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May 23, 2012 4:17 PM Some Insights Into Mittonomics

By Ed Kilgore

So Mitt Romney gave Mark Halperin an interview today, and it’s mostly composed of Romney dodging questions about the specifics of his economic plan, and the specific preparation his business career has given him to serve as president. This, of course, is interesting insofar as he keeps monotonously saying the economy is the only issue that matters, and that his business experience shows why we should trust him to “fix” it.

Mitt did make one bit of news that’s probably going to haunt him: a prediction that he could get the unemployment rate down to 6% by the end of his four-year term. As Steve Benen quickly pointed out: (1) 6% is 2% above the rate Romney called problematic earlier this very month; and (2) CBO is estimating the unemployment rate will go down to 6% by 2016 if no one does anything new about it. He’s promising to do a crappy job that any old body could do.

But there were two other answers he gave that I found intriguing: Asked why things would improve during his first year in office, here’s what he said:

Well you’d see a very dramatic change in the perspective of small businesses, entrepreneurs, middle-size businesses, and perhaps even some large multinationals. They’d say, you know what, America looks like a good place to invest again, a good place to take risk, a good place to hire again.

Wow, this is a “confidence fairy” that doesn’t even need to see any action; just one look at the manly visage of Mitt Romney, and the money will start flowing again!

And second, when asked about why he’s not proposing big first-year spending cuts, he answered:

[I]f you take a trillion dollars for instance, out of the first year of the federal budget, that would shrink GDP over 5%. That is by definition throwing us into recession or depression. So I’m not going to do that, of course.

Keynesianism! Keynesianism! Call Jim DeMint! Romney’s not for immediately balancing the budget! Romney thinks public-sector jobs are real! Romney doesn’t think the confidence fairy would offset spending cuts!

On top of everything else, unless the transcript is wrong, Mitt referred to the “Democratic Party,” not the “Democrat Party.”

I think this may be the last non-Fox interview Romney grants for a while. If even Halperin can screw you up, it’s time to stick to the stock speech.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

Comments

  • exlibra on May 23, 2012 4:39 PM:

    [...] CBO is estimating the unemployment rate will go down to 6% by 2012 [...]

    Um. That would be truly miraculous; even better than a confidence fairy :) But that's not the date CBO gave. You can erase this comment once you've fixed that little detail.

  • Hedda Peraz on May 23, 2012 4:43 PM:

    You 99%ers do NOT understand how us Top Dogs work!
    See, at an early age, Der Mittster traded the family cow for some magic beans, and he is just waiting for the right time to plant them. The right time will be on Inauguration Day, 2013.

    Even as I type, we 1%ers are strapping on our climbing irons, and polishing our golden egg baskets!

  • Ron Byers on May 23, 2012 4:49 PM:

    exlibra, I think the actual estimate is 6.1% by 2016. In fairness Romney predicts that his policies will result in a .1% improvement over doing nothing during the next 4 years. Woopie.

    What I find interesting is how does he square his pledge not to throw the economy into a recession with his support for the Ryan budget.

    I love his reliance on the confidence fairy. The fact is demand is what drives growth. Increasing demand requires consumers have increased purchasing power. It is hard to imagine guys like Mitt alone spending enough to really increase the purchasing power of regular people. I guess it might happen that rich people will all want to install elevators in their garages, but how many elevators is that anyway?

  • bcinaz on May 23, 2012 4:58 PM:

    Does the Confidence Fairy bring some Consumer Demand when it visits? Maybe the plan is to buy everyone who votes for Mitt a Cadillac, a yacht or a small house in the suburbs. That might get things moving again.

  • FlipYrWhig on May 23, 2012 5:04 PM:

    What would Romney _do_ to conjure up the Confidence Fairy? Cut spending? Cut taxes? Make this clown show his work. (Hey, that sentence works on multiple levels: make this [clown show] his work, and make [this clown] show his work.)

    Otherwise we get into this area where, as my Republican friend in the '80s would say, the Iranians released the hostages just because they were fearful of Ronald Reagan.

  • Danp on May 23, 2012 5:14 PM:

    On Chris Matthews, Halperin defends Romney by saying he really believes this to his core. 1) What garbage journalism. 2) What schlock Chris Matthews' show is!

  • T2 on May 23, 2012 5:20 PM:

    there is a reason Romney has done ZERO Press Conferences.....

