"I inherited nothing," the millionaire son of a millionaire declares
If a theoretical non-rich Mitt Romney had gone to college (57 percent of male high school graduates enrolled in college in 1965), a prestigious private school like Stanford might’ve been out of reach. When Mitt Romney attended Stanford, tuition was $1,575 a year, which is more than $11,000 in today’s dollars, and this was just at the cusp of the age of financial aid. (If Romney were black, going to college in 1965 would’ve been significantly less likely.) And if theoretical working-class Romney had managed to bootstrap himself into a good school, it would’ve almost certainly been with the assistance of the federal government, in the form of the National Defense Education Act or the Higher Education Act of 1965 (the year Romney enrolled in Stanford).
Romney spent only a year at Stanford, and finished his degree at the less prestigious Brigham Young, at which point he was accepted into Harvard Law and then the very exclusive joint law/business degree program. When that happened, his father, by the way, was a cabinet secretary. I’m just saying.
And of course while Romney was getting his degree, he didn’t have to do anything rash like “go into debt” or “work,” because, as Ann Romney helpfully explained in 1994, the young couple survived by selling stock Romney received from his father. At BYU: “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.” At Harvard, Ann was able to stay home with their children despite neither parent having a job, because “we had no income except the stock we were chipping away at.”
So, yes, self-made man, no inheritance, only silver spoon was the good old red, white and blue. It’s understandable that rich men enjoy the delusion that their own inherent virtue and work ethic are solely responsible for their success, but in men like Mitt Romney, it’s a particularly bizarre delusion.
The more advantages people are born with, the more strongly they tend to believe in their image as “self-made.”