Bush on Steroids

If you listen closely, you will hear what kind of president Mitt Romney will be

Twice during the past eight months our family credit card was hacked into. The first time, last November, the bank refused some two-dozen attempted online purchases apparently originating in North Carolina. Then, just four months ago, three rather substantial purchases appeared on our statement. My wife actually managed to track the purchases to an address in Auburn, Wash.

The bank asked us to inform the fraud division.

We tried, unsuccessfully. Turns out we needed an interpreter. Our “fraud expert” spoke only broken English. And he hadn’t a clue about America. Forget Auburn, where is Washington state?

Methinks we see here “job creation,” Mitt-style. More accurately “job redistribution.” If it saves money, do it — even if it means firing workers and moving those jobs off shore. In Romney’s world, that’s a win-win.

Bill Clinton recently described Romney’s economic agenda as “George W. Bush on steroids.” Perhaps that’s an understatement. Like Bush II, Romney would cut taxes, again, for the wealthiest (aka “job creators”). Notably, during the Bush years (and from 2001-06 he got pretty much what he wanted), the job creation numbers were dismal. Moreover, Dubya actually broke new ground as the only president to wage a war that didn’t translate into job creation. Instead what we got was a bank meltdown and the worst economic inequality since 1929.

Romney, like Bush before, while cutting those taxes, will increase defense spending. In case you haven’t noticed, Mitt is hanging out with all the out-in-the-cold Bush II neo-cons; you know, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran, and those settlements the Zionists want to build? The Bush-Cheney way is now the Romney way.

Health care? Now here it really gets interesting. Barack Obama deserves enormous credit for taking on a national problem that had overwhelmed presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Richard Nixon and, most recently, Bill Clinton.

Obama learned, overlearned some say, from Hillary especially, that you run a real political risk if you present to the Congress a fully formed plan. So he provided only broad, vague guidelines and let the Congress work its will — which took too long and, in the end, produced an overly complicated bill. No doubt, it’s still a work in progress.

Obama also spent far too much time and energy working on being bipartisan. This, we now know, was never in the cards as the congressional Republicans had already determined to sacrifice responsible governance to opposing anything the Obama supported.

He also learned from Hillary that you can’t beat the industry. You must give them a piece of the action — or else. Bush learned the same lesson, which explains why it is that Americans can’t, on Medicare Part D, buy less expensive drugs from Canada. Like Bush, Obama traded off higher insurance payouts in exchange for the promise of millions more customers. As a result, both the health insurance industry and the American Medical Association supported the final bill.

Now Romney says that on his first day in office he will work to undo all this — to repeal “Obamacare.” And the Republican House, in an action as petulant as it was irresponsible, made its token gesture again last week with yet another symbolic vote. But it’s empty symbolism when you ask what President Romney would do instead.

When Romney had just this question put to him, he outlined his plan, which, to no surprise, included all the Obama benefits (e.g., on parents’ plans until age 26, insurance companies can’t dump you for illness and must accept preexisting condition, etc.). But, of course, he drops the individual mandate. In other words, like most of his newly found right-wing ideologues, Romney wants all the benefits, he just doesn’t want to pay for them. As a supposed businessman, he should know the world doesn’t work that way.

In the meantime Romney charges that Obama has been the biggest spender of all presidents. Truth is Obama, if anything, has been the austerity president, with a far lower annual increase in federal spending than we had under Bush. As for job growth, the private sector job growth since 2010 has been about average for a post-recession time frame. In contrast, Bush’s job creation record — dismal though it was — would have been far worse had Bush not added so many public sector jobs. On Obama’s watch, public sector employment has dropped by 1.4 million jobs.

Finally, about Mitt’s self-serving claims to have “saved” the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics: Turns out his most important contribution was his success in bringing to the event a record-setting $342 million in federal dollars.

How do we pay for such largess? Not to worry: In Romney’s world, we’ll just cut Social Security and Medicare and federal funding for college kids and more — you know, all that “free stuff,” as Romney labeled it recently.

Witness to Wartime: The Painted Diary of Takuichi Fujii @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

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About The Author

Robert Herold

Robert Herold is a retired professor of public administration and political science at both Eastern Washington University and Gonzaga University. Robert Herold's collection of Inlander columns dating back to 1995, Robert's Rules, is available at Auntie's.