Home > Election 2012, Right-Wing Extremism > An Ungracious Exit

An Ungracious Exit

November 16th, 2012
Usually, when a candidate loses an election, he makes a gracious concession speech and then, in a dignified manner, retires from public attention for a while. We may hear from him later on, but we do not hear him grousing about how the other guy illicitly won the election. Even Al Gore, who lost because the other guy actually did steal the election, in the most galling ways, even Gore did not complain about how the election was lost. He commented on other stuff, like how Bush ignored the warnings before 9/11, but that was years later. After November 2000, he gracefully conceded and faded away for a few years. Not so Mitt Romney. Barely a week after he loses the election, he's still grousing to other rich people about how Obama stole the election from him by promising poor people, minorities, and women “free stuff.” He bitterly suggested that Democrats try to give away free dental care in 2016, suggesting that trillion-dollar unpaid-for giveaways are nothing to liberals. You see, we Democrats are immoral here. You should never win elections by providing things to the electorate. You should win them by providing things to your patrons, in particular wealthy people and corporations. That's the only moral way to win an election. So, what was the “free stuff” Obama bribed voters with? According to Romney, it was Obama's healthcare law and support for comprehensive immigration reform. The problem is, neither of these things really have a significant impact on the budget, but they do help remedy serious problems we face today. In truth, we need better. Single-payer would be more cost-effective still, as would controls on health care prices—but both are fanatically opposed by conservatives like Romney. Immigration needs to be fixed, but “self-deportation” is as ludicrous and insulting as Romney's pipe dream that he would solve the trade war he'd start with China by looking at them sternly. So, reasonable and economically feasible plans that address social needs, that's “free stuff” which costs trillions of dollars a pop. Unlike Bush's Medicare plans, which cost vast sums of money and were actually unpaid for, which acted as “free stuff” for seniors, a powerful voting bloc, and was a payoff to Big Pharma to boot. That, apparently, was OK. Same with Romney's tax gifts. Apparently, a 20% tax cut across the board, which Romney vigorously tried to frame as being for the middle class, would have cost nearly $5 trillion over ten years, and was unpaid for. That was not “free stuff”? It would provide a huge slice of what government does for free, so I think that qualifies. And, like Bush's Pharma payoff, Romney's tax plan would have been a ginormous gift to the rich. Corporate taxes slashed by 30%. Marginal tax rates for the wealthy slashed by 20%, and if, like many wealthy people—including Romney!—you could engineer your income to be capital gains, that would be slashed to zero! And no taxes in death, either. Yeah, that's definitely not “free stuff.” What this shows, more than anything else, is that Romney's 47% speech that was released on video was not some aberration. It was not something that just “came out wrong.” It appears that this is, in fact, exactly what Romney believes to be true. Remember how Romney kept saying stuff during the election which was based on far-right-field stuff from extreme web sites? Like the idea that Obama did not use the word “terror” to describe the Benghazi attacks? More and more, it is apparent that this is who Romney is—a guy who reads Newsbusters and Red State, believes them literally, and uses them as sources for his claims. We thought he was a cipher, a blank slate, a flip-flopper who would say or do anything but in fact represented nothing. We were wrong. He's a wingnut. A Freeper. And he's a sore loser.

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  1. Troy
    November 16th, 2012 at 13:56 | #1

    The problem is, neither of these things really have a significant impact on the budget

    We’ll see about PPACA’s subsidies. A family of 4 making $35,000 will in fact get a $10,700 subsidy from the government (leaving $1400 of the bill for the family).

    http://healthreform.kff.org/subsidycalculator.aspx

    Same thing with Medicare not being all that well funded:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=cRW

    blue is wages x 2.9% (this is close to actual medicare tax revenue) and red is Medicare program outgo. This is a $400B gap currently — we need the return of the Clinton tax rates on everyone to just pay for this alone.

    Or, a 5% rise in the medicare tax rate:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=cS0

    to 8%!

    And it’s going to get much, much worse this decade and next. Right now the 80 million boomers are aged 48 to 66 — they’re just edging into Medicare eligibility. In 2022 their peak birth year (1957) will become enrolled and the leading boomers will be 75+, right when they really start racking up expense.

    We’re going to need much higher taxation to pay the boomer retirement. So high that I am still thinking about making my exit here this decade, since I just don’t see HOW we’re going to be paying for this.

    Conservatives would argue that tax cuts are not giving away free stuff — as Bush would say, they’re just letting people keep what they make.

    This is entirely BS when tax cuts result in borrowing, but conservatives apparently live on nothing but BS so it can’t be helped.

