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« Reply #150 on: Sep 17, 2012, 08:19 AM »

September 14, 2012 9:50 AM

To Be Presidential, Romney Must First Be Truthful

By Jonathan Alter

Presidential campaigns sometimes turn on big moments that help voters ponder the central question they have about every challenger: What would this person actually be like as president?

These aren’t the same as gaffes, which are slips of the tongue that may be politically damaging but say little about the candidates except that they misspoke.

I’m talking instead about critical moments of miscalculation — often made in desperation — that illuminate important truths about a politician.

In 1964, Barry Goldwater ardently defended extremism. In 1984, Walter Mondale said he would raise taxes. In 2008, John McCain suspended his campaign to work on the economic crisis and then offered no solutions for it. They all lost.

Now we have Mitt Romney, with astonishingly poor timing, trying to profit politically from tragic events in the Middle East. His remarks on Libya and Egypt at a news conference in Jacksonville, Florida, might or might not hurt his chances with pivotal independent voters in November. But we do know that he has managed to be simultaneously unpresidential, untruthful and unwise.

On the morning of Sept. 12, the world learned of the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the first U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979. Stevens died when terrorists attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. At the same time, angry mobs breached the walls of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Obvious Posture

The obvious and proper posture for a serious presidential candidate at that moment of shock and sadness would have been to show the country he could inhabit the role of mourner-in-chief,
an important part of being president. Vows of justice are also welcome. Even if Romney couldn’t compete with President Barack Obama on this terrain, he needed to at least appear to be above partisan politics for a day or two.

Instead, Romney doubled down on a scorching statement issued the night before by his campaign that said: “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

In Jacksonville, Romney compounded his campaign’s slur with one of his own. “I also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions,” he said.

Accusations that the Obama administration is somehow “sympathizing” with terrorists are false and, well, pathetic.

Here’s what the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, run by the Bush-era Ambassador Anne Patterson, wrote after mobs gathered outside in protest against a virulently anti-Muslim film associated with Koran-burning pastor Terry Jones:

The embassy “condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions,” it said. “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

This is “disgraceful”? Really?

Read dispassionately, the statement is merely an effort by prudent diplomats to prevent a riot and bodily harm to Americans. It is almost identical to what the Bush administration said in 2006 after cartoons denigrating the Prophet Mohammad appeared in European newspapers: “We find them offensive, and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive.”

Was that also “akin to apology,” as Romney deemed the statement from the embassy in Cairo?

Republican Base

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the nominee is trying to pander to the Republican base, almost one-third of which still believes — against all evidence — that Obama is a Muslim.

In a fast-moving international crisis, facts can be confusing, which is why prudent leaders exercise caution. Not Romney, who was proud to shoot from the hip. “I don’t think we ever hesitate when we see something that is a violation of our principles,” he said at the news conference.

A little hesitation might have helped. Romney made it sound as if the statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo criticizing the anti-Muslim film was issued after the compound was under attack. It was issued before. A Twitter post reiterating the message, which the White House later said didn’t represent U.S. policy, was posted during the attack. But this, too, was nothing more than an effort to calm the “Arab street” and save lives.

To get a sense of how tone-deaf Romney’s news conference was, consider that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, Fox News political analyst Liz Cheney and William Kristol, the editor of the Weekly Standard, were just about the only Republicans to echo his message. House Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority
Leader Mitch McConnell, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and McCain (though he assailed Obama on Libya the next day) all issued statements about Stevens’s death and the violence in
Libya and Egypt. None included criticism of the Obama administration.

They understand that it’s not smart to use a tragic occasion to score political points even before the next of kin have been notified.

This fiasco may have originated with Romney, not his staff. In 2010, he wrote a book titled “No Apology” that charged Obama with issuing apologies for America in seven speeches at home and abroad in 2009. But Romney included not a single quote from any of those Obama speeches showing that the president
actually apologized.

Is this what we want in a president? Imagine what would happen in the Arab world if a President Romney, pursuing his “No Apology” policy, expressed no regret when Korans were mistakenly destroyed by U.S. forces at a prison in Afghanistan, as they were earlier this year. The region would be ablaze for
his entire time in office.

Americans recognize that judgment, prudence, instinct and a sense of what the moment demands are all job requirement.
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« Reply #151 on: Sep 17, 2012, 09:36 AM »

Inside the campaign: How Mitt Romney stumbled

By: Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei
September 16, 2012 07:46 PM EDT

Stuart Stevens, Mitt Romney’s top strategist, knew his candidate’s convention speech needed a memorable mix of loft and grace if he was going to bound out of Tampa with an authentic chance to win the presidency. So Stevens, bypassing the speechwriting staff at the campaign’s Boston headquarters, assigned the sensitive task of drafting it to Peter Wehner, a veteran of the last three Republican White Houses and one of the party’s smarter wordsmiths.

Not a word Wehner wrote was ever spoken.

Stevens junked the entire thing, setting off a chaotic, eight-day scramble that would produce an hour of prime-time problems for Romney, including Clint Eastwood’s meandering monologue to an empty chair.

Romney’s convention stumbles have provoked weeks of public griping and internal sniping about not only Romney but also his mercurial campaign muse, Stevens. Viewed warily by conservatives, known for his impulsiveness and described by a colleague as a “tortured artist,” Stevens has become the leading staff scapegoat for a campaign that suddenly is behind in a race that had been expected to stay neck and neck through Nov. 6.

This article is based on accounts from Romney aides, advisers and friends, most of whom refused to speak on the record because they were recounting private discussions and offering direct criticism of the candidate and his staff, Stevens in particular.

Stevens, in a lengthy interview Sunday afternoon, defended the campaign’s performance, refused to discuss internal conversations and insisted Romney is doing far better than the pundits portray. “Like all campaigns, we have good days and bad days. I’m happy to take responsibility for the bad days,” he said. “This is a tremendously talented team.”

To pin recent stumbles on Stevens would be to overlook Romney’s role in all this. As the man atop the enterprise — in effect, the CEO of a $1 billion start-up — Romney ultimately bears responsibility for the decisions he personally oversaw, such as the muffling of running mate Paul Ryan’s strict budget message and his own convention performance.

As the Tampa convention drew near, Wehner, now a “senior adviser” and blogger for the campaign, was laboring under an unusual constraint for the author of a high-stakes political speech. He was not invited to spend time with Romney, making it impossible to channel him fluently.

Nevertheless, Wehner came up with a draft he found pleasing, including the memorable line: “The incumbent president is trying to lower the expectations of our nation to the sorry level of his own achievement. He only wins if you settle.” It also included a reference to Afghanistan, which was jettisoned with the rest of his work.

Instead, eight days before the convention, at a time when a campaign usually would be done drafting and focused instead on practicing such a high-stakes speech, Stevens frantically contacted John McConnell and Matthew Scully, a speechwriting duo that had worked in George W. Bush’s campaign and White House. Stevens told them they would have to start from scratch on a new acceptance speech. Not only would they have only a few days to write it, but Romney would have little time to practice it.

McConnell and Scully, drawing on their experience writing for Vice President Dick Cheney, were racing to finish the convention speech for Romney’s running mate, Ryan (R-Wis.), the House Budget Committee chairman. It was the Wednesday before convention week. Ryan was to speak the following Wednesday, followed by Romney on Thursday.

The two finished Ryan’s text the next day and started crashing on Romney’s. That weekend, Stevens accompanied Romney as he went to a school auditorium in New Hampshire with his wife, Ann, to practice yet another version of the speech. Only one paragraph from the McConnell-Scully draft wound up being used, about a rose that Romney’s father had put on his mother’s bedside table each day. The speech that was actually delivered, it turned out, had been cobbled together by Stevens and Romney himself.

When asked about the various versions of the convention speech, Stevens said: “The governor writes his speeches.” Pressed on whether he does so with no help, Stevens added: “He reaches out to a lot of people. … We don’t discuss who works on what. It’s all just the Romney campaign. Everything is just the Romney campaign.”

The hasty process resulted in a colossal oversight: Romney did not include a salute to troops serving in war zones, and did not mention Al Qaeda or Afghanistan, putting him on the defensive on national security just as the Middle East was about to erupt. It was also very light on policy specifics, much to the chagrin of conservatives who were certain the addition of Ryan and inclusion of Wehner meant a real battle of ideas was about to begin.

The damage had been compounded when, in compressing the program from four days to three because of a hurricane delay, convention organizers had scrapped a planned remote appearance by Romney and veterans that was to be fed live into the Tampa hall from a speech he was giving to an American Legion convention in Indiana. With the salute-the-troops tribute out, the assumption was Romney would pay tribute to them in the speech. He didn’t.

The convention finale was undermined even further by Eastwood’s rambling comedy routine, which became the only glimpse that many swing voters got of the Republican show. Eastwood had been added to the program after chatting with Romney at a fundraiser in Idaho just weeks before the convention.

