"I'm in this race because I care about Americans. I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich, they're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling."
That's the full quote, the entire context; and it's numbingly off-base. Consider the ways.
(I tossed in that last group of data thinking it might be of interest to those who believe leaving everything up to the states will solve our problems.)
Romney has fleshed out that sentiment with proposals that envision significant reductions in the projected spending trajectory for federal safety net programs. He has been most specific about Medicaid, the joint federal-state program that guarantees health care for the poor (including poor seniors in long-term care.) Romney, reflecting a long-time conservative goal, has said he would end the entitlement to Medicaid and convert it into a block grant program.
In a November speech to Americans for Prosperity, a Tea Party-flavored conservative economic group, Romney said he would limit future federal contributions to that Medicaid block grant to the annual increase in inflation plus one percent. That would mean federal spending on Medicaid would rise by about 3 percent annually, less than half the rate under current law. Romney says that would lower federal spending on Medicaid by $100 billion annually.
As the CBPP noted in an analysis last week, beyond those specific proposals, Romney's basic budget framework also necessitates further reductions in projected spending on federal safety net programs. ...
To meet that goal, the CBPP calculated that Romney would be required to cut all domestic programs by about $500 billion by 2016, a figure the former Massachusetts governor himself has used. In percentage terms, to meet his goal Romney would have to cut all domestic programs by 17 percent by 2016 and 23.5 percent by 2021; if Social Security is exempted, as is likely, the required cuts rise to 24.2 percent by 2016 and 34.5 percent by 2021. If Medicare is exempted (like Ryan, Romney would convert Medicaid into a voucher-like premium support system but not impose the change for anyone older than 55), then the required cuts in other programs increase to 34 percent by 2016 and 50 percent by 2021. And even those cuts assume that Romney's other promise to pass a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget doesn't go into effect by then; with a balanced budget requirement, the required cuts rise even higher.