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Archives for Mitt Romney (page 1 / 2)

Why this libertarian is voting Romney, with enthusiasm

Why this libertarian is voting Romney, with enthusiasm →

First, it is admittedly tempting for a libertarian voter to fill in the oval for Johnson, the former New Mexico Governor. Johnson is far and away the best candidate the LP has ever put forward, and would make an excellent president. But the bottom line is this: Gary Johnson is not going to be elected president on November 6. Either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama will have that honor and burden. So I don’t have to choose between Romney and Johnson. I’m choosing between Romney and Obama.

Here’s why I like Mitt:

  1. Obamacare. One reason many libertarians are skeptical of Romney was his introduction of “Romneycare” in Massachusetts. Many people, including the Obama Administration, like to say that this was the genesis of the despised individual mandate. Governor Romney has offered various reasons why Romneycare is different (federalism, substantive differences), which are not convincing to many libertarians.

Fine. But here’s the thing. For most libertarians, this is one of the most important issues in decades. Libertarians worry that Obamacare, beyond being an atrociously designed law even on its own terms and assumptions, will fundamentally alter the relationship between Americans and our government, and cement into place once and for all a European-style social democracy.

Romney has pledged to repeal Obamacare. It is one of his most visible pledges, and therefore – even if one doesn’t trust Romney (I do, although I’m not sure he can get repeal done) – it will be one of the hardest for him to break or ignore. And he has vowed to use Obama’s own weapon – executive branch waivers – to effectively stop implementation of the Act immediately.

So let’s be skeptical. Let’s assume there is only a 10 or 20 percent chance Romney carries through on this promise (I think the odds are much higher, but I’m being cautious and skeptical here). What are the odds of repeal if Obama is re-elected? Zero. Zilch. Nada. None. Nothing. If repeal of Obamacare is truly important – and I think it is – I will not pass up the most (or only) realistic chance to get it done.

2.Taxes. Mitt Romney has expressed a desire for sensible tax reform that most libertarians support – lower rates with a broader base. We’d like to see overall taxes decline, but in the face of massive deficits, with a public unwilling to stand for major cuts in entitlements, that’s probably not a realistic option. But Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan have promised to try. Barack Obama, on the other hand, has expressed again and again his desire and determination to raise income tax rates, and, at times, even to do so solely for the purpose of redistributing income. And to add insult to injury, Obama’s Orwellian language about “asking” some “to pay a little bit more” grates every time one hears it.

Walter Mondale campaigned on raising taxes and lost. Bill Clinton campaigned on cutting taxes, won, and promptly raised the marginal income tax rates. Libertarians often like to say that there is no difference between the two major parties. But in my lifetime (and I was reading Reason and walking precincts for Ed Clark before many of those young Reason staffers were born) there have been two Presidents who have substantially reduced income tax rates: Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, both Republicans. Republicans have delivered on income tax rate reductions, and can do so again.

Romney is clearly the superior candidate.

Why Romney’s Right: Many Cheap Ships Safer Than Few Expensive Ones

Why Romney’s Right: Many Cheap Ships Safer Than Few Expensive Ones →

I think Bob Owens makes a lot of sense, in this post. (And Romney needs to do a better job of explaining his positions. I didn't have any idea that this was a plan, when I watched him debate President Obama.)

We’ve sunk — pardon the term — literally trillions of dollars into the development of nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered carrier strike groups and ballistic missile submarines, but the loss of a single one would be an overwhelming blow from which it would take years to recover.

We’ve created a Navy that is “too big to fail,” in terms of the importance and capital investment we’ve placed on just eleven ships — an incredibly short-sighted position. We’ve made similarly bad investments in the gee-whiz technology of the F-22 Raptor, where every accident or combat loss costs $150 million each, and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which will cost (if they are ever fielded) as much as a quarter-billion dollars each to replace for the Navy and Marine versions. We’re creating planes and ships that are too expensive to risk losing in combat. These technological marvels are backed by systems and support elements that are 50 years old, being used by the grandchildren of the men that built and used them.

It’s absurd.

What Mitt Romney has proposed is a shift in our way of thinking about the military that a community organizer simply can’t grasp.

