It's fascinating to watch Willard Romney self-destruct, although don't feel too gleeful; the one thing that could make him squeak through is overconfidence on our part. Besides, making sure President Obama wins isn't enough, anyway. It's not good enough to just get more votes than Republicans; it's time we obliterated them, politically speaking. It's time we stopped obsessing on individual Republicans, and start highlighting their positions on the issues, which are offensive, and hurt the country
If you haven't seen the videos, you should. You can probably skip the last 15 minutes, so it'll only cost you about 20 minutes of your life. And it'll be worth it. Watch them here. What you will see is a man who represents exactly what the current incarnation of the Republican Party truly believes to be true. Many will pretend not to believe that, but when Romney suggests that anyone who would vote for a Democrat is somehow dependent on government, he's not violating Republican orthodoxy, he's expressing it in its rawest form. The current incarnation of the GOP truly thinks that everyone who receives a government check for anything is completely dependent. Well, except for defense contractors. Oh, and oil companies.
If you doubted Republicans felt that way before, the video should make that clear now. And if the video doesn't convince you, then check out the new op-ed piece Willard penned for today's USA Today. The headline actually reads:
Romney: I'll deliver recovery, not dependency
Once again, I offer the admonition that headlines are usually not written by the authors, and can sometimes not reflect the content accurately. But in this case, it's not off at all. Every working American should be insulted by the ideas presented in this op-ed, because it essentially posits that every one of us is either a deadbeat, or will become a deadbeat someday. Even the way it starts is insulting:
Since our founding, America has promoted personal responsibility, the dignity of work and the value of education. Those values made our nation the hope of the earth and our economy the envy of the world.
Efforts that promote hard work and personal responsibility over government dependency make America strong. When the economy is growing and Americans are working, everyone involved has a shared sense of achievement, not to mention the basic sense of pride that comes with the paycheck they earn.
However, over the past four years, those kinds of opportunities have been in short supply. We're experiencing the worst recovery since the Great Depression. Unemployment has been above 8% for 43 straight months; 47 million Americans are on food stamps. Nearly one in six Americans now live in poverty.
Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency. My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility.
So many lies.
First of all, it's not the job of the government to "promote personal responsibility." That is a modern-day right wing meme, and not what our country was founded upon at all. I would also suggest that it's not the government's job to "promote... the dignity of work." Funny that "small government" Republicans seem so eager to imbue the government with so many more responsibilities than it actually has.
It is simply not the federal government's job to promote "hard work and personal responsibility." The only job the federal government has, actually, is to make sure the economic system is fair and opportunity is available to everyone. I do agree that, when the economy is growing in a healthy way and everyone is working at a good paying job, we all do better, but note the lack of adjectives in Willard's statments above. The government should be keeping up our infrastructure, which creates a lot of jobs, and they should be encouraging entrepreneurship, which does create many jobs, but whether you're working hard is up to your boss.
I'd like to enlighten Willard Romney, and the other Republicans who think this way with a statement of their actual responsibility toward us. It's the Preamble of the Constitution, and it's important.
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
That is probably the most important part of the Constititution, because it sets out the Founders' purpose for creating a government in the first place. Willard needs to note te phrase "We the people of the United States... ." He intends to take office as our CEO, but WE are the CEOs.
Just as importantly, note that nothing in that preamble discusses individuals, or individual rights, or individual anything. The main goal of the government is not to "promote personal responsibility," but to create a strong backbone so that individuals can operate freely within it. "Personal responsibility" is, well, personal, and the government is not. The government belongs to US, not to the politicians who run for office, and not the idiots who are willing to write $10 million checks so they can get a bigger tax break. It's OURS. And if we decide we want people to fee a measure of security by providing them with a modest income and free health care after they retire, well, it's our money, and our government, and we can do that.
Yes, I said it's OUR MONEY. Just about every Social Security and Medicare recipient paid into those funds throughout their entire working lives, and that is the money/value they're receiving now. Everyone receiving unemployment assistance right now paid an unemployment insurance tax for years, and that is the money they are receiving now. Children who receive Social Security widows and orphans benefits receive it because they lost a parent, who was working and paying into that fund for years.
