as a loan, since Jimmy John's dad was a minority shareholder in the business whom JJ eventually bought out.)

Tony Henke said...

Talk about parsing words in an unfavorable way. The sentence immediately preceding the "borrow from your parents" bit is about the general tone of "divisiveness" and "attacks on sucesss." It's not at all clear from the context that he's advocating dealing with post-graduation student debt by borrowing money from your parents... Although maybe a more complete video/transcript would indicate otherwise.