Romney has proposed a Navy of lighter, more numerous, less expensive, and more deployable multiple-role ships that can be better geographically dispersed around the globe to more quickly respond to need, instead of having less than a dozen carrier strike groups chasing problems around the world.

Romney’s plan to use COTS (commercial off the shelf) technologies across the entire military may not be as sexy as spending billions to mount futuristic lasers and rail-guns on ships, but what it will do is put more ships and sailors on the water.

It’s a stunning turnaround offered by one of America’s best turnaround artists. Romney proposes to toss the bureaucratic dead-weight out of the military, out of the Pentagon, and replace them with real war-fighters and practical weapons.

It's a fairly fundamental issue. Do we want a Navy that has few ships that are each massively powerful and massively expensive? The downside is that it would be disastrous both economically and militarily to lose even one ship. Or do we want a Navy that has many, cheap ships that are each relatively weak? The upside is that we could afford to lose a few ships without crippling the Navy or the budget. Romney is in favor of the latter while Obama is in favor of the former.

The Election Bet

Five days ago, I predicted that Mr. Romney would win the presidency. Adam, who's long though I'm daft on Mitt's chances, was quick to challenge me to a bet. I'm betting that Mr. Romney will be elected President, Adam's betting that President Obama will be re-elected. The stakes are simple: the loser has to purchase, read, and review an e-book of the winner's choice. The e-book can be on any topic but can't be a multi-volume work.

When I win, I'll post Adam's assignment here.

Romney's Tax Deduction Cap

Romney's Tax Deduction Cap →

The Wall Street Journal editorializes in favor of Mr. Romney's tax plan, arguing that it's both fiscally and politically feasible.

The Obama campaign and the press corps keep demanding that Mitt Romney specify which tax deductions he'd eliminate, but the Republican has already proposed more tax-reform specificity than any candidate in memory. To wit, he's proposed a dollar limit on deductions for each tax filer.

During the first Presidential debate, Mr. Romney put it this way: "What are the various ways we could bring down deductions, for instance? One way, for instance, would be to have a single number. Make up a number—$25,000, $50,000. Anybody can have deductions up to that amount. And then that number disappears for high-income people. That's one way one could do it."

But details aside, the tax cap is a big idea, and potentially a very good one. The proposal makes economic sense to the extent that it helps to pay for lower marginal tax rates. Lower rates with fewer deductions improve the incentive for investing and taking risks based on the best return on capital rather than favoring one kind of investment (say, housing) over another. This would help economic growth.

The idea may be even better politically. The historic challenge for tax reformers is defeating the most powerful lobbies in Washington that exist to preserve their special tax privileges. Among the biggest is the housing lobby that exists to preserve the mortgage-interest deduction—the Realtors, home builders, mortgage brokers and the whole Fannie Mae gang.

But don't forget the life insurance lobby (which benefits from the tax exclusion on the equity buildup in policies), the tax-free municipal bond interest lobby, the charitable deduction lobby and more. Each one will fight to the death to preserve its carve-out, which means that reformers have to engage in political trench warfare to succeed.

This is one reason President Obama wants Mr. Romney to be more specific: The minute he proposed to limit the mortgage-interest deduction, the housing lobby would do the Obama campaign's bidding by running ads against Mr. Romney's plan. Mr. Romney is right not to fall for this sucker play.

Romney Can Win

I've thought for a long time that Romney could win the election, in spite of the Conventional Wisdom that President Obama couldn't possibly lose to Mr. Romney. After the conventions were over, I thought that Mr. Romney had fumbled his chance to win over voters. But, after watching the debates and the way the polls are trending, I not only think that Mr. Romney can win, I think he will win.

Here's my prediction.

Electoral college map, of the United States

This analysis, as well as other reports from Ohio make me think the Mr. Romney is steadily moving in the right direction and will ultimately win Ohio. If the trend lines don't reverse, I think it's possible for Mr. Romney to win Wisconsin as well, increasing his electoral college lead.

Oh no! We can’t let Romney win, he’ll let lobbyists in the White House!!!

