Romney's 47 Percent Gaffe Was a Favor to Everybody Except Romney

Mitt Romney's dismissal of the 47 percent of Americans who according to the Tax Foundation pay effectively no income tax could have been a useful piece of rhetoric for the Republican presidential candidate. Characteristically, Romney decided not to own the 47 percent claim but to try and squish his way out of it, and as a result his mouth has, once again, become a liability for him. 

But this textbook Kinsley gaffe was a mitzvah for the 100 Percent. I don't know whether the comment cost Romney the election because I have never believed Romney could win. And as my able colleagues have ably noted, Romney's statement shows creepy economic determinism, distracts attention from the disastrous state of the union, ignores Republican entitlement growth, and invites welfare kings to scoff at welfare queens

This last point is where the war of the 47 percent is a helpful exchange. Romney and Ryan have scrupulously avoided any actions that might actually help the U.S.A. get its fiscal house in order. Their plan to fight runaway spending while restoring Medicare "cuts" and increasing defense outlays is the worst kind of fake budget hawkishness. 

But once the shock of Romney's comment wears off, the moocher/producer debate will continue. Allah Pundit notes that even non-income-taxpayers still pay other taxes, and it's not news that many people ignore their own status as net beneficiaries of public largesse when they denounce layabouts. But the shockingly broad class of people living at least in part on Uncle Sam's dime (it's a lot more than 47 percent when you count Social Security and Medicare) is something that needs to get more attention. We should be so lucky to have 53 percent of the population as net payers into the public kitty. If that were the case we might not be adding a trillion dollars to the debt every year. 

The great economist Howard Jones reminds us that no-one is to blame for the cognitive dissonance around moocherism. In the last few years I had two elderly family members in their final six months of life run up medical expenses that I would estimate totaled around a million dollars. But I can't know the cost for sure because they never saw a bill for any of it (not even a zero-balance "You do not need to pay" statement). The taxpayers paid for all of it. To his credit, my late father did call me one afternoon to holler, "Old people haven't got a fucking thing to complain about." But if you never see an invoice, eventually you're going to stop thinking about, let alone worrying about, the cost. 

The price of public generosity is massive and, at the individual level, largely hidden. Far from thinking of themselves as victims, most net recipients think they're the ones pushing the wagon. This is the misconception that needs to go away.

Whatever complaints you may have with the Tea Party, it's the first movement I'm aware of that had spending, not taxation, as its primary motivation. Through his unfortunate comments to a bunch of champagne- and caviar-swilling rich pigs, Mitt Romney has brought that argument back with a vengeance. That won't help Romney, but it might help America. 

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  • Tim||

    "a bunch of champagne- and caviar-swilling rich pigs, "

    You sound angry.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Democrats NEVER partake of champagne or caviar. That's something only rich non-leftists do.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I knew it. Tim Cavanaugh is T o n y!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Ew. Ewww ewwwwwww.

  • Suki||

  • T o n y||

    Let's see just who the "moochers" actually will vote for.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow, here comes an example of what I said below, just mere moments ago.

    This one, though, hates working-class people, and is still "struggling" to not be bigoted against minorities. Let's watch while he sticks his nose in the air and tells us he cares about poor people.

  • Jeff||

    Look at those fools, voting against their interests! What's the matter with Kansas, Mississippi, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, etc., etc.?!?!

  • T o n y||

    God is the matter with them.

    Everyone here seems to be missing the point, that Romney's claim is a falsehood. Those 47% are largely going to be his voters, not Obama's.

  • Randian||

    The highest state with non-filers, Mississippi, voted 43% for Obama.

    By my math, that means that 20% of the 47% will vote for Obama, which leaves Romney 27%.

    That's not "largely", setting aside every other fallacy you have embedded in your premise.

  • T o n y||

    Romney will own the old fart vote--the biggest class of so-called dependents there is. The people whose Medicare he's promising he'll defend from cuts. His making the income tax thing partisan is the main bullshit. Insulting half the country for the crime of having low incomes (and Bush's tax cuts) is just plain mean.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It's easy to see why Democrats are all over Romney's remarks: The remarks explain exactly what Democrats want - a nation of dependents.

  • Lyle||

    This is right.

  • Tim||

    Republicans also want a nation of depends-ants.

  • Lyle||

    Not exactly like the Democrats though.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm struggling to find the controversy here. We've been talking about the Democrats aiming to get a majority of voters on the dole here for years. It's their obvious electoral policy.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Team Blue is just upset Romney spilled their beans for them.

