Mitt Romney’s America
Wall Street Unregulated
In Mitt Romney’s America, Washington exists to serve the interests of Wall Street. Romney approaches Wall Street with a blind eye towards its past missteps and puts full faith in the industry’s ability to police itself and act in the best interest of the country. While Romney was a strong supporter of the Wall Street bailout, he opposes tough new rules to stop Wall Street excesses from causing another crisis.
Along the campaign trail, Romney has frequently railed against the new financial regulation bill and has gone on the record as favoring its repeal. The former investment banker has time and again cited the “over-regulation and burden” of financial regulation and claimed that it “caused [Wall Street] to retreat.” Gone from his stump speech is any mention of the catastrophic collapse of our financial system, the millions of middle class jobs it took with it, and the need to ensure ordinary Americans that Wall Street will never again be allowed to gamble away their retirement accounts.
Main Street Isolated
In Mitt Romney’s America, our country’s wealthiest 1% can expect to have a best friend and confidant in the White House while the rest of the country struggles through economic hardship. Time and again Romney has shown himself to stand firmly on the side of big business and either unable or unwilling to relate to the concerns of regular Americans.
During what Mitt Romney frequently references as his “25 years spent in the private sector,” Romney took over companies and made millions in profits while laying off thousands workers and bankrupting businesses. As the New York Post wrote, “there’s little question he made a fortune from businesses he helped destroy.”
Speaking in one of the states hit hardest by the foreclosure crisis, Romney told the Las Vegas Review-Journal “don’t try to stop the foreclosure process, let it run its course and hit the bottom.” Romney’s promise to repeal the financial reform bill would also eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, letting big banks continue to exploit consumers with deceptive contracts and unwarranted fees.
And through it all, he has never wavered in his defense of his elite friends. “As if Wall Street greed is something new. It’s been there for a long time, and that is not the reason we had an economic meltdown,” explains candidate Romney.
Middle Class Decimated
Because Romney looks out for Wall Street types like himself, the middle class would be forgotten in Mitt Romney’s America. According to a recent independent analysis, even though he is worth up to $250 million, Romney only pays about 14% in federal taxes—a rate far lower than many middle class families. Romney has called for keeping tax cuts that benefit the wealthiest 1% like himself and dismissed concerns that multi-millionaires like himself are often paying a lower tax rate than teachers, cops, and construction workers.
While Romney will work to keep his own tax rate low, he opposed extending the payroll tax cut that benefits working Americans. The result would be a tax increase of about $1000 for hardworking Americans.
Under Romney’s watch as Massachusetts Governor, conditions for Massachusetts’ middle class worsened. The average worker saw their wages fall during the Romney years, and Massachusetts was, as one expert put it, a “national leader” in rising housing costs and experienced “high levels of outmigration from the state of young families with children.” Regarding the general failure of Romney’s governorship, a commentator wrote, “a full-time governor who is deeply committed to the economic well-being of a state’s workers can, however, make some difference. The state unfortunately did not receive such leadership over most of the past four years.” While he was Governor, Massachusetts was 47th in job creation.
American Jobs Relocated
As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney vetoed and attacked a bill that would have prevented state vendors from sending work overseas.
Romney’s top economic advisor is an economist who endorses the practice of outsourcing jobs overseas as “probably a plus for the economy in the long run.”
In his private sector career, Romney’s actions show his only concern was profit for himself and other multi-millionaire investors – the impact on American jobs was not even considered. A President with that mindset would be dangerous for American workers.
Supreme Court Stacked
As a candidate, Romney has promised extreme conservatives to move the Supreme Court even further to the right than it already is. When questioned, Mitt Romney has said that “I would have favored justices like Roberts and Alito, Scalia and Thomas,” and has commented that he most identifies with Justice Roberts. Romney referred to Sonya Sotomayor’s nomination as “troubling” and was open to the idea of filibustering her. With Romney’s appointments, a woman’s right to choose could be overturned, workers and consumers would find themselves at an even greater legal disadvantage, environmental laws would be threatened, and protections for minorities in America could be in jeopardy.