Oh no! We can’t let Romney win, he’ll let lobbyists in the White House!!! →

If Romney wins, will lobbyists defile the White House that Obama has kept so clean and so pure? That’s what Politico suggests with this piece today headlined “Lobbyists ready for a comeback under Romney.”

President Barack Obama’s gone further than any president to keep lobbyists out of the White House — even signing executive orders to do it.

In crafting and signing those executive orders, I wonder if Obama relied on the help of White House deputy counsel Cassandra Butts (1), White House special assistant Martha Coven (2), or the chief of staff or the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Michael Strautmanis (3), all of whom were registered lobbyists. (I’m only numbering registered lobbyists.)

Timothy Carney gets up to 55 registered lobbyists, before concluding with this.

Given all this undue corporate influence already going on, imagine what would happen if lobbyists got jobs in the administration!!!

Orlando Sentinel endorses Mitt Romney for president

Orlando Sentinel endorses Mitt Romney for president →

This is hardly a conservative rag.

[W]hile the nation's economy is still sputtering nearly four years after Obama took office, the federal government is more than $5 trillion deeper in debt. It just racked up its fourth straight 13-figure shortfall.

We have little confidence that Obama would be more successful managing the economy and the budget in the next four years. For that reason, though we endorsed him in 2008, we are recommending Romney in this race.

Obama's defenders would argue that he inherited the worst economy since the Great Depression, and would have made more progress if not for obstruction from Republicans in Congress. But Democrats held strong majorities in the House and Senate during his first two years.

Other presidents have succeeded even with the other party controlling Capitol Hill. Democrat Bill Clinton presided over an economic boom and balanced the budget working with Republicans. Leaders find a way.

... The next president is likely to be dealing with a Congress where at least one, if not both, chambers are controlled by Republicans. It verges on magical thinking to expect Obama to get different results in the next four years.

Two years ago, a bipartisan panel the president appointed recommended a 10-year, $4 trillion deficit-reduction plan. Rather than embrace it and sell it to the American people, Obama took his own, less ambitious plan to Congress, where it was largely ignored by both parties.

Now the president and his supporters are attacking Romney because his long-term budget blueprint calls for money-saving reforms to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, three of the biggest drivers of deficit spending. Obama would be more credible in critiquing the proposal if he had a serious alternative for bringing entitlement spending under control. He doesn't.

Romney's Tax Cut

Romney's Tax Cut →

David Henderson rounds up links to various economists and think tanks that have studied the Romney tax plan. They all agree that it's not impossible, that it could work, and that it is very similar to the Simpson-Bowles plan (which President Obama summarily ignored).

After laying out the details of the Romney plan, Reynolds does a comparison:

When it comes to tax policy, the main difference between Romney's and Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force advisers is that Romney proposes 1) a slightly lower corporate tax rate, and 2) a much lower bottom rate of 8 percent rather than 12 percent. (The fact that there would be six rates rather than three is insignificant.)

Hidden Causes of the Muslim Protests

Hidden Causes of the Muslim Protests →

Drone strikes. Obviously, President Obama doesn't want to say anything bad about the gobs of strikes he's authorized. Neither does Mitt Romney; if you're going to spend your whole campaign calling Obama a hyper-apologetic girly boy, you can't turn around and complain that he kills too many people! But American drone strikes--which seem to always target Muslim countries, and sometimes kill civilians--are famously unpopular in the Muslim world.

On this issue, Muslims have a very good reason to be angry. I'm not looking forward to the "foreign policy" debate next week. I think the candidates are very similar (and fairly dreadful) on foreign policy.

Simulating the Economic Effects of Romney's Tax Plan

Simulating the Economic Effects of Romney's Tax Plan →

The Tax Foundation runs the numbers on Romney's tax plan.

The debate over Mitt Romney’s tax plan has largely revolved around the short term concerns of who gets what and how much, rather than the more long term concerns of economic growth, job creation, deficit reduction, and tax reform. This is unfortunate, especially in a time of record unemployment and debt levels. These serious issues have been put aside to focus particularly on the results of a single study by the Tax Policy Center (TPC), which finds Romney’s tax plan would require raising taxes on low- and middle-income earners to pay for tax cuts for high-income earners. However, to get there, TPC assumes that tax rates do not matter for economic growth, i.e., Romney’s plan to cut income tax rates by 20 percent across the board will have no effect on labor supply or saving and investment decisions. Only among Washington score keepers does such an assumption make sense, but it certainly has no credibility among academic economists.

