- Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate has put the Congressman's budget plan front and center in the campaign. Which hasn't exactly been great news for Romney seeing as how it ends Medicare as we know it, raises taxes on the middle class while cutting them for the wealthy (remember it's only class warfare if it goes the other way), and according to Fox News of all places doesn't actually cut the deficit. Oh, and the Catholic Church has come out and said that the Ryan Plan is "immoral." On the other hand under the Ryan Plan, Romney would only have a tax rate of 0.82%, which is probably why his campaign said as President he would sign it into law.
- Still, when the best defense against public backlash to the campaign appears to be that a lot of people think the Ryan Plan sounds too cartoonishly evil to actually be a real policy proposal when it's described to them the first time, a lot of Republicans in competitive races are running from the plan as fast as they can. That would include Mitt Romney. What do we know about the "Romney Plan"? Not a lot. We do know that it would shift the tax burden from the rich to the poor and by Romney's own admittance in a best case scenario would create the exact same number of jobs over the next four years as doing nothing. And as awesome as all that sounds, we sadly don't really know much more, since as Paul Ryan admits, they actually "haven't run the numbers" on any of it. Don't worry though, Ezra Klein has, and he describes the "Romney Plan" as "mathematically impossible." Which explains why Romney and Ryan have decided not to talk any more about their economic policy until after the election. I guess the idea is that if you want to find out what they'd do to this country, you're going to have to elect them to find out.
- Let's play a game: Which Is Worse? Congressman David Drier saying that he doesn't "think that someone who is diagnosed with a massive tumor should the next day be able to have millions and millions and millions of dollars in health care provided" OR Republican Alaska Congressional Candidate Mark Ewing opposing educating the disabled because “We are spending millions and millions of dollars educating children that have a hard time making their wheelchair move and, I’m sorry, but you’ve got to say, ‘no’ somewhere. We need to educate our children, but there are certain individuals that are just not going to benefit from an education.”??? Trick question, they're both monsters. Besides, Romney basically agrees with that second guy since he thinks that students should only get "as much education as they can afford."
- New game: Who is More Out of Touch? A guy who thinks "the waiters and waitresses that come in and out of this room and offer us refreshments" at a $10,000 a plate dinner are "middle class OR a guy whose idea of a struggling farmer owns 54 different farms, is a real estate mogul, and has a private museum in his house (I'll admit the pictures are pretty cool)? Trick question again! They're both Mitt Romney.
- Just before the Paul Ryan announcement even Republicans had to admit that they were pretty trapped on the issue of Romney's refusal to release his tax returns. Then he picked his VP and the tax return stories stopped. So what's the savvy political play? Probably not sending Ann Romney out to say that "there's nothing we're hiding." Or have Mitt himself go out and say he's not releasing any more tax returns because "I'm not a business." Apparently corporations are people, but people are not corporations. Live and learn. But that's ok, President Obama is willing to throw Romney a lifeline: If he'll release just five years of tax returns, Obama won't ask for anymore. Unsurprisingly, Romney said "no." Probably because it would just prompt a lot more stories like this one about Romney trying to reassess his property less than a year after buying his La Jolla mansion to try to cut his property tax in half. Oh and remember how picking Paul Ryan was a great distraction on the tax returns issue? Now people want to know why Romney demanded to see more of Ryan's returns than he's personally released.
- Another game: Which is More Messed Up? Paul Ryan attacking Obama for not saving an auto plant in his district that closed under President Bush OR Governor John Sununu lamenting the fact that Medicare gets in the way of seniors experiencing the joys of the insurance free market? Yet another trick question. It's definitely Bain Capital making auto workers train their Chinese replacements before closing the factory and shipping their jobs overseas.
- Now we all know that stimulus spending is evil or something and almost certainly part of Obama's plot to something something SOCIALISM. But you probably didn't know that in 2008 Romney was proposing a stimulus program to help the economy because "if we go into recession, the cost of our balanced budget is going to be far more severe than the cost of this program." To be fair though, he was probably just cribbing from his running mate who in 2002 described stimulus bills this way:
"What we're trying to accomplish today with the passage of this third stimulus package is to create jobs and help the unemployed," Ryan said, in comments unearthed by MSNBC's "Up with Chris Hayes" and provided to HuffPost. "What we're trying to accomplish is to pass the kinds of legislation that when they've passed in the past have grown the economy and gotten people back to work...We have a lot of laid off workers, and more layoffs are occurring," the congressman continued. "And we know, as a historical fact, that even if our economy begins to slowly recover, unemployment is going to linger on and on well after that recovery takes place. What we have been trying to do starting in October and into December and now is to try and get people back to work. The things we're trying to pass in this bill are the time-tested, proven, bipartisan solutions to get businesses to stop laying off people, to hire people back, and to help those people who have lost their jobs."
- Finally, Mitt Romney explained to the Olympic Athletes at the Salt Lake City Games that "You Olympians, however, know you didn't get here solely on your own power,” said Romney, who on Friday will attend the Opening Ceremonies of this year’s Summer Olympics. “For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right!" Which is fitting, since Romney also testified under oath that "without question, we simply could not host Games in Salt Lake if it were not for the enormous spending and services of the federal government." So I guess he didn't build that either.
Welcome to the working week!