Romney’s Fiscal Insanity


The conventional wisdom is that Mitt Romney is going to have to move to the middle now that he’s the nominee, moving away from the extreme positions he took during the primary to protect his right flank against the even crazier candidates. But when it comes to budget and taxes, he continued to take the most absurd position imaginable on Face the Nation:

SCHIEFFER: You were one of the vast majority of Republicans to signed the pledge circulated by the leading antitax advocate Grover Norquist, no new taxes under any circumstances. And I remember once back during one of the primaries, you were asked if you would agree to $1 in taxes if you could get $10 cut in spending cuts, and you said at that time, no, I wouldn’t even accept that. Do you still feel that way?

ROMNEY: Well, we all felt that way. And the reason is that government, at all levels today, consumers about 37% of our economy.

SCHIEFFER: But do you still feel–

ROMNEY: Let me go on and explain. The answer is I do feel that way. Government is big and getting larger, and there are those who think the answer is just to take a little more from the American people, just give us a little more. and there are places that have gone that way– California, for instance, keeps raising taxes more and more and more. and funny thing, the more they raise in taxes, deficits get larger and larger. The only solution to taming an out-of-control spending government is to cut spending and my policies reduce the rate of spending…

That’s nucking futs.

Comments

  1. frankniddy says

    They’re as ideologically rigid (or at least appear to be) as the extremist Muslims that want to ban all music. They are, quite genuinely, anti-tax fundamentalists.

  2. Michael Heath says

    I thought the conventional wisdom was to get the wingnuts in full Christianist-spittle flecking mode in order to get them to the polls. The underlying assumption for this strategy is that the ‘up for grabs’ middle is so uninformed this form of bug-eye attractants go under the so-called independents’ radar. That “independents” will vote their team without fessin’ up they’re even loyal to a team.

    This was the approach Fox News took in 2008 which may have failed in 2008 but laid the groundwork for a great 2010 (for them). In 2004 it was getting conservative Christians out to vote by offering them an opportunity to express their conservatively severe hatred of gay people and their families – a great success if you’re a bigot and don’t care about your pocketbook.

    This year’s been pretty tame so far, so maybe Ed’s understanding of punditry’s supposed wisdom is correct. That a move to the middle will be what eventually what we encounter. I’m arrogantly confident that a President Mitt Romney will be the most conservative president in my lifetime, with no close seconds. Especially when it comes to judicial nominations, no Souter and Thomas or O’Connor and Scalia – it’ll be Bork-Alito hybrids on every nomination.

  3. d cwilson says

    The only solution to taming an out-of-control spending government is to cut spending and my policies reduce the rate of spending…

    Which is itself a lie. Mittens has endorsed the Paul Ryan plan, which the CBO projects will actually increase the deficit because when you combine the increase in military spending with the tax cuts for the wealthy, it more than cancels out the cuts they want to make in spending that directly benefits ordinary Americans.

  4. jeremydiamond says

    California, for instance, keeps raising taxes more and more and more. and funny thing, the more they raise in taxes, deficits get larger and larger.

    California’s problem is that they keep NOT raising taxes. Romney must know this, which means he’s lying through his teeth.

  5. Mr Ed says

    California, for instance, keeps raising taxes more and more and more. and funny thing, the more they raise in taxes, deficits get larger and larger.

    If taxes were the cause of the deficit then tax cuts would be the cure. I’m sure glad that 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts eliminated the federal tax cut. So not only is the statement factual wrong as jeremydiamond pointed out but they are pure marketing pucky.

  6. unbound says

    “That’s nucking futs.”

    Yep. Keep in mind that people like Romney made their big bucks by exploiting a system, not contributing in a positive way.

  7. slc1 says

    Re Michael Heath @ #2

    Especially when it comes to judicial nominations, no Souter and Thomas or O’Connor and Scalia – it’ll be Bork-Alito hybrids on every nomination.

    Heath and I can point this out until hell freezes over and it will not have the slightest effect on those on the left who want Obama’s head on a stick (PZ Myers, I’m looking at you).

  8. Jordan Genso says

    To go off-topic, but a follow-up to slc1’s comment.

    Progressives that are rightly disappointed in many of President Obama’s policies regarding civil liberties and transparency need to recognize that if the President is pushed hard enough towards the left, that there is a chance for him to do the correct thing. If Romney is elected, there’s no plausible way for him to do those correct things.

    In regards to the issues that President Obama has failed on, it is feasible for him to do what we want, if we can help make the political climate one in which he feels like he has to. Yes, that sucks he won’t do it without that situation, but I think there’s a better chance of that political climate coming about than electing a third-party candidate who wouldn’t need that climate.

    So we should re-elect the President, and do the best we can to affect the political climate.

  9. harold says

    I thought the conventional wisdom was to get the wingnuts in full Christianist-spittle flecking mode in order to get them to the polls.

    Not always Christian spittle, e.g. Willie Horton.

    But exactly, they’ve never run purely run on Ebeneezer Scrooge economics before. They always ran on anti-Soviet saber-rattling through Reagan (this statement not intended to trigger a debate about other aspects of Reagan’s legacy), G. H. W. Bush ran mainly on Willie Horton, and G. W. Bush initially ran as a fake moderate (losing the popular vote) and then as a two-fisted war president (barely winning either the popular vote or the EV against one of the worst opposing campaigns in history), while indirectly benefiting from anti-gay campaigns.

    There appears to be a lot of wacky panic about the “debt” but a lot of it is code for other issues. The number of people who are passionate about “we’ve got to cut debt but we can’t cut military spending or raise taxes on rich people” is not that great.