Stevens and his team loved the idea of the tough-talking American icon greeting the millions of viewers tuning in to the main event. But Eastwood, unlike every other speaker at the tightly controlled convention, had free rein to say or do whatever he wanted without the campaign’s approval. Eastwood has said just minutes before going live, he was handed a chair to sit on, which he promptly decided should become a prop in his speech.

Many in the Romney high command watched in fury. Later, a poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that for many voters — especially independents and casual viewers, exactly the ones convention organizers hoped to reach — the Eastwood skit, not Romney’s speech, was the highlight of the convention.

As mishaps have piled up, Stevens has taken the brunt of the blame for an unwieldy campaign structure that, as the joke goes among frustrated Republicans, badly needs a consultant from Bain & Co. to straighten it out.

“You design a campaign to reinforce the guy that you’ve got,” said a longtime Romney friend. “The campaign has utterly failed to switch from a primary mind-set to a general-election mind-set, and did not come up with a compelling, policy-backed argument for credible change.”

In what many in the campaign now consider a fundamental design flaw, Stevens is doing three major jobs: chief strategist, chief ad maker and chief speechwriter. It would be as if George W. Bush had run for president in 2000 with one person playing the roles of Karl Rove, Mark McKinnon and Michael Gerson. Or if on the Obama campaign of 2008, David Axelrod had not been backed up by Jim Margolis, Robert Gibbs and Jon Favreau.

Asked if he had assumed too many roles, Stevens said he had big teams to help him in each area. “Everybody wears a lot of hats,” he said. “We’re that kind of campaign — very un-compartmentalized.” He said that making the ads in-house has been a huge advantage. “You can walk down and stick your finger in the cookie batter.”

Stevens enjoys little of the internal affection that surrounded the brain trusts of the Bush and Obama campaigns. “I always have the impression Stuart must save his best stuff for meetings I’m not important enough to attend,” said one Romney campaign insider. “The campaign is filled with people who spend a lot of their time either avoiding him or resisting him.”

Stevens, who has won a string of U.S. Senate and governor’s races, worked on the Bush campaigns of 2000 and 2004, and was signed up with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008, but then switched to Romney.

POLITICO has learned when Romney was gearing up for his 2012 run, he made never-before-reported overtures to Ken Mehlman, the manager of Bush’s campaign, and Mike Murphy, a top strategist who remains close to Romney.

Still, when Romney went for a leaner campaign with fewer consultants, Stevens was left standing. At Romney’s insistence, Stevens and his business partner, Russ Schriefer, went all in, closing the Stevens and Schriefer Group office in Washington and moving into a first-floor warren at Romney headquarters in Boston’s North End.

Schriefer said Stevens “has done a very good job of keeping the campaign focused on a message of jobs and the economy, and focused on what it takes to win.”

“He has a competitive spirit that translates to the rest of the team,” Schriefer said. “When there’s criticism, you’re always going to get people trying to blame someone. This is not something unusual. The important thing is that the campaign is staying very focused. We know what we want to do, and we think we’re in a very good position to win.”

A mad-professor aura, combined with post-midnight calls to sleeping senior staffers, have led some colleagues to express increasing concern about what the campaign is doing to Stevens — and what Stevens is doing to the campaign.

The GOP convention failed to generate momentum or excitement for Romney — a potentially fatal setback for the struggling campaign. Before that, Romney’s criticism of Olympics organizers just after he landed in London set the tone for a snake-bitten foreign tour that some top campaign officials had argued against taking. Last week, Romney diluted his repeal-“Obamacare” message by saying on“Meet the Press” that he would keep part of the plan. Then Romney’s incendiary late-night statement after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya led many conservative allies to say he had squandered credibility as a potential commander in chief.

Stevens had vocal internal critics long before the recent blunders. One proposal by the strategist that drew ridicule behind his back envisioned a “Route 66” bus tour along the pre-Interstate, Dust Bowl migration highway. Other advisers argued that Romney hardly needs more retro or nostalgic connotations. That idea morphed into a blander “Every Town Counts” week, hitting smaller population centers of six target states in the Northeast and Midwest.

Asked about the bus-tour ideas, Stevens said: “We bat around a lot of ideas. … The campaign has a very collegial — we have a good locker room. There’s a lot of support, a lot of collaboration, a lot of cross-pollination of idea from across the board.”

But whatever Stevens’s shortcomings, presidential candidates get the campaigns they want. And Romney, who in an interview with POLITICO last month said his leadership style very much centers on having a variety of smart people offering advice and him being the decider, has taken a very active role running his own campaign.

In a way, that’s the problem. Romney associates are baffled that such a successful corporate leader has created a team with so few lines of authority or accountability.

Romney has allowed seven distinct power centers to flourish inside his campaign, with the strategy pod, headed by Stevens and Schriefer, handling the most essential ingredient — the candidate’s public message and image.

Then there is the conventional staff, led by campaign manager Matt Rhoades, who functions as an air-traffic controller. For months, Republicans inside and out of the campaign have said the structure is problematic. Rhoades, for instance, is as disciplined and methodical as Stevens is improvisational and disorganized.

Add to those the old Boston hands — Beth Myers, Peter Flaherty and Eric Fehrnstrom; longtime friends and advisers — Mike Leavitt, Bob White and Ron Kaufman; newcomers with juice, especially Ed Gillespie; the family, with his sons and Ann Romney involved in many decisions; and the money folks, headed by a longtime Romney friend and helper, Spencer Zwick.

Campaign officials said most parts of the Romney operation run in the rigid, metrics-driven style of Rhoades, a veteran of the buttoned-up Bush operation of 2004. These parts include finance, voter contact, legal and communications. This stands in contrast to the hazy controls over things in Stevens’s domain, the officials said.

“It is organized the way enterprises are organized: There is a person in charge, and people underneath him with specific responsibilities,” a Romney official said. “There are clear goals and objectives, and constant measurement. Elsewhere in the enterprise, there are all kinds of people with influence and authority but only vague responsibilities.”

Stevens, a 58-year-old son of the South, is easy for conservatives to dislike. His official bio does not exactly scream “Republican ad guy from Mississippi”: “Stuart was educated at Colorado College, Middlebury College, Oxford University and the UCLA Film School, [and] is also a former Fellow of the American Film Institute.”

He is not particularly ideological, and has a big-city, Hollywood aura that grates on movement conservatives. “He’s a smart, capable guy but he sends bad signals” to the right, said a Republican operative who works closely with the campaign. “He has a lot of goofy quotes that cause everybody to shake their heads. … Stuart is one of the most insecure guys in the business. But he has become the top strategic adviser to the nominee, which is a huge accomplishment.”

A Romney official explained: “Mitt is a sticker — he stays with you. He had a reputation at Bain for sticking with people. They made a bad investment, he hung with them. … None of this is going to be fixed. This is the organization, and this is who Mitt is betting on to win. There aren’t going to be further changes.”

A person who recently was alone with Romney added: “Big changes would destabilize the thing.”

Every profile of Stevens includes the descriptor “eclectic,” which seems fair, given he has skied to the North Pole, chronicled his use of steroids to compete in an extreme race, written novels and a campaign memoir, advised clients in Albania and Congo and consulted on Hollywood projects, including the political film “The Ides of March.”

Stevens has a free-flowing way about his life and is excited by ideas he deems wonderful or weird. He enjoys a love-hate relationship with the media — firing off emails with his candid and often illuminating take on the political spat of the moment, while also stoking the media-is-so-damned-biased flames inside the campaign and among conservatives.

Inside the Romney campaign, Stevens has preached a gospel of caution and consistency: Keep the candidate tightly focused on a bad economy and a worse president. In an interview last year with Robert Draper for The New York Times Magazine, Stevens explained his theory of the case this way: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback “Michael Vick’s not a real good pocket guy … So don’t tell him he can’t roll out. Try to make him the best rollout guy that’s ever played.”

A growing number of conservatives are blaming Stevens for advocating a campaign of caution, one that puts all the emphasis not on how good Romney could be but how bad Obama is. “Credit for this fog goes to that inner circle of Romney advisers who never liked the Ryan pick and have reasserted their will over a candidate who is naturally cautious,” conservative columnist Kimberley Strassel wrote in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. “In the la-la land where adviser Stuart Stevens presides, Mr. Romney wins by never saying a single thing, ever, that might rock a single boat, ever.”’

Stevens was a big, early advocate of a bland vice presidential candidate, privately talking up former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and pushing the idea of an outsider, anti-Beltway ticket. But Stevens is hardly to blame for what many conservatives consider a campaign that is specifics-free and lame. That blame goes straight to the man running his own campaign: Romney himself, according to a number of people in and out of the campaign.

Some Romney loyalists think Stevens never fully appreciated what a good and unique candidate they had in Romney, and pleaded early on to showcase what they saw as a generous, wise and gifted leader. Still, for reasons not fully understood by those around Romney, the candidate not only went with Stevens but gave him tremendous authority.

There are no signs his authority is getting curtailed: Sources inside the campaign said he just prevailed in an internal battle over the next rounds of ads, customized for each swing state.

“Politics is like sports,” Stevens said. “A lot of people have ideas, and there’s no right or wrong. You just have to chart a course, and stay on that course.”

