When rich people betray that they don't have the least clue how ordinary people live, they might coin a "tumbrilism." The perfect tumbrilism is callous, contemptuous, supercilious, insulting, and grotesquely ignorant.
The word "tumbrilism" seems to derive from tumbril, the cart that carried victims to the guillotine during the French Revolution. The mother of all tumbrilisms is Queen Marie Antoinette, who when told that the peasants had no bread, is supposed to have replied, "qu'ils mangent de la brioche," usually translated as "let them eat cake." This classic trumbrilism derives from Rousseau and was not assigned to Marie until a couple of generations after she took her tumble. .
Here are two good Congressional tumbrilisms: a) Fred Heinemann (R-North Carolina): "When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000 a year, that's middle class." b) Congressman John Fleming (R, Louisiana): "The amount that I have to reinvest in my business and feed my family is more like $600,000 ... and so by the time I feed my family, I have maybe $400,000 left over." And a gubernatorial tumbrilism: Paul LePage (R, Maine): "Maine's welfare program is cannibalizing the rest of state government. To all you able-bodied people out there: "Get off the couch and get yourself a job.'"
Here's a classic tumbrilism from the world of sports, courtesy of Jose Canseco, who once had a ball bounce of his shoulder and into the stands for a home run: "You know my life, this financial thing, is a very complicated issue. Obviously, when you make all that money, people think, 'OK, let's assume it is $35 million.' People have to understand that $35 million, you're paying the government 41 percent. That leaves you with about $17 or $18 million, not even. Then you're taking care of your whole family."
But the modern master of the tumbrilism is Mitt Romney, who, when asked about his worth, replied, "It’s between $150 and about $200 some-odd million dollars, I think that’s what the estimates are.”
Other priceless Romney tumbrilisms:
“I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there."
"This feels good, being back in Michigan. You know, the trees are the right height. The streets are just right. I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pick-up truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually."
"I like being able to fire people who provide services to me."
"Even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, 'Well that's heartless.' And I said, 'No, no, I'm willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It'll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.'"
Unlike the dubious provenance of "let them eat cake," these tumbrilisms, though astonishingly naive and self-satisfied, are pure and geniune. Their Mittness is well-witnessed.