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Sunday, April 22, 2012

What is it that a Businessman should bring to the White House?

( talks about some of the characteristics of successful businesspeople)

“Perhaps the most important characteristic of businesspeople who climb to the top and stay there is integrity. The simple fact is that no one wants to do business with an individual or firm you can’t trust. Co-workers and managers are just as turned off by someone who is dishonest and undependable. Honesty and dependability are especially important qualities in small business owners, who set the example for and often work closely with all of the firm’s employees. Integrity makes a businessperson easy to work with and fosters valuable word-of-mouth business.”

Mitt Romney has the integrity of a “chameleon.”  “Integrity” is constituted by a steadiness, an unbroken wholeness.  It involves honesty and steadfast principles and sincerity.  Does that describe Mitt Romney?  Well, you have to answer that question for yourself.  I would just offer a few things to think about:

--Mitt Romney has never seen the side of an issue or debate that he didn’t like.  He can take a particular side one minute, and then turn around and take the opposite view.  Take the Blunt Amendment offered up in Congress by Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, in response to the contraception dispute with the Catholic Church.  It would have permitted any employer or insurance plan to exclude any health service required by the health care reform law, no matter how essential, from coverage if the employer had an objection on religious or moral grounds.  At first, Romney said he was against it, then about n hour later, declared that “of course, he favored it.”  That’s just one blatant flip-flop.

--How about health care reform?  He supported mandated coverage in his Massachusetts plan but does not support the similar mandate in Obamacare 

--In June of 2011, Romney expressed his support for SB 5, a law pushed through by Ohio's Republican legislature and Gov. John Kasich that curtails workers' bargaining rights. (Among other things, the law bans public-employee unions from bargaining over health insurance and makes public-employee striking illegal). Romney wrote on Facebook on June 18: "My friends in Ohio are fighting to defend crucial reforms that the state has put in place to limit the power of union bosses and keep taxes low. I stand with John R. Kasich and Ohio's leaders as they take on this important fight to get control of government spending."  Then, on October 25, 2011, when visiting an Ohio phone bank on SB 5, which Ohio voters had a chance to repeal in a November referendum, Romney refused to take a position, saying he was "not terribly familiar" with the ballot initiatives.

And, on Oct. 26th he made another 180-degree turn. Romney told reporters that he fully supports Gov. Kasich "110 percent."  According to Elizabeth Chan, a reporter on the NEWSBLOG:  “That's a flip-flop-flip—a dizzyingly fast one at that. And it's one of the most striking examples of Romney's lack of core convictions—and his willingness to say whatever it takes, no matter how ridiculous he may seem, to get elected.”

--Of course that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Romney had supported abortion rights while running for office in 1994 and 2002 , and also branded himself as a strong supporter of gay rights, though he now opposes gay marriage as public policy and similarly opposes abortion.

--While campaigning in Massachusetts, he was a steadfast supporter of gun control regulations. Since then, he has joined the NRA and now claims to support essentially no firearm regulation.

--While in Massachusetts he favored carbon emission regulations. He now opposes them in any form.

--In 1994, he advocated a spending limit on congressional elections and the abolition of political action committees. In 2002, he supported public financing of campaigns from a 10 percent tax on private fundraising. Later, Romney said the McCain-Feingold law limiting campaign contributions is an attack on free speech.

--In a November 2005 interview with the Boston Globe, he described an immigration overhaul advanced by John McCain as “reasonable.” He has since denounced it as an “amnesty plan.” (

This goes on and on, of course.  He just can’t help himself.  The crucial question this flip-flopping raises is:  can you trust Mitt Romney on anything he says?  If he tells you something he will do when in office, can you trust him to follow-through?  Based on actual experience, it’s very doubtful.

According to the small business website above, there’s another important attribute that a successful businessman should bring to the table, and that is creativity.

One of the signs of this attribute is an ability to “think outside the box.”  What does that mean?  “Creative people tend to see possibilities others miss. Free thinkers are more likely to try something new or come up with a creative solution to a specific client problem. They are always on the lookout both for new things and for ways of improving things already in use.”