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« Reply #152 on: Sep 17, 2012, 06:27 PM »

SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters
When he doesn't know a camera's rolling, the GOP candidate shows his disdain for half of America.
—By David Corn | Mon Sep. 17, 2012 1:00 PM PDT - motherjones.com

During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don't assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them. Fielding a question from a donor about how he could triumph in November, Romney replied:

    There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the 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. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.

Romney went on: "[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Mother Jones has obtained video of Romney at this intimate fundraiser—where he candidly discussed his campaign strategy and foreign policy ideas in stark terms he does not use in public—and has confirmed its authenticity. To protect the confidential source who provided the video, we have blurred some of the image, and we will not identify the date or location of the event, which occurred after Romney had clinched the Republican presidential nomination. Here is Romney expressing his disdain for Americans who back the president:


At the dinner, Romney often stuck to familiar talking points. But there were moments when he went beyond the familiar campaign lines. Describing his family background, he quipped about his father, "Had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this." Contending that he is a self-made millionaire who earned his own fortune, Romney insisted, "I have inherited nothing." He remarked, "There is a perception, 'Oh, we were born with a silver spoon, he never had to earn anything and so forth.' Frankly, I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you can have: which is to get born in America."

Romney told the contributors that "women are open to supporting me," but that "we are having a much harder time with Hispanic voters, and if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting block has in the past, why, we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation." When one attendee asked how this group could help Romney sell himself to others, he answered, "Frankly, what I need you to do is to raise millions of dollars." He added, "The fact that I'm either tied or close to the president…that's very interesting."

Asked why he wouldn't go full-throttle and assail Obama as corrupt, Romney explained the internal thinking of his campaign and revealed that he and his aides, in response to focus-group studies conducted by his consultants, were hesitant to hammer the president too hard out of fear of alienating independents who voted for Obama in 2008:


    We speak with voters across the country about their perceptions. Those people I told you—the 5 to 6 or 7 percent that we have to bring onto our side—they all voted for Barack Obama four years ago. So, and by the way, when you say to them, "Do you think Barack Obama is a failure?" they overwhelmingly say no. They like him. But when you say, "Are you disappointed that his policies haven't worked?" they say yes. And because they voted for him, they don't want to be told that they were wrong, that he's a bad guy, that he did bad things, that he's corrupt. Those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing, but he just wasn't up to the task. They love the phrase that he's "over his head." But if we're—but we, but you see, you and I, we spend our day with Republicans. We spend our days with people who agree with us. And these people are people who voted for him and don't agree with us. And so the things that animate us are not the things that animate them. And the best success I have at speaking with those people is saying, you know, the president has been a disappointment. He told you he'd keep unemployment below 8 percent. Hasn't been below eight percent since. Fifty percent of kids coming out of school can't get a job. Fifty percent. Fifty percent of the kids in high school in our 50 largest cities won't graduate from high school. What're they gonna do? These are the kinds of things that I can say to that audience that they nod their head and say, "Yeah, I think you're right." What he's going to do, by the way, is try and vilify me as someone who's been successful, or who's, you know, closed businesses or laid people off, and is an evil bad guy. And that may work.

(Note: Obama did not promise his policies would keep unemployment under 8 percent, and 50 percent of college graduates are not unemployed.)

To assure the donors that he and his campaign knew what they were doing, Romney boasted about the consultants he had retained, emphasizing that several had worked for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:


    I have a very good team of extraordinarily experienced, highly successful consultants, a couple of people in particular who have done races around the world. I didn't realize it. These guys in the US—the Karl Rove equivalents—they do races all over the world: in Armenia, in Africa, in Israel. I mean, they work for Bibi Netanyahu in his race. So they do these races and they see which ads work, and which processes work best, and we have ideas about what we do over the course of the campaign. I'd tell them to you, but I'd have to shoot you.

When one donor said he was disappointed that Romney wasn't attacking Obama with sufficient intellectual firepower, Romney groused that the campaign trail was no place for high-minded and detail-oriented arguments:


    Well, I wrote a book that lays out my view for what has to happen in the country, and people who are fascinated by policy will read the book. We have a website that lays out white papers on a whole series of issues that I care about. I have to tell you, I don't think this will have a significant impact on my electability. I wish it did. I think our ads will have a much bigger impact. I think the debates will have a big impact…My dad used to say, "Being right early is not good in politics." And in a setting like this, a highly intellectual subject—discussion on a whole series of important topics typically doesn't win elections. And there are, there are, there are—for instance, this president won because of "hope and change."

Romney, who spoke confidently throughout the event and seemed quite at ease with the well-heeled group, insisted that his election in and of itself would lead to economic growth and that the markets would react favorably if his chances seemed good in the fall:


    They'll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I'm going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president's going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends of course which markets you're talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We'll see capital come back and we'll see—without actually doing anything—we'll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets reelected, I don't know what will happen. I can—I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected. But my own view is that if we get a "Taxageddon," as they call it, January 1st, with this president, and with a Congress that can't work together, it's—it really is frightening.

At the dinner, Romney also said that the campaign purposefully was using Ann Romney "sparingly…so that people don't get tired of her." And he noted that he had turned down an invitation from Saturday Night Live because such an appearance "has the potential of looking slapstick and not presidential."

Here was Romney raw and unplugged—sort of unscripted. With this crowd of fellow millionaires, he apparently felt free to utter what he really believes and would never dare say out in the open. He displayed a high degree of disgust for nearly half of his fellow citizens, lumping all Obama voters into a mass of shiftless moochers who don't contribute much, if anything, to society, and he indicated that he viewed the election as a battle between strivers (such as himself and the donors before him) and parasitic free-riders who lack character, fortitude, and initiative. Yet Romney explained to his patrons that he could not speak such harsh words about Obama in public, lest he insult those independent voters who sided with Obama in 2008 and whom he desperately needs in this election. These were sentiments not to be shared with the voters; it was inside information, available only to the select few who had paid for the privilege of experiencing the real Romney.

COMING SOON: More from the secret Romney video.

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« Reply #153 on: Sep 18, 2012, 07:54 AM »

This is the response from Obama about Romney statements:

CHICAGO – “It's shocking that a candidate for President of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives. It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.” – Jim Messina, Obama for America Campaign Manager
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« Reply #154 on: Sep 18, 2012, 08:27 AM »

Here's a press conference with Romney's response:
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« Reply #155 on: Sep 18, 2012, 10:50 AM »

Hi All,

The exposure of Romney by way of this 'secret video' has occurred while the transiting Lucifer is now on his S.Node in Sagittarius, the truth coming out by way of 'gods' hand' in it, and while the transiting N.Node of the Moon is on top of his Moon/Jupiter conjunction in Scorpio in his 6th House. And that transiting N.Node is also square his natal Lucifer in Leo in his 4th. It was just learned that the place of this event took place in a multimillionaires house, and that person is  millionaire hedge fund manager, and that that person is also addicted to 'sex parties'. Look at how graphic that is relative to the EA symbols involved here. Just incredible.

God Bless, Rad

Here is yet another example:

Romney: ‘There’s Just No Way’ To Achieve Middle East Peace

By Ben Armbruster on Sep 18, 2012 at 8:44 am

Photo: Getty
Mother Jones is out with a new video from a high-dollar fundraiser for Mitt Romney in which Romney says he believes a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is “unthinkable” and that his policy will be to “kick the can down the the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”

Romney’s comments came at the same fundraiser in which Romney said he’s not concerned about 47 percent of Americans “who are dependent upon the government” and believe they’re entitled to food and shelter.

Romney has previously said he supports a two-state solution but in the video uncovered by Mother Jones, the GOP presidential nominee indicates he has no interest in actively pursuing peace:

    ROMNEY: I’m torn by two perspectives in this regard. One is the one which I’ve had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. Now why do I say that? Some might say, let’s see the Palestinians have the West Bank, and have security and set up a separate nation for the Palestinians. And then come a couple of thorny questions. [...]

    And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, “There’s just no way.” And so what you do is you say, “You move things along the best way you can.” You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with it in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it. We don’t go to war to try and resolve it imminently.

Watch the video:

But when asked recently if he supported the two-state solution by the Israeli paper Haaretz, Romney said:

    “I believe in a two-state solution which suggests there will be two states, including a Jewish state. I respect Israel’s right to remain a Jewish state. The question is not whether the people of the region believe that there should be a Palestinian state. The question is if they believe there should be an Israeli state, a Jewish state.”

While Romney does pay lip service to the two-state solution, publicly, his rhetoric at the fundraiser mirrors much of what he’s been saying throughout the campaign. The “Israel” issue page on his campaign website makes no reference to a “two-state solution” or a “Palestinian” state. He said earlier this year that now is not to the time to be talking about a peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians. So Romney has never really been interested in a two-state solution, he was just more up front about it at his fundraiser.
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September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney, Class Warrior


It turns out that Mitt Romney was right. There is class warfare being waged in the 2012 campaign. It is Mr. Romney who is waging it, not President Obama, and he’s stood the whole idea on its head.

