Thursday, December 16, 2010

Stubborn Denial

Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, is believed to be considering another presidential run. He recently wrote an opinion piece on the Obama tax deal for USA Today. One has to almost admire the stubborn refusal to believe what is painfully obvious: the Bush tax cuts were a failure. They did not create jobs. But Mitt is clinging to that denial, like a drowning man:

Of course, delay now is better than an immediate tax hike. But because the extension is only temporary, a large portion of the investment and job growth that characteristically accompanies low taxes will be lost. When entrepreneurs and employers make decisions to start or expand an enterprise, uncertainty about tax rates translates directly into a reduced propensity to invest and to hire. With only a two-year extension, investors know that before their returns are realized, tax rates may be jacked up to the levels favored by President Obama. So while the tax deal will succeed in temporarily putting more money in the hands of consumers, it will fail to deliver its full potential for creating lasting growth.

Those tax cuts have been in place for a decade. If they were going to work, they would have by now.

What Mitt has to say about unemployment insurance is particularly frightening:

The indisputable fact is that unemployment benefits, despite a web of regulations, actually serve to discourage some individuals from taking jobs, especially when the benefits extend across years.

He must be referring to all those jobs created by the tax cuts...?

The system is also not designed for a flexible economy like ours in which some employees move from job to job for short periods, and are therefore ineligible for unemployment compensation when they are faced with a protracted spell without work.

To remedy such problems we need a very different model, perhaps establishing individual unemployment savings accounts over which employees would exercise direct control when they lose their jobs, or putting in place financial incentives for employers to hire and train the long-term unemployed. One thing is certain: While we cannot rebuild our flawed system overnight, we are surely not required to borrow the funds to pay for it. In spending $56.5 billion to extend benefits, the deal is sacrificing the bedrock Republican principle that new expenditures be paid for with offsetting budget cuts.

Individual unemployment savings accounts? Just like the health savings accounts that so many of the free marketeers love so much! The fact that wages have been stagnant for decades while the costs of everything have increased sharply doesn't seem to be a consideration for this type of thinker. Of course multi-millionaire Mitt doesn't have to worry about these things. He's living quite comfortably in the top 20% of wage earners in the US, who received 49.4 percent of the income generated in the U.S. last year, according to the census.

The average working family is struggling to make ends meet as it is. That anyone is even considering the idea that these folks should have to pay into an unemployment fund is both ridiculous and frightening.

cross-posted at MainSt/

1 comment:

DissedBelief said...

Outstanding piece! So glad you addressed Romney and his ambitions. The irony is that unemployment may not have had to have beeen extended had the Bush tax cuts not been in effect for so very long. Added to that, the fact that Bush and his cronies knew EXACTLY what was about to happen to our economy. Which explains why they appointed the messiah of the depression Bernanke. Who as it turned out, turned out NOT to be a messiah of the depression at all. He did absolutely nothing to help our economy and may indeed have aided its downslide by decisions contributing to Wall Street's wealth and main streets demise. I agree with the fanatics. We should have voted in McCain/Palin and allowed our country to slide absolutely down the tubes in order for individuals to understand what the right has done wrong and continues to do so. The New Year will find us in a near dictatorship, with the wealthy classes ruling us serfs and serfdoms. Home foreclosures will continue to sky rocket. It's a wonderful life for Romney and his wealthy brood.