Mittens Goes Full Circle

Mitt isn’t flip-flopping on health care, he’s actually gone in a complete circle, back to where he began when he first considered Romneycare.  His rationale for Romneycare was that uninsured people were able to go to the emergency room and that the rest of us ended up paying for that.  He supported the individual mandate as imposing “personal responsibility”.

But now that he hates the mandate because it is part of  Obamacare, Mitt thinks the solution is to return to the days of the uninsured going to the emergency room for free.  He told  60 Minutes, “Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance.  If someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.”

So what seemed like the problem when he was governor of MA now seems like the solution when he’s the GOP nominee.

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT professor who worked on both Romneycare and Obamacare, told Talking Points Memo,* “The guy has come completely full circle.  The whole idea of Romneycare was to avoid this kind of free riding.”

* “Romney Solidifies Major Shift on Health Care,” Sahil Kapur

More on the 47%

I’m tired of reading stuff trying to justify Mitt and the 47% garbage.  What he said wasn’t just politically stupid, it’s factually stupid.

He said these 47% are in the tank for Obama, no point in trying to reach them.  Really?  How can he not know that a chunk of the people who don’t pay federal income tax are retirees, living on Social Security and their savings?  And how can he not know that the one group he consistently has been leading among is seniors?  So to say that the 47% are synonymous with Obama voters just makes him look an idiot because so many of them are his freaking base.

And I don’t get the leap between not paying (actually I would frame it as not owing) federal income taxes and seeing yourself as a victim, as not taking personal responsibility for yourself.  I don’t see any connection there, it’s just a non sequitur.

Who are these people who don’t owe on April 15?  As I said, a chunk of them are seniors, which means that they used to work and pay federal income taxes.  They also paid in to get their Social Security and their Medicare.  Yes, some of them will take out of the system more than they put in, but some of them will die before they get their investment back.  That’s what an insurance system is.  And what’s Mitt’s solution here to end their “dependency”?  Does he want people in their 80’s and 90’s to rejoin the work force?

Some of them are students.  They are old enough to vote, and maybe flipping burgers to get through school, but not in their prime earning years.  They have decades of paying federal income taxes ahead of them, and the more education they get, the more they will earn and the more they will pay.

Some of them are low-wage earners because they’ve lost better-paying jobs in the Great Recession; because they lack education and skills; because they don’t speak English well; because they choose careers that don’t pay well, but help other people; because they work part-time so that they can write or paint or spend more time with their kids or do volunteer work.  People are low-wage earners for all kinds of reasons.  Some of them have paid federal income taxes in the past and will do so again in the future.

Just because you’re working a low-wage job (or two or three) doesn’t mean you don’t work hard.  Anyone doing honest work is taking personal responsibility for himself or herself.  The GOP has consistently supported earned income tax credits and child care credits to keep low-wage earners out of poverty and off of welfare, to make work worthwhile.   The GOP has declared this tax policy the path to personal responsibility, and now Mitt is denying his own party’s long-standing beliefs.

It is beyond chutzpah for someone earning $20 million a year and paying 13% in federal income taxes (maybe, assuming we believe him) to bitch and moan about those terrible people making $20,000 a year who don’t pay their fair share.

Listening to that tape, I don’t think this guy is just politically dead, I think he’s brain dead.

A Golden Opportunity

What I see as a campaign-ending disaster — the Romney 47% video — Rush Limbaugh is calling a “golden opportunity” to explain conservatism!  I think you only see this as a golden opportunity if you’re someone used to eating off golden plates.

The GOP consistently tries to portray Obama as somehow unAmerican.

But really what could possibly be more unAmerican — and patently untrue — than someone who believes half his fellow citizens see themselves as victims and refuse to take personal responsibility for themselves?  That is the antithesis of who we have always been as a people and who we are today.

You could only think such a thing if you’re totally cut off from normal working people — as are both Mitt and Rush in where and how they live — and exist in a bubble of fellow extremely rich people.

This is indeed a golden opportunity, a golden opportunity to re-elect President Obama in a landslide.

Mitt Tops His Dad, Topples His Campaign

For his whole life in politics, Mitt has been terrified of making a mistake as bad as his father’s “brainwashing” comment from 1968.  Mitt hasn’t made a mistake as bad, he’s made one that’s worse.

I don’t see how Mitt survives his comments at a $50,000 a person fundraiser in Boca Raton in May, where he was unaware he was being recorded as he spoke to his fellow one percenters.  For once, he seems to speak with passion and conviction and from the heart:

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.  All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.  That that’s an entitlement.  And the government should give it to them. … My job is not to worry about those people.  I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Mitt should take personal responsibility for being such an appallingly awful candidate.  But I’m sure that for the rest of his life, he’ll blame the media or prejudice against Mormons or some other excuse that’s as phony as he is.

His epic disaster of a campaign will drag its fatally wounded self to the finish line over the next seven weeks, but it’s over.

Unless Obama announces at one of the debates that he really is a Kenyan Muslim Communist, Mitt is done.

Crocodile Tears Over Our Lost “Freedom”

Peggy Noonan’s latest column — “Obama Has a Good Day (But liberty has a bad one)” — complains that “The ruling strikes me as very bad for the atmosphere of freedom in our country.”

You know, that wonderful freedom to choose not to have health insurance, crash your motorcycle into a truck, and stick your fellow Americans with hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills for your care.  I’m sure that’s what the Founding Fathers saw as the essence of freedom, a God-given right to be a burden and a free-loader.

The GOP’s betrayal of the individual mandate they loved for two decades is worthy of John Edwards.

If the individual mandate had become law under President Bush or a President McCain, we all know Noonan would have been cheer-leading in a column that read “The ruling strikes me as very good for the atmosphere of personal responsibility in our country.”

From Incentive to Tyranny

Mitt Romney, “Mr. President, what’s the rush?,” USA Today, July 30, 2009:

“No other state has made as much progress in covering their uninsured as Massachusetts.

“Our experience also demonstrates that getting every citizen insured doesn’t have to break the bank.  First, we established incentives for those who were uninsured to buy insurance.  Using tax penalties, as we did, or tax credits, as others have proposed, encourages ‘free riders’ to take responsibility for themselves rather than pass their medical costs on to others.  This doesn’t cost the government a single dollar.”  Emphasis added.

So now Mitt sees the mandate as tyranny, the end to liberty as we know it.  But three years ago, it was just an ‘incentive’ to encourage personal responsibility, something Republicans are always yelling and screaming about as they seek to cut Medicaid and Schip and food stamps and extended unemployment benefits.

The GOP and Fox News are now ranting that Obamacare is a tax increase on every American.  In Massachusetts, only about 1% have chosen to pay the Romneycare tax for not having health insurance.  The CBO has estimated that about 4 million Americans will owe the tax, so less than 1% of the population.

Exactly how is a tax that 99% of the population won’t pay a tax increase on every American?