Here Is How Mitt Romney Will Not Control Federal Spending

Now that Mitt Romney has climbed a mountain of Powerpoint bullets to reassert his status as the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination, you may find yourself asking, “Hey, Mr. Romney, how would you control federal spending?” If so, you’re in luck! Romney has a handy answer—a short essay with the SEO-friendly title, “Here Is How I Will Control Federal Spending.”

The first half of the essay might have better been titled “How President Obama, Who Has the Job I Would Like to Have, Didn’t Control Spending, And Should Not Be Re-elected.” But eventually, Romney offers his own zippy prescription for keeping federal spending in check—cut federal spending, cap it at a percentage of GDP, and then pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Cut. Cap. And balance. That sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Romney doesn’t explicitly support any specific piece of legislation, but Republicans offered a plan with a the exact same catchy moniker over the summer. This very much looks like a reference to that other plan.

Romney’s support of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget is costless and meaningless. When Republicans proposed passing a balanced budget amendment over the summer, they couldn’t explain how they’d get the support of two-thirds of state legislatures that such a measure would require. Neither can Romney. He doesn’t even try.

His proposed spending caps probably don’t mean much either. Obviously, there’s no legislation yet. But if Romney’s cut, cap, and balance plan is anything like the one put forth by House Republicans, it will contain exemptions for three of the biggest drivers of federal spending: Medicare, Social Security, and the war on terror.

Maybe Romney’s plan would have more bite? Doubtful. Yesterday, Romney told the New Hampshire Union Leader that he opposes even the modest defense spending reductions included in the debt deal trigger. Instead, he wants to ensure that defense spending accounts for at least 20 percent of the federal budget. Cutting defense spending, he told the Union Leader, would be “a grave mistake” during a “time of war.”

What about Medicare? Well, what about it? Despite the fact that Medicare is the biggest single driver of the long-term federal debt, Romney’s explanation of how he’d cut spending doesn’t mention the program at all. Oh sure, the former Massachusetts governor claims he’s more than willing to commit to repealing ObamaCare (maybe, possibly, if he has to)—despite signing a law that provided the model for the federal overhaul.

But when it comes to Medicare, he’s not ready for anything so drastic. Quite the opposite. When Romney does talk about Medicare, it’s to criticize President Obama for cutting the program. At a campaign stop in Florida today, he made his position on the program plenty clear, telling the crowd:

There's only one person I know of who has cut Medicare. That is the president of the United States. He cut it by $500 billion and put it into Obama Care, and I will turn that around. That is wrong. So when you see your friends with signs that say keep your hands off our Medicare, they are absolutely right.

In other words, we still don't really know how Romney would attempt to control federal spending. But we have a pretty good idea of how he won't. 

This isn't the first time Romney has ducked big policy questions

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  • kilroy||

    I cannot fathom why anyone believes a word this guy says. He has a record and it ain't good. I guess he hopes people still believe in change.

  • ||

    I believe him.

    I totally believe that he'd raise medicare spending by $500 billion

  • hazeeran||

    I can believe he wouldn't cut defense too.

  • ||

    Not everbody has the stones to stand up to the military national security surveillance state like Ron Paul does.

    Gary Johnson just does not match RP in this department.

  • kilroy||

    Why do you say that?

  • cynical||

    Because he is a whiny Rothbardian.

  • Joe M||

    Duh, he'll eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse. And he'll stop giving money to Obama's buddies, and start giving it to his. It's win-win.

  • Tony||

    No Republican should ever touch an economy ever again.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Obvious troll is obvious

  • Tony||

    It's really all that needs to be said.

    Cue the nonpartisan bellyaching over how mean I am to Republicans.

  • ||

    Eat shit and die in a coal fire, you mindless limp-dick. Your shit's getting very old.

  • ||

    This much is true actually. But it's only half the picture.

  • cynical||

    "No Republican government official should ever touch an economy ever again."

    FIFY

  • ||

    "touch an economy" is short for "control/influence an economy" which of course should never happen.

  • Jeffersonian||

    A separation of economy and state. Perfect.

  • cynical||

    Pretty much.

  • ||

    I prefer Republican touching over Democrat sodomizing.

  • ||

    Mittens sees that this is probably his last, best chance to become president. He's going to say whatever it takes.

  • ||

    Agreed. Did I mention how much I detest this automaton, this Shit Flopney? Mr. Well Coiffed, Big Government TEAM RED. I guess you really can polish a turd to a high sheen.

  • ||

    The bad part is that I think he'll actually be the next president. I think he will get the Republican nomination because he has less baggage than Perry, and he will beat Obama. So we'll get another G. W. Bush.

  • ||

    Is that a laser pointer or just some sort of pencil-dick lightsaber?

