Republican Wealth and the Economic Struggle of Ordinary Americans

This was an interesting juxtaposition of articles that came through my feedreader today. Via Metafilter, I learned that Vanity Fair did a breakdown of dollar value of the clothes the women of the Republican National Convention were wearing:

One of the persistent memes in the Republican line of attack against Barack Obama is the notion that he is an elitist, whereas the G.O.P. represent real working Americans like Levi “F-in’ Redneck” Johnston.

It caught our attention, then, when First Lady Laura Bush and would-be First Lady Cindy McCain took the stage Tuesday night wearing some rather fancy designer clothes. So we asked our fashion department to price out their outfits.

Laura Bush
Oscar de la Renta suit: $2,500
Stuart Weitzman heels: $325
Pearl stud earrings: $600-$1,500
Total: Between $3,425 and $4,325

Cindy McCain
Oscar de la Renta dress: $3,000
Chanel J12 White Ceramic Watch: $4,500

Three-carat diamond earrings: $280,000
Four-strand pearl necklace: $11,000-$25,000
Shoes, designer unknown: $600
Total: Between $299,100 and $313,100

Note that Cindy McCain’s earrings COST MORE THAN MY HOUSE. As Vanity Fair notes: “No wonder McCain has so many houses: his wife has the price of a Scottsdale split-level hanging from her ears.”

On the same day, Heather Armstrong asks her readers to rethink some of the Republican talking points in light of the economic realities facing regular citizens:

Any time I engage with one of my conservative friends or family members, or sometimes the conservative commenters on this website, it usually devolves into them screaming about WELFARE! and TAXES! and THE GOVERNMENT IS TAKING MY MONEY AND GIVING IT TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T WORK! And what they don’t understand is that this is not the issue at all. What I and many of my more liberal friends want is to HELP people, not give them a free ride, but also not to ignore those who would benefit from us tossing them a life jacket.

Case in point: Because Leta was diagnosed with plagiocephaly when she was two months old, she cannot qualify for private insurance until she is thirteen years old. So the only insurance we can get her is high-risk insurance that costs us upwards of $300 a month. Just for her alone. And even then that insurance won’t cover anything until she has reached a $3000 deductible. I am fortunate enough to have grown up in a white, middle class family who could afford to send me to college, as did my husband, and we have enough work experience to run a business that makes it so that we can afford this insurance for our daughter. We don’t have to make the choice between buying food or insuring our daughter. We are really fucking lucky.

But what about the family who cannot afford that insurance for their child? The family who can barely make rent, and if they stretch the budget they can eat three meals a day all week, let’s hope nothing bad happens to their kids because then they’re screwed. Kids, go hug your father, he’s off to one of his three jobs, none of which provide him insurance. And it’s not because he’s lazy or unwilling to work, it’s that his family couldn’t afford to send him to college, or he came from a family that didn’t know they should encourage him to go to college because they were busy trying to survive. If giving up more of my paycheck could help get this family adequate healthcare, then PLEASE. TAKE MY FUCKING MONEY.

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Posted in Current Events, Politics

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