Can Mitt Romney Speak the Truth About the Economy?
This question came to me after I heard the news report quoting Mitt Romney expressing concern about planning for the London Olympics. Though this made the headlines, it’s a minor matter. And despite headlines in the British press, they were the ones who exposed the problems in the first place. As a politician, Mitt Romney should have known better. Still, for a man who has spent a year or more lying to the American people about his plans for the US economy, one can only wonder, why did he save the truth for the Olympics? Perhaps it is because he knows that we really can’t handle the truth!
I wondered, what would a truthful Mitt Romney sound like? In order to see, I crafted the following interview.
My interviewer is an imaginary unemployed construction worker. He lost his job with a building contractor at the beginning of 2009 and has lived on unemployment and a few odd jobs since then. His unemployment has run out. (I’ll imagine him with a wife and two kids – the wife has a job.)
Q: So Mitt, how will you jump start the economy when you take office next January?
Mitt: We’ll start with going over the federal register and put a stop to any proposed regulations that have not been placed in effect. Then we will review the regulations that are in force and start the process of unraveling any the add expense for businesses.
Q: Ok, that’s a start, but what else?
Mitt: Then we’ll issue waivers to all of the states that want them, to allow them not to comply with Obamacare! (Q: Is that legal? Mitt: My political team tells me we can get away with it.)
Q: But what about jobs? How will you help me?
Mitt: Now we get to the good part. We’ll free up our economy by cutting taxes for everyone. We’ll eliminate all corporate income taxes, and all capital gains taxes, and lower the top income tax rate to 25%. This will increase capital flows into investments and investments mean jobs! It’s pro-growth and pro free market.
Q: Sounds good, when will housing construction pick up?
Mitt: Well, that will take time. You see, we have a glut of housing that is in or near foreclosure and until all of that inventory is sold, we don’t need much new home construction.
Questioner Interrupting: But Mitt, if we don’t need new houses, how do I get a job?
Mitt: You need to find other opportunities that are out there, housing may not come back for years.
Q: But I need a job now.
Mitt: You don’t want the government to give you a job, do you? When the government interferes in the economy, it only leads to distortions. By the way, I hear that they need oil workers in North Dakota. Why not go to where the jobs are?
Questioner: But Mitt, we live here, I have 2 kids in high school and my wife works here. We can’t uproot to a place where we have no connections. Besides, I hear that there are no places to live up there. That workers are living in camps, or room with others. There is no place for my family.
Mitt: Well you are free to make choices. That’s what happens in a free country.
Q: But without a job, I’m fucked.
Mitt: Why don’t I tell you my great idea about how to lower health insurance prices?
Q: That’s ok, Mitt. I’ve heard enough.
Closing note: The answers I gave to imaginary Mitt Romney are, I think, true to what he says. That is, they represent the free market ideas that he says will restore prosperity. Of course, no one knows what Mitt Romney really thinks. I believe we get only whatever he’s selling at the time. Thus in Massachusetts a decade ago, we got a moderate eastern politician. Now he’s communicating the Republican brand, and that brand says low taxes and the free market are the beginning and end of policy.
The fiction part is only the Mitt is willing to admit that his policies won’t jump start anything.
PS: Ok, yes, the complete removal of all regulations, from environmental controls to worker safety laws, to minimum wage laws – and the ending of the ability to sue for damages could produce more jobs, but to do we, the workplace would have to return to what it was a century ago, where workers were routinely maimed, and pollution poured forth into the air and water. But these conditions were unacceptable at the time and are no more acceptable now.