  • ||

    It's whatever you want it to be when you do your role-playing sex games, you pervert LARPer furry.

  • ||

    Since STEVE SMITH shaves, is he still a furry?

  • ||

    STEVE SMITH SHAVE, BUT HAIR GROW BACK! STEVE RAPE HAIR IF COULD, BUT BEST STEVE CAN DO IS RAPE CHER SINCE THAT CLOSEST THING!

  • ||

    STEVE SMITH has sex with his own hairballs.

    Discuss.

  • ||

    That's like having sex with your own children. Don't wildings do that?

    STEVE SMITH is a wildling?

  • Ska||

    Craster didn't try to rape any of the Night's Watch, so I'm not buying it.

  • ||

    STEVE SMITH is Gregor Clegane, then?

  • Ska||

    I'm thinking more like the gaoler at the Eyre.

  • ||

    "You know nothing, STEVE SMITH."

    "STEVE SMITH KNOW FOREST RAPE!"

  • Britt||

    I'm so glad I finished the books and can now get these jokes.

  • Cocks McGee||

    It seems Mittens' only consistent policy position is he wants to be president.

  • Ska||

    Mitt Romney reminds of Don Draper without the alcohol and hot chicks everywhere. Which pretty much leaves him being a lying douchebag.

  • dummy||

    Once Romney attacked Perry on Social Security the entire political scene became AARP runs America again. This stuff sucks, time to move to Mexico and see how long it takes to learn spanish.

  • Apatheist||

    Probably longer than you will remain alive.

  • ||

    Will he go through the federal budget line by line?

  • ||

    Off-Topic: Whoever had The Playboy Club in the Fall TV season dead pool... winna winna chicken dinna.

  • Hugh Akston||

    That was fast. How's Pan-Am doing? More importantly, when they inevitably cancel it, will they let Christina Ricci keep the uniform. More importantly, will she wear it around town?

  • ChrisO||

    Damn, that really was fast. As much promo as NBC gave that show, I figured they'd get more than just a couple weeks.

    On the other hand, it was a terrible show. Between that and Pan-Am, it appears that the Mad Men concept isn't easily translatable to network TV. Part of what makes Mad Men great is that you eventually forget about the early '60s setting and focus on the characters and stories. Which, of course, requires that there actually *be* characters and stories.

    The other "worst new show" candidate would have to be the new Charlie's Angels. The original Angels come off like master thespians compared to the new bunch. Not that they have great material to work with.

  • ||

    Not surprisingly the republican front-runner is far and away the worst of the republican candidates.

  • Apatheist||

    I don't know, Perry is almost as god awful and lets not forget that shit stain Santorum (but I repeat myself).

  • ||

    You are right of course. for anyone who gives a damn about liberty and prosperity and dignity none of these clowns are worth a damn except possibly Ron Paul but even he want to shoot you for hiring a mexican to mow your lawn.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    At least he wouldn't send a Predator drone after an employer who hires illegal immigrants. And he supports your right to pay Mexican workers in gold.

  • kilroy||

    Umm. Gary Johnson?

  • MSM||

    Who?

  • CE||

    Supporting a balanced budget amendment is a dodge. Why not pledge to submit a balanced budget in the first year of his first term, as Ron Paul has pledged? Why not pledge to veto any unbalanced budget that gets through Congress, as Ron Paul has pledged?

    If you're a fiscal conservative, why not vote for the Real Deal?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    It's not either-or. You can support a Balanced Budget Amendment *and* support balanced budgets.

    An amendment would be a good idea, and it might even be approved by three-fourths (not two-thirds) of the states.

    The hate on a balanced-budget amendment is because a lot of its supporters are cynical politicians who want to unbalance the budget until it's illegal - "stop me before I spend again." So why not stop them? Or at least impose a difficult-to-adopt super-majority for unbalanced budgets?

  • ||

    I disagree on the margin of states voting to ratify. Do really think, with state budgets bloated with federal monies providing subsidy for shortfalls, that they will vote to turn off the federal spigot?

    That's not even bringing up states like California (America's Greece) who will NEVER balance their budgets even with the propping up by Uncle Daddy Sugar Fed?

    Like most great ideas, it sounds good until people see how it will affect them personally, and Ole Shit Flopney will use this rhetorical strategy to try and coast into the WH.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    A better strategy (that I've no idea how to implement) would be to get most of the states to pass balanced budget amendment to their constitutions first. By this I mean balanced before federal contributions. That way, they don't hurt quite so bad without the federal cash.

    I really don't know if it's possible to pass such an amendment until we're to the point where it's unnecessary. The government will probably collapse before the public elects balanced budget candidates.

  • cynical||

    Yes, but the president has fuck-all to do with amendments, legally. He has about as much influence on the system as any other celebrity.

