BREAKING NEWS: ROMNEY NOT PERFECT!

FRANK CAMP

So, let’s get it out there. Mitt Romney isn’t perfect-oh no, I said it. Well, as I sit here, typing while simultaneously melting for making such a statement, let me tell you why I believe that it’s ok.

Comments recently leaked through Mother Jones showing Mitt Romney at a fundraiser in May have caused quite a stir in the news cycle. In the video, he says some unfortunate things. Here is the transcript:

“There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% 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 they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it…These are people who pay no income tax, 47% of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll (President Obama) be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to ten percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not.”

Ouch. Well, on one hand, that is pretty rough. On the other hand, although his information is misapplied and unfortunately spoken, he still makes a valid argument. It is actually true that 47% of Americans pay no Federal income tax. However, many Americans who pay no Federal income taxes either make little enough money to be required to pay or have some other kind of reason that excuses them. In that regard, Romney is being disingenuous. That being said, his point is valid in several ways.

1. Those who pay no Federal income tax will not connect with Romney’s message of tax cuts. In that way, he is correct in his thinking that those folks (the 47%), or at least a large portion of them will fall into the Obama camp naturally, because they are not connecting to Romney’s message.

2. Romney is trying to paint a picture of increasing dependency on government. Those who are dependent on government benefits are much more willing to vote for someone who will continue to provide those benefits free of charge. According to the Examiner, this year, 43 million Americans are on food stamps, which is up from 27 million in 2007. And with Obama relaxing the work requirement for food stamp benefits, usage among able bodied adults rose from 1.9 million to 3.9 million from 2008 to 2010, according to the Congressional Research Service.

3. What Romney talked about, in regards to not worrying about the percentage of people who will not vote for him, though harsh sounding, was actually right on. When Romney said: “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”, he was referring to those who are living off of government benefits and have no intention of bettering themselves or their position in life. The fact that he used an misapplied percentage doesn’t discount the core message being put forward. According to Business Insider, dependency on Government has risen, and continues to skyrocket. I have the link here:

Link: http://www.businessinsider.com/charts-rise-of-government-dependence-2012-9#the-trend-has-been-getting-more-extreme-for-years-2

4. Interestingly enough, the 47% isn’t a permanent figure. In 2008, the percentage of Americans who paid no income taxes was approximately 40%. In the last four years, it has risen to 47%. This is a reflection of poor economic policy on the part of the Obama administration. 7% more Americans are no longer making enough money to pay taxes. At its lowest, the number was 12%. Unemployment is still above 8%, and according to the Wall Street Journal, the real unemployment number is nearer to 19% (given the number of Americans who have stopped looking for work altogether). Obama himself said that if he couldn’t get unemployment under 8% in his first term, he would lose his job. Well, I’d say that 19% is cause for firing.

So, although the statement made by Romney about the 47%, though technically correct, may have been misapplied, the fact that 47% of Americans (not all of whom are these poor people who simply do not make enough money, by the way) pay no Federal income tax is a reflection of Obama’s poor performance as president.

5. Finally, what Mitt Romney’s statement boils down to is this: A large portion of the American people are becoming more and more dependent on government. Those who are firmly entrenched in that dependent state are more likely to vote for Obama than Romney. In addition, simply because some of the 47% don’t fall into the moochers category, that does not mean that another large portion of them don’t as well). Romney cannot convince these people to vote for him, in all likelihood, so he needs to focus on the 5% – 10% of independents whom he can influence. That is how he can win the election.

That’s it. That is what he is saying. Yes, he said it in a way that may have offended some people. Yes, his statistic, though technically true, was used improperly. However, his point is just as valid, despite the terms used to describe it.

When politicians say things that may offend, or may be disingenuous, it is often a good idea to shove that aside and simply look at their records. So, I would like to compare Mitt Romney’s record as a businessman and as Governor of Massachusetts, to Barack Obama’s record as a state senator and as President.

Mitt Romney:

The 2002 winter Olympics: Mired in scandal and budget deficits, Romney was asked to take over the Olympics. Romney took a $379 million deficit, and turned it into a $56 million surplus. He then said that he would only take the salary offered to him if the Olympics profited. The Olympics profited, but he still gave his salary to charity.

Bain successes: while Romney had many successes at Bain, I will focus on one: Staples. According to Newsmax, before the first Staples store even opened, Romney smelled success, and decided to invest $600,000 into the new company. Staples now employes thousands of people across the country.

In addition to that, Bain (Co-founded by Romney) has invested in numerous other companies, such as Dominoes and Sports Authority, creating or saving millions of jobs. What Bain does, in basic terms, is company investments and turn arounds. Bain either invests in a start-up company, helping it develop, or finds a failing, fledgling business, and turns it around. Bain has had an astonishing rate of success. Over 80% of the companies in which Bain invested showed increased revenue while under Bain management.

Massachusetts success: According to Politifact, under Romney, Massachusetts went from 51st in job creation (50 states plus D.C.) to 30th by the time he left office in 2006.

While Governor, Romney discovered that only 70 cents of every dollar collected in road tolls was going into the collection. 30 cents of every dollar went to the employees. This was a staggering figure. According to Newsmax, “this was in part because the toll collectors’ union contract gave them an average $56,300 a year in wages, plus $9,880 in benefits.” In response to this, Romney proposed that the Turnpike Authority be shut down, freeing up $200 million dollars. This proposal was rejected by the Mass. legislator (87% Democrat).