Health Insurance Reform Repealed
Despite achieving a major breakthrough in Massachusetts by passing state-wide comprehensive healthcare reform, Mitt Romney has been forced to change his position in order to run for President. Romney has made the repeal of healthcare reform a priority and has promised that on his first day will issue “an executive order which directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to provide a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states.”
As for the big picture, Romney has announced that “that law is bad; it’s unconstitutional; it shall not stand.” Health insurance companies would once again be able to drop coverage for pre-existing conditions and exploit sick Americans.
College Aid Slashed
In vying for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney has wasted no time in lending support and encouragement to his party’s efforts in Congress that would make college even less affordable for middle class families. He dutifully endorsed the budget offered by Congressman Paul Ryan and said his own plan was “on the same page.”
One standout feature of the Romney-endorsed Ryan budget is that it would deliver the biggest reductions to funding of Pell grants in the history of the program. According to one newspaper, “the popular federal Pell Grant tuition program, vastly expanded under President Obama, would take a big hit under the far-reaching fiscal 2012 Republican budget blueprint released Tuesday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.”
Romney’s allies in Congress opposed student loan reform that passed as part of health care reform, and would allow big banks to once again act as middle-men in the process. While Romney’s allies on Wall Street would again reap windfall profits from struggling college graduates, the plan would make college less affordable for middle class families.
Planned Parenthood Defunded
While Romney claimed to support a woman’s right to choose just a few years ago, he has made extensive promises to the right-wing of the Republican Party. He supported an amendment to completely defund Planned Parenthood, which would end healthcare for millions of women—including millions of cancer screenings, HIV testing and prevention, and contraception to prevent unintended pregnancies. With House Republicans consistently focused on rolling back women’s rights, it is not inconceivable that Romney would have a bill to defund Planned Parenthood on his desk in the first week - and that he would sign it.
A Romney Administration would cater to the demands of the radical right in its cabinet appointees. A Secretary Bachmann at the helm of the Department of Health and Human Services would be a catastrophe for reproductive rights.
Global Warming Ignored
On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney has expressed doubt about the scientific consensus of humans causing climate change. Romney has stated bluntly that, “my view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet.” Perhaps more informative of how Romney would govern, though, is his stated belief that combating climate change is simply unfeasible and that “the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.”
A number of proposals coming out of Romney’s campaign would effectively gut existing regulations that currently combat climate change. In his economic plan, Romney called the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts “outdated” and said they “need to be overhauled.” He has even argued for carbon dioxide to be excluded from these laws because “humans exhale” it.
Furthermore, a Romney Administration would see a return to the Dick Cheney precedent—a system where policies on energy and the environment are written by the executives and lobbyists of oil companies and other industries supposedly regulated by the Administration.
Social Security Privatized
Romney has consistently favored the privatization of Social Security, supporting former President Bush’s push for private accounts and continuing to support younger workers diverting payroll taxes. Even after the Bush proposal collapsed Romney said, “one thing that the President proposed that is a good idea is to take some of that money or all of that surplus money and allow people to have a personal account so they can invest in things that have a higher rate of return than just government debt. They can invest in things like our stock market or the world stock market or whatever so they could get a better return and maybe that would make up for some of the shortfall. That’s a good idea.”
Diverting Social Security funding into privatized accounts would worsen the program’s financial situation, eliminate the guaranteed benefit, subject future seniors to the whims of the stock market and provide massive new fees for Wall Street banks.
In 2011, the House Republicans presented and almost-unanimously passed a budget proposal written by their budget Chair, Paul Ryan. The plan would fundamentally dismantle Medicare and, in its place, offer seniors a voucher to purchase private health insurance on their own. The vouchers would decline in real value over time and would force seniors to pay over $6000 a year more for health care. Romney replied with a definitive “yes” when asked if he would sign the Ryan plan that would, as the Wall Street Journal wrote, “essentially end Medicare.”