    IMO, Romney should have made that speech on nationwide TV, not at a private fundraiser.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's essentially true. Maybe the 47% isn't, but that's an irrelevant detail.

  • ||

    The 2009 numbers.

  • Nephi||

    Team Blue also seems to think this is something that will hurt Romney. They don't realize (or refuse to acknowledge) that a big chunk of the electorate -- maybe even half -- agree with him and deep down are glad that one of the two main candidates actually said it.

    If Romney seriously wants to win, he should go on the teevee today and have a Carl Lee Hailey moment ("Yes, they deserved to die, and I hope they burn in hail!").

  • Pip||

    Some Time to Kill was the worst fucking movie ever made. No one could act.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The only reason they're pissed off is because Romney talked about being dependant on the Central State in a negative way.

  • jester||

    It takes a country to raise a child.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Yeah. Fuck parents, let the country do it.

  • sarcasmic||

    You get the best results when the decision makers have no personal experience in the matter and no stake in the outcome.

    Thus parents should never raise their own children.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Shit, this isn't any fun... I have to go back to work now, and won't get to read Tony's boilerplate leftist screeds. Oh, the agony of not knowing what he'll say.

    Meh, I need to take a shit... that'll make up for not getting to read what he's going to say.

  • Joe R.||

    "Poor people do pay other taxes!!11!!eleven11!!"

    Even though he's already said it 500 times, as have other posters, as has this very fucking article.

  • Randian||

    Ah, hell, we've been saying exactly what Romney said for years on this board, and the House Liberals always brought up FICA, as if that made up for anything.

  • ||

    Because rich people don't pay "other taxes" also...I guess?

  • Pip||

    No, no they don't:

    Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry is docking his family's new $7 million yacht in neighboring Rhode Island, allowing him to avoid paying roughly $500,000 in taxes to his cash-strapped home state.
    If the Isabel were kept at the 2008 Democratic presidential nominee's summer vacation home on Nantucket or in Boston Harbor near his city residence, he would be liable for $437,500 in one-time sales tax. He would also have to pay $70,000 in annual excise taxes.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38.....FixZrKPUTY

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    You could glance in the bowl right before you flush and you'll get the same level of intellectual sophistication as an average Tony post.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Romney's mistake was putting a number to it.

  • sarcasmic||

    I don't know how this will hurt Romney in the election.

    Pretty much anyone who would be offended by his statement would never have voted for him anyway.

  • John||

    And he just made it so voting for Obama is admitting you are a leach. I am not seeing how this is going to be a bad thing.

    Even the media seems to have no idea why this was a bad statement. They are just claiming it is but not really saying why.

  • sarcasmic||

    It was a bad statement not because of what was said, but because of who said it.

    We're talking about liberals here. Principals matter. Principles? Not so much.

  • Nephi||

    It's the point-and-splutter strategy. No explanation is necessary.

  • ||

    I would make it the cornerstone of the campaign.

    I'd stick it in their face and make them justify it. The left's policy makes half the people in the country moochers. God forbid we actually stand up and show who is REALLY not paying their "fair share."

  • John||

    Obama had a whole online campaign about "Julia" a woman who spends her entire life on some sort of government dole.

  • Randian||

    Excellent point, sir.

  • T o n y||

    Two main reasons there are so many people not paying federal income tax: lower income due to the Bush recession, and the BUSH TAX CUTS.

    Is Bush a leftist?

  • ||

    $

  • Randian||

    Two main reasons there are so many people not paying federal income tax: lower income due to the Bush recession, and the BUSH TAX CUTS.

    What? That doesn't even make sense.

  • T o n y||

    No, it doesn't make sense for you guys to be bitching about people not paying their fair share in taxes.

  • Randian||

    Sure it does. Most of us aren't anarchists.

  • Randian||

    And no one said "fair share". "Disproportionate" would be a good term.

  • ||

    Tony thinks that nearly 50% of the people in this nation are underprivileged and expecting them to pay ANY FIT in return for their government provided services would be an affront to their personhood.

    You gotta wonder, if left to their own devices, where the line for "poor" would get drawn under a completely liberal regime? Would the top 40% pay for everything? The top 75%?

    Or would it hover at 49%, ensuring a majority in all elections?

  • ||

    75=25

    changed the wording but only one of the numbers

  • sarcasmic||

    You gotta wonder, if left to their own devices, where the line for "poor" would get drawn under a completely liberal regime? Would the top 40% pay for everything? The top 75%?