  • plim on May 23, 2012 5:36 PM:

    Over and over again, ask Mitt why his tenure at Bain is relevant when judging his ability to steer the economy, but not his tenure as Governor?

    POTUS is not a CEO!

  • DRF on May 23, 2012 5:37 PM:

    Just want to remind you that Federal government spending is not all on "public sector" jobs. In fact, I have to think that most government spending goes into the private sector--construction jobs, purchases by the Government of goods and services from the private sector, etc. (When Boeing builds aircraft for the U.S. Army, the Boeing employees, as I understand it, are private sector employees working in private sector jobs.)

  • c u n d gulag on May 23, 2012 5:44 PM:

    Mitt has the charisma of a brick.

    Only he's half as bright, and a quarter as useful.

    Democrats have a hard time herding stray cats.

    Mitt's team has a hard time herding his stray thoughts - if that's what they can be called...

  • bobbo on May 23, 2012 5:47 PM:

    Sad thing is, if the unemployment rate goes to 6.1% by 2016, President Romney will cruise to re-election.

  • exlibra on May 23, 2012 7:07 PM:

    Ron Byers on May 23, 2012 4:49 PM:

    exlibra, I think the actual estimate is 6.1% by 2016.

    That's right. But the original text (now corrected, thanks, Ed!) said "by 2012". Un-possible, seeing we're already a quarter into it.

  • exlibra on May 23, 2012 7:14 PM:

    c u n d gulag on May 23, 2012 5:44 PM:

    Mitt has the charisma of a brick.

    Gulag, I've seen many bricks which were positively charming (old buildings, mostly). So, unless you're talking about this kind of brick:
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/shitting+bricks
    I think you're doing bricks an injustice.

    "1537 peanomy" Well... That's not enough to get Mitt over the finish line in November, I don't think.

  • thebewilderness on May 23, 2012 7:18 PM:

    If his time at Bain is the model then what he will do is obvious.
    He will sell off all public assets, public lands, schools, everything. Those profits will make it unnecessary to cut spending. In the second year with a Republican Congress he will be able to repeal the entire social safety net as well as the minimum wage. Then we will be on a track to make enormous profits for the ownership society or the society of owners, one of those things.

    captcha hissssssss, we hates it forever!

  • Doug on May 23, 2012 7:43 PM:

    So basically, what Romney is saying is "Vote for me, I'm NOT Obama." That'll work for MOST of his base, but what about the "independents"?
    Or anyone with more than two functioning neurons, for that matter...

  • Joe Friday on May 23, 2012 8:25 PM:

    "Asked why things would improve during his first year in office, here's what he said: Well you'd see a very dramatic change in the perspective of small businesses, entrepreneurs, middle-size businesses, and perhaps even some large multinationals. They'd say, you know what, America looks like a good place to invest again, a good place to take risk, a good place to hire again."

    Remember, this is very similar to what the American RightWing claimed about Chimpy Bush in 2000. They said if Bush is elected and enacts the tax cuts and gets the government out of the way, the economy and the stock markets are gonna ZOOM and American business is gonna flourish.

    Of course, instead we got TWO recessions, and economic DEPRESSION, and tens of millions of lost jobs.

    Yet they keep drinkin' the Purple Kool-Aid.

  • Skip on May 23, 2012 9:01 PM:

    ...if those so-called Real Americans actually vote this box of rocks into the highest seat in the land...Arg...

    Mitt Romney's only concept of morals is that fancy fungus plated at his favorite dining establishment.

  • bigtuna on May 24, 2012 1:01 AM:

    ummm... let's say, for the sake of argument, that Romney gets elected. Furthermore, let's say there is a lame duck deadlock on debt ceiling, etc... then

    "The Budget Control Act passed last August stipulates that failure of the supercommittee and Congress to act on further deficit reduction will trigger across-the-board cuts of $1.2 trillion in both defense and non-defense programs, starting in 2013."

    So a better question Marky H could have asked is: "If you are not going to cut a trillion, Mr. Romney, how do you feel about the 1.2 T that your fellow party members lined up if nothing happens btwn now and Jan 1???"

  • boatboy_srq on May 24, 2012 1:04 PM:

    Hmmm. Deficits don't matter to the Confidence Fairy. That sounds a lot more like traditional Reaganomics than the modern Norquistian austerity school.

    Someone must have pushed the "Reset" button on the Mittbot again. That, or he forgot already that his talking points from yesterday needed to be repeated. Or he could just have been lying, which would make that Wednesday.