Mitt Romney says he has a Plan.  That Plan -- “Believe in America: Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth” -- is so full of clich├ęs, conservative rhetoric, and  conundrums that one wonders why it was ever put forth in the first place.  It is a regurgitation of Bush policies with some updating.  There is no Vision of what America could become; only a retrospective of what America has been.  There is no attempt to meld new thinking with political discourse.  Instead, the tired old aphorisms of the Right are trotted out without apology and in a boring listing.  Recently, Romney talked about, campaigned with, and touted the equally inane Budget Plan of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.  This is an historic example of the bland leading the bland!

If you want a businessman with vision and creativity in the White House, you will not get that result by voting for Mitt Romney.  Here are a few of his under-whelming attempts at creativity:

--On his “first day in office” he wants to issue an Order to cut Red Tape, directing all agencies “to immediately initiate the elimination of Obama-era regulations that unduly burden the economy or job creation.”  Now that should keep the federal bureaucracy busy for some time!  Any businessman worth his salt knows that you don’t issue orders to employees to tackle huge problems which haven’t been explained or explored.  Indeed, there is all kinds of groundwork that must be done before such an undertaking can happen: identification of the exact problem, setting of goals, training in what is needed to accomplish the goals and objectives, step-by-step procedures, and finally evaluation of progress so that one can see what future steps must be taken.  Romney doesn’t even take the time to identify the exact problem areas.  Why? Because he probably doesn’t know what they are; he’s content to say that the problem is “red tape”, but that neither defines nor identifies the actual problem areas that exist.

--As president, Mitt Romney says he will act immediately to alter tax laws that encourage American multinational companies to park their profits permanently overseas.  Currently, the US operates under what is known as a worldwide tax system, meaning that business income is taxed at the U.S. rate regardless of where it is earned.  Romney supports a recommendation of the Bowles-Simpson Commission to switch to a “territorial system” in which income is taxed only in the country in which it is earned.  He claims: “this would enhance  the ability of our corporations to compete around the world and would end the perverse incentives that keep companies from repatriating profits to the U.S.”  Well, if anyone should know about repatriating money to foreign banks, Romney’s the one!
But seriously, nothing about this is very creative (although Romney makes it sound that way!).  80% of countries now have such a system.  The United States is the only large economy that taxes corporate income worldwide at a 30% rate.   However, critics, like the Center for Tax Justice, say that this territorial system is nothing more than a way to reduce taxes on corporations.  “Currently, American corporations have an incentive to
move jobs offshore or shift profits offshore because they are not taxed on offshore profits unless those profits are repatriated. Under a territorial system, American corporations would not be taxed on their offshore profits ever, regardless of whether or not they are repatriated.” 
As usual, Romney supports business to a degree that is unhealthy for the rest of the country.  Some creativity….

--Romney claims: “Washington’s problem is not too little revenue, but rather too much spending.”  He wants to do three basic things:  cut government spending, cap that spending at a sustainable level, and pass a Balanced Budget Amendment.  First, cutting government by a certain rate (20% of GDP) is not a long-term solution to too much spending when the latter is part of the “culture” of the Congress and the Executive branch.  Over-spending is a problem created by lack of Congressional oversight of a flawed budget process, of poorly-conceived legislation, and lack of oversight of government departments and offices, not only by Congress but by the offices of Inspectors General as well.   Creativity is definitely required to change that kind of culture, and Romney’s “Cut, Cap and Balance” has little to recommend it.  Where is an understanding of how one proceeds to change how legislators act?  Where is an understanding of how one proceeds to educate the bureaucracy in core values?  Where is an understanding of the importance of a line-item veto Amendment as a balance to a Balanced Budget Amendment?  Where is the use of America’s university system to lend a hand toward reforming the bureaucracy?  Nowhere…

The point:  Romney borrows ideas, but has few of his own.  He does not have a Vision of where this government needs to be in 5 years, 10 years down the road.  He has no understanding, apparently, of how one mobilizes resources (like corporations, unions, and universities) to aid in re-inventing government.  He gives us “pap” where we need huge changes and innovations. 

Mitt Romney fails in both integrity and creativity and will bring neither to the Presidency.