Nick Baumann

Nick Baumann

Senior Editor

Nick is based in our DC bureau, where he covers national politics and civil liberties issues. Nick has also written for The Economist, The Atlantic, The Washington Monthly, and Commonweal. Email tips and insights to nbaumann [at] motherjones [dot] com. You can also follow him on Facebook.

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Republican Senate Candidate: Gap Between Rich and Poor "Should Be Wider"

| Fri Nov. 11, 2011 3:22 PM EST
Without the wealth gap, how would the rich have the money for necessities like this?

Some people think that the large and growing gap between the richest 1 percent of Americans and the other 99 percent, nicely illustrated in our inequality charts, is reflective of broader problems in our society and should probably be smaller. Clark Durant, a Republican businessman who's running for Senate in Michigan, has an alternative view:

In regards to the Occupy Wall Street movement, Durant said the protesters should "go find a job." In regards to the wealth gap the movement decries, Durant said, "I think it should be wider."

Tell us how you really feel!

(h/t Sean Sullivan)

UPDATE: Durant has issued a statement on this matter. Posted without comment:

Thank you for challenging my statement about 'widening the gap'. I do not believe in widening the income gap between rich and poor, and my life's work in the inner city of Detroit demonstrates that far more than any sound bite. At Calvin College my 'widening the gap' remark, in its context, sought to challenge the students to think outside the box when they hear stock statements that pit one group of people against another. We need a country that embraces all, and rewards innovators, entrepreneurs, job creators, and hard-working people of all sorts. Innovators like Steve Jobs and Henry Ford, a part of the 1%, make life better for us all. But instead of just one, what if we had 100, 1,000, or 10,000 such innovators? And that was my point at Calvin College. I'm for innovation, and a commitment to a rising tide that lifts all boats for all Americans. I believe in the 100%.

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Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.): "Other Ethnicities" Are Not As "Straight-Forward" as Midwesterners

| Mon Oct. 31, 2011 12:01 PM EDT
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.).

It's a little surprising this comment last week from Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) hasn't gotten more attention. Here's Philip Molnar of the Express-Times:

[Local business leader Richard C. Spanier] said the best people to do business with are those in the American Midwest because of their "straight-forward" attitude.

"Other ethnicities are not that way," Garrett said. "They'll say yes to you constantly and then you'll realize they really didn't mean it."

Garrett said after the meeting he meant people in other countries.

The clarification doesn't really make this comment much less bizarre or offensive. (Since when do New Jersey congressmen lionize the honesty of midwesterners, anyway?)

Garrett is no congressional rookie. He was first elected in 2002 and is the "most conservative member of New Jersey's congressional delegation," according to the Almanac of American Politics. Today, he chairs the budget task force for the Republican Study Committee, which is basically a club for the GOP's hard-liners. He's also the chairman of the House subcommittee that's in charge of overseeing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two government-sponsored mortgage giants. 

Garrett's district is around 80 percent white. No word on what percentage of those folks are "straight-forward."

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