An increasing number of working adults will toil for years at jobs that will only make ther bosses money, and they will all pay more in payroll taxes each year than Willard Romney will pay in income tax. Even among those who receive welfare payments, most will work at crappy jobs for more than 50 years, and collect welfare for two years or less. Over their lifetime, they WILL pay more in taxes than they'll collect in welfare.
This, of course, begs the question; what about all of those people who are forced into Medicaid and Food Stamps programs because their rich bosses refuse to pay them enough to live on? Why are the hard working people cited for shirking their "personal responsibility," but nothing is said to the executives at BigBox, Inc., who pay their charges next to nothing, and stand by while the federal government picks up the tab for their needs? Why do the owners of large companies have no "personal responsibility" to make sure their employees
Let's address those other lies. The economy is not growing as fast as we'd like, but that's because the Republicans in Congress have chosen to sit on their hands and cut spending, rather than do anything to stimulate the economy. For example, Willard knows The American Jobs Act has been sitting in Congress for more than a year, and his party has chosen to ignore it. No debate, no discussions, not even an alternative plan to create jobs.
Most of the reason the unemployment rate has stayed above 8% is due to deep cutting by the Republicans, resulting in massive teacher, police and firefighter layoffs at the state level. In fact, none other than the "Commie-lib" Wall Street Journal wrote in May that, without the massive government cuts, the unemployment rate would have been sitting at 7.1%. Right now, with the growth in private sector employment since then, we'd probably be looking at a rate below 7%.
Economic growth is not "stagnant," however," so that's another lie. It's continued to grow, without the assistance of a phony bubble, and would grow much faster, if Willard's own GOP would bother take their hands off the brake. They have had plenty of time to pass dozens of bills to kill Obamacare, and dozens more to limit reproductive rights, but they have done nothing to address the lingering effects of the recession, which was supposedly the main reason they were elected in 2010.
I was going to argue this op-ed point by point, but the attitude is infuriating. But make no mistake; this kind of thing has been Republican orthodoxy for more than 30 years, since Saint Reagan was elected. But I do want to address one more section:
My experience has taught me that government works best when it creates the space for individuals and families to pursue success and achieve great things. Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in creating sustained prosperity and lifting people out of poverty. It is why our economy rose to rival those of the world's leading powers -- and has long since surpassed them all.
The dreamers and the entrepreneurs, not government, built this economy, and they can once again make it strong.
"His experience"? Give me a break. His entire governmental experience consists of one single term as governor of a blue state. His signature achievement in those four years was the signing and implementation of Romneycare. His business experience has consisted of buying up troubled companies, selling off the good parts and taking massive tax deductions for the rest.
And how does government "create the space for individuals and families to pursue success" with the hands-off approach advocated by most Republicans these days? The GOP has been in charge of the House for nearly two years and they've done absolutely nothing in that time. Why? Because they're like little children who have to get their way, 100%, or they go off and sulk. Also, they think making sure President Obama loses is far more important than your family's well-being. If they were offering alternatives, even if I disagreed with their approach, it would be hard to claim they've done nothing. But they've done nothing that is of any use to anyone.
The US economy became the greatest in history because the government provided the framework for its success. "Dreamers and entrepreneurs" can only venture into the marketplace when they know the government has their backs. Corporations, which are NOT people, make it possible for someone to pursue their dream business without worrying about losing the basic nest egg the family has built up over the years. Deposit insurance makes it possible for banks to invest in the country without having to risk their depositors' money. Mortgage insurance made the 30-year mortgage a reality, and made it possible for more families to buy homes. The GI Bill made it more possible to buy a home, and it also provided tens of millions of people with the education they would need to have a better life than their parents. Even the Marshall Plan provided Americans with millions of jobs making the things that rebuilt Europe. Financial system regulations make investment in the markets safer, and make more money available to those "dreamers and entrepreneurs."
Here's reality, Willard. The economy works much better with a safety net. People are more likely to do something wonderful and glorious, if they know the rest of us have their backs. Strong welfare and unemployment programs, strong retirement programs and a strong health insurance system are all things that would make our system strong and our economy more productive and useful.
President Obama doesn't sit around and whine about everyone else, he actually does whatever he can to make things better. If you really want to make things better for all of us, then crack the whip with the leadership of your own party. There's where the problem lies. Don't look at people who get government checks; look at the reasons why they need those checks, and see who's to blame.
It's the GOP, Willard.