When you think of class warfare, you probably think of inciting anger, resentment and jealousy among the have-nots against the haves. That’s what Mr. Romney has accused Mr. Obama of doing, but those charges have always been false. The truth is that Mr. Romney has been trying to incite the anger of a small slice of the richest Americans who need no government assistance but get it anyway, against the working poor, older Americans, the disabled workers and veterans, and even a significant chunk of middle-class Americans.

That was the message of remarks that Mr. Romney made in May at a private fund-raiser held at a private equity manager’s estate in Florida, a moment when he thought he was safe from annoying reporters and cameramen, and other Americans who are not rich enough to have bought a ticket to the event.

A video made public on Monday by the magazine Mother Jones showed a Mitt Romney who felt free to speak candidly about his campaign and how he would conduct a presidency. In that safe zone, Mr. Romney spoke with a bone-chilling cynicism and a revolting smugness. If he is elected, he said, capital will come back and “we’ll see — without actually doing anything — we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.” That’s the state of trickle-down economics in the 21st century.

Gone was the pretense that he will be a president of all Americans. Mr. Romney rather neatly divided the country between the people who matter and the 47 percent he does not care about.

To Mr. Romney, that 47 percent consists of people who do not make enough money to be required to pay federal income tax. They are freeloaders, he said, “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the 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.” It is not his job, he said, as a candidate nor apparently as president if he is elected, “to worry about those people.”

By his definition, those undeserving freeloaders include workers in low-paying, menial jobs (sometimes more than one job) who don’t even earn $9,750 a year, the amount at which they would start to owe federal income tax. Also included are older Americans whose Social Security pensions are too low to be taxed, disabled veterans and people who were maimed on the job.

This group also includes some middle-income Americans who make, say, $50,000 a year but are not required to pay taxes after they take advantage of child credits, marriage penalty relief and other tax breaks, many of which are part of the Bush-era tax cuts that Mr. Romney backs with a blind ideological fervor.

But, of course, Mr. Romney was not talking about the Americans who make so much money that they are able to avoid paying any tax at all or who, like him, are able to shelter their incomes in overseas banks or tax loopholes that permit them to pretend that ordinary income comes from investment and thus pay lower taxes. Mr. Romney has been paying, by his own account, about 13 percent to 15 percent of his enormous income in federal income taxes. Just compare that with your own tax return.

Everything about Mr. Romney’s characterization of this mythical slice of lazy, shiftless Americans was wrong. A vast majority of Americans pay federal taxes, either income tax or payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare — or both — as well as other federal fees. They also pay state and local taxes and sales taxes.

The government’s revenue problem does not start with the poor but with the richest people, through the Bush tax cuts and other changes. The tax cuts for the richest people should expire now, and the middle-class cuts should do so eventually. But that will not happen as long as people like Mr. Romney protect the rich by turning the working poor and middle class into the enemy.

Mr. Romney may have been talking about electoral tactics: those people are going to vote for Mr. Obama, so let’s concentrate on our kind of people. It’s also possible that he was mouthing the words of the extreme right without really believing them. But all the possible explanations say terrible things about Mr. Romney’s character.

The right wing has long been whining about people who don’t pay taxes and who, therefore, don’t deserve a say in government. They have it backward. The shame is not that those people don’t pay income taxes. The shame is how many poor people there are when the top 1 percent can amass uncountable fortunes fed by tax breaks and can donate tens of millions of dollars to political candidates to keep it that way.


September 17, 2012

Thurston Howell Romney


In 1980, about 30 percent of Americans received some form of government benefits. Today, as Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute has pointed out, about 49 percent do.

In 1960, government transfers to individuals totaled $24 billion. By 2010, that total was 100 times as large. Even after adjusting for inflation, entitlement transfers to individuals have grown by more than 700 percent over the last 50 years. This spending surge, Eberstadt notes, has increased faster under Republican administrations than Democratic ones.

There are sensible conclusions to be drawn from these facts. You could say that the entitlement state is growing at an unsustainable rate and will bankrupt the country. You could also say that America is spending way too much on health care for the elderly and way too little on young families and investments in the future.

But these are not the sensible arguments that Mitt Romney made at a fund-raiser earlier this year. Romney, who criticizes President Obama for dividing the nation, divided the nation into two groups: the makers and the moochers. Forty-seven percent of the country, he said, are people “who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

It suggests that Romney doesn’t know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.

It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen.

The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.

Romney’s comments also reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact. In 1987, during Ronald Reagan’s second term, 62 percent of Republicans believed that the government has a responsibility to help those who can’t help themselves. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, only 40 percent of Republicans believe that.

The Republican Party, and apparently Mitt Romney, too, has shifted over toward a much more hyperindividualistic and atomistic social view — from the Reaganesque language of common citizenship to the libertarian language of makers and takers. There’s no way the country will trust the Republican Party to reform the welfare state if that party doesn’t have a basic commitment to provide a safety net for those who suffer for no fault of their own.

The final thing the comment suggests is that Romney knows nothing about ambition and motivation. The formula he sketches is this: People who are forced to make it on their own have drive. People who receive benefits have dependency.

But, of course, no middle-class parent acts as if this is true. Middle-class parents don’t deprive their children of benefits so they can learn to struggle on their own. They shower benefits on their children to give them more opportunities — so they can play travel sports, go on foreign trips and develop more skills.

People are motivated when they feel competent. They are motivated when they have more opportunities. Ambition is fired by possibility, not by deprivation, as a tour through the world’s poorest regions makes clear.

Sure, there are some government programs that cultivate patterns of dependency in some people. I’d put federal disability payments and unemployment insurance in this category. But, as a description of America today, Romney’s comment is a country-club fantasy. It’s what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney.

Personally, I think he’s a kind, decent man who says stupid things because he is pretending to be something he is not — some sort of cartoonish government-hater. But it scarcely matters. He’s running a depressingly inept presidential campaign. Mr. Romney, your entitlement reform ideas are essential, but when will the incompetence stop?

Frank Bruni is off today.


September 18, 2012

Let Them Eat Crab Cake



Oh, for the days when we thought Mitt Romney didn’t stand for anything.

As a secret video from a Boca Raton fund-raiser with high rollers in May shows, Romney in private stands for so many bizarre things that it’s hard to tell what’s crazier — his domestic policy or his foreign policy.

Less than 50 days before the election, we learn that Romney may have given up on half of America and on Mideast peace.

In a reply to a fat cat at the $50,000-a-plate dinner, he wrote off 47 percent of the country as deadbeats, freeloaders and “victims” who feel they’re entitled to stuff — stuff like basic sustenance.

“Well, there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” he said. “All right? There are 47 percent who are with him. Who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they’re entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

The candidate, who pays so little in taxes relative to his income that he has to hide tax returns and money in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, then added, condescendingly: “These are people who pay no income tax.”

“So my job is not to worry about those people,” he blithely concluded. “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” What kind of presidential candidate shrugs off wooing whole groups — we’re talking many seniors and white-working-class voters in battleground states who are, if he actually knew what he was talking about, his own natural constituencies?

A “stupid and arrogant” one, as Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, put it.

Conservatives knew that Romney was no Reagan, but the tape left many Republicans and Obama strategists gobsmacked. One top Democrat called it “a treasure trove of stupid answers.”

On Fox News Tuesday, Neil Cavuto gently asked Romney if he had “prematurely” presumed that he couldn’t get all of those voters. Mitt’s rambles to the donors, released by Mother Jones magazine and, in a bit of poetic justice, unearthed by Jimmy Carter’s grandson, were a stunning combination of wrong facts, callous sentiments and dumb politics.

He seemed to have bought into the warped canard that some conservatives inside and outside of Congress have pushed: that the president and Nancy Pelosi were nefariously hooking people on unemployment benefits so they’d get addicted and vote Democratic to keep the unemployment bucks flowing like crack.

It’s literally rich: Willard, born on third base and acting self-made, whining to the rich about what a great deal in life the poor have.

We thought Romney was secretly moderate, but it turns out that he’s secretly cruel, a social Darwinist just like his running mate.

You’d assume that it would be hard now for Romney to resume bashing President Obama for demonizing and pandering on class warfare, with lines like he’s been using on the trail: “he and his allies are pushing us all even further apart by dividing us into groups.”

But, even as Mitt was spitefully demonizing and dividing in Boca, he remained cardboard-cutout un-self-aware, musing: “The thing which I find most disappointing about this president is his attack of one America against another America.” This is the absolute height of cluelessness.

At another point in the video, Romney once more showed his foreign policy jejuneness, questioning the workability of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, which is U.S. policy endorsed by W.

Mr. Sunshine said he sometimes felt “that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace — and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.”

He continued: “You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize this is going to remain an unsolved problem,” adding, “And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately somehow, something will happen to resolve it.”

Wow. That’s leadership. He said a former secretary of state had called him to suggest that after the Palestinian elections there might be a prospect for a settlement, but that “I didn’t delve into it.”

