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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Romney’s Plan for YOU!

Happy Easter!  Mitt Romney (the Easter Bunny?) has some great plans for you.  Unfortunately, these plans will not tend to enhance your life, but to take away protections, benefits and incentives on which you have counted up until now.  The middle class has already experienced the effects of most of the policies that Romney has in store because Mr. Romney has a plethora of unappetizing leftovers from a disastrous Bush administration, but does not have a “vision” of what this society and its people need or want.  Shall we take a look and count the ways in which YOU will be saddled with negative approaches to practically everything?  Perhaps they can be seen on this particular day as “rotten eggs.”

Let’s start with the day-dream of his “first day in office.”  As the saying goes: “don’t let this happen to you!”

First, he wants to introduce a bill that will lower the corporate tax rate to 25%, one more reduction in the amount of money coming into the US Treasury.  Every time such a cut for the rich (corporations are people too, he likes to say) gets done without a way to pay for it, every middle class person gets hit with higher taxes to make up the deficit.  You will end up paying for this gift for the rich, since the 25% tax rate is NOT an effective tax rate, meaning that the 25% is where the corporations start before their myriad lawyers find all the loopholes, tax incentives and deductions that can be taken to lower that rate to a minimum effective rate.  Don’t forget that big corporations - like GE - already took advantage of you in 2010, paying $0 while you undoubtedly paid your fair share.  The one-per center, Mitt Romney, does not have any such “break” for you.  Add to this the fact that he wants to maintain the Bush tax cuts for the rich; to lower tax rates for investment income; to eliminate the estate tax; and, to flatten and lower the tax rates on a broader tax base as well as extend  a write-off for capital investments, and you have a recipe for disaster for the middle class while the richest among us --like Mr. Romney-- will get even richer.

Second, he immediately intends to cut discretionary funding across the board by 5%, reducing the annual federal budget by $20 billion dollars.  This is the action of a businessman who has no regard for the exigencies with which ordinary people must live.  He wants to use a meat-ax instead of a scalpel and foist austerity upon everyone, because in business you can do that and get away with it.  As a President of all the people, you cannot treat everyone like a line item in a budget.  Don’t forget, “discretionary spending” includes all of the programs that go toward the aid of citizens, from children to Seniors.  One thing is certain, Romney doesn’t discriminate: he wants all in that spectrum to suffer, at the same time that he cuts taxes for the rich corporations and their CEOs.

So there you are: you take a 5% hit to discretionary programs while Romney makes sure to offer tax cuts to the very rich.  Nice move, Mr. Romney.  I guess you really mean it when you say:  “I’m not worried about the poor.”

Oh, but he won’t stop there.  If the Supreme Court does not invalidate the Affordable Health Care Act, Romney will get that process started by Executive Order on his “first day in office.”  He will then take a step that some misguided people think should be done with national health care: let the states design health care solutions that work for them.  What a great idea, some say.  Get the federal government out of health care reform and service and devolve that whole area to the states.  There’s just one problem.  Allowing states to design anything that requires a national approach and innovation leaves many people with less than is available to others.  Richer states might end up with in-depth systems and poorer states end up lacking services and the ability to administer what they do have.  States simply do not have a great record of solving or resolving problems that are national in scope.  And beyond all that, they require extra federal help with administrative costs, since they do not themselves have enough income to administer and staff broad-based services. 

As I’ve indicated on this Blog in the past, Mitt Romney, as Governor of Massachusetts, passed up a number of waivers available under Medicaid, presumably because his administration could not afford the administrative costs that these programs demanded.  Thus, he short-changed the under-65 age cohort who happened to be disabled.  While other states, like New York, managed several waiver programs - up to eight - Massachusetts chose to accept only three; an entirely inadequate response to the needs of its citizens.

So there you have it.  Mitt Romney wants to short-change YOU like he did the citizens of Massachusetts.  Leaving health care up to the states is a recipe for disaster, especially if YOU happen to live in a poorer state. 