    "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."
    -Bastiat
  • sarcasmic||

    What? That doesn't even make sense.

    That's because you are thinking. You're supposed to emote.
    First you feel resentment about referring to people who don't pay federal income taxes, then you feel anger at the Bush recession, then fury at the Bush tax cuts, which turns into full orgasm at the word "leftist", at which point you duck off somewhere and change your soiled undies before the spooge soaks into the crotch of your pants.

  • ant1sthenes||

    Well, a compassionate with other people's money in exchange for non-existent votes conservative. So, a leftist as much as Vanilla Ice is a rapper.

  • T o n y||

    Because a presidential candidate just insulted half the country? Many of whom, despite his claim, would be his own voters.

    It's the 47% figure that will get voters to take a second look. "Surely," the Rushbots will think, "47% of the country isn't black or Mexican."

  • R C Dean||

    Because a presidential candidate just insulted half the country? Many of whom, despite his claim, would be his own voters.

    And your view of Obama's bitter clinger comments was . . . .?

  • T o n y||

    Impolitic but factual, unlike Romney's mash of lies.

  • Pip||

    What the fuck is wrong with you???

  • Pip||

    Saw an Audi with a sticker that read NOPE using the Obama symbol for the O.

  • MJGreen||

    I don't have TV so maybe I'm not getting the significance, but cost him the election? Really? This won't be forgotten by next week, or October 1 at the latest? We haven't even had debates yet!

    If it costs him the election, it's only because of Gillespie's point earlier: Romney keeps drawing attention/has attention drawn to him and away from the Middle East protests.

  • Randian||

    As I work more and hang out on the blogs and newsboards less and less, I am starting to realize what a bubble media-types and obsessive media-readers live in.

    Fun test (if you're in the mood): go to a bar or a house party or something this weekend and ask about the kerfuffle re: Mitt Romney, Obama and Libya. I would bet most people you ask just don't care. Same here.

    reason cares because its collective Google Reader and Twitters or whatever media aggregation sources they use are filled with fellow media-types, who don't so much report the news as manufacture it any more.

    I don't mean that as a knock or an insult, but it's just a fact.

  • John||

    The Reagan white house used to love to do photo ops with the press. The press hated Reagan and would use these as an excuse to kill him in the cometary. But Reagan didn't care because he knew most people didn't listen to or care about the cometary and only saw the photo op.

    This thing is total inside baseball.

  • MJGreen||

    Yep. I was generally apathetic before the 2008 election; I'd read and stay fairly knowledgeable, but didn't seek out political blogs or discussions. Now that I have a routine or presence at certain places for a few years, it's surreal to see the discussions change the closer we get to the election. I got a taste of it in 2010, but yowza, shit is getting crazy now. Every week or two there's some damning piece of evidence that proves so-and-so is not only a sure-loser, but a horrible person and probably a criminal. There are any number of holes in the story, but I stopped poking them a long time ago; the next shocking discovery is right around the corner and everything will be forgotten by then. And there's no way the millions of folks who don't check HuffPo's twitter feed every hour are aware of any of it.

    I've always had trouble understanding the typical voters' rationale. But I can't fathom how the Internet partisan keeps all of this bullshit straight. I'd think at some point their mind would turn to mush and they'd be stuck uttering buzzwords until they're euthanized.

  • Randian||

    Every week or two there's some damning piece of evidence that proves so-and-so is not only a sure-loser, but a horrible person and probably a criminal. There are any number of holes in the story, but I stopped poking them a long time ago; the next shocking discovery is right around the corner and everything will be forgotten by then.

    Well put and exactly so.

    The list of electoral memes and phrases that barely survive six hours would be a mile long, and the polls haven't changed since we've started.

    It's Manufactured Outrage Overload.

  • fried wylie||

    so-and-so is not only a sure-loser, but a horrible person and probably a criminal

    Hence their need to get a job where they can break the law with impunity.

    But I can't fathom how the Internet partisan keeps all of this bullshit straight. I'd think at some point their mind would turn to mush and they'd be stuck uttering buzzwords until they're euthanized.

    Chonymorrisedmarywardstackcunt?

  • John||

    Through his unfortunate comments to a bunch of champagne- and caviar-swilling rich pigs, Mitt Romney has brought that argument back with a vengeance. That won't help Romney, but it might help America.

    If they are true and they will help the country, why are they unfortunate? If he had said the opposite, wouldn't you be killing him for it Tim?