After months of doggedly trying to seem more likable, sharing his guilty pleasures like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snooki, Romney came across as a mean geek, a Cranbrook kid at the country club smugly swaddled in class disdain. He thinks being president is his manifest destiny. His father didn’t make it, so he will — no matter what far-out conservative positions he must graft on to in order to do it.

We’re in search of the real Romney. But, disturbingly, so is he.

One thing we have to give Mitt, though: He is, as advertised, a brilliant manager. He’s managed to ensure that President Obama has a much better chance of re-election.


September 18, 2012

Middle East Comments Could Vex a Romney Administration


BOSTON — No one has ever had any illusions about where Mitt Romney stands on the two hottest disputes in the Middle East: the argument over the creation of a Palestinian state, and the debate over what can be done to assure that Iran does not get a nuclear weapon.

In both cases, he has taken positions very close to those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, his friend from their days together as young consultants here in Boston.

But if he is elected president in November and finds himself in negotiations over a future Palestine on Israel’s borders, Mr. Romney may find that his comment at a campaign fund-raiser — captured on video — that “there’s just no way” a separate state can be workable could undermine his effectiveness in bringing the two sides together. And any dealings with the mullahs of Iran may not be facilitated by his description of them, in the same video, as “crazy people.”

Mr. Romney’s aides, in interviews on Tuesday at the campaign’s headquarters in the North End of Boston, played down the statements. They said that there was no news in the Iran comments, and that Mr. Romney was simply arguing for a more credible strategy that would strike fear in the Iranian leadership. And they said his position on the Palestinian dispute remained unchanged: he believes in a two-state solution, the kind President George W. Bush endorsed early in his presidency.

On both the Palestinian and Iran issues, the aides said the real problem was President Obama, who they said had not been tough enough with Iran and had left the Mideast peace process to die, worsening the problem by separating the United States from Israel and leaving its ally feeling insecure and unwilling to negotiate.

Mr. Romney’s foreign and legal policy director, Alex Wong, said the candidate believed that while Mr. Obama says the military option for dealing with Iran is on the table, “he spends more time worrying about an Israeli strike than he does about stopping Iranian nuclear capability.”

Still, Mr. Romney’s comments on the video left the strong impression that he believes any Palestinian state, jammed close to Israel’s most vital and economically vibrant cities, may well be unworkable. He said he had felt “for some time” that “the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.”

Mr. Romney asked his audience to imagine a map where the “border would be, maybe seven miles from Tel Aviv,” and on “the other side of what would be this new Palestinian state would either be Syria at one point or Jordan.”

“And of course the Iranians would want to do through the West Bank exactly what they did through Lebanon, what they did in Gaza,” Mr. Romney said, “which is, the Iranians would want to bring missiles and armament into the West Bank and potentially threaten Israel.”

If Israel patrolled the border, he went on, “the Palestinians would say: ‘No way! We’re an independent country. You can’t, you know, guard our border with other Arab nations.’ ”

“And now how about the airport? How about flying into this Palestinian nation? Are we going to allow military aircraft to come in and weaponry to come in? And if not, who’s going to keep it from coming in? Well, the Israelis. Well, the Palestinians are going to say, ‘We’re not an independent nation if Israel is able to come in and tell us what can land in our airport.’ ”

He concluded: “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, there’s just no way.”

Mr. Romney said the best that could be hoped for was “some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem.”

The Palestinians, not surprising, had a different view. Yehia Moussa, a Hamas official in Gaza, argued that the United States had “never been suitable” as an arbiter in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute because it instinctively sided with Israel.

“We are sensing a new pattern of alliances among the Zionist lobby and the rightist Americans who believe in Zionist legends and predictions,” Mr. Moussa said. “Romney is part of this.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, said the prime minister would not comment.

On Iran, Mr. Romney made an argument — often repeated by experts in both political parties — that the biggest risk of an Iranian nuclear program is that it would supply terrorist groups with the means to make a nuclear weapon or a “dirty bomb,” a conventional device laced with radioactive material that can make parts of a city uninhabitable. But his problem may come in how he characterized the Iranian leadership.

“America could be held up and blackmailed by Iran, by the mullahs, by crazy people,” he said. “So we really don’t have any option but to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.”

Mr. Romney’s aides did not say whether he believed that Iran’s leaders were rational actors who could be subjected to pressure.

Jodi Rudoren contributed reporting from Jerusalem, and Sharon LaFraniere from Boston.


How is as an example of Neptune in Pisces ? A universe constructed of total lies and fiction that is considered to actual reality .....

September 18, 2012 02:00 PM

Romney's '47 Percent' Rant Reveals a Right Wing Voting Bloc Built on Lies

By David Neiwert

There's always that moment of total cognitive dissonance that happens when people who happen to live in the real world, and not that right-wing ideological bubble we sometime call Planet Bizarro, listen in on the conversation as conservative True Believers like Mitt Romney babble their Fox-brewed talking points among each other. That's the component that makes Mitt's revealed videos of his "47 percent" rant to fellow Republicans so special.

The dissonance is different for different people. For me, it lay in this: I pay federal taxes. Lots of them. I have every year of my adult life. Moreover, I have never taken a dime of government largesse and am not in any sense dependent on it. And I would never vote for Mitt Romney or the Republicans or their whole every-dog-for-himself philosophy. Nor am I alone. Like millions of other smart Americans, I want a strong and complete social safety net, because I'm smart enough to understand that making sure everyone is cared for appropriately makes the whole of society better for everyone, me included. I might add, for the privileged particularly -- even though they're too stupid and selfish to get that.

But that's only a small component of the bigger picture here, which is pretty stark when viewed in perspective, namely: The conservative worldview is increasingly built on a foundation of complete and utter falsehoods, laughably provable, and irredeemably vicious in nature.

The Foxheads and their right-wing enablers have now closed ranks to proclaim, once again, that "Romney was right!" Which is pretty funny, when you think about it: After all, it was clearly Romney regurgitating an oft-repeated Fox News falsehood, as Media Matters lays out in detail, that we saw on that video.

You can see the epistemological loop closing in on itself, so that they now are just talking among themselves on their own planet, believing only their own lies as a bizarre version of fabricated reality.

And it creates a quasi-eliminationist mentality among these True Believers. Romney and his fellow Republicans not only really believe that these people's views should be dismissed, but that their views should not count at all.

My favorite iteration came when Steve Doocy not only claimed that 47 percent of the American public pays no taxes at all, but suggested that this status might be reasonable cause for them to lose the right to vote.

I'm sure, however, that Doocy would make an exception for the 7,000 millionaires who paid no taxes at all.

The best part of all this, though, is that the whole "47 percent pay no taxes" meme is a lie. David Leonhardt at the New York Times demolished it two yeas ago:

    The 47 percent number is not wrong. The stimulus programs of the last two years — the first one signed by President George W. Bush, the second and larger one by President Obama — have increased the number of households that receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.

    But the modifiers here — federal and income — are important. Income taxes aren’t the only kind of federal taxes that people pay. There are also payroll taxes and investment taxes, among others. And, of course, people pay state and local taxes, too.

    Even if the discussion is restricted to federal taxes (for which the statistics are better), a vast majority of households end up paying federal taxes. Congressional Budget Office data suggests that, at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes. The number 10 is obviously a lot smaller than 47.

Moreover, that doesn't even include the bigger picture, which includes a wide range of non-federal taxes:

    State and local taxes, meanwhile, may actually be regressive. That is, middle-class and poor families may face higher tax rates than the wealthy. As Kim Rueben of the Tax Policy Center notes, state and local income taxes and property taxes are less progressive than federal taxes, while sales taxes end up being regressive. The typical family pays a lot of state and local taxes, too — almost half as much as in federal taxes.

    There is no question that the wealthy pay a higher overall tax rate than any other group. That is an American tradition. But there is also no question that their tax rates have fallen more than any other group’s over the last three decades. The only reason they are paying more taxes than in the past is that their pretax incomes have risen so rapidly — which hardly seems a great rationale for a further tax cut.

As Annie Lowrey explained at the NYT recently:

    The nonpartisan and highly respected Tax Policy Center derived the 47 percent number – it is actually 46 percent, as of 2011 – and published an excellent analysis of it last summer.

    It found that about half of the households that do not pay federal income tax do not pay it because they are simply too poor. The Tax Policy Center gives as an example a couple with two children earning less than $26,400 a year: The household would pay no federal income tax because its standard deduction and other exemptions would simply erase its liability.

    The other half, the Tax Policy Center found, consists of households taking advantage of tax credits and other provisions, mostly support for senior citizens and low-income working families.

    Put bluntly, these are not households shirking their tax liabilities. The pool consists mostly of the poor, of relatively low-income working families and of old people. The tax code is specifically designed to reduce the burden on them.

    Indeed, the recession and its aftermath have left tens of millions of workers out of a job or underemployed, removing more households from payment of federal income taxes. Moreover, the Bush tax cuts – the signature Republican economic policy of the 2000s, which doubled the child tax credit, increased a number of other deductions and exemptions, and lowered marginal tax rates – erased millions of families’ federal income tax liabilities.

