Mitt Romney

"Either Mr. Romney isn't smart enough to realize that these two lines of attack are inconsistent, or he does realize they are inconsistent and is cynical enough to think that voters aren't smart enough to realize they are inconsistent."


Thank God for the label on that paper!

FutureOfCapitalism's Ira Stoll on last night's debate, and how Romney "manages to denounce ObamaCare as a 'Medicare-cutting monster' while also styling himself as the defender of 'free enterprise' against President Obama's vision of a 'European-style social welfare state.'"

Reason on Romney's health care quadruple-talk here. Ira Stoll's Reason archive here.

NEXT: What John Stossel Reads

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  1. The answer is both.

  2. Mr. Santorum sharpened his attacks on the other candidates, describing RomneyCare as an “abject failure” and “an abject disaster” and going after Mr. Gingrich on a series of fronts: favoring an individual mandate for health insurance as recently as 2008 and so “playing footsie with the left”; “grandiosity,” “an idea a minute, no discipline,” failing to expose the House bank scandal when he knew about it, and trying to keep social issues out of the 2010 Republican pledge to America.

    This might have been the greatest moment of all the debates. And I don’t even like Santorum.

    1. I don’t like him either but it seems like the last three or four debates he seems to say one thing that’s halfway intelligent. I’m guessing he’s getting good coaching because his doughbaggery seems to get less visible over time. Not invisible, just less so. Still not voting for him.

  3. Oh, yeah, this guy’s gonna cut spending.

    We need a pack of Medicare-cutting monsters, tearing at its hamstrings until it collapses and they can disembowel it.

    1. AARP and the MSM are not going to allow that to happen.

      1. The global bond markets and mathematics don’t answer to AARP and the MSM.

        Its gonna happen, folks. Its just a question of when and how. We just maybe might be able to make it to a wheels up landing, if we start cutting real cuts of, oh, $250 – $300 billion per year for the next three or four years, so we have an actual balanced budget.

        Short of that, we’re going to auger in.

        But make no mistake; the plane will be coming back to earth.

        1. The problem is, people were saying that in the early 80s. Makes us look like Chicken Littles.

          1. The difference is that the decimal point is migrating in the wrong direction.

    2. The same is true with Newt, RC. The fucker couldn’t even kill the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities when he was Speaker of the House. Sure, he is going to get rid of the Department of Education.

      1. It’ll be different this time. Reality casts its shadow of doom.

  4. I think the picture is actually short a few mouths.

  5. When I look at the choice of candidates, I wonder about the dirt on the ‘other potentials’ that prevent them from running.

    1. I think a lot of people don’t want to drag their families through the muck even if their dirt is no worse than anyone elses.

      1. What AJB said.

    2. What other potentials?

  6. Talking about this in terms of him being a defender of free enterprise isn’t necessarily related to RomneyCare or ObamaCare.

    ObamaCare may be the very worst thing Barack Obama has done, but it isn’t the only terrible thing he’s done. Obama also slapped tons of regulation on Wall Street and scapegoated investment banks and hedge funds for what Barack Obama himself did–right at the worst possible moment during the recovery.

    Doing things like that, treating the capitalistic solutions to our economic problems on the finance side as if they were the source of the problem itself? That isn’t the same thing as supporting ObamaCare and RomneyCare. They’re two different things to a lot of people.

    Not everybody’s a libertarian, and for them, it is possible to be both in favor of healthcare for everyone–and think that Barack Obama is hostile to free enterprise.

    1. I am aware that you know little about FinReg but it is very capitalistic.

      For instance, CDS are moved to an open market and big banks have a resolution sequence now. Also credit raters are now legally liable as service providers.

      Note – I said capitalistic – not libertarian.

      1. CDS are moved to an open market

        I’m sure some are, but I would be shocked if all are. The darknets that the big players use to trade under the table are still out there.

        1. JP Morgan is fighting it like crazy. Reportedly Dimon dropped his support of Obama because of CDS openness. They want to keep the market to a few players.

          Apparently you have to be connected to a big Wall St firm to trade CDS.

          Transparency is for chumps. I have no idea if they report real CDS risk on quarterly statements.

    2. That was hardly the gist of Obama’s financial overhaul.

      Trying to make capping executive pay and keeping hedge funds from paying big bonuses the center of his financial regulation for the first two years he was in office–had nothing to do with credit default swaps.

      Trying to drag private hedge funds under the auspices of federal regulation has nothing to do with CDS.

      Creating a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to ostensibly protect average Americans from getting the credit they want–has nothing to do with credit default swaps.

      Flooding the investment banks with regulators and putting them–in the offices–of investment bankers to look over their shoulders? Has nothing to do with credit default swaps…

      I could go on.

      The fact is that Romney is NOT as hostile to free enterprise–especially in the financial industry. The fact is that Obama has been demonstrably hostile to free enterprise–especially in the financial industry.

      Romney is correct to compare himself favorably to Obama in that way–I suspect Romney would be a defender of free enterprise in the financial industry, especially when compared to Obama’s open hostility to free enterprise in the financial industry.

      And none of that has anything to do with credit default swaps.

  7. This is the first tl;dr for me based on just the TITLE of the article.

    Matt, you’ve outdone yourself….

    *golf clap*

  8. Last night I learned that Obama was cutting $500 billion from Medicare and $1 trillion from defense but none of the GOP assholes knew where to cut other than the obligatory Dept of Education.

