Category Archives: Romney
Multiple Choice Mitt is back today, with a position on abortion which lasted all of about an hour. The following is a collection of quotations from various sources going back to 1994 on Governor Romney’s many versions of his story:
“I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country; I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a U.S. Senate candidate.” His comments, made during a candidate debate, are unequivocal: “I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it.” 1994
“I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose, and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard.” He assured voters, “I will not change any provisions of Massachusetts’ pro-choice laws.” 2002
“And every action I’ve taken as governor of Massachusetts has been pro-life. This is a very difficult decision. We’re involved in the lives of two people: a mom and an unborn child. And yet I’ve come down on the side of saying I’m in favor of life.” 2007
“”My position has been clear throughout this campaign,” Romney said. “I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.” August 27, 2012
Those things I think are consistent with my pro-life position. And I hope to appoint justices for the Supreme Court that will follow the law and the constitution. And it would be my preference that they reverse Roe V. Wade and therefore they return to the people and their elected representatives the decisions with regards to this important issue. September 9, 2012
“Mitt Romney today said no abortion legislation is part of his agenda, but he would prohibit federally-funded international nonprofits from providing abortions in other countries. “There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda,” the GOP presidential candidate told The Des Moines Register’s editorial board during a meeting today before his campaign rally at a Van Meter farm.” Oct.9 2012
Anrea Saul, spokesperson on Romney’s abortion comment to DMR: Rom “wld of course support legislation aimed at providing greater protections for life.” Oct. 9, 2012
For a timeline of Governor Romney’s various positions click here. (with video)
There must be an alternate universe somewhere in which the following trends do not apply. However, these are what they are. The unemployment rate is down. It’s interesting that while the unemployment rate was at least 8% the Republicans had no problem whatsoever vouching for the accuracy of the BLS reports, but once the number fell below their threshold for advertising purposes, then the numbers were questionable? The main point isn’t the specific percentage of unemployed but the trend — which certainly looks better than when the deregulation fueled Recession was in full bloom.
It’s also interesting to note that there must be some other rationale for Gloom and Doom from the Wall Street crowd, because the stock market indices have been going up during the Obama Administration.
If an index of 500 stocks isn’t enough, why not take a look at an index of 5000? Here’s the Wilshire 5000 total market index. If new regulations on banks and their derivative trading is so deleterious to our financial health, then why these rather robust numbers?
Retail sales and food service numbers are looking better too, and the banks are doing well also.
Retail sales, food service, banks doing well. The stock market is back to trending upward, and the unemployment figures aren’t climbing up as they were during the Recession — So, are we better off than we were four years ago? And, why did the Romney Campaign stop asking that question?
In case you missed Chris Hayes’ “UP” this Saturday morning, please review the following segment. It might be hard to find a more succinct summary of the Shell Game which Governor Romney is playing with his tax proposal — essentially the “Bush Tax Cuts on Steroids.” Governor Romney’s tax plan is a three part talking point scheme each part of which distracts from the mendacity of the other two.
As Mr. Hayes observed, they are actually mutually exclusive. For example, you can’t achieve revenue neutrality by lowering taxes for everyone. Nor can you lower taxes for everyone without lowering them for upper echelon income earners. If President George H.W. Bush was correct in labeling Supply Side economics as a form of Voodoo, then we might just as easily label Governor Romney’s tax proposals Sleight of Hand.
How to sell the notion that tax cuts for the extremely wealthy are Good for All of Us? Haye’s points out the crucial element: “The wealthiest Americans will pay a higher percentage of taxes than they do today. Not a higher percentage of their income in taxes, since that would be an outright lie. This is a very common bit of conservative misdirection used to hide the distributional unfairness of their tax cuts.” Here’s what the distributional effect of the Romney Tax Plan looks like if it were truly revenue neutral:
But, but, but “everyone’s taxes will be lower.” However, NOT if the proposal is to be revenue neutral– you don’t get all three walnuts — pick one. If you firmly believe that lowering taxes for the upper level income earners in the United States will cause a tsunami of start up businesses and business expansion, then by all means pick the “everyone’s taxes will be lower” shell. BUT, remember that all Governor Romney is promising is that the rich won’t pay a lower overall percentage of the revenue collected by the I.R.S. — NOT that they won’t see a reduction in their INDIVIDUAL tax liability.
“Romney said in the debate that his plan wouldn’t cut enough tax breaks to offset all of his tax cuts. Economic growth, he said, would be generated by his tax plan and make up the difference. He hasn’t specified how much.” [BusinessWeek] (emphasis added) So, how much would the U.S. economy need to grow in order to make up the difference between his plan’s reductions in tax breaks to offset the tax cuts? Who knows? And, Governor Romney’s not providing the information necessary to properly analyze the results.