    It is also worth noting that though tens of millions of families do not pay federal income taxes, there are virtually no families that do not pay any taxes – between payroll taxes, sales taxes, state and local taxes, and on and on.

Perhaps even more amusing is that, if reality were known to Mitt Romney, then he would know that he's actually attacking his own base, since the states where 47 percent of the population pay no federal income taxes are deep red states, mostly in the South, and its Northwestern counterpart, Idaho:

Credit: Tax Foundation

But as Derek Thompson observed in delving these numbers deeper:

    The 47% aren't lucky ducks cheating the system. They're mostly poor working families getting pilloried by the political party that wrote the rules they're following. If the 47% are the monster here, then Republicans helped play the role of Dr. Frankenstein. "Non-payers" have grown in the last 30 years because of marginal tax rate cuts and credits like the EITC passed under Republican presidents and continued by both parties in Congress.

And what's truly sad is that many of those people will actually be gulled into voting for Mitt Romney, because Fox News tells them he's on their side.
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09/19/2012 02:51 PM

The World from Berlin: 'Who Wants an Amateur in the White House?'

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney appears to have seriously damaged his chances of election with his comments about the "47 percent" of voters who are "dependent" on the state. German commentators are baffled by how a career politician could have made such an embarrassing gaffe.

Has Mitt Romney shot himself fatally in the foot? Many observers are wondering if the Republican presidential candidate can recover from the damage he has done to his own campaign with his remarks that almost half of Americans see themselves as "victims" and live off the state.

In the speech, which was secretly filmed at a $50,000-a-head fundraising event, Romney said that the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay income tax would never vote for him. "There are 47 percent who are with (Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the 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," Romney said in the recording, which was published Monday on the website of the magazine Mother Jones. He added that his role "is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Romney tried to defend his remarks on Tuesday, telling Fox News that he knew those people who are "dependent on government" would not vote for him and calling the idea of government "redistribution" an "entirely foreign concept."

US President Barack Obama made political capital out of Romney's remarks in an appearance on David Letterman's late-night talk show. "One thing I've learnt as president is you represent the entire country," he said. "There are not a lot of people out there who think they are victims."

The race remains tight, however, ahead of the Nov. 6 election. A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that 47 percent of likely voters support Obama, with 46 percent backing Romney.

On Wednesday, German commentators analyze the impact of Romney's gaffe.

The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

"Sure, other candidates have also put their foot in it while talking in a supposedly intimate setting. Four years ago, Barack Obama, for example, talked disparagingly about white workers who desperately 'cling to guns or religion.' That comment still haunts the Democrats today …."

"But Romney's verbal blunders threaten to leave deeper scars. Even before the latest comments, the once-moderate Massachusetts governor was considered an opportunist. Three-fifths of his countrymen think he is a man who says what he thinks people want to hear instead of the truth. Even if Romney were now to apologize, people will not buy his remorse."

"Nevertheless, the election has not yet been decided. Romney still has three opportunities, in the form of the three TV debates with Barack Obama in October. Romney has to hope that many voters will only start paying close attention to him then. But he will be on his own. No touching speech by his wife or million-dollar donation will save him then. He has to help himself. Otherwise, he will soon join the ranks of those who he despises -- the losers."

The conservative Die Welt writes:

"The vote will be counted on the evening of Nov. 6, but it can already be predicted with a degree of reliability that Mitt Romney has lost the US presidential election. The former Massachusetts governor personally hammered the nail in the coffin of his political career when he told donors that 47 percent of Americans would vote for Barack Obama because they see themselves as 'victims' and rely on the state."

"Obama, too, has made his fair share of rhetorical blunders … but by excluding almost half of his compatriots from the American dream, Romney has insulted all those people in question. Romney's 'off-the-cuff speech' is not only quantitatively devastating, it is also qualitatively worse because it provides ammunition for the Democrats' charge that Romney wants to conduct politics for the benefit of the better-off."

The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:

"It's not very convincing if a presidential candidate who says he wants to revive the 'American dream' excludes almost half of voters right from the outset because they live on state aid anyway and are not willing to take responsibility for themselves. Mitt Romney may be right when he says that those people will not actually vote for him. Nevertheless, he committed a strategic blunder: Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush certainly gave the impression that they also cared about the fate of those whose lives could not be described as a success story."

"It will now be even easier for Obama's people to portray the Republican nominee as a rich man who will conduct politics on behalf of America's rich -- and as a man who commits gaffes and is therefore not capable of holding the country's highest office."

The Financial Times Deutschland writes:

"Of all the blunders that Mitt Romney has made in the current election campaign, this is the worst. We can ignore the fact that the Republican presidential candidate called the Olympic host Great Britain incapable or attacked the incumbent Barack Obama in sharp tones. But writing off one half of his own country's population? Now that's something. The candidate said that it was not his job to concern himself with the 47 percent of voters who supposedly rely on government assistance and are therefore Obama supporters. It's amazing how a politician can voluntarily brand himself as a cold-hearted capitalist."

"We Germans can already hardly understand why many Americans would prefer to vote for Romney. But if we now like to believe that he has stumbled, then that is wishful thinking on our part. The policies that we like -- the welfare state, universal health insurance, a foreign policy of rapprochement-- are the policies that Obama stands for. He is Europe's preferred candidate. But the political culture in parts of the US is different. It is more conservative, more religious, more skeptical about government and more focused on the individual. And some statements that would cause a scandal in Germany are only enough to cause a blip in the polls in the US."

The business daily Handelsblatt writes:

"A professional politician would never make such comments publicly -- at most, they would talk about it in a small group -- but never at an event for donors, even if they paid $50,000 for their lunch. Yet this is what Mitt Romney did when he chatted all too openly in Florida a few months ago. Hence, it is less the content of his remarks and more the lack of professionalism that surprises us and gives us pause. After all, who wants an amateur in the White House who can't even keep his campaign under control?"

"This new scandal could spell the end of Romney, who is already notorious as a capitalist and cold-hearted millionaire. Five years after the Lehman bankruptcy, Americans don't need a president who divides society into the rich and those who live off the state. That also applies to Republican voters. After all, many of them don't pay any taxes."

-- David Gordon Smith

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« Reply #158 on: Sep 23, 2012, 07:25 AM »

Romney campaign demanded rules change to stack Univision forum with supporters

By Jonathan Terbush
Saturday, September 22, 2012 14:08 EDT

In a coordinated effort to appear more popular among Latino voters, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his campaign insisted on a few last-minute changes to the candidate’s participation in a Univision town hall that allowed them to pack the event with fervent Romney supporters.

According to BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins, the Romney campaign asked the town hall’s organizers to be exempt from a previously agreed upon rule that tickets to the event be given mainly to college students. Tickets to the event were split between Univision, the University of Miami, who co-sponsored the event, and the two campaigns, with both sides agreeing to give their tickets almost exclusively to university students.

But when team Romney ran into a dearth of college supporters—they gave some of their tickets to conservative groups on campus and still had plenty of extras left over—they asked for an exemption to the rule. According to one of the moderators, Maria Elena Salinas, the Romney campaign then upped the ante, suggesting that if Univision did not grant an exception, then they would potentially need to “reschedule” the event.

Univision relented, and the Romney campaign was allowed to bus in boisterous supporters from around Florida to pack the town hall and cheer on his performance. The result was clear to viewers, who saw Romney drawing loud applause at various points during his interview. By contrast, President Obama, who sat down for the same forum the following night, received far more tempered reactions from the crowd.

In addition to the ticket rule change, the Romney campaign also reportedly demanded that Univision retape the introductory remarks made by moderator Jorge Ramos, arguing that the original introduction made Romney look bad. In that intro, Ramos noted off the bat that Romney only agreed to give the network 35 minutes of his time, while Obama had agreed to sit for a full hour.

Romney reportedly refused to go on stage when introduced, instead forcing the network to retape the segment and drop the mention of the time differential. Ultimately, the two sides compromised and the network was allowed to mention the differential at the end of the segment—though it was lost amid the cheering of the Romney supporters the campaign bussed in to the event.
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« Reply #159 on: Sep 23, 2012, 08:12 AM »

September 22, 2012 2:55 PM

Mitt Romney: worst presidential candidate ever?

Well, that may be putting it too strongly, but I do believe that, on a purely personal level at least, the Mittster may well be the least appealing presidential candidate in my lifetime. He oozes insincerity, shallowness, and arrogance; those qualities would be less than awesome in any political environment, but the latter is particularly grating in an economy like this one, where so many are struggling. Worse, not only does he totally lack a common touch, he doesn’t bother to attempt it. The fake populist shtick George W. and especially George H.W. Bush indulged in could be annoying and awkward — remember pork rinds? — but I give them credit for trying. That in itself showed some humility and made them seem a little more human.

