THREE GOOD THINGS ABOUT PAUL RYAN

In Paul Ryan the Republicans have chosen a man who co-sponsored the national personhood bill — a good thing if you believe a rape victim should be forced by the government to carry her rapist’s child to term (and that common forms of contraception and should be banned) . . . a man with a near-zero percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign — a good thing if you believe gays do not deserve equal rights under the law (he didn’t even want the hate crimes law extended to cover gays) . . . a man whose tax plan would slash Mitt Romney’s tax rate from its already remarkable 13.9% to less than 1% — a good thing if you think the problem with America today is that guys and gals like Mitt Romney are over-taxed.

Ask your Republican friends whether this is really who they are — or whether, with the entire political landscape having sifted so far to the right these last few decades, they’re not actually more comfortable identifying as Independents.  And voting for a man under whose Administration the stock market has doubled over the last three years, corporate profits are at record highs, private sector jobs have expanded for 29 straight months, stem cell research lines have sextupled, our standing in the world has soared, and our number-one enemy has been decimated.

Not such a bad record considering the disaster he was handed and the Republican determination to see him fail.

THE POLICY GAP

Ezra Klein explores it here:

. . . The policy gap, put simply, is this: Obama has proposed policies. Mitt Romney hasn’t.

It is important to say that this exists separately from any judgments about the quality of either man’s policies. You can believe every idea Obama has proposed is a socialist horror inspired by Kenyan revenge fantasies. This would, I think, be a strange judgment to reach about plans to invest in infrastructure, temporarily double the size of the payroll tax cuts and raise the marginal tax rate on income over $250,000 by 4.5 percentage points. Nevertheless, Obama’s policy proposals are sufficiently detailed that they can be fully assessed and conclusions — even odd ones — confidently drawn. Romney’s policies are not.

Romney’s offerings are more like simulacra of policy proposals. They look, from far away, like policy proposals. They exist on his Web site, under the heading of “Issues,” with subheads like “Tax” and “Health care.” But read closely, they are not policy proposals. They do not include the details necessary to judge Romney’s policy ideas. In many cases, they don’t contain any details at all.

Take taxes. Romney has promised a “permanent, across-the-board 20 percent cut in marginal rates,” alongside a grab bag of other goodies, like the end of “the death tax.” Glenn Hubbard, his top economic adviser, has promised that the plan will “broaden the tax base to ensure that tax reform is revenue-neutral.”

It is in the distance between “cut in marginal rates” and “revenue-neutral” that all the policy happens. That is where Romney must choose which deductions to cap or close. It’s where we learn what his plan means for the mortgage-interest deduction, and the tax-free status of employer health plans and the Child Tax Credit. It is where we learn, in other words, what his plan means for people like you and me. And it is empty. Romney does not name even one deduction that he would cap or close. He even admitted, in an interview with CNBC, that his plan “can’t be scored because those details have to be worked out.” . . .

But this much is clear: to make his cuts for the wealthy revenue-neutral (including his elimination of the estate tax on billionheirs), he will have to get more revenue from the not-wealthy.

. . . On financial regulation, Romney would “repeal Dodd-Frank and replace with streamlined, modern regulatory framework.” That is literally his entire plan. Three years after a homegrown financial crisis wrecked the global economy, the likely Republican nominee for president would repeal the new regulatory architecture and replace it with … something. . . .

. . . Romney’s vagueness is unique among modern presidential campaigns. . . . so far, Romney has refused to give voters the most basic information about what he would do as president. That means he has refused to give voters the most basic information necessary for them to make an informed choice this November. That’s not acceptable. And neither voters nor the media should accept it.

Look: things are rough out there.  But did I mention that the stock market has doubled in the last three years?  That we’ve gained private-sector jobs for 29 consecutive months (too slowly, because Republicans manufactured a debt ceiling crisis and blocked the American Jobs Act and its infrastructure investments that cry out to be done)?  That corporate profits are at record highs?  That the number of stem cell lines made available to researchers has sextupled?  That our standing in the world has soared?  That our number-one enemy has been decimated?

Ask your friends who like Romney (or hate Obama): why would we reverse course now?  Which was better for job creation and our national balance sheet: the Clinton policy of modestly higher taxes on the best off?  Or the the Bush policy of record-low taxes on the best off, which Romney wants to lower further still?  (For readers too young to recall: 23 million new jobs were created during the Clinton years and the talk by the end of his term was of “budget surpluses as far as the eye can see.”)

 

 

 

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