Details, Please

Mitt Romney has been campaigning on the premise that he has a better grasp of economic issues than President Obama.  Basically, his premise has been “I’m a business guy, I know about money; therefore you should hire me to fix the economy.”  Admittedly, he looks like the Central Casting version of a businessman in a suit, and that’s likely to persuade some voters.

But Romney has provided few details, other than supporting deregulation and similarly returning to the Bush-era economic policies that drove us into the deep recession that we’re still trying to dig our way out of.  He’s offered plenty of vague platitudes about knowing how to fix the economy, but he offers as proof of his ability only his questionable record at Bain Capital.

He claims that his time at Bain was as a job creator, though his record in the private sector consists largely of shutting down companies and siphoning money out of them for himself and his cronies.  The number of jobs that he claims to have created seems to vacillate from day to day, state to state, speech to speech.

When challenged in any way on the very record that he holds up as his primary qualification, he whines that he is the victim of “character assassination.”   According to Romney and his campaign, it’s somehow off-limits to infer that Romney and Bain were part of the byzantine investment banking structure that was responsible for the collapse of the economy and yet which remains completely unpunished.

Oddly, Romney similarly doesn’t want anyone to talk about his record in the public sector, which logically would have more bearing on his qualifications for the job that he is seeking.  Maybe that’s because his jobs record as governor of Massachusetts consists of helping his state plunge to the position of 47th out of 50 states in job creation.

The fact remains that Romney hasn’t described with any specificity how he will create any jobs.  If GOP history is any indicator, they’re seemingly only intent on reducing the size of government, which only reduces the number of jobs.  Mitt and his team are still spouting the Reagan era ideology of supply-side trickle-down economics, even though there is not a scrap of evidence that such economic policy has ever provided any benefit to anyone except those who are already prosperous.

Obama has taken the cesspool of an economy that he inherited upon taking office and he has made it significantly better.  Unemployment was at >10%; job losses were mounting.  Unemployment has been moving consistently downward and is currently at 8.1%.  Job creation is significantly up.

Blue collar job numbers are worse than the overall job numbers.  Yet Republicans in Congress have blocked attempts at creating more jobs in this sector when the Obama administration proposed infrastructure programs that would have employed the unemployed as well as dealt with the nation’s crumbling bridges, roads, and other infrastructure.

More than 5,000,000 jobs have been added since Obama took office, despite a reduction of hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs that various state Republican legislatures have been championing.  Obama has managed to show overall job growth in spite of that decline in public sector jobs.

So, in order to cast a vote for Mitt Romney, isn’t it fair to require Romney and his campaign to provide specific assurances not only for how he’s going to create jobs but also for how he’s going to do better than Obama has done?  Sounds fair to me.

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Main Street vs. Bain Street

When President Obama, speaking today in Chicago at the NATO Summit, was asked about Cory Booker’s comments on Meet the Press on Sunday, he used the opportunity to question the applicability of Mitt Romney’s record and experience at Bain Capital.

The President sums it up:

“When you’re President, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.”

I’ve been harping on this for a while now.

There is no logic that I can think of that justifies Romney’s assertion that experience managing a private equity firm is the skill set needed to be President of the United States. Are there significant components related to finance that are part of a president’s job? Of course. But if one makes the same decisions as a president that one would as a private equity firm manager, one excludes most of America from the mix.

On the campaign trail, Romney is hiding from his record as Governor of Massachusetts so, if anything, the single-focus of business experience that Romney is touting as his primary selling point only proves how well rounded he isn’t.

Virtually lost in today’s hubbub about Cory Booker’s statements and President Obama’s response to them is the fact that the President was addressing a NATO summit.  Although this barely got reported on today, he spoke of strengthening the commitment of our NATO partners with regard to Afghanistan, he reminded us of the U.S. and NATO role in helping to overthrow Gaddhafi and to get Libya farther down the road to peace and prosperity, and he addressed the subject of European missile defense and the role that it plays in combating terrorism.

Considering the import of the issues being discussed at that conference, could a more stark contrast be drawn with the myopic campaign tactics of Mitt Romney?

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Today's Numbers

Today’s Numbers

The number of cents per gallon that gasoline has dropped since this time last month.

The number of cents per gallon that gasoline has dropped since this date last year.

The number of Republicans who previously blamed Barack Obama for rising gas prices who sent Barack Obama a note of congratulations or thanks for now lowering them.

* This number is not official, but it’s a pretty safe bet.

No Right To Cry

The crying has begun in the red states, with the unveiling of Bush’s new federal budget. And, yes, it’s a disaster (or a collection of disasters) waiting to happen. There are plenty of things to hate about it, all of which are being discussed elsewhere, so I won’t bore you with the details. Basically, the budget boils down to taking money away from programs that benefit the poor and middle class (education, HUD, etc.) and giving more to the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security.

The march-in-lockstep Bush apologists are already attempting to make a case in favor of this budget by saying, “Oh, this is a wartime budget and we all have to make sacrifices.” The hypocrisy of this, in case it already didn’t hit you in the head like a wrecking ball, is that the war in Iraq is a war of choice that Bush and his cronies got us into on totally false pretenses, and it’s now being used as the excuse for cutting social and education programs.

And, by the way, sorry, farmers. If you’re in a red state and you’re now complaining about the farm subsidies being cut, you’re not getting any sympathy from me. You had your chance. This is your guy doing this, not ours. You put this loser in office, not us.