So, what will be the effect of Romney's tax plan?

The results are considerably different from TPC’s. We find that fully 60 percent of the static revenue loss from Romney’s plan is recovered when the dynamic effects of economic growth are taken into account. We find that while the cuts in the individual income tax rates do not “pay for themselves,” they do grow the economy 1.8 percent over the long run. The biggest boost to the economy comes from the 10 point cut in the corporate rate, which grows GDP by 2.3 percent, the capital stock by 6.3 percent, and the wage rate by 1.9 percent. The corporate rate cut is so economically beneficial that it does pay for itself, when all federal revenue effects are considered. So does the elimination of taxes on capital gains and dividends for middle-income earners and the estate tax.

These benefits are widely shared. Every income group experiences at least a 7 percent increase in after-tax income.

That's reform I can get behind.

Mitt’s Character, and Presidential Virtue

Mitt’s Character, and Presidential Virtue →

Kate Paulk, an Aussie, talks about her view of Mitt Romney's character.

It’s clear from Mr. Romney’s manner that he steps in whenever needed without complaint because he regards this as just something that needs to be done. And to an Australian, that attitude is admirable. We tend to respect people who do this regardless of whether we agree with their beliefs (with the caveat that those beliefs don’t harm anyone else — the kind of belief that says Person X is less than human tends to get short shrift).

Mr. Romney’s so-called “wooden” manner is also a factor here, and yes, in my view it’s admirable. The thing about MS is you don’t know what it will take next. There’s no way to predict episodes, no way to guess what area of the brain will be attacked. It can’t be pleasant for Mr. Romney to see his wife suffering this kind of deterioration, and since he needs to be strong for her, he’s built up a pleasant, cheerful demeanor so that she doesn’t see how much her pain hurts him. It also protects him to some extent: the masks allow him to defer his suffering while he deals with the more important matter — namely supporting his wife. I’d be willing to guarantee that Mr. Romney’s calm assurance is something he only drops in the presence of those he trusts absolutely and knows he won’t hurt when he drops it. After any length of time, something like this becomes reflex: it takes conscious effort to drop it.

So no, I don’t expect to see any spontaneous reaction from Mr. Romney unless he’s badly shocked, and I certainly hope he never finds himself in that position. This is a good thing. No, he will never be spontaneous in politics, but he is also unlikely to throw unseemly tantrums.

I admit. I come clean. I like Mitt Romney. I've liked him for a while now. I think he's politically awkward in the same way that I'd be awkward if I were to run for political office. But that doesn't make him a bad man. And, the more I read about him, the more I like his character.

Obama for America is okay with vote fraud

It's a crime to fraudulently register to vote. Registering twice, in two different states, would definitely fit that bill. Apparently, Obama for America staffers are totally cool with that, if the goal is to defeat Mitt Romney.

But, hey, there's more.

Kenric Ward, of Watchdog.org, details all of the ways that this is wrong. The Obama campaign's response so far? Crickets.

States should have authority to purge their voter rolls of fraudulent registrations. But I'd go further than that. Driver's licenses expire. Why not expire voter registrations at the same time? You can have the option of renewing your license and registration at the same time. Or, how about automatically removing people who haven't voted in a certain number of elections, say, 4 years worth? If your name is no longer on the rolls, that would make it harder to fraudulently vote either by double voting or by stealing someone's identity.

This sort of criminal behavior should be absolutely beyond the pale. And we should make it harder to commit this kind of fraud, not easier.

First Debate: Roundup

Post-debate tweet of the night.

That wasn't a debate so much as Mitt Romney just took Obama for a cross country drive strapped to the roof of his car.

-- Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) October 4, 2012

Post-debate picture of the night.

How bad was Romney’s beat-down of Obama tonight? « Bob Owens

Fact Checking

Tax Breaks for Outsourcing?

