American Morning

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October 26th, 2011
05:30 AM ET

Talk Back: Can rich politicians relate to ordinary Americans?

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From CNN's Carol Costello:

According to a CNN/ORC poll, the majority of Americans think Wall Street bankers are dishonest, greedy and overpaid. Rick Perry capitalized on this sentiment yesterday on CNBC when he called Mitt Romney a "fat cat," a term that is toxic these days.

Although Romney is not a banker, with an estimated net worth of up to 250 million dollars, he's as rich as one. However, just because he's rich, doesn't mean he's heartless. Romney says his business savvy can create what working Americans need the most.

At a town hall meeting in Iowa, Romney told supporters, "For me, one of the key criteria in looking at tax policy is to make sure that we help the people that need the help most, and in our country, the people who need the help most are not the poor, who have a safety net, not the rich, who are doing just fine, but the middle class."

Talk Back: Can rich politicians relate to ordinary Americans?

Let us know what you think. Your answer may be read on this morning's broadcast.

Filed under: AM Talk Back
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. Susan

    Of course they can. They'll hire a staff (who will earn much more than middle class income and get great government benefits) to tell them all about it. Hey, maybe my husband can get that job...

    October 26, 2011 at 7:37 am |
  2. Shawnathan

    Relate is defined as: to give account of or 2: to show or establish logical or causal connection between. How can "ANY" politician when current salary (2011) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year and free health care for life. There is no relation; that is why there is a disconnect between main street, wall street and Washington. With the average member of the House & Senate having a net worth of at least seven figures I clearly see who there constituents are. $174,000.00 per year with free health care isn't ordinary when your homeless, under employed then unemployed only the average American understands that.

    October 26, 2011 at 7:36 am |
  3. George

    a wealthy politician cant possibly understand the stress undertaken by the lower and middle class. herman cains 9-9-9 plan would help my father though. if they were to re write the tax laws, he would be guarranteed work for a couple years. By the way he is a ta attorny and was unnemployed march 2010- january 2011

    October 26, 2011 at 7:36 am |
  4. Mark

    Depends – Did they personally make their wealth and want to help others succeed, or inherit it and view their role as a post-ivy league college social studies project.

    October 26, 2011 at 7:34 am |
  5. Daisy

    Sure they can relate. Look at what Mitt Romey said he is middle class!! He only has 250 million.

    October 26, 2011 at 7:34 am |
  6. Ben Herrington

    No, they can't. This is why we need to stop electing public officials from the economic elite class. People who aren't middle class can never be expected to represent the middle class. This is how we get one percent of the population with more wealth and power than the remaining 99 percent. Why would politicians support policies to help the middle class when they make more than 4 times the median income? If the majority of Americans are not rich, then the majority of the people who represent them should also not be rich.

    October 26, 2011 at 7:17 am |
  7. lou

    As you can clearly see, unfortunately the revolution has started. oakland is the first example. you thought egypt was bad? people are desperate, and mitch mcconnell, john boehner are the biggest obstacles to our countries success. the country didn't vote for these 2 clowns. yet they have designed our destiny.

    October 26, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  8. Jim Jennings

    Being able to relate to ones fellow citizens has little to do with the amount of ones wealth. There are people of empathy and compassion across all spectrums of our society. A solid example of a wealthy politician's ability to relate can be found in Franklin Roosevelt, who spent his political life in a constant quest to improve the lives of "ordinary" Americans. I find it a shame that wealth is what is being used to define what is ordinary in our people.

    October 26, 2011 at 7:05 am |
    • Ben Herrington

      Empathy and accurate representation are two different concepts. FDR presided over a tumultuous period in American history. The gravity of the situation dictated that he do something to benefit the "common people." The ability to directly relate to someone in a capitalist society really has a lot more to do with class than you seem to realize. When it comes to public policy, we have had policy after policy that benefits the rich at the expense of the middle class. From the Reagan tax cuts on the rich and increases on the poor to the Bush tax cuts that have been extended. Would middle class people have done this to themselves?