Romney also wants to start a trade war with China.  On his first day in office, he wants to issue an Executive Order sanctioning China as a currency manipulator.  There’s nothing quite like throwing down the gauntlet to the very people who own so much of America’s debt.  Just what does he expect China to do, roll over and play dead before the great businessman?  Is this what businessmen do:  make their trade partners angry?  This is no time to play a vengeful God, Mr. Romney.  Rather, it’s time for diplomacy, restraint, and prudence.  China is headed for bad times (just like that past great industrial power, Japan), and when they hit a recession and worker turmoil and unbearably unhealthy pollution, as well as energy deprivation,, who will be there to pick up the pieces?  Hopefully the USA, and not some other country who saw the importance early-on of maintaining a good relationship with China despite its obvious flaws. 

What does this trade war mean for you?  Fewer cheapo imports from China; fewer exports from the US to China.  Wal-Mart will be less able to offer you discount prices on items from China, resulting in store closings and job losses, as well as a reduced inventory in the remaining stores.  It means that China could call in certain loans that it holds, affecting the federal government’s budget and either raising your taxes or taking away certain deductions from you. 

Finally, Mr. Romney wants to provide some gifts to Big Oil on your behalf.  He seems to think that he has an energy plan for this country.  In truth, all he has is a plan to maintain the status quo, and that includes huge subsidies for the already hugely profitable oil corporations.  On his first day in office, he wants to order the Department of the Interior to implement a process for rapid issuance of drilling permits to developers.  In line with this, he also wants to introduce The Domestic Energy Act that directs the Department of  the Interior to undertake a comprehensive survey of American energy reserves in partnership with exploration companies (Big Oil?) plus initiation of leasing in all areas currently approved for exploration.  Really?  Can you say “rhetoric”. 

This is so transparent:  it means nothing in terms of an energy policy.  It does nothing more than give Interior some busy work that will amount to zero production.  This is a failure waiting to happen.  All it does is bring Big Oil into the conference room where (as was done when Bush and Cheney were in office) they will have a total say as to what gets done in terms of exploration of domestic oil and (maybe) natural gas.  This is not a free market approach to energy exploration; it is dependence on monopolistic oil and oil companies writ large.

Romney’s so-called “Energy Policy” goes further down the primrose path.  In addition to streamlining and fast-tracking an approval process for drilling and exploration, he wants to amend the Clean Air Act to exclude regulation of carbon dioxide emissions, as though such emissions have nothing to do with global warming, or even with our health.  Now that should push us backward to the future! 

For more proof of that reactionary attitude, he actually says:  “The Obama administration’s diversion of resources into green energy has occurred at a time when the traditional energy sector --oil, gas, coal, and nuclear-- holds remarkable job-creating potential.”  As a businessman, he should know that start-up businesses -- including green energy companies -- involves a difficult process.  It takes time and money to get new businesses of any kind off the ground and up and running.  He obviously does not believe in innovation and entrepreneurship, but only in success that is easily achieved with the status quo, even though the status quo in this case is slowly choking us, emptying our wallets, and even has the potential to blow us up! 

Think about it: Romney wants to expand the number of nuclear reactor designs that can be approved for construction on a fast-track.  It is rumored that one of those designs includes a similar type of reactor that caused such havoc in Japan.  Talk about a rotten egg in your Easter basket…!

Finally, another rotten egg comes forth in his plan for extraction of natural gas.  While he clearly understands that natural gas is a very clean-burning fuel, and that it will require hydro-fracking to extract, he has no idea apparently of how dangerous such an extraction can be for the environment.  Are you ready for the damages to the environment already demonstrated in other parts of the Northeast from this method of extraction?  Undrinkable water and even flammable water (from methane gas)  -- is this what you want?  Well vote for Romney and you will get your wish.  Here’s what he has to say about this:

“While fracking requires regulation just like any other energy-extraction practice (really - you mean like the safety regulations that BP got around in the Gulf to create that oil spill?), the EPA in a Romney administration will not pursue overly aggressive interventions designed to discourage fracking altogether.  Of critical  importance, the environmental impact of fracking should not be considered in the abstract, but rather evaluated in comparison to the impact of utilizing the fuels that natural gas displaces, including coal.”  In other words, Romney’s administration will treat hydro-fracking cavalierly simply because of the impact it will have in replacing other resources, not in relation to the impact on the environment in which people live.

Yes indeed, Mitt Romney definitely has a Plan for YOU that includes some rotten eggs!  It could simply harm you, but ultimately might kill you.  Don’t be Bamboozled!