But Mittens, at this point, is beginning to emit the strong whiff of a loser. You can almost smell the blood in the water; his own staff has already started bitching to the press about turmoil within the campaign, and even his putative supporters are writing columns comparing him to Thurston Howell III. The only demographic that seems genuinely enthusiastic about the guy are the Mormons, for understandable reasons. But I think there’s an increasing sense among Republicans that they have got a gold-plated turkey on their hands. In public, most Republicans are keeping their counsel for now, but once the election returns are in, I strongly suspect the knives will be out.

Years from now, if people want to understand just what was so awful about MItt Romney, the film below (H/T: Melissa McEwan) would not be a bad place to start. Awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it; as McEwan says, the man is a social trainwreck. A fun drinking game would be to watch the video and take a belt whenever he unknowingly insults someone. Keep in mind that the YouTube below was released in early 2012, so it misses such golden moments from the Mittens highlights reel as “I like to fire people,” gratuitously insulting the cookie maker, trashing the Brits during his alleged “charm offensive” at the London Olympics, his cheap shots at the Obama administration during the recent crisis in the MIddle East, and, last but not least, his infamous remarks about 47% of Americans being moochers and looters who are not “entitled” to food. Enjoy!





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« Reply #160 on: Sep 23, 2012, 09:52 PM »

And this one is really cute!
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« Reply #161 on: Sep 24, 2012, 06:34 AM »

Mitt Romney Sincerely Hates You

By Amanda Marcotte
Thursday, September 20, 2012 10:25 EDT

As Scott Lemieux notes, this ludicrous narrative has emerged that Romney was merely pandering to his rich benefactors in the 47% video and wasn’t expressing his sincere beliefs. It’s a more clever dodge than the MISSING TWO MINUTES!!!111!!11!1eleventy!!!!111! one. For one thing, the MISSING TWO MINUTES!!!111!!11!1eleventy!!!!111! claim has been debunked and the missing footage is available for viewing, and was only missing because there was an uploading error that has been corrected. But the “what’s in his mouth isn’t what’s in his heart” thing is more disturbing because it allows people to believe that Romney isn’t what he seems. It’s also somewhat plausible, because Romney is such an empty set of a candidate. Most politicians are adept at telling people what they want to hear, but by both Democratic and Republican estimation, Romney is a special case who appears to have no convictions at all.

Well, I think the reason these videos are so compelling is that this is the first time we’ve gotten a full earful of what Romney sounds like when he’s being sincere. What’s amazing about these videos is that he expresses conviction that we almost never hear from him. His anger at people who feel “entitled to food” was so much more sincere than, say, his nostalgia at remembering his father giving roses to his mother. It’s so startling that Jonathan Chait, who was, by his own measure, eager to give Romney the benefit of the doubt, is now reeling at what a hateful bastard the man turned out to be.

    Instead the video exposes an authentic Romney as a far more sinister character than I had imagined. Here is the sneering plutocrat, fully in thrall to a series of pernicious myths that are at the heart of the mania that has seized his party. He believes that market incomes in the United States are a perfect reflection of merit. Far from seeing his own privileged upbringing as the private-school educated son of an auto executive-turned-governor as an obvious refutation of that belief, Romney cites his own life, preposterously, as a confirmation of it. (“I have inherited nothing. Everything I earned I earned the old fashioned way.”)


    First, in general, a candidate’s statements behind closed doors to people who already support him are more likely to reflect his true beliefs than public statements designed to appeal to those who don’t share his beliefs. Second, Romney does pander a lot, but the thing is that he’s absolutely terrible at it. His lies are obvious, which makes the moments when he says something he seems to genuinely take to heart strikingly different. His comments about the 47 percent were notable for their apparent genuineness.

It’s always entertaining when a centrist white male Democrat gets exposed to the real asshole lurking underneath the genial exteriors of the handful of Republicans who have managed to get centrist white male Democrats to think they’re not so bad. Alas, for the queers, the ladies, and the people of color, imagining that there’s a Republican politician left standing who means well but is just a tad conservative is a luxury we cannot afford. “He isn’t so bad” isn’t something that makes sense when contemplating someone who would veto your right to marry, force you to have a baby against your will, and enact spending cuts that are only popular with Republicans because they disproportionately hurt people that look like you. From our vantage point, it’s easy to see that if you’re a white dude who means well but is a little conservative, you should just be a Democrat. Much to our dismay, there’s plenty of room for you in the party.

Not that I think the lesson will stick or anything. We went through this process with John McCain, who was applauded as a reasonable conservative, and then exposed to be a seething mass of anger and resentment against ordinary Americans just trying to get by. And we’ll probably go through it again in 2016. But I just want to be clear: Beyond learning this about Romney (or McCain or whoever), we need to realize this attitude of obsessive sneering at the lower classes is what being a Republican is about. And it’s a problem that actually echoes through the classes. Wealthy Republicans sneer at everyone. Upper middle class Republicans (and sadly, some Democrats) sneer at the lower middle classes, and see them as crass and wonder why they don’t just get a little better. Middle class Republicans generally obsess over why service sector employees aren’t more docile and cheery. White working class Republicans obsess over what the poor are doing, especially if they’re poor people of color. There aren’t really poor Republicans, so I think I can finish up with that. If there’s any doubt that this is their favorited form of discourse, I invite you to go to Facebook and look at what the Republicans you know are talking about.

I mean, his name is “Mitt”. If you were writing a comedy that had a sneering upper crust frat boy as a character, you’d pick that as his name, and then reconsider on the grounds that it’s too easy.


Romney and the Rich Self-Deluded

By Amanda Marcotte
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 9:22 EDT

By now, I’m sure you’ve all seen the video of Romney, thinking he’s speaking with like-minded rich people in private, telling them that 47% of Americans are “dependent” because they—as he’s tried and for all we know succeeded to do in the past—don’t pay income taxes. The obvious inference from this canard, which was a favorite amongst Tea Partiers, is that half the country works and the other half of the country sits around eating bon bons paid for by welfare. That we don’t really have welfare in this country in the sense they’re imagining does nothing to dissuade pampered conservatives of this belief.

Beyond just echoing Tea Party implications that half the country lives on welfare, this claim is a lie. It is true that nearly 47% of Americans don’t pay income taxes, but pretty much all of them pay taxes: sales taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes, etc. And the reason so many people don’t pay income taxes is because assholes like Romney and his buddies have worked so hard to keep average workers toiling for peanuts.

    Firstly, some of those people who did not pay income tax, still paid payroll taxes, for social security and Medicare, so that it was only 18.1% of households that did not pay any income or payroll taxes.

In other words, most of these people work for a living, but make so little money they don’t pay income taxes. Remember, this was a room full of rich people burning with resentment. Frankly, if they think it’s so great working your ass off for below a living wage, I welcome them to trade places with any random member of the working poor.

    Of the 18.1% paying no income or payroll taxes, more than half (10.3% of all households) were elderly, so retired people who may well have paid income and payroll taxes, as well as others, during their working lives. Of the remainder, 6.9% of all households did not pay income or payroll taxes, essentially because they were poor, leaving 1% of “others” who did not pay either of these two types of taxes. Presumably, within the “others” category would fall the likes of six of the 400 US tax filers in 2009 with the highest adjusted gross income (at least $77m), who, according to Internal Revenue Service studies, paid no US income tax, and the 19,551 US households with income above $200,000 who owed no US or foreign income tax.

So those are the fact, and they have nothing to do with this right wing fantasy of half of Americans paying taxes so the other half can live on welfare.

There’s a tendency on the left, though it’s thankfully fading, to believe that the right wing propaganda machine that pumps out horseshit is run by a bunch of cynical rich people who know that this stuff isn’t true, but are trying to dupe the masses into believing it and voting against their own interests. And most of that image is true. They are cynical. They do finance unbelievable amounts of propaganda. They are exploiting people’s bigotries in order to get them to vote against their own interests.

But what I hope people realize watching this video is that rich right wingers are true believers. Their fancy educations and their access to the world hasn’t done a damn thing to make them more aware of the world. On the contrary, they’re aggressively ignorant. But for whoever leaked this video, that room was eating up these blatantly obvious lies. These folks live on a cloud of wealth that separates them from reality so much that they can convince themselves that, say, a huge chunk of Americans don’t work out of laziness. Which is a belief that anyone who has had to sit in traffic without a driver to handle that for you can tell you is nonsense. The propaganda they push out to the masses is a reflection of their true delusions.

And they think that you have it too easy.
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« Reply #162 on: Sep 24, 2012, 06:36 AM »

Chris Hayes: Romney tapes reveal ‘plutocracy’ just ‘whining’ about everything

By Megan Carpentier
Sunday, September 23, 2012 17:41 EDT

“This is what plutocracy looks like,” Chris Hayes told his audience on Sunday after viewing the now-infamous Romney 47% tapes. “The first thing that jumps out is that a lot of the question [asked of Romney] are really inane.”

“The folks in the room all but advise Romney to tour around the country reading passages from Ayn Rand novels out loud as his campaign rallies and hectoring the idiotic masses to bow before their obvious superior,” Hayes said by way of characterizing the advice Romney got from his $50,000-a-plate donors. “Romney, who is many things but not a total fool, gently explains that probably is not the best way to go about attempting to win over the Obama voters he needs to be elected,” Hayes added.