    (Ron Paul excepted)

    1. I wish they’d stop using 10 year numbers. It is insulting to believe that Congress is going to pass 10 budgets (or 24 continuations) and not change anything.

      1. Yeah, when Clinton cut $500 billion from the deficits in 1993 it was over four years. I don’t know when four went to 10 but I suspect it was the Bushpigs who did it.

        1. I don’t know when four went to 10 but I suspect it was the Bushpigs who did it.

          This reveals a lot about your thought process.

          Oh, and it’s easy to cut deficits when your half-century-long military nemesis collapsed a couple of years ago.

          1. Yeah, I admitted I didn’t know. So when did 10-yr projections start?

            Clinton was fiscally responsible and Bush was not in the least. There is no dispute in that fact – except to conservatives (most posters here).

    2. Surprise, surprise, surprise!

    3. If a cut isn’t from the amount of spent last year, and isn’t in this year’s budget.

      Its not a cut.

      Obama will cut nothing. The Republicans will cut nothing (RP excepted).

      Debt will continue to mount, and continue to mount at a compounding rate (because that’s what debt does). The day will come when we need to sell $X Billion in Treasuries, and there just . . . are . . . no . . . buyers.

      Except the Fed. Which will be forced into the open on its monetizing of our debt. And then the dominos really begin to fall.

      1. A cut in the rate of growth is still a cut.

        1. And accelerating a car more slowly off the cliff is a cut in the rate of acceleration.

        2. Certainly, Hobie. Its a cut in the rate of growth, but not a spending cut.

  9. I called him out on this bullshit last night.

    The answer is clear. It’s a combination of doublethink and duckspeak. Seriously, it really really is that simple.

  10. Oh, and excellent alt-text. Matt knows how we feel about FFs.

  11. BO’s Medicare cuts were not for the purpose of advancing free enterprise, they were for the purpose of funding the cornucopia of statism that is Obamacare. Stating that we shouldn’t take funds from a less-objectionable program (Medicare) to give to a more-objectionable program (Obamacare) is not anti-free-enterprise in the slightest.

    Personally I wish both programs would be scuttled, but we know how that goes.

  12. I mean, did Stoll castigate people who objected to Obama’s defunding of the DC school voucher program as “anti-free-enterprise”?

  13. I finished reading one of the newsletters that Reason sends out periodically this morning. Like with all such things, I was reading it months after I got it, and what interested me was all of the talk about the failures of the government to roll back spending and the S&P downgrade.

    Strange that that issue isn’t more to the forefront right now. It’s all still there, and the disaster still looms. But those details and the sense of panic all seem to have faded into the background.

    1. Well you can’t keep panicking day after day for months on end. You have to rest a bit before ramping back up to full frenzy mode.

    2. It’s like I said upthread to RC, people have been crying that our debt is about to collapse since the early 80s, and every time it doesn’t happen, it makes us look like alarmist assholes.

      I honestly think the bond market will continue to support our borrowing almost indefiniately, even when we monetize the debt, because it’s in their interest to keep the house of cards from tumbling down. They can afford to punish a 2nd-tier player like Spain or Italy, but not us, not as long as we’re still the biggest (or even 2nd biggest) economy on the planet.

      Shit, the Chinese will keep buying it so that we can keep buying their stuff.

      1. Inflation is the obvious and time-tested solution.

        1. Inflation is the obvious and time-tested solution.

          At our levels of debt, and current interest rates (Very low) and maturities (very short), inflation lights the fuse for yet another flavor of fiscal collapse.

          Because our maturities are short, our debt rolls over relatively fast. If it rolls over in an inflationary environment, two things happen:

          (1) It will roll over at a higher interest rate, which increases the carrying cost of the debt and sucks even more money out of the budget, making deficits worse. I can’t find it now (I wish Ms. de Rugy would take a shot at it), but if you assume the interest on our debt returns to its historical average, the debt service is something like $300BB a year.

          (2) Once it rolls over, inflation is no longer reducing the amount we owe, because the new interest rate is even higher.

          Inflation as a cure for debt only works if you are paying down the debt, rather than letting it roll over (that is, running a primary budget surplus). If its rolling over, inflation actually makes things worse.

          1. When I say “solution”, I don’t mean that it will actually solve anything. I’m just saying that’s the tool the government will use. It’s pretty much guaranteed, unless Paul somehow wins the presidency.

      2. I honestly think the bond market will continue to support our borrowing almost indefiniately,

        Look at who the buyers are, and where they get the money to buy our bonds. At some point, there just isn’t enough money anywhere, to buy any more of our bonds. When you are loading over a trillion a year into that market, you are approaching that point pretty quickly.

        And the Chinese, BTW, have been shedding Treasuries. For at least a year, now, their total holdings have been flat to down.

        Its already started, IOW. Monetization of debt has already started, as well. That’s what QE2 was. That’s also what the current program of the Fed buying up MBS’s is, as well.

        1. I’m just ready for this thing to either shit or get off the pot. Like I said, we had this exact same conversation 30 years ago, and nothing came of it.

  14. Obomney is a douche, a lying duplicitous pandering mealy mouthed bull-shitter who in actuality has NO concept of what a free market it, and NO respect for your liberty, not one iota.

    In other words, your typical presidential candidate.

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