  • Tman||

    Yeah, I'm a little disappointed with the Reason staff on this one. This is a no-brainer meatball down the middle for libertarians and it appears that to a man the staff has completely whiffed.

    A presidential candidate comes out and says that the government is too big and people are voting to get free stuff, and the Reason staff argues his math isn't completely perfect.

    Well done.

  • John||

    That point gets made over and over again on Reason. You would think they would be happy to see a major candidate making the same point.

  • Randian||

    Ditto.

    Actually, if anything, this comment made me more likely to vote Republican (not going to happen, but still)...

    Like Tucille said this morning:

    Rhetoric is often more important than reality, and the two parties are selling starkly contrasting rhetoric. The image the Republicans relentlessly sold at their convention was one of immigrants boot-strapping themselves to success, while the Democrats obligingly tied themelves to government programs that, they tell us, people just can't live without. Yeah, they both actually offer unaffordable goodies to their loyalists in the long-established bread-and-circuses mold. But brand differentiation really does matter.

    If the country rejects what it thinks is pro-productive-class rhetoric, I don't like where things are headed.

  • John||

    Isn't the whole point of running a Libertarian candidate even though you know he will lose to change the debate and the rhetoric of the campaign? At least at a small scale, Romney saying this is what success looks like for Libertarians. It is unthinkable that McCain or Bush would have ever said this.

  • Randian||

    That would be why I keep voting Libertarian. Probably will forever.

  • John||

    But it would seem Reason at least either doesn't know success when it sees it or doesn't really want to be successful.

  • Randian||

    *shrug*

    If we actually got an implementation of policy, that would be a concrete success. Words are meaningless.

  • John||

    No words are not meaningless. If no one ever says them, the policy will never get done. You have to advocate for it. And both parties will do the right thing on some things. Libertarians do nothing but marginalize themselves when they refuse to give credit.

  • Tim||

    They want to be able to point to volumes ofanti-Romney quotes out there in cyberspace to refute the charge that libertarians are just a weird flavor of republican.

  • John||

    Of course the Republicans all think Libertarians are just a weird flavor of Democrat; liberals who just want to smoke dope and don't like paying taxes.

  • Nephi||

    My guess is there are two things going on here.

    First, Reason writers cannot allow themselves to support either Team Red or Team Blue. So, when one of the Teams happens to do or say something that libertarians actually agree with, fault must be found anyway.

    Second, writers need to be writerly. An interesting angle must be found. You can't just say, "X is pretty good, all things considered." You're driven to torture the obvious, to make it give up its hidden nuances.

  • Another David||

    No, they argue that he's being insulting and facile by saying that all Democrats, and only Democrats, are voting to preserve their own entitlements, while nobody would ever cast a ballot for Romney with such selfish, base motives. Also, he's going to roll back Obama's Medicare cuts!

  • Randian||

    Like I say, Medicare and Social Security are 'entitlements' that the government fraudulently sold as individual accounts.

    Stop assigning SS#s and sending out 'account statements' and you might change the tenor of some seniors.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    even non-income-taxpayers still pay other taxes

    I have pointed this out to people from time to time.

    But- in the case of the payroll tax, it should also be pointed out that this is either a tax contribution to the general (slush) fund OR a contribution to a government-administered retirement program.

    If it is a tax payment to the general treasury, fine, but don't try to pretend Social Security is not a Ponzi Scheme.

  • Randian||

    The government sold SS as an individual account.

    That's why they assigned a SS # to everybody.

    It's the government's fault this is blowing up in their faces. When you assign someone an individual account # and send them statements that imply that "$X are in your account", don't be surprised when they think they are entitled to it.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Their plan to fight runaway spending while restoring Medicare 'cuts'"

    Diverting Medicare funds to Obamacare doesn't necessarily decrease government spending.
    Block granting Medicare funds to the states doesn't necessarily decrease government spending.
    Reforming Medicare as a premium support system doesn't necessarily decrease government spending.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Bloomberg is beating the fuck out of this dead horse today.

    I have not heard anybody make a substantive refutation of the actual POINT, though. Those people were not going to vote for Romney anyway.

  • John||

    Block granting Medicare funds to the states doesn't necessarily decrease government spending.

    Really? That would make for an interesting discussion if Reason ever actually covered Johnson and examined his positions.

  • Randian||

    My eyes might fall out if I roll them at you any harder.

  • John||

    I had no idea that is what Johnson wanted to do until I looked at his website myself. Reason runs the occasional puff piece on Johnson speaking about this or that civil liberties. But if they have run any stories on the nuts and bolts of what Johnson wants to do with the economy and the budget, I haven't seen them.

