Romney quizzed by Occupy protesters at N.H. town hall meeting

January 5, 2012

Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney got off to an awkward start back in New Hampshire on Wednesday when the first question he took at a town hall meeting was from an Occupy protester.

Fresh off his narrow win in Iowa, Romney was making his first campaign appearance ahead of the New Hampshire primary on Jan. 10 when the questioner – who said he was from both the Occupy New Hampshire and Occupy Boston protest groups against economic inequality – raised his hand and asked a question about corporate greed.

“You have said that corporations are people, but in the last two years corporate profits have surged to record highs directly at the expense of wages,” the man said. “It seems that the U.S. is a great place to be a corporation, but increasingly a desperate place to live and work.”

“Where do you think corporations’ profit goes?” Romney shot back at the protester, who responded that corporations either retain it or it goes to shareholders, “the one percent of Americans who own 90 percent of the stocks.”

“Now, let’s get the facts,” Romney said, before explaining that corporate dividends don’t just go to the “1 percent” shareholders, but also people who have pensions.

“When the business has profit it can do good things. Give it to the shareholders and grow the enterprise and, and by the way, the only way it can hire people is if it grows the enterprise.”

But it wasn’t over. A woman Romney called on a little later followed up on the protester’s question, demanding to know if corporations that had been granted extensive tax cuts had created any jobs.

Protesters in the Occupy movement, which grew from an initial Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York City on Sept. 17, are upset that billions of dollars in bailouts were given to banks while “average” Americans are still suffering financially, and accuse politicians of being swayed by large campaign donations from big businesses.

Romney said that if the protesters could come up with a better idea than free enterprise he was willing to listen.

“It’s marvelous, the vision of the founders,” he said. “If you can come up with one that’s better that what was brought forward by John Adams and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, I’m all ears, but until then I am in favor of the one that was presented by the founders of this country.”

When the questioner interrupted Romney at one point to argue that the United States had the highest inequality in the developed world, Romney said the income per person in America was about 50 percent more than in Europe.

“[Our system] might be far from perfect, and it is, but it’s just a lot better than anything else that the world has ever seen. So in my view the right thing for us to do is to find ways to improve the system that we have rather than trying to pretend like there’s something better out there,” Romney said.

Mitt Romney is joined by U.S. Senator John McCain at a campaign stop in Manchester, New Hampshire, January 4, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

9 comments

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Romney refers back to the (slave owner) “founding fathers”. what a cop out.
He cant adequately answer the question because that would mean telling the truth.

Posted by NNNNN22a | Report as abusive

Seems like Mr. Romney better check his facts on per person income. The U.S. is either 7th or 9th in personal income, according to the IMF, World Bank, and CIA World Factbook, well behind a number of European and other countries .

Check this information out at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cou ntries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29_per_capita

And his lack of current statistics for jobs supposed created by the corporations, i.e., “people” that Mr. Romney champions says volumes about his tunnelvision.

Posted by factfinder77 | Report as abusive

Rather than getting bogged down in minutia about which people of which country have the nicest toothbrush or the most efficient automobiles, let’s just stick to the “big” facts.

Big fact number one: The people living in the Western countries that operate, more or less, according to principles of individual freedom and free markets have enjoyed the highest standard of living EVER ANYWHERE. The poorest person in Western Europe or America is better off than almost anyone anywhere else.

Almost everyone in the Western countries has a computer to surf the internet and type snarky replies and waste time instead of working out in the hot sun 18 hours a day from the time we can walk almost until the day we die. How can you even suggest that such people are suffering? It is hilarious, and sad, that such spoiled human beings cry about how the evil corporations have made life soooo unbearably hard for them. It is hilarious, and sad, to watch spoiled brats with tattoos and piercings complain about big corporations while they chit chat on their cell phones and play on the ipads. It was a corporation that manufactured that computer, as well the shirt you wear, the ink in your tattoo, and practically every product in your house. The alternative to corporations is state ownership or single individual ownership. If you want state ownership, you’ll need a time machine to take you back to the Soviet Union or East Germany. If you want only individual ownership, then have fun flying on Joe Bob’s airline, which will consist of one rickety broken down airplane. Entities organized in the corporate form are the only entities that can efficiently create the lovely goods that we all take for granted every day. Without the efficiencies and economies of scale that corporations capture, the products we all take for granted, like the computer you are now looking at, would be too expensive for ordinary people to afford. It’s silly to complain about the wealth of corporations, when corporations have made so many products affordable for ordinary people.

