One of the most highlighted issues pressed by Democrats in the 2012 Presidential Campaign is Mitt Romney’s wealth and net worth. They chastise him for being an elite rich American and say he is out of touch with the country’s working class. How many times have we heard about “evil” Bain Capital and Romney’s other selfish, “monopolizing” business practices? You would think that every Democratic candidate was a working class American struggling to make ends meet by the way Romney is portrayed. However, examining the wealth of many elite liberals, we see that Mitt isn’t the only one eating with the silver spoon.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is a darling of the far left. The Massachusetts lawmaker was the Democratic nominee for President in 2004, challenging incumbent President George W. Bush. Judging from the left’s harsh rhetoric of class warfare and damnation of high income Americans, you would expect Kerry’s assets to be modest. However, he disclosed his net worth as between $165 and $626 million– the Senate’s wealthiest member. Romney’s net worth is described as between $190 million-$250 million, likely lower than Kerry’s.  So, why wasn’t wealth an issue in the 2004 campaign?

Additionally, Romney has been lambasted by the left for paying a tax rate of 15% and using unethical means of avoiding taxes. However, John Kerry doesn’t exactly have the heart of Warren Buffet when it comes to paying his dues to Uncle Sam. As documented by his campaign’s release of personal finances, Kerry actually paid 13%, lower than Romney.

Romney is also charged with hiding his money in offshore accounts and takes advantage of tax loopholes to save his income. If that is such an issue, what about John Kerry and his $7 Million yacht? The former presidential candidate docks his elite vessel in the neighboring state of Rhode Island so he can avoid the high tax rates that he has helped implement as a lawmaker. By docking the boat across state lines, Kerry is saving an estimated $500,000.  I’m sure if Romney took advantage of such a loophole, MSNBC and the Huffington Post would have a field day. However, Kerry is a Democrat, so he is given a free pass.

If liberals consider wealth to be such an undesirable trait in a candidate, how come Democratic icon John F. Kennedy is never brought to mind?  The Kennedy estate was valued at $1 billion dollars, and JFK’s 1960 Presidential Campaign was almost exclusively funded by his wealthy father Joseph Kennedy, who made a fortune on illegal bootlegging of alcohol during prohibition. In contrast, Mitt Romney gave away his entire $1 million inheritance from his father to charity.

The liberal media will have you believe Governor Romney is a greedy and heartless business man. But the following are some additional facts that they ignore:

1. As Supervisor of the 2002 Olympics, Mitt Romney was granted a salary of $275,000 a year, for a total of $825,000. However, he donated the entire sum to charitable organizations, and donated a million dollars of his own wealth to the Olympic Games.
2. As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney refused to accept the salary of $135,000 entitled to him from the state as he fought the state’s $3 Billion dollar deficit .
3. In 2011, the Romney family donated 19% of their income to charity. After the publishing of Barack Obama’s best selling book in 2006, The Obama family donated only 1% of their income to charity.

Until November, the American media and those left of center will continuously chastise Romney for his wealth and riches. As their class warfare rhetoric amplifies, I hope their hypocrisy is brought to light. The left only demonize conservative wealthy people; being liberal and wealthy is perfectly acceptable. As long as you agree with liberal policies, nothing else matters. Mitt Romney isn’t as rich as Senator Kerry, and pays a higher tax rate, but somehow it is the former governor who is greedy. Romney’s campaign isn’t funded by his father’s immense fortune that was created by illegal activity like John F. Kennedy’s campaign, but apparently Mitt is the unethical one. Governor Romney would be wise to bring his charitable donations to mind. Looking at his admirable record of financial kindness, liberal hypocrisy can be defeated.

Colin Snell | Burlington College | @SnellColin