The once-secret Romney tapes are a treasure of insight into Romney’s psyche and one needs to step back and look at what they have revealed so far:
♦ Romney has what should be an intolerably low opinion of half of America (no surprise there).
♦ Like his recent shameless exploitation of the murder of Americans in Libya, Romney seems willing to exploit a Jimmy Carter-like hostage crisis for political gain (no surprise there). And by the way: Jimmy Carter got those hostages released, not Ronald Reagan.
♦ He is resigned to doing virtually nothing to help bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians, saying, “the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.” Gee, thanks for that uplifting breath of American exceptionalism.
♦ His sarcasm regarding the immigration issue reveals his lack of empathy for and understanding of folks who come here and how hard most of them work:
I’d like to staple a green card to every Ph.D. in the world and say, “Come to America, we want you here.” Instead, we make it hard for people who get educated here or elsewhere to make this their home. Unless, of course, you have no skill or experience, in which case you’re welcome to cross the border and stay here for the rest of your life. [Audience laughs.] It’s very strange.
No, he’s very strange.
♦ Romney, who hasn’t hidden his disdain for labor unions, fielded a suggestion from a big-shot guest (Mittens called them “dignitaries”) at that big-money fundraiser that went like this:
…my recommendation would be clean house, immediately. The SEC, the CFEC are disaster areas.
ROMNEY: I wish they weren’t unionized, so we could go a lot deeper than you’re actually allowed to go. Yeah.
Yeah. All the union voters out there who can’t wait to pull the lever for Romney—and there are plenty of them—should rejoice at that sentiment.
♦ All that stuff we found out about Romney’s view of America and the world is bad enough, but other than the comments about the 47%, the most telling, and perhaps in terms of the country’s economic health, the most outrageous thing Romney said at that gathering of plump partisans, was the following, which I will set in its entire context:
Audience member: When the [unintelligible] in September, the markets are going to be looking—marginal tax rates going up, overheads going, fine, but sequestration under the debt ceiling deal—what do they call it?
Audience member: Yeah, they call it that. The Obamacare, taxes on dividends and capital gains—I mean, the markets are going to be speaking very wildly in October on all of those issues.
Romney: They’ll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends, of course, which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is, if we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets reelected, I don’t know what will happen. I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected. But my own view is that if we get the—the “Taxageddon,” as they call it, January 1st, with this president, and with a Congress that can’t work together, it really is frightening, really frightening in my view.
The idea that the markets could respond any better if Romney gets elected than they have under Obama—they have been up, up, and away since March of 2009—is preposterous. But what is more preposterous is this claim Romney made:
…my own view is, if we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.
Now, that comment, if it happens to be true, is pregnant with irony. Romney’s whole case against Obama is that he is in over his head, that his policies have failed. Yet here Romney is saying that the simple act of a Romney victory will be enough to “see capital come back” and provide “a boost in the economy.” All “without actually doing anything.”
“Without actually doing anything“! Since economies aren’t sustained by sorcery—notwithstanding Republicans’ insistence on the magic of supply-side economics—all that “capital” sitting on the sidelines* must actually be partisan capital, with a big fat “R” stamped on it. Which tells us that those holding onto that capital, who are refusing to invest it in American jobs and increased wages, are Republicans before they are Americans.
At least that is what Romney must believe.
* David Cay Johnson wrote in July:
IRS data suggests that, globally, U.S. nonfinancial companies hold at least three times more cash and other liquid assets than the Federal Reserve reports, idle money that could be creating jobs, funding dividends or even paying a stiff federal penalty tax for hoarding corporate cash.
The Fed’s latest Flow of Funds report showed that U.S. nonfinancial companies held $1.7 trillion in liquid assets at the end of March. But newly released IRS figures show that in 2009 these companies held $4.8 trillion in liquid assets, which equals $5.1 trillion in today’s dollars, triple the Fed figure.