The Romneys ate tuna

I can only find it funny. There was an old joke about Martin Amis – that his first book was titled My Struggle. That should be a new joke about the Romneys. Our Struggle.

You’re going to need a hanky for this sob story, as told by Ann Romney back in 1994, of just how hard young Mitt and Ann struggled when they were just starting out:

They were not easy years. […]We were happy, studying hard. Neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time.

The stock came from Mitt’s father. When he took over American Motors, the stock was worth nothing. But he invested Mitt’s birthday money year to year — it wasn’t much, a few thousand, but he put it into American Motors because he believed in himself. Five years later, stock that had been $6 a share was $96 and Mitt cashed it so we could live and pay for education.

Let’s interrupt this tale of woe for just a minute to reflect on the value of $96-a-share stock back in 1969, when this great triumph over poverty occurred. Andrew Sabl, who dug up this old Boston Globe interview, did some quick calculationsto figure out just how “not easy” it was to live off Mitt’s stock portfolio:

By Ann’s own account, the stock amounted to “a few thousand” dollars when bought, but it had gone up by a factor of sixteen. So let’s conservatively say that they got through five years as students—neither one of them working—only by “chipping away at” assets of $60,000 in 1969 dollars (about $377,000 today).

I shouldn’t find it funny. I won’t find it funny if the Mormon wins the election. But for the moment…I can’t help finding it funny. Disgusting, but funny.



  1. Desert Son, OM says

    Yeah, at a certain point, I can’t help but think that some basic honesty would actually stand Romney in better stead (though not necessarily improve his chance of election).

    That is: “I am exceedingly fortunate in financial matters in a way very few people in the United States and, indeed, the rest of the world are. When I have fretted over money, I have done so about sums that eclipse the average household income in the United States many times over.”

    It wouldn’t make me want to vote for him (I’m still opposed to his policy inclinations for many reasons), but at least I’d be feeling like, on one thing, he had some honest awareness of his perspective and privilege.

    Still learning,


  2. desoto says

    Reminds me of my college days. I once had to go a whole week without my manservant, whose name I can’t recall. The selfish bastard died. I had to spend hours without a manservant while the agency was interviewing replacements.

  3. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    Now, I don’t use the word ‘heroic’ very often, but…

  4. 'Tis Himself says

    The Romney family was poor, the butler was poor, the maids were poor, the chef was poor, the chauffeur was poor, the nanny was poor, the gardener was poor, the pool boy….

  5. Stewart says

    It suggests an inverted “4 Yorkshiremen” sketch, where each tale of suffering and woe tries to outdo the previous one in terms of luxury and opulence.

  6. M.Nieuweboer says

    “They were not easy years ….. Mitt had enough of an investment from stock”
    LOL! I love sick jokes, especially when unintended.

  7. Al says

    I’m reminded of a story I read about Lord Curzon and his infamous detachment from ordinary life. Seeing a napkin ring in a shop, he asked what it was and what it was for. Told that some people couldn’t afford fresh linen for every meal and used a ring to stow a used napkin from one meal to the next, he was appalled:

    “Can there be such poverty?”

  8. says

    Putting yourself through school, two people, tuition and living expenses, without even a part-time job? And it’s not even because you worked hard earlier, you got it handed to you by your parents.
    I bet there are quite a few people who wish they had it “not easy”.

    I wonder, if this is what qualifies as “not easy”, what does she call it when people have to work two jobs for the privilege of staying above the poverty line?

  9. ckitching says

    I love the 1970s dollars. Makes everything sound like they were cheap and frugal, and that they weren’t that far off from regular Everyday Joes and Everyday Janes. A $43 000 loan doesn’t sound all that spectacular today, and maybe even one someone might receive from a parent today. It’s just too bad that if you factor in inflation, the loan Mitt received from his father for $43 000 in 1970 is more like $250 000 today.

  10. Sili says

    , what does she call it when people have to work two jobs for the privilege of staying above the poverty line?


    How callous do you have to be to bogart all the jobs like that?! No wonder there’s such unemployment, when greedy fuckers go around hogging more than one job each. Just look at brave Ann! She had it hard, but she still settled for doing just one job, mom-ing, so that others might get a chance to work as well.


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