    As you might be able to guess, the fiscal condition of this country scares the cr*p out of me. And my state is just as bad, and my city is looking at bankruptcy now too.

    Back on topic, Romney’s complaining that the many primary debates made him look stupid was really rich:

    “We had 20 Republican debates, That was absolutely nuts. It opened us up to gaffes and to material that could be used against us in the general

    . . .

    “We need to agree that we’re gonna do, you know, I don’t know, eight debates, And we’re gonna, we’re gonna do one a month. And we’re gonna pick stations that are reasonable, it’s not all gonna be done by CNN and NBC, alright. I mean we’re gonna try and guide this process so that it’s designed to showcase the best of our people, as opposed to showcasing liberals beating the heck out of us.”

    Man. You can cut the subtext there with a knife.

    In other news, I’m actually following Japanese politics more! What a carcrash all that is!

    Wish I woulda studied German or Swedish instead of Japanese!

  2. Luis
    November 16th, 2012 at 16:00 | #2

    And yet there are hidden benefits. How much would be lost if that family did not have insurance? It won’t pay for the whole thing, but it will offset other costs.

    The problem as I see it is primarily that this does not do what we really need to do in order to control costs. That would require setting costs allowed for health care, and making it universal. None of this whatever-the-market-can-bear stuff. The claim that this will stunt medical progress is BS, like the claim that tax hikes will cause rich people to stop hiring or producing. Pharma will not stop making drugs because they can’t charge as much. The drop in research will likely be minimal, and we cannot afford what we’re paying now.

  3. Troy
    November 16th, 2012 at 16:45 | #3

    I agree that 99.9999% of what conservatives say is BS — the bottomline is PPACA is what the Heritage Foundation was proposing before Obama took them up on it. In some ways they’ve really pulled a number on us, getting us to enact their own damn idea while demonizing us as communists and demagoguing the hell out of it for the past 3+ years.

    We’ve allowed our health system to just go insane by poorly regulating it.

    While researching my Medicare numbers I came across an explanation of Medicare parts A, B, C, D. Each of these have different funding — only hospital insurance (A) is from the 2.9% medicare tax — it’s all a convoluted mess, and all thanks to the Republicans since parts B, C, and D were all their bright ideas.

    Comparing the Japanese system is instructive. In Japan, insurance companies are not allowed to compete with the government’s insurance, they can only supplement it.

    Providers have to charge what the government says, or buy a plane ticket and hang up their shingle somewhere else.

    Canada is kinda the same way, and since there is no language or cultural barrier plenty of Canadian doctors do flee south to “make bank” here.

    Like so much, the problems here are deep and seemingly impossible to tackle in an honest way. Clinton running into the reform-backlash buzzsaw back in 1993 was educational to all — BS works here.

    I do think the US is just going to implode like the Soviet Union did. 2025 is my guess, that’s when the building fiscal pressures will reach their systemic maximum.

    As I opine here from time to time (every time?), Japan is a lot different. Theoretically everything is supposed to be worse there, with the demographics, the stupendous national debt, but it’s hard for me to foresee how the good & bad of this process are going to work their effects this decade and next.

    So much of the existing economy — like e.g. clothing retailers — is just going to dry up and blow away due to vanishing demand. Yet fewer young people will mean more work will be available in other areas, and seniors spending their pensions will be stimulative.

    http://blog.japantimes.co.jp/yen-for-living/theme-parks-make-a-comeback-thanks-to-grandma-and-grandpa/

    was an interesting take on that

  4. Troy
    November 17th, 2012 at 03:12 | #4

    Another thing about pharmaceutical R&D expense is that it’s not that big for the big pharmas.

    Glaxo Smith Kline booked a “cost of good sold” (manufacturing cost) of $7B, ~25% of their total sales. So 1/4th of the cost of their product is making it.

    Their management overheads “SG&A” — was $8.5B was 30% of sales. Marketing, legal fees, management.

    R&D was $4B.

    Leaving $8B as profit, from which they paid $2B in taxes, for $6B in income to shareholders.

    So R&D was their smallest line item expense.

    I have been making this same simple argument online -pulling up an income statement from a major pharmaceutical — for 10 years now, and it has never failed me.

  5. Tim Kane
    November 17th, 2012 at 06:03 | #5

    Unlike with George Bush,…

    It looks like the country dodged a bullet.

    But such is the case with all Republicans, who would hoist upon us the likes of George “dry drunk” Bush, Dick “Death Ray” Cheney, Sarah “death panels” Pallin, John “suspend campaign” McCain.

    Such is the case with Mitt Romney and Paul “Ayn Rand is my God” Ryan.

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