    Romney is in a bind. The anti-gay issue has played out – it only plays in the states that are safe wingnut states now, and can hurt you elsewhere. Excessive anti-black racism is a risk while running against Obama (which doesn’t mean we won’t see it). Anti-immigrant stuff is a dangerous game. (Obama’s politically crafty “amnesty” only applies to young people who were brought involuntarily into the US – its limitations have been discussed here, which is what actually makes it more dangerous to oppose. “I favor deporting English-speaking, Americanized 25 year olds who were brought here when they were three”. Maybe that would fly, maybe not.)

    Of course, the real wingnuts understand that the economic stuff is more than economic stuff, it’s code that says who you’ll appoint to SCOTUS and the cabinet, and so on.

    But running JUST on that Grover Norquist stuff? Tricky.

  10. Michael Heath says

    jeremydiamond writes:

    California’s problem is that they keep NOT raising taxes. Romney must know this, which means he’s lying through his teeth.

    I think California’s problem is somewhat different where their approach to governance is more determinative of their budget problems.

    CA taxes are very high, I’m not arguing they’re too high, but they are very high. The problem as I see it is the state likes to put new spending iniatives up for a statewide referendum vote, whole bunches of them. Perhaps the public votes against most, but they vote yes for some – without any corresponding recourse to supplant obsolete spending initiatives. These referendums are always additive. That’s coupled to a legislative process which doesn’t provide much latitude for the legislature to set effective tax rates and where much of the spending favors unions in bed with either Democrats or Republicans. The rise of the prison industry is a good illustration.

    The other chronic and mostly hid problem is healthcare costs paid by state government. Certainly pensioneer benefits get a lot of press, but due to the way states report their budget, by cabinet/department, the cost of increasing healthcare goes largely unnoticed. From a managerial accounting perspective, the costs for healthcare of state employees when pulling those costs out of their education, law enforcement, transportation departments, is the biggest rising cost which is increasingly consuming the budget. Yes, we hear reports about state worker wages being cut or stagnant because of rising healthcare costs, but we don’t get a cost for healthcare relative to the entire state budget, how that’s changed over time, and how its making it increasingly more difficult to maintain a certain set of state services, let alone new services an evolving economy requires – like building out a very fast Internet infrastructure or the dire need for a smart power grid.

  11. katie says

    Michael Heath @2:

    I thought the conventional wisdom was to get the wingnuts in full Christianist-spittle flecking mode in order to get them to the polls.

    They can’t do that this time – Romney’s a Mormon, which means that at least according to some spittle-fleckers, he’s a cultist who’s practically in bed with Satan. Drawing attention to religion in this race would be dangerous, they’ve got to go for racism and economic wingnuttery instead. And this particular blathering shows that he’s pulling out all the stops already!

  12. slc1 says

    Most of these referenda are the result of voter initiatives, not actions of the legislature. It’s too easy to get such initiatives on the ballot via petition drives and it requires only a majority vote to pass them. For instance, proposition 8, which was the amendment to the state constitution to de-recognize same sex marriage only required a majority vote, the same as a statute referendum. Absolutely ridiculous. Similarly, proposition 13 which placed restrictions on property taxes only required a majority vote. Warren Buffet has critically commented on the property tax situation in California.

  13. ArtK says

    @slc1

    Most of these referenda are the result of voter initiatives, not actions of the legislature.

    Same source, different route. The initiatives frequently have hidden special interests behind them, much like legislators do. I stopped counting the number of times I’ve asked someone gathering signatures for a petition who was paying for it. Somehow, they never knew.

    California’s initiative process is a first-hand illustration of why direct democracy coupled with an ignorant electorate is very dangerous. We’re still paying the price for Prop 13. Yes, it’s great that my property taxes haven’t risen very much, but I see the state government stealing funds from cities and counties (where the property taxes are supposed to be used.) Our infrastructure is in horrible shape and schools are cutting back to the bare bones (and have been doing so to some degree since Prop 13.)

    My standard response is to decline signing any initiative petitions and to vote “no” on any initiative unless I’m extremely confident of the source and intended outcome. There are far too many with noble sounding titles that are intended to produce the exact opposite result.

  14. jufulu says

    @13 ArtK,

    My standard response is to decline signing any initiative petitions and to vote “no” on any initiative unless I’m extremely confident of the source and intended outcome. There are far too many with noble sounding titles that are intended to produce the exact opposite result.

    Ditto for me. Just vote no on most referendums. In addition to buying politicians, the moneyed are also buying propositions. Can’t get the politicians to pass a law to benefit you, go directly to the voters through referendum campaigns and remove the middle man.

  15. slc1 says

    Re ArtK @ #13

    Unfortunately, the vested interests behind these referenda are wise to that strategy and will write them in such a way that yes means no and no means yes. 1984 came a little late.

  16. says

    California’s tax burden, per this:

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/wisconsin/89702927.html

    is lower than 13 other states. Alaska’s is the highest, followed by NY. Since NY isn’t floating on a sea of oil it doesn’t get to hide its problem the way that Alaska does.

    I’ve lived in NE,FL,ME,NH,MA and NY. According to various sources they rank all over the lot in terms of tax burden. In reality, if you’re not fairly well to do, there isn’t a noticeable difference. Where states have low or no income or sales tax, the coffers are filled with property/business taxes or fees–plus the “Tax on stupidity” otherwise known as the state lottery.

    The very poor pay no taxes. The wealthy pay a smaller share of their incomes in taxes. The ultra wealthy pay a small percentage of their incomes/holdings in taxes (while their companies benefit greatly from infrastructural and institutional spendind–paid for by others). The middle class and the working poor are fucked and yet millions of them vote against their interests in the area of taxation.

Leave a Reply