Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Here's your choice

It looks like the primary results we'll see in South Carolina this week will confirm that Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee for president this year. Assuming that is true, we'll have a stark choice for American voters between the competing visions he and President Obama have for our country.

In case you haven't noticed, Romney is developing a theme for his candidacy that describes this election as a battle for the "soul of America." So lets look at what he means by that.

Romney asserts that President Obama wants to “fundamentally transform America,” turning the country “into a European-style entitlement society.” In fact, Romney and his Republican presidential rivals have a far more radical transformation in mind. They envision a dramatically shrunken federal government and a dangerously unraveled social safety net...

Consider Romney’s answer to a question at the last debate about the safety net in an age of austerity:

“Well, what we don’t need is to have a federal government saying we’re going to solve all the problems of poverty across the entire country, because what it means to be poor in Massachusetts is different than Montana and Mississippi and other places in the country,” Romney said.

“And that’s why these programs, all these federal programs that are bundled to help people and make sure we have a safety net, need to be brought together and sent back to the states. And let states that are closest to the needs of their own people craft the programs that are able to deal with the needs of those folks.”

Romney went on to tick off specific programs: food stamps, housing vouchers, Medicaid, emergency heating assistance.

“What unfortunately happens is, with all the multiplicity of federal programs, you have massive overhead with government bureaucrats in Washington administering all these programs. Very little of the money that’s actually needed by those that really need help, those that can’t care for themselves, actually reaches them,” Romney added.

First of all, on the issue of administrative overhead, Romney is just plain wrong (as is so often his wont). Here are the facts in graph form from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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Secondly, anyone paying the least bit of attention over the last 50 years or so hears the dog whistles present in talk about "sending programs back to the states." What it means is killing those programs - especially in an era where most states can't even financially meet their current obligations.

And what would that mean for Americans who are struggling today? Interestingly enough, its the Wall Street Journal that recently reported that almost half of U.S. households receive federal government benefits...48.6%. That includes entitlements, but the highest percentage (34.4%) include means tested programs like Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance.

Yes, in these days when the numbers of people living in poverty are soaring and the middle class is struggling simply to stay afloat, Mitt Romney is all about tossing them completely overboard. And that doesn't even get to the part where he wants to raise their taxes while giving he and his 1% buddies a tax break.

So that's what Romney thinks is the soul of America. Just ponder that for a moment.

I'll simply end with a small clip about President Obama's vision - which is in sharp contrast.

1 comment:

  1. Secondly, anyone paying the least bit of attention over the last 50 years or so hears the dog whistles present in talk about "sending programs back to the states."

    Well, we all know what "states' rights" in general is code for, and the behavior of some state governments lately isn't exactly reassuring. Sending these programs back to the states would just provide more leeway for the good ol' boys to torment recipients with drug tests and whatever other entertaining degradations they can dream up.

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