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Rick Santorum: “I Have No Problem With Income Inequality… I’m For Income Inequality”

GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum addressed the hot-button topic of income disparity today on the campaign trail in Iowa, declaring that he was “for” income inequality.

"I'm for income inequality." (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

The Des Moines Register reports that Santorum, who made an appearance in Pella, Iowa today, expressed an iota of understanding and sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street movement and its goal of reducing the wealth gap in the United States.

“The reason you see some sympathy among the American public for them is the grave concern – and it’s a legitimate one – that blue-collar workers, lower-income workers, are having a harder and harder time rising,” Santorum told an audience of about 50 people. “They talk about income inequality. I’m for income inequality. I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality.”

“President Obama is for income equality. That’s socialism. It’s worse yet, it’s Marxism,” the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania asserted. “I’m not for income equality. I’m not for equality of result – I’m for equality of opportunity.”

He added: “The key in America is that people can rise, that there are opportunities to move up. In that area, America is falling short now. We are not as income-mobile as even some western European countries, according to a lot of the data. So that is something that as Republicans we should be talking about and being concerned about.”

Fair enough. But Santorum clearly does not comprehend the staggering level of income inequality in this country today. A recent study found that America’s income inequality is worse than that of the ancient Roman Empire. The U.S. is currently ranked 73rd in worldwide income equality, behind such countries as Senegal, Cambodia, Russia, Mozambique, Jamaica, Vietnam, Egypt and Greece– just to name a few.

Worse yet, the 400 richest Americans are worth more than the bottom 60% of us combined, and the six Walmart heirs are worth more than 45,000,000 Americans combined.

What Santorum also seems to be missing is that the “people who work harder” who he refers to in justifying excessive income inequality don’t always work harder or contribute more to society. Is a derivatives trader who makes $300,000 a year “worth more” than a teacher, nurse or firefighter earning one tenth that amount? Is a CEO really 343 times as valuable as the average worker in her company?

For Rick Santorum, the answer seems to be “yes,” and that is very disturbing and indicative of the utter disdain many in the one percent regard the rest of us with. If Santorum really does stand for “equality of opportunity” like he says he does, he’ll have to change his tune ASAP.

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One Comment

  1. WakakoDecember 21, 2011 at 10:27 amReply

    Rick Santorum obviously has never exposed himself to areas stricken with poverty. Or eve worse, maybe he is aware of the consequences of “income inequality” and still doesn’t care.

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