    They are a Libertarian magazine aren't they? If they won't go into depth about what Johnson wants to do who will?

  • Proprietist||

    Block granting Medicare funds is an incrementalist step in the right direction. Johnson is not a radical libertarian, and I'm thankful for that. He's a pragmatist proposing credible ideas.

    It's a lot easier to say block grant the funds back to states for the next ten years and transition these programs back to the states to each determine the best programs for their citizens. If state taxes may have to go up to maintain these programs at their current levels, so be it. Or if a state decides to get rid of it and get rid of payroll taxes altogether, so be it.

    It's not the final solution, but it's far better than what Romney/Ryan are proposing, which is zilch.

  • John||

    I don't think it is a bad idea. I just find it curious Reason has never mentioned that is his plan. I also find it curious that despite reading Reason every day, I had to go to Johnson's website to find out what the guy actually wants to do about the budget and entitlements or really anything beyond the drug war.

  • Proprietist||

    That's because the Drug War is arguably the primary issue of his campaign, and one issue where Johnson reflects the majority and both major party candidates are in the minority. I think Johnson is attempting to avoid being a pure GOP spoiler by prioritizing social issues that would bring Obama voters into the libertarian fold.

    That's not to say economics is not a priority for him, but everybody, including Ron Paul himself, realizes that entitlements are the third rail, and there is little political gain from attacking them.

    Depending on how you look at it, deprioritizing the libertarian policy is either cowardice (for the purist and macho flash types) or smark politicking (for the rest of us).

  • John||

    Judging from his website, Johnson hasn't demphasized entitlement reform at all. Reason has done that not Johnson.

  • Proprietist||

    I agree, they should probably talk about it more and offer their critiques.

    But that doesn't make them hypocrites for disproportionately lambasting either of the major party candidates, one of whom will most likely be president and will actually be directing the future of these programs.

  • John||

    But that doesn't make them hypocrites for disproportionately lambasting either of the major party candidates, one of whom will most likely be president and will actually be directing the future of these programs

    Yes it does. They spent weeks killing Ryan for being the candidate of medicare while never mentioning that Johnson is just as much one as Ryan.

  • Proprietist||

    Again, tu quoque. "You can't write an article about x being wrong about something without mentioning y is also wrong."

    And Ryan specifically deserves the Medicare jibe because of his support for Medicare Part D. Unlike Johnson, who advocates "Repeal President Obama's healthcare plan, as well as the failed Medicare prescription drug benefit."

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "It's not the final solution, but it's far better than what Romney/Ryan are proposing, which is zilch."

    You mean zilch in that they have no plan or zilch in that you think it's no plan compared to block granting Medicare to the states.

  • Proprietist||

    They want to restore cuts to Medicare and maintain the program at the Federal level. That is worse than block granting the current values back to states and starting a ten-year defederalization transition.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "They want to restore cuts to Medicare and maintain the program at the Federal level"

    You do realize those "cuts" are simply moved to fund parts of Obamacare don't you? There is no spending cut involved. The money is simply diverted to another program.

    "That is worse than block granting the current values back to states and starting a ten-year defederalization transition."

    "Medicare is reformed as a premium support system, meaning that existing spending is repackaged as a fixed-amount benefit to each senior that he or she can use to purchase an insurance plan"

    http://www.mittromney.com/issues/medicare

    How is the state better suited to purchase insurance than an individual? Also, where do you get the ten-year defederalization(sic) idea from? Is this part of the Johnson plan?

  • Proprietist||

    "You do realize those "cuts" are simply moved to fund parts of Obamacare don't you? There is no spending cut involved. The money is simply diverted to another program."

    I do realize that. But support for knocking down Obamacare doesn't correspond directly with restoring excess spending to an insolvent program.

    "How is the state better suited to purchase insurance than an individual?"

    If a state decides to reform their version of Medicare to an individual subsidy for private health insurance purchases, that's fine with me. I'm not saying they'd have to preserve it intact.

    "Where do you get the ten-year defederalization(sic) idea from?"

    Johnson's site suggests that block granting allows states to experiment with their own programs, implying that they would no longer be subject to comply with federal Medicare regulations. Sounds like defederalization to me, and devolving funding could follow down the line.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "doesn't correspond directly with restoring excess spending to an insolvent program"

    Okay, I'm not going to beat a dead horse, but I don't think you can show where Johnson has proposed any cut to Medicare spending. I'm willing to wager he is against diverting Medicare funds to Obamacare as well. You can't block grant funds that don't exist.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "You can't block grant funds that don't exist."

