Political Animal

Blog

November 04, 2011 3:10 PM The challenge of making ridiculous numbers add up

By Steve Benen

Mitt Romney has an interesting budget challenge. He wants to eliminate a large deficit entirely, but he also wants to increase defense spending and cut taxes on the wealthy by trillions of dollars. It’s the sort of plan that would make balancing the budget sort of tricky, in much the same way putting out a fire with lighter fluid would be difficult.

But don’t worry, the former Massachusetts governor’s platform now includes a spending-cut plan. In the latest in a voluminous series of op-eds, which previewed a speech he delivered this afternoon, Romney explained:

The federal government should stop doing things we don’t need or can’t afford. For example:

* Repeal ObamaCare, which would save $95 billion in 2016.

* Eliminate subsidies for the unprofitable Amtrak, saving $1.6 billion a year.

* Enact deep reductions in the subsidies for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Legal Services Corporation.

* Eliminate Title X family planning programs benefiting abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.

* End foreign aid to countries that oppose America’s interests.

That’s not the totality of the plan — Romney also has some thoughts on entitlements that we’ll get to later — but in terms of discretionary spending, this is the gist of his spending-cut agenda.

There are a few key takeaways to keep in mind. The first is that repealing the entirely of the Affordable Care Act would make the deficit much worse, not better. Romney has this precisely backwards, and the fact that he doesn’t understand this is disconcerting.

Second, if Romney thinks he can take a $1.3 trillion deficit, increase spending on the Pentagon, cut taxes on the wealthy, and pay balance the budget by going after foreign aid and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, he’s an even bigger fool than I’d feared.

And third, Planned Parenthood? Seriously? Mitt Romney thinks he can bring the budget closer to balance by increasing military spending, while blocking working-class and low-income women from accessing contraception, family planning services, pap smears, cancer screenings, and tests for sexually-transmitted diseases?

That’s just sad.

For nearly a half-century, Republican support for Planned Parenthood was the norm. Barry Goldwater and George H.W. Bush championed the health organization, and it wasn’t deemed the least bit controversial.

And yet, now we have Mitt Romney — ostensibly one of the sane GOP presidential candidates — vowing to eliminate funding for this preventive health care for women altogether.

Romney was far less offensive when he was a moderate attending Planned Parenthood fundraisers. This latest incarnation appears to have a real problem with women’s rights and interests.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

Post a comment
  • Josef K on November 04, 2011 3:18 PM:

    That’s not the totality of the plan — Romney also has some thoughts on entitlements that we’ll get to later — but in terms of discretionary spending, this is the gist of his spending-cut agenda.

    Please stop. What's listed here is sickening enough.

  • DAY on November 04, 2011 3:20 PM:

    Watching Mitt on CSPAN today, I was struck by the tepid response from the audience.
    Telegraphing my age, a popular song was called, "I'm just wild about Harry."
    During Truman's campaign for the presidency, Dewey supporters sang "I'm just MILD about Harry."
    Ditto Mitt; he's had a hard core 25% for years and years, and years. . .

  • Davis X. Machina on November 04, 2011 3:22 PM:

    if Romney thinks he can take a $1.3 trillion deficit, increase spending on the Pentagon, cut taxes on the wealthy, and pay balance the budget by going after foreign aid and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, he's an even bigger fool than I'd feared.

    He only has to be less of a fool than the median voter, who will eat it up.

  • Phil Perspective on November 04, 2011 3:26 PM:

    This latest incarnation appears to have a real problem with women’s rights and interests.

    Say it ain't so!! Of course Mittens does. He has to pander, however unconvincingly, to the GOP base. And we know how they value facts and science.

  • just bill on November 04, 2011 3:28 PM:

    i wish you'd stop referring to him as one of the sane GOP candidates. there isn't a single one of them that is even close to sane.

  • Furiousd on November 04, 2011 3:32 PM:

    Doesn't matter if repealing "Obamacare", aka the Affordable Care Act, is going to be the worst thing for the economy since the Bush tax cuts. It's a winner for conservative/tea party voters. Reality aside, he will continue to push this ad nauseum, facts be damned.

  • stormskies on November 04, 2011 3:36 PM:

    In a country in which 20% 'believe' that the Sun actually revolves around the Earth, 50% 'believe' that the Earth is less than 10,000 years old and that the human co-mingled with the Dinosaurs, another 30% can't find the USA on a world map, a country in which more people can name the names of the three stooges more than the names of those on the U.S Supreme Court, acountry that elects the likes of Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, Louie Gomert, and the rest of such creatures, we are in fact in a country in which the very nature of the population, a very large and tragic amount, can literally believe anything. The actual truth just does not matter, facts don't matter. Fairy tales considered as truth is what people need and want here. The Repiglicans know this so they lie with impunity, make shit up with the purpose of deception in mind which of course hides their actual agendas, and rely on the corporate media to repeat the lies and deceptions over and over so that in fact the lies and deceptions become the 'reality' in which the ignorant Americans 'believe'.

    No wonder we are the laughing stock of the world, no wonder the Chinese call us 'monocelluar': their scathing word for they regard as simpletons. Sadly, they happen to be right.

  • mudwall jackson on November 04, 2011 3:36 PM:

    i wish you'd stop referring to him as one of the sane GOP candidates. there isn't a single one of them that is even close to sane.

    oh romney is quite sane. he realizes that he must appeal to the lunatics that make up the majority of republican primary voters if he is to win the nomination. and in order to do that, he must appear as almost as crazy as they are.

    nothing insane about that. to the contrary ...

