Personal Bias Check: Mormon? Wealthy?
In my post yesterday, “Why Doesn’t Governor Romney Campaign on Jobs?” I asked for help understanding if there is merit to trickle down economics, why it is not a slam-dunk for Governor Romney to campaign on his record of jobs creation as a result of his considerable personal wealth. My sense is that he actually doesn’t have much evidence to support such a campaign strategy. I will admit that my reason for asking is that I feel a tremendous amount of skepticism in the trickle down theory and its proponents, having voted for President Reagan, and then over the next 30 years watched the disparity explode between the wealthy and the less than wealthy. I am also skeptical that Mr. Romney would choose to govern in a way that would do anything but exacerbate that disparity.
I have taken a personal pledge in recent months to try to be mindful of balance and accountability in my thinking, analysis and language. In keeping with that pledge, I realized that my skepticism of Mr. Romney could arise from personal bias – suspicion of the very wealthy, uncertainty about having a Mormon in the White House, and doubts that someone so removed from middle-class America could possibly lead in a way that would benefit the majority of Americans. And then I got an account notice for my Marriott Rewards account…
According to Forbes, William and Richard Marriott, heirs of the Marriott dynasty, are each worth over a billion. I expect the Marriott brothers, observant Mormons, would support many of the same policies as Romney, and have been reported to donate generously to his campaign. And yet, knowing little else more about them, I would be more inclined to consider favorably either of the Marriott brothers as candidates for President of the United States than I do Mr. Romney. On reflection, the difference in my perception comes from how the Marriotts have made and invested their wealth. They have made hundreds of thousands of jobs available to Americans in their hotels. They have contributed to the economic health of communities all across the country by building hotels at levels that were at — or just slightly above – the economic reach of neighborhood. With their families of hotel chains, the Marriotts are acutely aware of the economic conditions in American – and global – communities and give me a greater sense than I have with Mr. Romney they would be better able to govern all of the country to the benefit of citizens at all economic levels. Just as they have done in America, they have done around the world – providing good, respectable, honorable work for people worldwide. Furthermore, because the name Marriott is an American business icon, they have provided a positive presence for this country worldwide. And by so doing, they have also made it easier for Americans to interact positively with others around the globe. As Mr. Romney will not reveal the details of how he has accrued his fortune or how he has met his tax obligations, I tend to be suspicious of his wealth, his motivations, and his personal philosopy. In contrast, I celebrate the Marriotts and the wealth that they have appropriately garnered. In fact, I am delighted to contribute every chance that I have to travel!
So, with the timely arrival of my “frequent sleeper” account information, I feel comfortable putting to rest my uncertainty as to whether my skepticism of Mr. Romney as candidate for President of the United States might be the product of a personal bias related to his faith or his wealth. As it did yesterday, my skepticism returns to the question of what jobs has Mr. Romney’s made possible in the United States as a function of his personal wealth?