Archives for August 12, 2012

Romney Asked Ryan For “Several” Years of Tax Returns

Zeke Miller:

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign requested “several” years of tax returns from potential vice presidential picks, senior adviser Beth Myers, who ran the search, told reporters Saturday.

Several is, of course, more than two.

The Generational Politics of RyanCare

John Quiggin:

[Future Congresses] will face three choices: (a) Repeal the whole thing if they can do so before it comes into force; (b) Keep on paying high taxes to fund benefits they will never receive for the benefit of the selfish old so-and-so’s who voted to cut the rope once they had reached the top; or (c ) extend the same cuts to the (as of 2011) over 55’s, and claw back some money for themselves.

If I were an over-55 Republican, I don’t think I would want to count on (b)

Romney Doesn’t Need to Mobilize the Base

One view of Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan is that it is like John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin. The Republican base doesn’t trust Mitt Romney just like they didn’t trust John McCain, and so both men picked VPs who the base does trust.

If that’s what Team Romney was thinking, it was a huge miscalculation. Republican partisans are already excited about the election, despite not being excited about Romney. This has been showing up in the polls for months. Where Romney needed to make inroads was with moderate middle class voters, and especially unmarried women. Picking a rightwinger like Ryan helps Romney with those voters not at all.

The Choice in 2012

The best way to understand Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan is that it’s an admission by Romney that he will lose if the election is a referendum on Barack Obama.

But a referendum election was always his best hope for winning – just stay vague and hope that 8% unemployment is enough for voters to want to replace Obama. With recent polling aggregates showing Obama’s lead widening, that strategy no longer looks viable. Romney now needs to turn this into a choice election to have any shot at winning.

And hoo boy! is this ever a choice election. Unfortunately for Romney, the choice the Republican ticket is offering is going to be quite hideous to the supermajority of the public who do not want to live in Ayn Rand’s world.

Instead of the empty non-plan Romney has been running on, Romney-Ryan are now running on the “right wing social engineering” plan that Paul Ryan has gotten all but a few House Republicans to vote for twice now.

Ryan was also the architect of the 2005 Social Security privatization plan, and his original version was more extreme than the version Bush ended up pushing. Anybody think he doesn’t still believe privatizing Social Security is a good idea? Or that Romney doesn’t?

Swing district House Republicans who were hoping to avoid too much scrutiny over their votes to scrap guaranteed Medicare benefits with an ever-shrinking coupon and a prayer will now find this issue is front and center with Ryan at the top of the ticket. Democrats were of course going to try to make these House races into choice elections over Medicare, but before the Ryan pick, their success would have turned on the political skills and fundraising of individual candidates. But now the whole election is about this.

The election now comes down to whether the Boomers will destroy Medicare for younger people (while protecting their own benefits of course) and then shut down the rest of the government.

Dean Baker sums up what is now the Romney-Ryan plan:

Actually, in percentage terms by far the biggest savings in the Ryan budget comes from essentially shutting down the federal government, except for Social Security, health care programs and the military. The CBO analysis of his budget [Table 2] shows that all other areas of federal spending falls to 4.75 percent of GDP by 2040 and 3.75 percent of GDP by 2050.

Military spending is currently more than 4.0 percent of GDP and Representative Ryan has indicated that he wants to keep spending at its current levels or raise it. This means that under the Ryan Budget, by 2040 there will be almost no money left for national parks, education, the State Department, the Food and Drug Aministration, federal courts and all the other activities currently supported by the federal government. By 2050 there will be no money left for these activities.