Mitt Romney: No Apology: Book Analysis: Chapter Ten: The Culture Of Citizenship. (Pragmatist Or Ideologue)

December 22, 2010 by
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In this chapter Romney addresses the 1965 welfare provisions of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society legislation. By providing welfare benefits to mothers of children born out of wedlock this legislation greatly increased the number of children born to a single mother and also made it economically more feasible for single mothers to stay single and deprive there children of a nuclear home. A home requires a mother and father which Romney believes is the key to the development of Western Civilization and a necessity if the United States is to remain the predominant power in the world.  (Romney doesn’t mention the bipartisan Welfare Reform Act of 1966 which shortened a single mother’s benefits to two years and gave an unearned tax credit to those mothers when they went to work even at a low wage. Thus every single mother who worked had her income increased to above the poverty line even if she worked at a low paying job.

Also he fails to mention that income, in terms of buying power, for the poor and the lower middle class has not increased since 1975. This is true even if low cost Chinese goods are available, because many have lost jobs to those cheaper Chinese imports they once made. This static low income makes it exceedingly difficult for people to form a family and has as much to do with the increase in single motherhood as anything else.

The 1996 act may have put single mothers to work and off the welfare rolls, but it did little to encourage marriage although it made it economically more feasible because women with children increased their income but their potential spouses were still stuck with low paying jobs that did not keep up with the economy and gave them little incentive to enter into a marriage where they could not be the bread winner.

Welfare is a complex problem and Romney’s knee jerk approach to blame Lyndon Johnson is sophomoric and unfounded. He might as well blame Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Bush I and II for poor management of the benefits of our economy by over rewarding the top 20% of the population and neglecting the incomes of the bottom 20% and the middle class in between. Also he speaks in generalities the only legislation that took a step forward was the 1996 act. It was been the only positive move in the right direction to solve the problem.

Romney doesn’t mention any solution but the obvious one is to have a more egalitarian distribution of income in our economy. Also the key to the development of Western Civilization was agriculture, or family farms that needed mothers, fathers and children to do the work to make the farm successful.)


American culture makes our country the most successful in the world. A belief in hard work, entrepreneurship, self reliance, education, citizenship, sobriety and strong religious principles made us what we are today. These beliefs are the linchpins of American culture. However many of these principles are under attack; from marriage between a man and a woman to the nuclear family to diminished belief and purpose, to belief in the sanctity of life are all under pressure. Belonging and commitment to the community, respect for law, the duties of citizenship, patriotism and military service   are often fulfilled in a lukewarm manner.

The challenge going forward is renewal of our commitment to these principles which form the bricks and mortar that has made our society great.

(As one might expect Romney is against gay marriage: for pro-life and for don’t ask don’t tell in the military. This all makes him an enigma because he was once pro choice and generally more liberal when he was Governor of Massachusetts. However to be successful in the GOP primaries he has to appear conservative to beat his more conservative rivals. Thus he appears to be more of a pragmatist than either a liberal or a conservative.

The question if he is a Reagan Republican or a Rockefeller Republican is still open.)



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