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What media bias? - Romney's car elevator

The big news story is that Mitt Romney's home under construction in San Diego has all sorts of nice features (including a car elevator and a big basement) and a lobbyist to help the construction through the permitting process. It's an odd story of the politics of envy. We already know Mitt Romney is rich; rich people can buy nice things that you and I can't afford; that sort of advantage of being rich creates an incentive to create wealth that makes society better off.

An aside: while 2012 Romney can buy things I can't afford, it's also worth noting that you and I can walk to the Apple Store (watch out for the glass!), and pay cash for things someone ten times as wealthy as Romney couldn't have dreamed of buying in 1992.

Anyway, it's not like Romney is a John Edwards hypocrite lecturing about poverty and inequality while spending campaign money on a mistress or an Al Gore hypocrite lecturing about the environment while leaving a huge carbon footprint or a Barack Obama hypocrite taking advantage of a backscratching land deal with Tony Rezko to be able to live in his own big house. One wishes Romney would stop treating the wealth as an embarrassment, rather than a signal of his previous success.

The San Diego news story is a good example of the phenomenon. Why is the story "Romney is so rich, his home has a lobbyist" rather than "California makes it so hard to create jobs that actually make things, that Romney's home needs a lobbyist"? The latter tells us much more about California's unemployment rate: the political class is extracting wealth and wealth-creation for its own benefit at the expense of the larger economy. It's a large reason why California has a 10.9% unemployment rate: Romney is rich enough to pay the additional expense of a lobbyist to create a lot of construction jobs just for the unnecessary luxury of a big California house; many other people are just throwing up their hands and not creating the jobs. It seems to me the latter is a bigger problem than the former.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.