Mitt Romney

How Bad Does Mitt Romney Think Obama's Stimulus Was For America? So Bad That Romney Would Have Done Nearly the Same Thing.


Between now and the presidential election in November, Mitt Romney has a mission: He needs to draw a contrast between the policies he'd support as president the policies that President Obama has already supported. The contrast of particular plans is designed to reinforce the contrast of visions. 

So let's try a little compare and contrast. 

At a speech in Des Moines today, Romney plans to launch a harsh attack on the president's governance, according to excerpts released by the campaign. Here's how he'll criticize the stimulus plan:

"President Obama started his days in office with the trillion-dollar stimulus package – the biggest, most careless one-time expenditure by the federal government in history.  And remember this: the stimulus wasn't just wasted – it was borrowed and wasted.  We still owe the money, we're still paying interest on it, and it'll be that way long after this presidency ends in January."

How bad does Mitt Romney think Obama's stimulus was for America? So bad that Romney would have done…well, pretty much the same thing, but with a somewhat different mix of taxes and spending.

In his 2010 book, No Apology, Romney argued that following the $152 billion stimulus package signed by President Bush in the summer of 2008, "a second stimulus was called for." Under Obama that's obviously what we got. And you know what Romney thought about that stimulus package? It wasn't too bad. Although Romney would have preferred that a second stimulus be passed under Bush, who "understood much more than [Democrats] the crucial role played by tax cuts," the former Massachusetts governor wrote in his book that "the 'all-Democrat' stimulus that was passed in early 2009 will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery"—just "not as much as it could have" if the stimulus plan was designed the way that Romney would have preferred.

Despite his attacks on Obama's "trillion-dollar stimulus package," Romney doesn't have a problem with large-scale federal stimulus spending. He just wants it done his way. As he writes in the book, "every stimulus should be crafted with care and exactitude." That's the Romney difference you can taste in every bite: He'd have passed a second stimulus tweaked to look more like the sort of stimulus that George Bush would have endorsed. 

And then there's ObamaCare. Romney plans to criticize the president's 2010 health care overhaul too:

"Then there was Obamacare.  Even now nobody knows the exact cost of that new program.  And that uncertainty has done great harm to our economy.  Employers aren't hiring, entrepreneurs are worried, all because of a massive, European-style entitlement that Americans didn't want and can't afford.

That's one way to describe the health law signed by Obama. Another way to describe it might be as "a massive, Massachusetts-style entitlement that Romney signed into law as governor and that is so expensive that the state's liberal governing class now worries is unaffordable on its current trajectory." In all its major components, the state health care plan that Romney signed as governor of Massachusetts is virtually identical to the federal plan signed by President Obama: middle-class insurance subsidies, a massive expansion of Medicaid, and a mandate. The big difference here is that Romney relied on generous special help from the federal government to pay for it. 

And yet the state still can't afford its health care obligations. Between the subsidies and the Medicaid Massachusetts has a serious health spending problem, and devotes a higher share of its public budget to health spending than any other state. The Chairman of the Bay State's Joint Committee on Public Health has warned that the state's existing health spending commitments are "unsustainable." A representative from the state's finance office issued told local legislators that health spending in Massachusetts "is crowding out everything else state government needs to do" and that "the growth trend in health care costs threaten the very viability of government." So Romney is warning that the president's health law will be expensive and potentially unaffordable—just like the one Romney signed when he was governor. The contrast of visions really is striking. 

NEXT: Gene Healy on Romney the Bully

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  1. The only difference in their policies is who gets payouts.

  2. I’m looking forward to Romeny’s follow-up companion, Moist Vagina.

  3. I know Romney and Obama are the same, but the treason I want obama to lose is because the tears of all his toadies will be enough to make a new salt lake.

    1. the treason I want obama to lose

      RC’z Law, FTW!

    2. I am with you Sage. This is the most negative election in my lifetime. I can’t think of a single purely positive thing about Romney winning. But God the tears of Obama’s supporters are going to be sweet.

  4. Oh c’mon, like nobody here has ever made a mistake?

    Clearly his attacks on policies he once supported are ROMNIAC’s way of admitting a previous computing mistake and showing evidence that his programmers have learned the error of their ways. We should support them, since it is rare for people in high places to admit to having been so utterly wrong! (I’m assuming his programmers are people in high places).

    Really, his health-care law and love of stimulus can probably be chalked up to a couple of punch-cards being out of their correct order.

    1. It is called doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Romney is a craven politician. But he can tell which way the wind blows. I really don’t think Romney has any secret agendas or ideology beyond getting elected and staying elected. If that means changing his position on stuff and becoming something he clearly wasn’t as governor of Massachusetts, he will do it.