The other problem with Governor Romney’s shell game fuzzy math is that he has yet to specify which deductions would be capped or eliminated under his plan. Vague promises about “working with the Congress” to determine the final shape of his tax policy are all well and good, as in “the devil’s in the details but the angel is in the policy.” However, without specificity there’s no way to make his numbers add up to anything even roughly approximating revenue neutrality.
If we assume, rationally, that the lack of real revenue neutrality in the former Massachusetts Governor’s tax policy means what a reduction in revenue always means — program cuts — then the cuts might very well look something like this:
In other words, the American public is being asked to pick a shell, which ever one sounds the best to the undiscerning ear, disregard the other two, and the result will most likely be:
President Obama addressed a rally in Las Vegas yesterday [LVSun] including the stump speech line: “In fairness, my opponent’s got a plan, too,” Obama said. “They think that somehow you can lower our deficits by spending another $5 trillion on tax cuts for the wealthy. No matter how many times they try to reboot their campaign and try to explain it, they can’t.” It’s tempting to conjecture that the Romney campaign has rebooted more often than Microsoft has issued new versions of its operating systems.
One problem is simply that Trickle Down, or Supply Side, Economics is a hoax. [DB] [Krugman] [Stewart] There’s no way to reboot, re-wrap, re-state, or re-launch an economic program predicated upon a fundamentally flawed economic proposition. One with its origins in the 1970s:
A group of thinkers, including the economists Arthur Laffer and Robert Mundell and the journalist Jude Wanniski, became convinced that lower taxes and deregulation were the answer. If you lowered taxes, the thinking went, people would take the extra money and invest it in new enterprises, getting the economy started again. [The New Yorker]
Nor did the initial proponents envision the misuse of the theoretical framework they propounded as a foil for reducing government services to its population:
Laffer, whose inspired napkin scrawl was most responsible for popularizing supply side, warned its followers not to look to the theory as an all-encompassing outlook—economic or ethical. “A problem I have with people who follow us,” he told Brooks, “is that they don’t recognize the theory’s shortcomings. They go too far. I don’t think you cut Social Security or unemployment insurance in a down economy. To do that is—well, immoral.” [The New Yorker]
Since the notion that tax cuts and deregulation work to increase revenue is a proposition thoroughly debunked [EPI]; and, since tax cuts and deregulation aren’t effective in creating a stable economy, witness the Housing Bubble collapse in 2007-2008; and since no causal relationship can be demonstrated between tax cuts and employment. [Bernstein] Then the only straw left in the stack is to decry the Deficit and Debt in order to justify a program predicated on lowering taxes for the wealthy. It’s both a last straw and a thin reed.
Little wonder vice-presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) didn’t want to stand on it when he told Fox News he didn’t have time to explain their tax plan. [TP] A person could spend a goodly part of the next millennium to attempt an explication of in the inexplicable and still not get the job done. “Revenue neutral” only works when its acknowledged that the money has to come from somewhere. If taxes are lowered on corporations, wealth management executives, and wealthy individuals then the other side of the equation has to be addressed in the form of higher taxes on everyone else, draconian cuts to public services, or both. This shouldn’t take much time to explain — any 8th grader in a pre-Algebra class can tell you both sides of an equation must have the same value.
A second problem is that de-regulation, especially in the financial sector, is an invitation to economic instability. We tried that. Combining high speed electronic trading with flawed risk management models with the securitization of assets with the creation of synthetic derivative instruments along with third party bets on asset based securities and those derivatives … created the financialist’s flash crashes and the Wall Street Casino. A volatile financial market is a financialist’s dream — full of opportunities to make big bucks in the margins; it is a Main Street nightmare.
Even the tepid provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, seeking to re-regulate the derivatives markets, to monitor the liquidity and solvency of the major banks, to require banks to development ‘living wills’ in the case of serious trouble, to impose rational orderly liquidation of banks if they fail — are too much for the confirmed financialists. The question becomes how generously will financialist Governor Willard Mitt Romney embrace them.
In May 2012, Governor Romney pledged to repeal the Dodd Frank Act, but offered no specifics. [Boston.com] He was still hewing to that position as of May 26, 2012. [TDB] By August 17, 2012 Governor Romney was calling for “transparency and common sense regulations,” while his running mate was publicly supporting a reversion to the Glass-Steagall Act which prohibited banks from indulging in propriety trading. [Politico] As of September 6, 2012 Bloomberg news reported:
“Mitt Romney has pledged to repeal the Dodd-Frank act. That’s not really going to happen—and that’s just fine with Wall Street. Instead, President Romney would likely try to give the financial industry something it wants more: a diluted financial reform law that would relax restrictions on some of its most profitable—and riskiest—investments but maintain enough government oversight to give the banks cover.”