    Unless you can print your own money, of course.

  • Proprietist||

    How about "repeal...the failed Medicare prescription drug benefit?" Sounds like a big cut beyond Romney/Ryan to me.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "If state taxes may have to go up to maintain these programs at their current levels, so be it. Or if a state decides to get rid of it and get rid of payroll taxes altogether, so be it."

    A block grant isn't funded by states. It is received by states with provisions on how it's spent. This is a nice theory, but it has nothing to do with block granting Medicare to states.

  • John||

    Block granting it just lets the states set the rules. Fine idea but hardly doing anything but preserving medicare.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Block granting it just lets the states set the rules."

    Depends on the provisions of the grants. Hardly a block grant is given without strings attached.

  • John||

    True.

  • Proprietist||

    No, I'm talking about the eventual devolvement of the program to the States. I don't think the Federal government can say "ok, states, starting next year you get to take full responsibility for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Good luck."

    There would need to be a logical transition period, and block granting it to states opens the door for this transition.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "No, I'm talking about the eventual devolvement of the program to the States."

    Okay, are we talking about what you would do or a plan being offered by a candidate?

  • Proprietist||

    "Block grant Medicare and Medicaid funds to the states, allowing them to innovate, find efficiencies and provide better service at lower cost."

    Sounds like Johnson would be letting states set up their own programs to me. While he doesn't claim the taxation would also be defederalized, that would be a logical next step once the states have each established their own programs.

  • John||

    How do you know that Proprietist? He never says that in his platform or website. Maybe the next logical step is to just keep block granting it forever. What makes you think that is less likely other than wishful thinking.

  • Randian||

    In other words, you don't know, but that won't stop you from conjecturing that Johnson is the same.

    Which just serves to bolster Ryan in whatever convoluted maze of malted hops and National Review resin constitutes your brain.

  • Proprietist||

    That quote WAS from Johnson's website.

    I'm not saying total defederalization will happen, just saying it becomes a practical solution when states start operating autonomous retirement and senior healthcare programs.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Sounds like Johnson would be letting states set up their own programs to me. While he doesn't claim the taxation would also be defederalized, that would be a logical next step..."

    "Medicare is reformed as a premium support system, meaning that existing spending is repackaged as a fixed-amount benefit to each senior that he or she can use to purchase an insurance plan"

    So, if the next logical step from a block grant is a "defederalizated" program, then what is the next logical step from providing for seniors to purchase their own health care? Private health care?

    Can we expect the same with TANF? Assisted housing?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    There's also another reason for block grants. States with less resources receive more than they pay in. Otherwise there is no need for a block grant, and the reason this is not a transition to "defederalized" Medicare

  • Pip||

    "They are a Libertarian magazine aren't they? If they won't go into depth about what Johnson wants to do who will?"

    DRINK!

  • John||

    Of course the fact that Johnson wants to keep medicare and has no intentions of getting rid of it, just giving it to the states cuts against the whole Reason point that the GOP is now the party of medicare.

  • Randian||

    There has to be a name for the fallacy you're promoting here, but I'll be damned if I can come up with it.

  • John||

    Why is that a fallacy? Reason says that the GOP is the party of medicare because the Ryan plan just reforms and saves medicare for all time. Okay. Johnson wants to reform medicare too and also save it from bankruptcy. So why isn't the Libertarian Party also the party of medicare since they, like the GOP, want to reform and save medicare rather than destroying it?

  • Another David||

    What's Latin for "stupid"?

  • John||

    Why is it stupid? How is block granting it to the states any more radical than turning it into a voucher program? And how is block granting it to the states doing anything to get rid of it, which seems to be the Reason position?

  • Randian||

    How is advocating for state-level legalization going to get rid of the drug war, John?

    Promoting the tension between the FedGov and the States is a great thing.

  • John||

    I didn't say it was a bad thing Randian.

    And your drug war analogy doesn't hold. State level legalization allows states to end the drug war. Block granting medicare doesn't allow states to kill medicare. And it does nothing to cut medicare spending. You could block grant just as much money as you can spend. And it is difficult to imagine any state ever turning down federal money and getting rid of medicare.

    So in the end, Johnson is proposing a way to reform medicare not end it just like Ryan is. Now maybe you like Johnson's plan better than Ryan's. But that is another debate. Regardless of what you think of either plan, if the GOP is now the party of medicare because of the Ryan plan, so is the Libertarian party because of the Johnson plan.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Promoting the tension between the FedGov and the States is a great thing."

