Mitt Romney’s campaign has announced a reboot of his campaign. He will now spend his time explaining exactly how he plans to govern and what his policies will be. But it seems his campaign failed to explain that to Paul Ryan.
When asked by Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, Ryan would not say what loopholes would be closed to meet Romney’s goal of reducing deficits. He hedged by explaining that telling what they would do would doom them and “we want to get it done.” Like his explanation of how they would replace Obamacare, Ryan asserted that the Affordable Care Act was created behind closed doors and sprung on the country. So, the loopholes that Romney is promising would be subject to public hearings, open negotiations, all the things that keep laws from being passed, which is why we have been debating health care reform since 1944. So much for explaining what you will do.
Romney’s official debt reduction and economic stimulus plan calls for cutting tax rates “across the board” by 20%, no small feat when the lowest rates are 10% and 15%, or does he mean 20% of 10% and 15%? Would the bottom rate be dropped to 9.98%? Would the top rate be dropped from 35% to 15% or 29.75%? Welcome to the lack of real details. Romney would also eliminate taxes on interest income, dividend income and capital gains for those earning less than $200,000 a year. That sounds really generous, but how much interest, dividend and capital gains income do you figure you earn every year? At the other end of the spectrum he would eliminate estate taxes. This one only kicks in for estates of over $1,000,000. It is also the easiest tax to avoid by adding one’s heirs to property deeds years before one dies or distributing personal property in dribbles over time. He would repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax and cut corporate rates to 24%.
Cutting corporate rates sounds really good, but not without details on the elimination of the tens of thousands of pages of tax breaks that allowed General Electric to pay no taxes in 2011.
President Obama has learned the hard way that, as Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley siad, “A president proposes. We dispose.”
Meanwhile, Romney let loose today with some real plans, while trying to court Hispanic voters at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He offered three things that sounded very familiar to his audience – citizenship for illegal immigrants who enlist in the military, green cards for college graduates to keep their educations and skills here, and an easier way to reunite separated families. They sound familiar because they are The Dream Act and other proposals of President Obama. Romney finally hit the ultimate flip-flop. He’s become a Democrat.
The rest of his speech dealt with tightening the border, cracking down on illegals and permanently fixing immigration. He repeated that lovely little lie about President Obama having majorities in both houses of Congress and still couldn’t do whatever. Having a majority in the Senate is pointless if the majority doesn’t have 60 votes to override a filibuster. Since 2009, the Senate Republicans set the records for filibusters. .
But it was a candid video of Romney meeting with high rolling donors shortly after he was assured the nomination that presented today’s biggest headache.
Mother Jones got their mitts (pun intended) on the video and posted it on-line. It’s a doozy.
In the video, Romney explains “There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. They are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon the government, who believe they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. [My role] is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income taxes.”
Well, duh. That’s because they don’t earn enough to owe taxes. However, they all pay FICA and Medicare taxes and every other tax in America. Even if they rent, they pay property tax in their rent payments. They pay taxes to use their phones and taxes to watch cable TV and, well, you know all the taxes you pay.
The most popular tax deduction is the home mortgage interest deduction. It most benefits those in that 47%, and it is the one frequently cited as the only deduction whose elimination would benefit the deficit. About 16 million seniors pay no taxes because of special tax breaks for the elderly, according to the Tax Policy Center.
Well, the video release explains why the right wing is resurrecting that video of President Obama from the 2008 campaign, the one where he said that people “cling to their guns and God” in a private conversation. I spent twenty years in the South in career exile. It was a fair assessment.
A CBS/New York Times poll showed that 60% of likely voters believe the President understands the needs and problems of people them, while only 37% said he did not. Only 46% said that Romney understands their problems and 48% said he didn’t. Well, not only does he not understand, but he really doesn’t care.