It didn’t as generate much attention as some of his other wealth-related gaffes, probably because it came on a Friday afternoon, but Mitt Romney’s latest gem comes with a larger significance.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee was telling students at Otterbein University in Ohio about the virtues of starting new businesses. Romney added that President Obama has launched an “attack” on “success” – I still have no idea what that’s in reference to – while he would prefer to “encourage young people.”
“Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.”
This is important because it offers key context to Romney’s approach to public policy. If you’re a young person who can’t afford rising college tuition rates and/or don’t have the resources to launch a business venture, the GOP’s would-be president has some advice for you: choose wealthy parents.
No, seriously. Romney has already said young people who can’t afford to go to their college of their choice should “shop around” for some other institution, because a Romney administration doesn’t intend to help with measures like Pell Grants or student loans. Now he’s talking about entrepreneurial opportunities, not through programs like SBA loans, but through parental aid.
If you don’t come from a wealthy family with tens of thousands of disposable income, well, that’s a shame – no small business for you.
Romney wants young people to “take a shot,” “go for it,” “take a risk,” “get the education,” and “start a business,” but only if the federal government has no role in creating those opportunities.
In the 2012 campaign context, the point isn’t to mock Romney for being very wealthy or for having very wealthy parents. Rather, what matters here is that he’s opposed to using public institutions to help level the playing field for everyone else.