Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Game Over.

Poor Mitt. You gotta feel for the guy. For the first time in his entire campaign, he finally tells the unvarnished truth about something and BAMM...game over. Not to say I told you so, but go here for proof that I warned all of you Romney fans about the political facts of life months ago. Although he spoke the truth, there are a few quibble-worthy points to make.

It is a fact that roughly 47% of Americans pay no income tax. This is the result of 40 years of pandering by BOTH parties. This fact has indeed created a huge constituency for whom tax cuts offer no benefit. To respond, as most liberals do when confronted with this reality, along the lines of ,"Yeah, but all Americans pay payroll taxes!!" is nonsensical. Of course we all pay payroll taxes. The reason we all pay is because the law provides no escape, no deduction or qualifying dodge to get us off the hook. In addition, payroll taxes are payments we all make for a future benefit ( Social Security ). Herein lies a quibble. When Romney calculates the 47% of Americans who are "dependant" on the government, he includes retirees whose only claim against that government is the Social Security check they earned through a lifetime of paying into the system. These people are merely collecting on a promise, and can hardly be described as "dependant".

 Mitt's serendipitously recorded words were correct about the electoral landscape. Any Democrat running for the Presidency starts out with a huge base of support that in large part consists of those citizens with a vested interest in government spending. That percentage has been growing each year since LBJ's Great Society was launched over 45 years ago. But to be heard writing off nearly half the country as hopelessly dependant and helpless is never a good thing for one's electoral prospects. The fact that his statement is mostly true doesn't change the facts on the ground. Just because something might be true does not mean that it should be said. Any husband who has been asked by his wife if a particular pair of pants makes her look fat knows this instinctively.

If I was Mitt's speech writer, here's what I would have him say....

     " The fact that we have a social safety net in this country is something that we should all be proud of, it speaks well of our national character. As Americans we all believe in providing for those who have fallen on hard times, because we know that in America, bad luck and bad fortune are often temporary setbacks. Government plays a vital role in helping men and women recover from the unexpected, unplanned setbacks of life. But our safety net has over time been transformed into a hammock and government "help" has become a way of life for too many of our people, at precisely the same time as too many of us have been taken off the tax rolls. This is an untenable reality. Our tax system has become a tool of manipulation that government and business use against the rest of us. When you're in line at the grocery store and watch a twenty-something man wearing $200 sneakers buying beer and lottery tickets with food stamps, it should upset you because something is wrong with a system that allows that. But you should be equally upset when huge agri-business corporations receive billions in tax preferences to not grow things, or when politically connected businesses get subsidies written into our Byzantine tax code by their own lobbyists. Many of us complain about how complicated our tax code is, but it's complexity is by design. The more convoluted the tax code, the more power the code writers have. On day one of my administration, our 73,608 page tax code will be  replaced with a one page flat tax with no deductions for anything. For our country to be able to provide adequately for the weakest among us, everyone needs to have skin in the game. For some of you the new system will mean higher taxes, for others your bill will be lower...but all of you will be treated equally, and none of you will be able to game the system to avoid paying."

Poor Mitt doesn't have it in him to offer a transformative alternative to the cradle to grave welfare state. We can only hope against hope that President Obama, once he is no longer running for office will have the guts to confront the deniers in his own party and face the deteriorating mathematics of socialism