    Feds give states a chunk of money to disperse for Medicare...that's real tension for sure.

  • Pip||

    "Promoting the tension between the FedGov and the States is a great thing."

    The antebellum south would like a word with you.

  • Proprietist||

    Tu quoque - "your guy wants to keep Medicare, therefore you can't criticize my party's Medicare expansion."

  • Randian||

    There we go. I thought that might have been it, but it seemed a little more complex than that.

    The humorous part is that there are fifty other places where the differences are stark, so Johnson's pragmatic approach doesn't bother me on the 51st.

  • John||

    The humorous part is that there are fifty other places where the differences are stark, so Johnson's pragmatic approach doesn't bother me on the 51st.

    So you admit that there isn't a difference here and that Reason lied their asses off with their "Paul Ryan and the GOP is the party of medicare" posts, of which there were about five a day for two solid weeks?

    Don't change the subject here. Lets talk about this. Do you think it is okay for your side to lie?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Tu quoque - 'your guy wants to keep Medicare, therefore you can't criticize my party's Medicare expansion.'"

    Leaving the "your guy" insinuation aside. Explain how either plan is more of an expansion of Medicare than the other. Is Johnson going to leave the Medicare funds in Obamacare?

  • John||

    There isn't a difference. Randian just admitted as much above. But it was okay for Reason to lie by omission and never mention that because lying is okay as long as it is for the cause.

    Remember this the next time Reasonites are ranting on about Team Partisanship.

  • Randian||

    I admitted nothing.

    it was okay for Reason to lie by omission

    This was already covered. It stuns me that you ignore all the other posts on this and proceed to still lie your face off.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "This was already covered."

    Not really. We have the wishes of someone that block grants to states somehow mean that the fed will get out of Medicare. It's a nice wish, but it's still just a wish, and nowhere in a plan.

  • Randian||

    Except that it's a concrete difference, whereas John says that somehow reason was lying by omission.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Except that it's a concrete difference"

    It might be a difference but it's not a cut to Medicare spending, which is what Reason keeps claiming others are trying to prevent.

  • Pip||

    Think Federal Highway funding.

  • Proprietist||

    "Lie by omission"? Although they have, maybe one post a day about Johnson, like most of the media, they are realistic and know that Romney or Obama will be actually controlling the country in late January. They have not critiqued every aspect of Gary Johnson's platform, and I agree that the block grant aspect is worthy of further critique.

  • Proprietist||

    Getting rid of Part D is something.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The left's policy makes half the people in the country moochers.

    If by "left" you mean "bipartisan consensus for the past seventy-five years".

  • Eric||

    It's not a problem that Romney brought up the fact that 47% of American's are dependent upon government. We need this kind of discussion in this country.
    The problem is that he formulated the following: Govt Dependence = voting Democrat = believe they are victims. The problem with this whole line of thinking is that it fails to recognize the fact that we are all dependent upon govt - this includes members of our military, those who work for government/military contractors, senior citizens on SS/Medicare, anyone who secured student loans, farmers on subsidy, corporations with tax breaks/loopholes/no bid contracts, GPS users, etc.

    This forum is disturbingly full of extremely short sighted "libertarians", who need to learn analytical balance, lest their cognitive dissonance get the best of them.

  • John||

    The problem with this whole line of thinking is that it fails to recognize the fact that we are all dependent upon govt - this includes members of our military, those who work for government/military contractors, senior citizens on SS/Medicare, anyone who secured student loans, farmers on subsidy, corporations with tax breaks/loopholes/no bid contracts, GPS users, etc.

    So what if they are? That doesn't mean they couldn't get other jobs or do something else if the government shrank.

    You are just begging the question. Sure, too many people work for the government. So what do you want to do about it?

  • sarcasmic||

    That doesn't mean they couldn't get other jobs or do something else if the government shrank.

    The size of government is only part of the problem.
    With all the rules on the local, state, and federal level that are there for no reason other than to stifle economic activity, simply cutting government will not be enough.
    All cutting government would do is add to unemployment.

  • Eric||

    My point is that Romney furthered the erroneous GOP meme that Dependency = Democrat. Which is wholly untrue, but still a straw man beaten to death by those who see government handouts or benefits as proprietary to leftists.

    "Sure, too many people work for the government. So what do you want to do about it?"

