Friday, October 5, 2012
Mitt Romney has taken to insisting his tax plan is "revenue neutral." We know that's impossible, but let's take him at his word. For the fun of it.
So. Okay. Neutral. No loss of revenue, no increase. That's what neutral means. But he also plans to increase military spending by two trillion dollars. And still, he says, he'll balance the budget. So with increased military spending and neutral tax revenue, there's only one way to do it: by cutting, as everyone recognizes, domestic spending by enormous amounts. No problem, say tea baggers: that's what we've always wanted.
But we're talking actual numbers, here. And cutting PBS and NPR isn't gonna do it. Neither is "getting rid of" Planned Parenthood. So what's left, and how much? In the first debate, Mitt Romney flipped dramatically on many things, one of which was the idea of having more teachers. First responders weren't mentioned in the debate, but he's tossed them in, too, when he mocked Obama for wanting more of both and claimed it's a bad idea to increase any of them. So. Okay. More teachers after all. For now, anyway. A complete reversal, but what's new about that? Does he even care when he flips mere days after saying the opposite? Clearly, he doesn't. What's next?
And he said he won't cut education. Okay. So. What the heck is left? Obamacare is gone, along with its several billions of cuts to the deficit. And he's going to "save" Medicare, right? By voucherizing it. That'll cap the government's liability, but, having removed effectiveness research, it'll do nothing to address the rising costs of health care. So the recipients foot the bill. Romney brushes that reality aside by claiming competition among insurers will bring down the cost. But that's what's been going on forever, and costs keep rising. Not a problem, though: go to the ER. And he'll see to it that people with preexisting conditions are covered. With what money? (Actually, as usual, his handlers have said he didn't really mean that. It'll be up to the states. So never mind. And that claim that 50% of Obama's clean energy companies have failed? From the handlers: he meant to say 1%. Gone. Like magic. Think anyone will notice? Or care?)
Okay. So. Back to work. No cuts to anything, revenue neutral tax changes, increased military spending. So the only thing he changes is on the spending side: it goes up. Except that, of course, it can't, if he's actually serious about deficits. Spending has to go way down. But where? Suddenly he won't say. It's all gonna work out because this revenue neutral (i.e. meaningless) tax change is somehow going to create so many jobs the tax revenues will roll in like rising seas.
And people actually believe this. It's never happened when Reagan and Bush tried it, but somehow this time it will. How? Well, simple: it goes like this: Deficit.... magic.... magic.... magic.... balance. See how easy it is? Until Mitt Romney came along, dragging his Bainful experience behind him, no one thought of it. The economists who've looked at his plans and said the only way it adds up is essentially to eliminate all domestic spending are just, well, wrong. How? Won't say. Just wrong.
It's lies and distortions and flip-flops; so much so that at this point there's no way to know what the hell Mitt Romney thinks about any of this. Whatever it takes, depending on the venue. In a debate, deny having said anything at all. Attack the banks, suddenly. All for education spending, like a damn liberal. Nothing matters, words have no meaning. He said it, people are ecstatic, he won, he won.
Wait. What? What did he just say? He attacked banks? He's not cutting taxes? He loves him some teachers? Whose candidate is he, anyway?