      October 26, 2011 at 7:22 am |
  9. Jessica


    October 26, 2011 at 7:03 am |
  10. lee

    how can a rich person understand what it is like to choose between medicines and food and what bill to let go so you can feed a family? Do you know a rich that goes by a budget? They just get what they want ,when they want.

    October 26, 2011 at 6:59 am |
  11. Steph

    they can not. They do not understand the concept of employers with no health or dental insurance plans, retirement, vacation or sick time. They don't understand that you can not live on $10 an hour or you can not help your children when you work two jobs. I will vote for any candidate that ellimates retirement for elected officials, requires 30% of dental and medical to be paid out of pocket. 1 week of sick time and 2 weeks vacation. The rest of the time they must work. Like salaried employees I don't care it it is 24/7 on call. Then perhaps they will understand.

    October 26, 2011 at 6:57 am |
    • Teresa

      So true, so true. I just bought a bumper sticker that says, "Pay Congress minimum wage."

      October 26, 2011 at 7:33 am |
  12. eric

    Of course not,can't u see that's poor president faces so much opposition from these rich republican,who are hell bent on protecting their rich friends.C,mon america unless you don't vote them out of office you will remain jobless and poor,blame yourself for your delemna and not prez them out of office,wake up ppl.

    October 26, 2011 at 6:55 am |
  13. lou

    carol, These are power hungry people and politicians who will tell us only what we want to hear, but according to cain's latest polls, most people are gullable, and that is our biggest problem. cain will continue to find our weak spots like a predator, and will come up with some made-up doosies. I would like to see ali interview these candidates, and ask real questions, like how much does a loaf of bread cost? what does a mother of four children pay to gas up her van. how far does a $250.00 unemployment check go to pay mortgage and expenses? ask them if they are willing to live on unemployment for 2 months? thanks lou

    October 26, 2011 at 6:38 am |
  14. Jayson Knight

    Rich politicians don't need necessarily need to relate to ordinary Americans, much as we can't relate to politicians, however they need to listen to their constituents, and act on constituent needs instead of pushing their own agendas.

    October 26, 2011 at 6:28 am |
  15. afrommi

    Americans do not mind the wealthy. We always have had those. In the same way the poor will always be with us so will the wealthy. Not all of us WANT to be wealthy. But Americans always have been proud of their work and their taking care of their families. There was a time when Americans had a choice of work and pay. Companies were not as greedy and would pay good living wages with insurance and paid vacation and holidays. But when the unions lost power, (outsourcing companies took over) all that disappeared. Well, Americans noticed that the policies being created were only to protect wealth and to make the poor poorer and the middle class poor. Greediness is not a virtue.
    80% of the people in the US could not be dumb not to create wealth. It is not the fault of the people but of the policy makers that have forgotten the public the majority. they work for the top 20% who already controls over 93% of the financial wealth.

    October 26, 2011 at 6:27 am |
  16. afrommi

    A wealthy politician cannot relate to the majority. They do not do their own grocery shopping, so they do not know the price of food or cleaning supplies. They do not do their own taxes, so they do not know what it is on the tax tables, or the standard allowance or why is it there. They do not know how much does it take to fill up the gas tank. They do not understand why do some Americans do not pay taxes. When they see 47% do not pay taxes they do not know that part of those are some of the wealthy who receive only capital gains and if those are not cashed out they pay no taxes on those. Or some are under the poverty line. They do not know what it is to have a child and having to stay home when he is sick because the chile care place does not accept a sick child. A mother will not receive pay for that day. It has to be a great job in order to have sick days or vacations paid.

    October 26, 2011 at 6:20 am |
  17. Patrick

    The true answer is no! They tell us they do, but I haven't heard of one politician yet who has lost their job or their home to foreclosure during this rough economy. If they did relate do you honestly think it would be as difficult as it's been to get unemployed Americans back to work? Or to pass President Obama's Jobs Act, which many "ordinary Americans" support?

    October 26, 2011 at 6:10 am |