    IDK - How about someone introduce a plan to incrementally reduce the role government plays within our economy. I haven't seen this from either candidate. And the reason why is that both sides propagate a culture of dependency - whether it be welfare moms on the left, or weapons manufacturers on the right.

  • John||

    So he is supposed to call his own supporters leaches? Yeah, that will win a lot of elections. And it is still true that 47% of the country doesn't pay any income tax. He was right to point that out. Who cares if he assumes they all vote Democrat?

  • Eric||

    Or he could do the right thing, and articulate the greater problem facing this country, rather than cheaply demonizing, mischaracterizing half the population, and .....and....nevermind...it doesn't really matter what I say does it? Your response will be: Romney/Ryan 2012! won't it.

  • Pip||

    "corporations with tax breaks"

    A corporation getting to keep more of what it earned is not an example of dependency.

  • albo||

    "Old people haven't got a fucking thing to complain about."

    And they know that, and that's why they all show up to vote--they're on the gravy train, and voting keeps the engine rolling.

    Nothing is going to fix the snakepit that is the federal budget until young voters start showing up and candidates stop promising everything to the grayhairs.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I disagree. Seems to me that the majority of people hyperventilating when someone tries to reform entitlements are not the elderly.

  • sarcasmic||

    "Get your government hands off my Medicare!"

  • Randian||

    I'll say it for the the third time: don't sell FICA programs as individual accounts and we won't have that problem.

    You can call them stupid for falling for government propaganda, but lots of people did and still do.

  • John||

    For the 100th time. They were pissed that they were stealing money from medicare to fund obamacare. It was a legitimate complaint.

  • sarcasmic||

    They were pissed that they were stealing money from medicare to fund obamacare.

    Your ironymeter is busted.

  • ||

    Pragmatically, the only way to get rid of entitlements is a phased approach. Oldest get to keep what they've been promised. Next youngest group get to choose between a little less than promised and something based upon a privatized model and the youngest get the the privatized model.

  • John||

    It is. But when you do that, Reason destroys you for not wanting to do anything for ten years.

  • sarcasmic||

    Red Tony!
    Go!
    Go!
    Red Tony!

  • John||

    How do you get rid of entitlements in a phased approach without putting off doing something now?

    Even Johnson knows that and admits as much in his platform. Are you against Johnson now Sarcasmic? Is Johnson the kind of the big spending Republicans?

  • sarcasmic||

    You're clutching at straw men.

  • John||

    There is nothing straw about it. Johnson doesn't do jack about medicare other than throw it to the states. He knows as well as anyone else you can't cut off current recipients.

    So once again, doesn't that make Johnson a fake?

  • sarcasmic||

    Cut off current recipients?
    I thought the goal was spending less.
    Cutting off current recipients is the only way to do this?
    Is this a false choice or are you moving the goalposts?
    I can't tell which fallacy your fellating, Red Tony.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Is Johnson the kind of the big spending Republicans?"

    He was before his (R) turned into an (L). Obviously all this has changed.

  • Calidissident||

    When did Reason ever call Paul Ryan the King of Big Spending Republicans? Shattering the myth that Ryan is some sort of budget hawk isn't the same as calling him the biggest spending Republican in DC

  • Pip||

    "Red Tony!"

    FO

  • Proprietist||

    Are you kidding? AARP is the epicenter of opposition to any rational senior entitlement reform.

  • R C Dean||

    Nothing is going to fix the snakepit that is the federal budget

    Well, no votes, no politician, nothing like that, regardless of who shows up at the polls. Our current political class is utterly incapable of doing what needs to be done.

    One thing and one thing only will solve our government spending problem: fiscal collapse. And that's strictly a matter of when, not whether, at this point.

  • sarcasmic||

    yup

  • Ted S.||

    The great economist Howard Jones reminds us that no-one is to blame
    Mr. Cavanaugh wins one internet.

  • juris imprudent||

    I say kudos for the reference to Larry Kirwan and the lads - a pint of Murphys for Tim!

  • Calidissident||

    I said it in the other thread and I'll say it again; the problem is not that 47% of people pay no income tax - the problem is that 53% do

  • Erik Jay||

    I'm guessing some others may have pointed this out, but it bears repeating: Your comment about "a bunch of champagne- and caviar-swilling rich pigs" said at least as much about you as it did any of those people you insulted. Resorting to the kind of blanket condemnations and condescensions used by the professional liars of the political class is reprehensible. Who the hell do you think you are, man? That kind of stupid, nasty drivel has no place in grownup conversations, kid. Grow up and show a little class.

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