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Rich Lifestyles of the GOP's Starve-the-Poor Presidential Candidates

With housing foreclosures at an all-time high, the top tier of Republican presidential candidates is living high on the hog.

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He also put in place a state tax structure that redistributes wealth from the working class to the rich, a conclusion reached in a recent  analysis by the  Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Meanwhile, Perry complained about "the injustice that nearly half of all Americans don't even pay any income tax" during his announcement of his presidential candidacy, referring to the 50 percent of Americans who earn too little to pay income taxes, or whose tax payments are refunded through programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is a form of aid to families with children. (All legally employed Americans, however, pay federal taxes for Social Security and other benefits.)

However, Perry was kind enough to "cut back on some luxuries in response to the state's tight finances," a spokeswoman told the AP. She explained that the Perrys have restricted their help to just "one housekeeper, one full-time chef -- although a second chef works part time -- and a mansion administrator who left and was not replaced."

2) Mitt Romney

What former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney lacks in charisma he makes up for in money, with a net worth between $190 million and $250 million. He was born into a wealthy family, which clearly gave him a headstart in life and helped him amass even more wealth as a businessman, demonstrating some truth behind the slogan "the poor stay poor and the rich get rich."

Romney's large fortune wouldn't be such a point of contention if not for his stated desire to raise the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare rather than raising taxes on tax-dodging corporations and the rich. Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress reported on Romney's June campaign stop in Iowa, where he told his audience that we "should consider a higher retirement age" as opposed to raising taxes on corporations because "corporations are people, my friends."

Since Romney's campaign is funded heavily by Wall Street banks , his willingness to coddle the rich at the expense of senior citizens isn't exactly surprising.

His rhetoric also illustrates how out of touch and disconnected he is from everyday Americans. For example, while millions of Americans struggle with losing their one and only home, Romney owns  three homes : a vacation home in New Hampshire, a townhouse in Boston, and a second vacation home in La Jolla, California. Romney recently came under fire after the  San Diego Union-Tribune revealed his plans to quadruple the size of his $12 million Pacific beachfront home in La Jolla.

The silver-spoon-fed millionaire is entitled to do with his money as he pleases. Still, it's near impossible to witness such ostentatious materialism by a man who says the following about the plight of society's most vulnerable, without cringing:

"The threat to our culture comes from within. In the 1960s there were welfare programs that created a culture of poverty in our country. Now some people think we won that battle when we reformed welfare, but the liberals haven't give up. At every turn they try to substitute government largess for individual responsibility. They fight to strip work requirements from welfare, to put more people on Medicaid and remove more and more people from having to pay any income tax whatsoever. Dependency is death to initiative, risk taking and opportunity. Dependency is culture killing. It's a drug. We have got to fight it like the poison it is."

Those are Romney's words from a speech he gave at the 2008 Conservative Political Action Conference, which prompted the crowd to burst into cheers and applause. His heartless rhetoric is not only reserved for the poor. Brad Johnson of ThinkProgress reported on Romney's inability to feel compassion for disaster victims, as well, when speaking about government aid for tornado-ravaged communities in the Midwest earlier this year. "We cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids," Romney said, referring to deficit spending on federal disaster relief for tornado and flood victims. "It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all."

 
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