Finally, unemployment in Mass. under Romney went from 5.6% when he began his run as Governor to 4.7% by the time he left office. When Romney took office, Mass. had a $3 billion dollar budget deficit; when he left, a $1 billion dollar surplus. He accomplished this without raising taxes. What’s more, he did in with bi-Parisian support. This is a quote from Eric Fehernstrom, a senior Romney advisor:

“Instead of giving speeches that were critical of Democratic
leadership, he invited them into his office every week for a
meeting to discuss their shared agenda for the state.”

Apparently, according to Fehrnstrom, even if there was no agenda to discuss, Romney would hold the meetings anyway to discuss whatever was on their minds.

This is a man who knows how to take a bloated entity (in our case, the Federal government), and turn it into a lean, profitable machine. This is a man with a solid economic record, not only as Governor, but with the Olympics and Bain.

Now, let’s take a look at Obama’s record:

First, it’s unfair to compare a senate record to the record of a Governor, so I will only mention one item from his tenure in Illinois.

As an Illinois state senator, Obama voted several times to deny human rights to infants born alive from failed abortions. Obama claimed that he voted against the bill because it attempted to undermine Roe V Wade. According to the Washington post, however, the 2003 state bill mirrored the Federal bill nearly identically; the same bill that passed unanimously, with full support from both parties.

Now, on to his Presidential record:

Obamacare: Rather than making common sense solutions to drastically reduce the cost of healthcare, such as cross state insurance sales, tort reform and means testing (like they do in Switzerland, to much success), Obama passed a massive HC program, including a Government mandate. In case you haven’t been to England or Canada, single payer systems fail miserably.

According to Klaus Rohrich, of canadafreepress.com: “Canada, which has long had a single-payer healthcare system and does not allow alternative private access, has seen its quality of healthcare drop precipitously along with treatment outcomes.  What’s worse, healthcare in Canada is now rationed because of lowering enrollments in medical schools, with the result that nearly 15% of all Canadians are without a primary care physician.  In addition, access to specialties have been severely curtailed through waiting lists that are routinely in excess of six to eight months and can be as long as several years.”

Obamacare is not a solution, it is a power grab. Government HC continues to prove quite unsuccessful across the world. That quote is just one source of many, including anecdotal evidence from my own life that demonstrate the mess that is socialized medicine. In addition, Obamacare constitutes a massive tax hike. Benefits of Obamacare don’t take effect until four years after revenue starts being collected. That is 6 years of benefits for 10 years of taxes. It is not budget neutral, as it was claimed.

2. The auto-industry bailout: With the auto-industry faltering, Obama stepped in to provide them with the money he believed they needed to save their companies. According to The Washington post, the auto-bailout cost an estimated $80 billion. As it stands now, GM is having a very slow recovery, and the taxpayers are still owed $25 billion from GM. The issue here is partly the bailout, but more so it is an ideological issue. Not only did the bailout cost the tax payers an exorbitant amount of money, it was unnecessary.

Another car company you may know, Ford, refused to take the bailout money. Instead, they brought in Boeing CEO, Allan Mullaly. He was an outsider, and pushed the company (that was hemorrhaging $100 million a day in 2008) to innovate and develop new products. Mulally’s innovation and drive brought the company back from the brink of bankruptcy (they were reportedly 3 to 6 months from bankruptcy). According to Yahoo Finance, Ford reported a $20 billion profit in 2011.

The issue is this: The government should not step in to save industries. It encourages failure. The government should encourage companies to help themselves, like Ford did. In addition, it was a massive use of taxpayer dollars ($25 billion of which is still owed). Sometimes companies fail, and sometimes they succeed; that is American business.

3. Unemployment: Obama himself said that if unemployment remained above 8% after his first term, he would lose his job. Well, unemployment is at 8.1%, and real unemployment (due to people no longer searching for work) stands closer to 19%. That is close to Depression level unemployment.

Remember back in 2008, when Obama said this:

“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest… it’s not surprising they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

Or just recently, when he said this:

“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

My point is that there are times when politicians say things that are inelegant and sometimes unfortunate. They are not perfect. They are fallable human beings, not gods. Those comments Obama made are much worse to me than the comment that Romney made. Obama’s comments aren’t only unfortunate, they reveal his ideology. When you look at those comments in conjunction with his record, it shows a man who is a European style socialist. He is a Keynesian economist. Romney is a Smith economist. Obama believes in larger, more patriarchal government, social justice and economic stimulation by pumping cash into the economy. Romney believes in a smaller, leaner government; and a government that lowers taxes (both capital gains and income) to let the economy balance itself out; a government that gets out of the way.

Look at the results. Romney’s record versus Obama’s record. If you want an even deeper reference, look to FDR’s record; it mirrors Obama’s in many ways. Despite revisionist historians making believe that FDR saved the economy from the depths, his policies were actually quite destructive and lengthened the economic recovery that could have taken much less time. As a reference, look to the book “New Deal or Raw Deal” by Burton Folsom.

In the end, take away the inelegant statements made by both politicians, strip away any kind of character assassination, and simply look to their records. For me, the decision is clear. We are at a fork, we can move toward Economic freedom or take the other road toward Greece.

COPYRIGHT © 2012 FRANK CAMP

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