    So, he's pledging to give lip service to a method of balancing budgets that is likely to be unsuccessful, while making no promises as to how he will wield the veto, the power that is fully under his control.

    This is because he is a worthless establishment shitstain. If he gets elected, it just means that the crapitalist party wins a fourth term. Well, probably it's a longer streak than that, but still...

  • ||

    It's not either-or. You can support a Balanced Budget Amendment *and* support balanced budgets.

    The question is why Romney doesn't do that. Supporting only the BBA is a dodge, a way to get credit as a budget-cutter without actually committing to cutting the budget.

    As Groovus points out, the States are far too dependent on Federal Crack to every ratify a BBA. Not. Gonna. Happen.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Ron Paul should offer America a Real Deal.

  • Joe M||

  • kilroy||

    Goddamnit! This shit is really pissing me off. I'm seriously hopping he can get some major momentum in NH. Three state reps have endorsed him there this week so at least there's that.

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    Gary Johnson is the sanest-sounding, most left-appealing Republican candidate that libertarians can stand. For that reason, they don't like him.

  • Joe M||

    Yeah, if they would include him in the polls, that would help. I'd think he could've gotten at least a couple percent from his great appearance at the last debate. And Huntsman just lucked out by getting a 4% recently, just getting him over the threshold this time. I'd love to see him miss it next time; how would they finagle a way to get him back in without making the bias completely blatant?

  • kilroy||

    I'm sure Bloomberg wants anyone but Johnson or Paul on the republican ticket. Either of them pull enough from the left to insure Obama's defeat.

  • Child in fourth or fifth grade||

    What the fuck does Mitt Romney do between failed campaigns?

  • Doktor Kapitalism||

    He falls back on the experience he gained during his life in the private sector.

  • ChrisO||

    There is no between. Merely one long, endless failed campaign.

  • ||

    Let's hope Paul buries them all in next week's debate. He's been doing extremely well so far, and he should keep it going.

  • Joe M||

  • ||

    As bad as Romney is, he's still much better than the jaded Marxist we have now, so if he's the GOP nominee, I'll be voting for him (while holding my nose, of course, then I'll immediately want to take a shower).

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  • hancock||

    You've got my vote!

  • ||

    Romney does not have the track record for cutting taxes and spending. And Perry does. However in this regard it seems we still care [too much] about how one speaks on a stage to get behind Perry. And most of us also get stuck on one issue or the other and then exclude a candidate. Sounds fickle to me.

  • ChrisO||

    Three (well, maybe two and half) words: Trans-Texas Corridors.

  • Joe Hyde||

    Ever seen Dr. Strangelove? Many conservatives are Jack D. Ripper Republicans today. And Mitt Romney is their Doomsday device. Jack D. Ripper conservatives are so concerned about the purity of the Republican nominee, that they'd blow up the entire election and pave the way for Mitt if they don't get their way. Video at link http://rickperryreport.com/art.....nservatism

    Joe

  • ChrisO||

    I'm not going to dish out venom against Romney in particular for his lack of specificity on how he would cut the budget. Fact is, that's smart politics. Once you start getting specific, all you do is rile up the various moocher constituencies against you, with little corresponding political gain. Better to just mouth platitudes, if your goal is simply to get elected and fly around on Air Force One for 4-8 years.

  • ||

    Mitt Romney is a disaster for the GOP. A son of a politician who feels it is "his turn", a northeastern technocrat who wrote the blueprint for ObamaCare and a rich Wall Street financial guy who has never built a business from scratch in his life, only "restructured assets" from position on top of the food chain he was born in.

    Romney is the ideal candidate for Obama to run his class war campaign against.

    Don't believe the nonsense that Romney would attract the independents and libertarians. If you want the federal government off your back, Romney is useless. Rick Perry and Herman Cain are both much more credible and attractive candidates for different reasons.

    Ron Paul is a joke. He may be right on essential issues, but he's nearly 80 years old, a cranky old man. American classic liberals/libertarians make themselves irrelevant with their Ron Paul cult, which is a great tragedy. Without Ron Paul, libertarianism could have taken over the GOP this year.

    Michelle Bachmann (gardasil hysteric, social security defender, migraine pill popper) is a despicable panderer.

  • ||

    I really don't know what to say. You either have a reading comprehension problem, an I Q problem or simply an I hate Romney problem. I think it is the latter. I read the same information and did not reach anywhere the same conclusions. Can't fix the I hate problem but be honest enough to just state it without manipulating your readers down an untrue path. I suggest to all out there, read it yourself!

  • ||

    I thought this site was called "Reason". This is the biggest load of nonsense I have ever read.

  • ||

    Only Ron Paul has a good Plan.

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