I thought one of the better moments in the debate was when the question of tax breaks for outsourcing jobs came up. Romney said "Mr. President, I've been in business for 25 years and I have no idea what you're talking about." I was glad he said it, because I've had no idea what the President is talking about. It turns out, the President was mostly just making it up.

Kevin D. Williamson: The Tax Credit for Outsourcing Is Fiction.

So, here’s the deal: Business expenses are deductible against income for tax purposes. That is it.

I’m not a tax lawyer, so this will be very general, but business income is not like personal income: Your personal income is how much money you took in last year, but business income is how much money you took in minus your business expenses. As Inc. summarizes it:

All of the basic expenses necessary to run a business are generally tax-deductible, including office rent, salaries, equipment and supplies, telephone and utility costs, legal and accounting services, professional dues, and subscriptions to business publications. . . . Some other miscellaneous expenses that may be deductible in this category include computer software, charitable contributions, repairs and improvements to business property, bank service charges, consultant fees, postage, and online services.

Debbie Stabanow, for my money one of the least impressive senators (and that is saying something), introduced a bill that says, in short: Business expenses are still deductible, unless you use incur those expenses doing things I don’t want you to do.

... In other words, if you send a letter to your lawyer, the postage is a deductible expense. If you send a letter to your offshoring consultant, the postage is not a deductible expense.

So the special outsourcing tax credit isn’t really there — it’s just regular-ol’ deductible business expenses. Rather than repealing an instance of tax favoritism, Democrats (and some Republican miscreants) propose to use the tax code to inflict punitive measures on businesses that make business decisions at odds with Washington’s political preferences.

In a follow-up post Kevin Williamson quotes another authority.

Some additional perspective on President Obama’s fictitious outsourcing tax deductions via the [Joint Committee on Taxation's] score of Senator Stabenow’s bill: “Under present law, there are no specific tax credits or disallowances of deductions solely for locating jobs in the United States or overseas. Deductions generally are allowed for all ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred by the taxpayers during the taxable year in carrying on any trade or business, which includes the relocation of business units.”

The Romney Tax Plan: Not a Tax Hike on the Middle Class

The Romney Tax Plan: Not a Tax Hike on the Middle Class →

Romney's tax plan is revenue neutral because he lowers rates while simultaneously eliminating exemptions, deductions, and other "giveaways to special interests". It's what I really want out of tax reform and it's one of the things that makes me look forward to a Romney administration.

Alex Brill, of the American Enterprise Institute, breaks down how the Romney plan would work and why the math, contra the Brookings Institute, doesn't point to a tax hike.

In summary:

Romney has proposed a bold tax reform that would broaden the tax base and lower statutory tax rates across the board. While maintaining preferential rates for savings and investment, his proposal repeals the tax expenditures that distort economic decisions and add complexity to tax returns.

Although Obama has no such plan for tax reform, his vision for the tax system appears clear. He has refused to endorse the recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles Commission, which would also have lowered statutory tax rates and broadened the tax base. Instead, his near-singular focus has been to raise statutory tax rates for high-income households and to leave untouched hundreds of special tax breaks for various political constituencies.

Mitt Romney's effective tax rate is very low: Most economists think it should be.

Mitt Romney's effective tax rate is very low: Most economists think it should be. →

Matt Yglesias, not known as a Republican booster, defends Mitt Romney's tax rate.

The main reason Romney's effective rate is so low is that the American tax code contains a lot of preferences for investment income over labor income. That's something that strikes many people as unfair on its face, and particularly unfair since it often means very low rates for extremely rich people like Romney. And Romney himself as a rich guy who's also a member of the political party seen as favoring the rich, and who's been recorded as whining that the working poor are undertaxed is perhaps not an ideal messenger for a defense of this policy.

But this is definitely an issue where the conservative position is in line with what most experts think is the right course, and Democrats are outside the mainstream.