Big fact number two: This enormous wealth has been generated by encouraging people to be productive by allowing them to keep the fruit of their labor in the form of private property. Some people will become enormously wealthy in such as system. There will be wealth disparities. But the vast majority will do quite nicely. Even the “poor” will seem rich by historical standards, as described in big fact number one. However, in recent years Western countries have departed from those principles and created large welfare states which discourage productive efforts on the part of individuals by promising that they will be taken care of by the state. Why would anyone work to sow a field if at harvest time the state taxman comes and takes most of the harvest and gives to those who haven’t been productive? Eventually the socialist welfare state will fail, as it is failing in Europe, when there are not enough productive people to take care of everyone who is not productive enough. Most people have stopped having children, the children they do have are spoiled and lazy, and want to live in momma’s spare room, and there soon won’t enough working young people to fund their parents and grandparents generous state-paid retirement benefits.

If you want to contribute to the solution to today’s problems, stop acting like a spoiled baby, get to work (and maybe start a corporation of your own like Steve Jobs did), and think about having a baby or two to help take care of you and pay for your care when you are too old to take care of yourself.

Posted by Astonishing | Report as abusive

“Seems like Mr. Romney better check his facts on per person income.”

Seems like you better check your economic terms. You linked to GDP per capita, not personal income per capita. Here’s the page you wanted:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cou ntries_by_per_capita_personal_income

Note which country is listed first.

Posted by MyUserName | Report as abusive

“the value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given year divided by the average (or mid-year) population for the same year.” From the Wikipedia article. GDP/pop=7th or 9th in the world. So that isn’t even the reality, that is just the potential if income were divided evenly between everyone in America. So not only are Romney’s claims inaccurate, they are impossible.

Posted by mlfooth | Report as abusive

Previous poster is kind of wrong when refering to the GDP information in Wikipedia. The article clearly states GDP is not a measure of personal income. When you go to the right article, which is here, you’ll see Romney is pretty accurate in his statement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cou ntries_by_per_capita_personal_income

Posted by rhandler | Report as abusive

@factfinder77 Actually Romney was right. Yes, we are behind a few countries that are banking countries or oil countries. But we are anti natural resources in America, right? I wish i made money off the government like people in the UEA and Qatar do from oil. Plus some of these countries are tiny. Germany, Greece, the UK, even China are below the US.

So unless we start being the country that hides money for other people or actually becames a natural resource provider, Mitt seems to be right.

Posted by mormons1 | Report as abusive

Whine, whine, whine. Everyone complains about “evil corporations” exporting jobs to China while they buy Chinese made crap at Walmart because it’s cheap. If you truly want jobs to remain in the USA, STOP BUYING CHINESE JUNK. You make the choice. It’s YOU who force the “evil corporations” to export jobs to China. Short economic lesson – corporations are in business to make MONEY; if they don’t make money they DIE! Realize also, that these corporations are the basis for your 401K/IRA. YOU are the reason that hard working Americans are out of work. Romney’s right.

I’m sick of you idiot wall street protesters. You idiots are the very reason that I cannot even buy decent wheel bearings made in the USA. Get a job and quit costing us workers money to clean up the mess where you protest! I’m sick of supporting you b-st-rds and those of your ilk.

Posted by dano10 | Report as abusive

To the Fox News uninformed sheeple, the idea of the OWS types is about the unequality of pay in corporations.

The right wing crowd forgets about people like Joe Cassano who ran AIG, drove it into the ground, cost this country hundreds of billions and walked away with $368 Million in cash. Also why is it average CEO pay and board members pay raises went up 27% while the worker saw a modest 2%? Where are the Lee Iaccocas of today? There aren’t any, everyone has a knife in each hand waiting to stick it in anyones back, that includes part of the 99% which is too lazy to WORK for a living.

The solution: Reduce management pay and corporate profit to raise the average worker pay.

Romney is out for what is good for today and doesn’t have the forethought to see what would be good for the country tomorrow.

Why would Warren Buffet say something different than Romney? BECAUSE HE IS THINKING ABOUT FUTURE GENERATIONS….AND NOT FOR RAPING AMERICANS FOR A SELECT FEW TO BENEFIT.

Posted by Theknowitallguy | Report as abusive