Labor's Pains

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Finally Liberated From Facts, Mitt Romney the Pure Bull Artist Takes Flight | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone

Finally Liberated From Facts, Mitt Romney the Pure Bull Artist Takes Flight | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone:

'via Blog this'

You know those Balsa wood airplanes – not the glider-types but the deluxe models, powered by rubber bands, with little propellers on the nose? I thought of those planes watching Mitt Romney debate Barack Obama the other night.
Romney's journey toward the presidency has been a marvel to behold. Dating back to his first political steps – his race against Ted Kennedy, followed by his assault on the Massachusetts governorship – Romney has been constantly twisting and contorting himself, exchanging position for position, trading pro-choice for anti-choice, flirting with pro-gay rhetoric before shifting swiftly the other way, pioneering state health care reform before bashing virtually the same plan designed on a national scale, claiming the center on everything from guns to global warming before careening right as a presidential candidate.
Then, just within this year, the contortions took him all the way around again, in a corkscrewish motion, as he first careened as far right as he could stand to win the primary season, and then twisted some more to come all the way back to his version of the center to run as a kindler, gentler sort of centrist alternative to Obama. I was shocked to hear him say aloud in the second debate that the richest people would not have their tax burdens reduced, especially since he spent the entire primary season running as a supply-sider who would create growth by cutting taxes on capital gains, interest, dividends, and eliminating the estate tax, cuts that overwhelmingly favor the very rich.
From the start of the first debate, Romney has almost seemed liberated, spouting line after line of breathless, ecstatic inventions – things that are, if not lies exactly, at the very least just simply made up out of thin air, and seemingly on the spot, too. The business about the $25,000 "bucket" of deductions which he prefaced, with seemingly half of America watching, with the phrase, "Let's pick a number": awesome. Then there was the jobs plan that creates 12 million jobs, another number seemingly plucked out of the ether: it turned out that when asked to justify the number, the Romney campaign cited three studies, none of which came anywhere near justifying claims of a 12 million-job increase. This is from Paul Krugman's new column on the subject:
Just for the record, one study concluded that America might gain two million jobs if China stopped infringing on U.S. patents and other intellectual property; this would be nice, but Mr. Romney hasn't proposed anything that would bring about that outcome. Another study suggested that growth in the energy sector might add three million jobs in the next few years — but these were predicted gains under current policy, that is, they would happen no matter who wins the election, not as a consequence of the Romney plan.
Finally, a third study examined the effects of the Romney tax plan and argued (implausibly, but that's another issue) that it would lead to a large increase in the number of Americans who want to work. But how does that help cure a situation in which there are already millions more Americans seeking work than there are jobs available? It's irrelevant to Mr. Romney's claims.

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