Number-Cruncher on Polls’ History of Underestimating the GOP

Number-Cruncher on Polls’ History of Underestimating the GOP →

This is why I keep saying that I have no idea what will happen on election day. Everything depends on turnout and, right now, we have absolutely no idea whether more Democrats or Republicans will turn out. The 2008 election was a massive year for Democrats, while the 2010 election was a massive year for Republicans. What will the 2012 election be?

Here is what people should know is bothering pollsters, and if you’re a Republican you can feel comfortable that what you are reading is based on guess work assumptions:

In 2010, we saw the country move back to 2004 levels, but we also saw a bubbling of the Tea Party, who are among the most enthusiastic of voters. Also 2010 was a midterm, where the overall turnout of registered voters is considerably lower, and the GOP base turns out better in non-presidential years than the Democrats’ base. So we process this data.

We saw in 1994 the GOP do very well, but in 1996 Clinton won easily. But sometimes a party’s momentum from the midterms carries on to the following year; we saw the Democrats add to their 2006 gains in 2008. So will 2012 be a receding of the tide of the midterms (like 1996) or an acceleration (like 2008)?

Of course in 1996, the economy was soaring and right now, we’re crawling… so you make the judgment on where this should be.

Even using logical deductions, it is difficult to get a read on what the 2012 partisan divide will be because we’ve seen it change so quickly. From 1994 through 2004, the partisan divide was fairly stable, moving no more than 2 points from cycle to cycle.

Personally I think its safe to say that 2008 is not going to happen in 2012, any pollster hanging their hat on 2008 sampling cannot be reasonably relied on…

The Libertarian Case for Mitt Romney

The Libertarian Case for Mitt Romney →

Stephen Green makes the libertarian case for Romney.

Since the father of RomneyCare isn’t exactly an easy sell to libertarians, first we have to look at the man already sitting in the Oval Office. And it’s safe to say that unlike 2008, in 2012 there is absolutely zero Libertarian case to be made for Barack Obama.

... We don’t get to choose this year between “good” and “better’” — have we ever enjoyed that choice? But we do get a sharp distinction this year between “bad” and “worse.”

I’m going with “bad” because I’m not sure we’ll survive another term of the worst.

I think that about sums up my own position. I'm moderately hopeful that a President Romney would moderately decrease regulations. I'm positive that President Obama would not only not roll them back, he'd attempt to increase them.

Romney and Ryan’s Racial Codes

Romney and Ryan’s Racial Codes →

Deroy Murdock, with some wonderful satire.

After GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s rousing and effective convention acceptance speech last week, I found myself snapping my fingers as the GOP convention’s band in Tampa played that old hit, “Living in America.” Suddenly, it dawned on me: Team Romney might be transmitting racial messages.

I consulted my copy of the definitive reference on this topic, A Black Man’s Guide to Whitey’s Racial Code, by Jesse Jackson and Kanye West (Sharpton Books, 2010). I flipped past the highly apologetic introduction by Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.). Just as I suspected, page 178 confirmed that “Living in America” was a Billboard Top 4 song by the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. This, as Jackson and West teach us, is a subtle message designed to remind Caucasians that President Obama has brown skin. Also, the song was written by Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight. It doesn’t get any darker than midnight.

We recommend Mitt Romney for president

We recommend Mitt Romney for president →

The Dallas Morning News endorses Mitt Romney. (Not that Romney needs help in Texas...) I like the points that they made.

Romney had to survive a fractious primary by steering too far right on some issues. At his core, however, we see him as a “Chamber of Commerce Republican,” more attuned to business interests than the tea party/social conservatism that defines today’s GOP.

... Obama has cited, with some justification, recalcitrance from congressional Republicans for thwarting him. But in his first two years, when Democrats had a wide margin in the House and filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, Obama’s wounds were self-inflicted. He put his chips on a necessary but ill-conceived stimulus program and a massive health care overhaul. Left to languish were a broad-based energy bill, comprehensive immigration reform, entitlement reform and, most ominously, effective job-creation programs.

Obama’s people warned of unemployment rates as high as 8 percent without the stimulus spending, only to see rates exceed 8 percent, anyway, for 43 consecutive months — and counting. Real household income has fallen in consecutive years. Food stamp enrollment has hit record highs; the percentage of adults in the workforce approaches record lows.