      1. I can accept that; my main concern is saying one thing, and then doing quite another once elected. I think Mittens is just the man for that job…which is why it’s six one way, half a dozen the other whether he or Obama win, IMHO.

        1. I have no idea what he will do. I really don’t. I don’t think he has many core beliefs.

  5. Bless you, Romney, for seeing every side of an issue and endorsing all or any of them if you think it will get you votes in your election of the moment.

  6. Hey Tea Party, this is the candidate you get when you waste your time and energy on the likes of Gingrich, Santorum, Bachmann, Cain, Perry et al instead of getting behind the only true anti-Romney, Ron Paul. Enjoy your s..t sandwich.

    1. Tea Party: Better this than that damned crypto-muslim peacenik Paul!

      1. And Paul bears no responsibility for failing to appeal to grass movement of the moment? Nope. The ideology is never wrong, just the dastardly voters. Sometimes Libertarians sound like liberals.

        1. The ideology is never wrong, just the dastardly voters.

          Pretty much, yes. The ideology of liberty is never wrong. If voters choose statism, then they are the ones in error, not the ideology. I’m really not sure where you’re going with this.

        2. Hmm, I just read through the comments on the DEA/nursing homes thread, and now you really have me confused.

          You’re against the drug war, and yet voters keep supporting it. You imply that it’s because everyone is too stupid/apathetic to find out any information that isn’t spoon-fed to them by the MSM. How exactly is that not “blaming the voters”?

          1. John sometimes has trouble keeping track of his positions from one post to the next. Now and then he makes a decent point but it’s entirely possible that he’ll say something completely contradictory to it a little further along.

            1. I think what happens with John is that he takes a position and makes a comment. That comment is so littered with misspellings and grammatical errors, that when he rereads it, it actually says something different than his original position. But since he can obviously see himself as the originator of the comment, he is persuaded to this new, obviously correct view, because he was the one who posted it.

              Multiply this scenario for the hundreds, if not thousands, of threads upon which John has commented, and you will have a working theory of the disjointed, often contradictory, points of view that he takes.

              Also, RC’z law.

      2. Give peace a chance. It’s cheaper, and fewer people die.

    2. They will reap what they sow.

    3. Hey, the Tea Party just did in Dick Lugar and very well may do in Orin Hatch. Odd how that never gets mentioned around here. But fuck it, we are cool and they are not. And isn’t that really what matters.

      1. I think we all celebrated Lugar going.

        1. Yes. But the fact that it was the Tea Party that did it, was somehow never mentioned. If you are going to bitch and moan about how the Tea Party wouldn’t drink the Paul kool-aide, you have to also give credit where it is due.

      2. Yeah, too bad that never gets mentioned.

        1. The first one is before his defeat. And as for the second, the words Tea and party never appear in it.

          1. John, RTFA before commenting. If you’d bothered to click through to Matt’s article on CNN, you’d see that he did indeed mention the Tea Party. In fact, it’s almost like it, and political activism in general, was one of the main themes of his article. Weird.

  7. I still think you need to vote for a gun grabbing, flip-flopping liberal you don’t like to get rid of a gun grabbing, flip-flopping liberal you don’t like. According to conservatives it makes sense.

    1. Just look for the (R).

      1. It’s the brand-name Seal of Approval.

    2. At his worst, Romney is still less bad than Obama.

      And even if he weren’t, switching administrations across parties inevitability disrupts the stupid stuff that the previous administration was doing. That’s true even if the new administration would like to do pretty much the same thing, since they’d prefer to do it their way.

      Making bad stuff happen more slowly is the best we can manage this time.

      1. Admittedly, if Romney takes us back to Bush era suck and away from Obama era suck, it would be an improvement given Obama is the suckiest suck sucktown has ever seen.

        Looking forward to seeing a president who doesn’t shit his pants every goddamn week. I don’t know if Romney is that guy or not, but here is hoping.

        And, no, he can’t have my vote. Johnson has already wooed me with the sweet nothings I like to hear. Romney had his chance, but he diddled daddled in the parlor and winked at the ugly girls.

  8. Too depressing. Here, Baroness.

    1. Decent song, but damn they need to get someone to do their videos.

      1. What, you wanted more writhing naked dudes?

        1. You have to ask? Also, they should be oiling each other up instead of pretending to be sick.

  9. Is Mr McArdle equating tax cuts with spending?

    1. Yes he is.

    2. I would gladly take a trillion in tax cuts over a trillion in spending.

  10. Yeah, that “prairie fire of debt” would be burning just as quickly with Romney (or McCain) in charge. The only candidate willing to slow it down just stopped spending money on ads in states that haven’t voted yet….

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