“Almost none of the advice Romney gets during the tape is very good. Some of it is terrible,” Hayes said, but that’s not the interesting part. The interesting part, he explained, is that “Unlike the millions of other political junkies and backseat drivers, this small coterie of folks by sole virtue of their wealth, gets to impose their invaluable insights on the actual candidate.”

“This is the power of money, not just in politics but in society more broadly: the power to make people listen to your ideas, no matter how dumb or uninformed,” Hayes said.

He added, “The other thing that stood out to me was just how under siege, persecuted and victimized these extremely wealthy people appear to feel,” he added. “And what you hear from them is the same kind of whining that was the central theme of the Republican convention.” (Hayes’ response to the “whining” was this clip from “Reservoir Dogs” featuring the world’s smallest violin.)

“And yet despite the fact that Obama has managed a recovery that has been exceptionally good to them,” Hayes said, “Wall Street is incensed that anyone would call them ‘fatcats’ or assign new financial regulations.” He added, “In almost every way conceivable, they inhabit an alternate universe. And everyone’s pretty frank about that.”

Hayes said that the tape reveals one of the biggest problem with the amount of money that’s required to be in politics in this day and age: “It’s not that lots of money can buy elections, though sometime’s that’s true. It’s not that campaign contributions function as a quid pro quo, chits to be cashed in when legislation is being considered — though that’s also often true. It’s that every single person running for high office in America is forced to spend the vast majority of their time around one group of people, and one group only: wealthy people. That’s who they talk to and listen to all day long, day in and day out, every day for months and years and decades. It has an incredible warping effect.”
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« Reply #163 on: Sep 24, 2012, 08:42 AM »

Millionaire Mitt: It’s ‘Fair’ For Me To Pay Lower Taxes Than Middle Class Americans

By Igor Volsky on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:03 am

Mitt Romney told CBS’s 60 Minutes that it’s “fair” for him to pay a tax rate of just 14.1 percent on his investment income of $20 million, a lower rate than someone earning $50,000 a year in wage income:

    SCOTT PELLEY (HOST): Now, you made on your investments, personally, about $20 million last year. And you paid 14 percent in federal taxes. That’s the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did?

    ROMNEY: It is a low rate. And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35 percent.

    PELLEY: So you think it is fair?

    ROMNEY: Yeah, I think it’s the right way to encourage economic growth, to get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work.

There is little economic evidence to support Romney’s argument that higher capital gains and dividend rates will discourage investment. As Paul Krugman has pointed out, the current very low rate of 15 percent, wasn’t enacted until 2003. Between 1986 and 1997 “long-term capital gains were taxed at close to 30 percent” and under President Clinton, the rate sat at 20 percent, while dividends were treated as regular income. “I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain,” Warren Buffet explains.

Indeed, investors continued to invest, despite the higher rates, and throughout the Clinton period, the nation actually saw stronger investment. So it’s difficult to take Romney’s argument seriously — both because history shows that the wealthy don’t need a capital gains rate 20 points below the top marginal income tax rate (currently 35 percent) in order to invest their money and because Romney himself believes he paid too little in investment taxes, choosing to forfeit $1.8 million in charitable deductions.


Adviser Admits Romney’s Tax Plan Would Redistribute Wealth

By Igor Volsky posted from ThinkProgress Economy on Sep 23, 2012 at 10:12 am

Mitt Romney economic adviser Emil Henry tripled down on the GOP presidential candidate’s claim that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent upon government” and see themselves as “victims” because they don’t pay federal income taxes, during an appearance on MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes on Sunday. “You have a president who errs towards, in the very least, an entitlement society, a society of hand downs, a society of 46 million people on food stamps,” Henry said, adding that Romney opposes Obama’s efforts to “redistribute” wealth to those with lower incomes.

He then advocated for Romney’s tax reform plan — which he likened to a flat tax — of lowering the marginal rates by 20 percent across the board and limiting exemptions and deductions for the richest Americans, while providing the middle class with tax relief. “I have heard him say this 100 times and I know this for a fact, he says taxes on rich folks are not going to go down because of the elimination of exemptions,” Henry added.

But when Hayes pointed out the inconsistency of the charge, noting that taxes on wealthy people would have to come down substantially if Romney seeks to eliminate the “redistribution” inherent in America’s progressive tax code, Henry conceded that Republicans would also transfer wealth from one group to another:

    HAYES: There is a tension with the nonredistributed thing. Taxes on wealthy people have to go down. If he doesn’t believe in that, he has to reduce the burden of wealthy people. We have a barely, but progressive income tax. If he doesn’t believe in redistribution, he has to cut it for the wealthy. It’s not the case he is flattening the tax code and not lowering them for rich people. [...]

    HENRY: If your point is that a progressive tax code, which is what the United States of America has and it’s the right thing, and it’s about fairness and fairness of opportunity, your point is there’s a technical element of redistribution by virtue of hiring –

    HAYES: Not just technical — that’s redistribution. You are paying for it!

    HENRY: Let’s be real about it. Let’s be real about this. When President Obama talks about redistribution, Chris, you know this is true, when he talks about redistribution, he is talking about a massive difference from the Romney plan, which is about simpler, lower marginal rates, getting rid of exemptions and lowering the corporate tax rate to attract business in America.

In fact, Romney’s economic plan does provide substantial tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and would redistribute wealth to the already wealthy. According to a Tax Policy Center analysis, the GOP presidential candidate’s proposal would increase after-tax income for those making more than $200,000 annually, while lowering it for everyone else:

“Taxpayers with incomes over $1 million would see their after-tax income increased by 8.3 percent (an average tax cut of about $175,000), taxpayers with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 would see somewhat smaller increases of about 2.4 percent (an average tax cut of $1,800), while the after-tax income of taxpayers earning less than $30,000 would actually decrease by about 0.9 percent (an average tax increase of about $130).”

Romney, however, is arguing that he will raise enough revenue through the elimination of tax loopholes that benefit the rich to totally offset the tax cut he provides them, though an analysis from the Tax Policy Center found that to be a mathematical impossibility. There simply isn’t enough revenue to be generated through the closure of those loopholes to offset the massive cost of Romney’s plan.

* romneyaftertaxincome.jpg (22.28 KB, 550x322 - viewed 302 times.)
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« Reply #164 on: Sep 24, 2012, 11:45 AM »

Romney’s Advice To The Uninsured: Go To The ER

By Sy Mukherjee on Sep 24, 2012 at 10:15 am

During a 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley on Sunday evening, Mitt Romney suggested that there are already adequate measures in place to protect Americans who lack health insurance. According to Romney, Americans should just go to the hospital to seek care, regardless of the crippling expenses they may incur without adequate health coverage:

    PELLEY: Does the government have a responsibility to provide health care to the 50 million Americans who don’t have it today?

    ROMNEY: Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people — we– if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.

    PELLEY: That’s the most expensive way to do it…In an emergency room.

    ROMNEY: Different, again, different states have different ways of doing that. Some provide that care through clinics. Some provide the care through emergency rooms. In my state, we found a solution that worked for my state. But I wouldn’t take what we did in Massachusetts and say to Texas, “You’ve got to take the Massachusetts model.”

However, as Pelley points out, ambulatory care is extraordinarily expensive and shifts costs from often-uninsured emergency room patients into the overall health care market, effectively driving up everyone’s cost of care.

All Americans are entitled to care though the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act or (EMTALA), a law Ronald Reagan signed. It requires hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid funding to treat patients for emergency medical conditions regardless of legal status or ability to pay. But EMTALA only applies to medical emergencies. “So, yes, if you’re actively giving birth, you can expect to receive care at an emergency room,” Austin Frakt and Aaron Carroll explain. “If you’re actively having a heart attack, you can also get emergency room care. If you’ve been seriously harmed in a car accident, you can go to the emergency room.” Patients with chronic conditions that don’t require emergency interference — the millions of Americans with diabetes who need “regular access to medication to stay alive,” asthma patients, or women diagnosed with breast cancer — would not be able to access needed treatments.

Although Obamacare and Romney’s own health reform law in Massachusetts both overcome this hurdle by mandating and subsidizing health insurance for all residents, irrespective of pre-existing conditions, Romney no longer seems to believe that his own program — which has improved the lives of millions in Massachusetts while nearly eliminating the children’s uninsured rate in the state — is effective enough to be implemented in other states.

Romney has not always believed that emergency rooms are the best route for the uninsured. Back in 2008, Romney decried uninsured emergency room visits as “free riding,” declaring, “If somebody could afford insurance, they should either buy the insurance or pay their own way. They don’t have to buy insurance if they don’t want to, but pay their own way. But they shouldn’t be allowed to just show up at the hospital and say, somebody else should pay for me.” According to Jonathan Gruber, a close adviser and architect for Romney’s Massachusetts health care law, overcoming this “free-rider” dilemma was at the heart of Romneycare. “The guy has come completely full circle,” Gruber said.
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