Somehow, the idea that our government should be primarily concerned with “giving the banks cover,” doesn’t seem to be a particularly good campaign talking point while speaking to middle America. The Etch-A-Sketch could move into over-drive?
Meanwhile back in the real American economy — the growth of which President Obama would like to sustain –
Shows steady growth in the last year in the Real Gross Domestic Product
An economy with some good news for Main Street — retail sales and food service are trending into positive territory –
Shows continued improvement in private sector employment:
President Obama may be campaigning in Nevada’s largest urban area, but the economic message is right out of the First Rule of Ranch Management — If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
I think I get it. How to play the Traveling Money Game — Romney Style. Political Carnival provides the explanation, and because I tend to think in charts and graphs, this is my rendition of that explication.
Sources and References: An Economic Sense, “Romney’s and Ryan’s Confusion on Basic Accounting: Medicare Costs,” August 16, 2012. The Hill, “Gibbs: Ryan should thank Obama for strengthening Medicare,” August 19, 2012. Christian Science Monitor, “Romney says Obama robbed Medicare,” August 16, 2012. New York Times, “Patients would pay more if Romney restores Medicare savings,” August 21, 2012. Washington Post, “Van Hollen: The Romney Ryan Plan Medicare Plan would have immediate cost increases for Seniors,” August 18, 2012. Kaiser Health News, “CBO: Seniors Would Pay Much More For Medicare Under Ryan Plan,” April 5, 2011. Washington Post, “Paul Ryan’s budget keeps Obama’s Medicare cuts – full stop,” August 14, 2012.
The Vague Factor: “
On “60 Minutes,” Romney said: “I don’t want any change to Medicare for current seniors or for those that are nearing retirement. So the plan stays exactly the same.”
Still, it’s unclear if that means a guarantee of no future cuts for those remaining in traditional Medicare, or if Romney is merely saying that the overall design of the program will stay the same.”
Good question, especially since Governor Romney has managed to turn vague political rhetoric into a form of modern performance art.
** Governor Romney is back on the hustings with his Coupon Conservatism in full sail — this time on education. This topic has been covered before, Federal funding for K-12 education isn’t a single large pot portioned out on a per child basis. The Governor would like to have Nevada schools enmeshed in a highly, and unnecessarily, complicated system in which funding follows the individual child — want a bureaucratic nightmare of Brobdingnagian proportions? This would do it. Explanation here.
** Good news, the NV Progressive reports Democrats have a 65,000 person lead in Nevada voter registration. The Gleaner takes on the Nevada senate race here and here. Ralston’s Reality Check (video) has some interesting points to make about Rep. Shelley Berkley’s ad questioning Sen. Dean Heller’s relationship with felon — it gets an A-. Sebelius adds some insight and video at Slash/Politics. Berkley and Heller debate on September 27, and the Washoe County Democrats are hosting a watch party; details here.
** Nevada’s own Sheldon Adelson continues to set records for spreading money in the expressed intent to promote his personal interests:
“Adelson has made history: He is the first person to spend $70 million to sway a presidential election, and he plans to spend more — perhaps as much as $100 million — by Election Day. An estimated $20 million to $30 million of the giving went to groups that do not disclose their donors and had not been reported before.” [LVSun]
Mr. Adelson would, no doubt, like to make those pesky investigations into his operations in Macau go very very far away. Ed Kilgore has more about “Adelson’s Ideological Dollars.” Highly recommended reading.
** Since we qualify as a battleground state for some reason defying our actual number of electoral college votes, The Examiner reports President Obama leads on the Medicare issue. Here’s a picture:
** Suppression Congestion: The Pennsylvania lower court, instructed to re-hear arguments in the vote suppression scheme in that state, will take the case today. More at Crooks and Liars. The Atlantic has an excellent piece describing the impact the Pennsylvania law has on elderly voters. As former President Clinton put it back on September 4th — vote suppression is an act of desperation.
** Arithmetic: The conservative economist whose work Governor Romney is fond of citing to support his tax
shaft shift to middle income Americans — not…so…much:
“Conservative economists have tried make the numbers work. Martin Feldstein — a Harvard professor and president emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research — released a paper arguing that the targets could be met if “middle class” is defined downward — specifically if Romney increases the tax burden on incomes between $100,000 and $250,000 to pay for tax rate cuts for everyone else. Feldstein’s report ratified the Tax Policy Center’s broad thesis that Romney’s 20 percent tax rate cuts could not be offset merely by unwinding deductions and credits for the wealthy — families typically defined by both parties as middle class would also have to take a hit.” [TPM]