What does it really mean to be a worker?

As Paul Krugman reports in the September 21 issue of the New York Times, Mitt Romney seems to have a very different interpretation of who “hard-working Americans” are from most other economic observers.  Krugman argues that Romney and many other Republicans cannot count those people who work with their hands and who sweat through a day as “hard-working Americans.”  Instead he sees the hard-workers almost exclusively as those who are so-called job-creators, or those who start and own small businesses.  Does that mean that if an individual creates an auto repair shop that the only hard-working American in the enterprise is the man or woman who started the shop?  What about those who are under the racks and doing the hard work of fixing the breaks or repairing the transmission?  Apparently they don’t count.  As Krugman says:

For the fact is that the modern Republican Party just doesn’t have much respect for people who work for other people, no matter how faithfully and well they do their jobs. All the party’s affection is reserved for “job creators,” a k a employers and investors. Leading figures in the party find it hard even to pretend to have any regard for ordinary working families — who, it goes without saying, make up the vast majority of Americans.

It’s important to point out that, according to the Small Business Administration, any business that employs 500 workers or less qualifies as a small business.  Such a small business may just be large enough for Romney’s Bain Capital to take a small interest in it.  What most of us consider to be small businesses afd what Krugman’s colleague Thomas Friedman calls micro-businesses; those with 10 or less employees.  So even if we take Romney’s narrow view of who is a hard-working American, these entrepreneurs of small businesses may have corporations with up to 500 workers.

Krugman further reports that Romney’s colleague Eric Cantor, the Republican House majority leader, reinforced his idea by saying:

Consider the Twitter message sent out by Eric Cantor, the Republican House majority leader, on Labor Day — a holiday that specifically celebrates America’s workers. Here’s what it said, in its entirety: “Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success.” Yes, on a day set aside to honor workers, all Mr. Cantor could bring himself to do was praise their bosses.

Romney’s ideas are often misguided, and what’s worse, he frequently does not understand them.  Chalk it up as just one more reason why he simply does not have the skill to be president of the United States, much less CEO of a real company that makes something.