We all remember the ruckus when a while back the President let out with the comment that "the private sector's doing fine." The howls of indignant protest went up about a president who was out of touch, aloof, a man who did not feel our pain. Maybe some of the criticism the comment earned the President was warranted, while he was trying to parse a distinction worth noting (that what private sector recovery we do have is being factored back by the broad effect of austerity on public sector employment), he was losing the forest for noting the different species of tree. The big picture should be better. His job is to have some sense of that.
That said, I think it's almost poetic that President Obama's opposing number came out with words very much along the same lines this past week. Alex Klein writing for the Daily Beast describes "Romney's gaffe" this way:
Romney Thursday night declared—to a group of rich donors, no less—that “big business is doing fine in many places,” partly because these larger corporations “know how to find ways [to] save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world.”
Business doing "fine" —the political sonics of Romney's use of the word are every bit as ripe for exploitation in our political climate as when the President found himself excoriated for saying much the same thing. Klein points out:
Romney’s words on taxes play to practically all of his core, and major, political weaknesses. Highlighting “big business” success resonates with the corporate fat-cat caricature. Attributing that success to “low tax havens” is even worse: a reminder of Romney’s own vast global holdings – from Bermuda, to Switzerland, to the Cayman’s – which have allowed him to defer his tax burden and multiply investor wealth far from American shores.
But the worst part of "Romney's gaffe" —Klein notes— is that he is right.