  • Mitch on November 04, 2011 3:41 PM:

    Seems to me like the only thing that will make the Repugs happy is if the government spends money on nothing but defense and corporate subsidies. So Romney is perfectly in line with his party.

    And to think, our founding fathers did not even want to keep a standing army.

    Gotta love "conservatism" for sure.

  • T2 on November 04, 2011 3:48 PM:

    the "numbers" don't have to add up. None of the TeaParty bunch cares about that. They want to hear "cut entitlements to Browns and Blacks" and "cut Commie radio" and "cut Fag Art". So that's what Mitt tells them. The fact that Mitt's plan would balloon the deficit and be a windfall for the Very Rich is meaningless.

  • the people on November 04, 2011 3:51 PM:

    "pay balance the budget by going after foreign aid and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, he’s an even bigger fool than I’d feared."

    No, he's betting the people are bigger fools than you fear. He's probably right.

  • Ron Byers on November 04, 2011 3:54 PM:

    Steve, we all know Mitt's plan doesn't add up, but that won't stop our media from reporting it is a serious plan. What we need from you are facts and figures. We need the details that we can include in letters we need to send to the editors of our local newspapers. More facts and figures please.

    By the way for those of you who haven't noticed, there is this Occupy Wall Street movement. The tea party is in genuine decline. Even if the Morning Joe crew don't believe it most Americans believe the Republicans are actively trying to sink the economy for their own gain. I think the corner has been turned on stupid. We don't have to win 100% of the American population just 51% of the voters. We need to win them by responding to Mitt, not by throwing up our hands and repeatedly saying "woe is me."

    This is a golden opportunity. We shouldn't waste it.

  • bdop4 on November 04, 2011 4:08 PM:

    Ron,

    I agree with your post, but I'de add that Dems need to get an official vote tally of 51%, which may require an actual vote of closer to 60%.

    These fuckers are going to pull out all the stops next year.

  • anandine on November 04, 2011 5:14 PM:

    The first is that repealing the entirely of the Affordable Care Act would make the deficit much worse, not better. Romney has this precisely backwards, and the fact that he doesn’t understand this is disconcerting.

    I suspect he understands this but prefers to lie. He's not dumb, just craven.

  • mike on November 04, 2011 5:37 PM:

    Why the hell is it accepted fact that barry-care would reduce costs?

    That shat don't fly.

  • exlibra on November 04, 2011 5:43 PM:

    * Enact deep reductions in the subsidies for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Legal Services Corporation. -- Mitt Romney

    Especially the Legal Services Corporation. If you can't afford a lawyer, you shouldn't be out there, getting arrested.

    Legal Services Corp., never swimming in lard to begin with, has been put on a leaner and leaner "diet" with every budget. Meanwhile, the number of people who qualify for a public defender has been growing. The result is that those lawyers who are still willing to work for LSC are overworked and burning out at incredible rates. But, hey, who gives a rat's fart for the losers? Let their families pass the hat in church. Or pay the lawyers in chickens.

    I have several friends/children of friends, who are busting their guts and breaking their hearts working for the LSC, so BS like this really gets my hackles up.

  • gus on November 04, 2011 7:00 PM:

    Former Congressman G. H.W.Bush�s involvement with the creation of so many social programs which conservatives just hate should be repeated often.

    Heck, all moderate to so-called liberal policies the icons and scions of conservatism should be repeated to so-called conservatives often. They don�t seem to know or understand how much their own party, the GOP, has changed and they don�t seem to care that their party�s current beliefs are worse for the country.

  • MGLoraine on November 04, 2011 7:34 PM:

    "End foreign aid to countries that oppose America’s interests."

    Like Israel?

  • Redshift on November 04, 2011 9:15 PM:

    Republican base voters have been trained for more than a decade to believe that foreign aid is over forty percent of the federal budget and all of it goes to countries that hate us. Inside that bubble, solving the deficit by "ending foreign aid to countries that oppose America’s interests" becomes a no-brainer.

  • Skip on November 04, 2011 10:36 PM:

    bdop4 @ 4:08 PM:
    "Dems need to get an official vote tally of 51%, which may require an actual vote of closer to 60%."

    100% agree. The wider the margins, the less they can be internally adjusted.

    The most odious of all the right's hypocrisies is listening to US officials advocating free elections in other countries, while within our own nation, established free election practices are being corrupted for the sake of a Rovian oligarchy.

  • Robert Rosenthal on November 05, 2011 11:44 PM:

    In a debate among the candidates seeking the 1980 Republican nomination, John Anderson pithily summed up how Ronald Reagan could increase defense spending, cut taxes and balance the budget: "with mirrors." Unfortunately, no one in the current GOP field has the integrity and honesty of John Anderson. Not surprisingly, Anderson didn't win the nomination, and Reagan never came close to balancing a budget.

  • cwolf on November 06, 2011 1:00 PM:

    "Second, if Romney thinks he can take a $1.3 trillion deficit, increase spending on the Pentagon, cut taxes on the wealthy, and pay balance the budget by going after foreign aid and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, he's an even bigger fool than I'd feared."

    Pray tell, How little of a fool did you fear he is?

  •  
  •  
  •