Wow… the political season is really starting to get to me – from Clint Eastwood talking to a chair to Biden putting a multiracial audience “back in chains.” The straight up lying from the Republican party is really annoying too. President Obama didn’t raise our taxes, didn’t try to end work requirements for welfare, and I won’t even post a link to his birth-certificate.
This doesn’t bother the Romney/Ryan camp though. They say, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.” This kind of attitude about facts and reality is a little unsettling when you think some of these people might end up in the White House one day, but if the media questioning what you say doesn’t bother you, what will? Maybe questioning what you won’t say…
The most interesting, and one of the most important, critiques of Mitt Romney is that of his tax plan, or lack of a really specific one. The memes of his flip flopping and two-facedness are detrimental, but this criticism is most important I believe because it portrays how the conservative agenda of cutting debt and taxes, especially for the rich, doesn’t mathematically work.
The Economist‘s most recent article on Mitt Romney was a shocker. The conservative magazine seemed to cut down every positive it saw in the man with a negating factor that ended with them concluding “nobody knows who this strange man really is.” The specific part of the article that stood out to me was this section:
“Mr. Romney began by saying that he wanted to bring down the deficit; now he stresses lower tax rates. Both are admirable aims, but they could well be contradictory: so which is his primary objective? His running-mate, Paul Ryan, thinks the Republicans can lower tax rates without losing tax revenues, by closing loopholes. Again, a simpler tax system is a good idea, but no politician has yet dared to tackle the main exemptions. Unless Mr Romney specifies which boondoggles to axe, this looks meaningless and risky.”
A report from the Tax Policy Center seems to go further that the Economist, concluding Romney’s plan will either cut revenues and increase debt, or raise taxes on everyone but the very rich, an idea a rational and informed electorate would automatically vote against. It seems to be an inescapable truth that Romney is stuck and unable to have it both ways. This isn’t really about fact checking as mentioned before, it is about whether Romney has concluded, as the Economist writes, “it is best to keep quiet”. It is about whether someone can run for President and win without having any burden to show rational evidence they can govern.
Even if you are conservative, even if you believe in supply side economics, what does Romney’s lack of detail show? Does Romney think in this age of information we voters are “sensible citizens who could take part in the governing of the country,” or are we nothing but “irrational consumers” who are “managed by sating their desires”.