I know it’s Labor Day — let’s hear it for Labor, by the way, and the things like “weekends” we have to thank Labor for — but I thought I’d post tomorrow’s column early, in case you have more time when you’re not at work.
WHAT MITT DIDN’T SAY
This two-minute video has its share of snarky background music, but the substance of it is well worth watching and sharing. So many of the differences between the Romney and Obama visions are real and stark. Take one not specifically mentioned in the video: Mr. Romney has consistently pledged to lower the estate tax rate on families like his from 45% to zero. It’s one of the few things he’s never flip-flopped on. He really believes billionheirs get a raw deal. If you agree, vote Republican. Likewise, if you believe the drastic Bush tax cuts on the wealthy unleashed amazing job creation over the last 12 years, vote Republican. (But if you missed it, here’s a must-must-must-see, must-share six-minute video by a billionaire totally, totally putting the lie to the whole concept of rich people as job creators.)
LEGITIMATE RAPE — THE PHARMACEUTICAL
Following up on “we’re not perfect but they’re nuts” from Friday, have you seen this ad for a birth control product called Legitimate Rape™?
FACTS TAKE A BEATING IN RYAN/ROMNEY ACCEPTANCE SPEECHES
Representative Paul D. Ryan used his convention speech on Wednesday to fault President Obama for failing to act on a deficit-reduction plan that he himself had helped kill. He chided Democrats for seeking $716 billion in Medicare cuts that he too had sought. And he lamented the nation’s credit rating — which was downgraded after a debt-ceiling standoff that he and other House Republicans helped instigate.
And Mitt Romney, in his acceptance speech on Thursday night, asserted that President Obama’s policies had “not helped create jobs” and that Mr. Obama had gone on an “apology tour” for America. He also warned that the president’s Medicare cuts would “hurt today’s seniors,” claims that have already been labeled false or misleading.
The two speeches — peppered with statements that were incorrect or incomplete — seemed to signal the arrival of a new kind of presidential campaign, one in which concerns about fact-checking have been largely set aside. . . .
WHO IS AYN RAND?
When she speaks on this short video it’s a little hard to make out her responses — turn up the volume — but as Ayn Rand guides so much Republican thinking, it’s worth a watch. I share her atheism but not her aggressive rejection of all that Christ taught.
WHO IS MITT ROMNEY
If you skipped Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone linked to Friday, it concludes this way:
Romney is a perfect representative of one side of the ominous cultural divide that will define the next generation, not just here in America but all over the world. Forget about the Southern strategy, blue versus red, swing states and swing voters – all of those political clichés are quaint relics of a less threatening era that is now part of our past, or soon will be. The next conflict defining us all is much more unnerving.
That conflict will be between people who live somewhere, and people who live nowhere. It will be between people who consider themselves citizens of actual countries, to which they have patriotic allegiance, and people to whom nations are meaningless, who live in a stateless global archipelago of privilege – a collection of private schools, tax havens and gated residential communities with little or no connection to the outside world.
Mitt Romney isn’t blue or red. He’s an archipelago man. That’s a big reason that voters have been slow to warm up to him. From LBJ to Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Sarah Palin, Americans like their politicians to sound like they’re from somewhere, to be human symbols of our love affair with small towns, the girl next door, the little pink houses of Mellencamp myth. Most of those mythical American towns grew up around factories – think chocolate bars from Hershey, baseball bats from Louisville, cereals from Battle Creek. Deep down, what scares voters in both parties the most is the thought that these unique and vital places are vanishing or eroding – overrun by immigrants or the forces of globalism or both, with giant Walmarts descending like spaceships to replace the corner grocer, the family barber and the local hardware store, and 1,000 cable channels replacing the school dance and the gossip at the local diner.
Obama ran on “change” in 2008, but Mitt Romney represents a far more real and seismic shift in the American landscape. Romney is the frontman and apostle of an economic revolution, in which transactions are manufactured instead of products, wealth is generated without accompanying prosperity, and Cayman Islands partnerships are lovingly erected and nurtured while American communities fall apart. The entire purpose of the business model that Romney helped pioneer is to move money into the archipelago from the places outside it, using massive amounts of taxpayer-subsidized debt to enrich a handful of billionaires. It’s a vision of society that’s crazy, vicious and almost unbelievably selfish, yet it’s running for president, and it has a chance of winning. Perhaps that change is coming whether we like it or not. Perhaps Mitt Romney is the best man to manage the transition. But it seems a little early to vote for that kind of wholesale surrender.
WHOSE DEBT IS IT ANYWAY?
Kevin Clark: From Friday’s column (quoting Matt Tabbi): “Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.” The good news for Romney (and arguably bad news for the rest of us) is that his opponent is one of that handful of people on planet Earth who is an even more irresponsible debt creator. I don’t think Romney’s anywhere near $5 trillion.”
You know that’s not fair, yes?
You know that in most cases, burdening the companies Romney did burden with debt served no greater purpose than enriching a few investors and weakening the companies. Nothing illegal about that, just not a compelling need to do it.
And you know that the $1.5 trillion 2009 budget deficit begun running BEFORE OBAMA WAS EVEN ELECTED, right? October 1, 2008. So, being a very bright and fair-minded person, I don’t think you mean to include that. Which brings it down to a still staggering $4 trillion.
But you know that the REASON to run deficits in deep recessions is to replace private demand (and alleviate suffering) to bridge the gap until demand picks up again – which, after a financial collapse, always takes a very long time. The worst thing we could do is pull demand OUT of the economy.
So there is a difference between borrowing to enrich oneself and borrowing to, say, win World War II or, in this case, dig ourselves out of the ditch that Republican leadership from 2001-2008 drove us into.
Make any sense?
UNFORTUNATE RNC SIGN PLACEMENT
Have you seen this? May be Photo-Shopped, but could hardly be more apt.
Quote of the Day
In 1800, 75% of [an American's] working man's expenditures went for food alone. By 1850, that had dropped to 50%. Today it is a little more than 11%.~The Wall Street Journal, September 20, 1996
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