From a perspective of ‘right speech,’ I give Romney a lot credit for pretty much holding to the higher ground. Thus, when comparing Mr. Ryan with Mr. Romney, one appears to get the ‘good cop-bad cop’ routine. In rewinding Romney’s speech through my head last night, I remembered an email I recently read, “…he’s banking on Americans having total amnesia about 2001-2009, including failed wars and a multiple increase of the national debt.”
In truth, for a ‘speech of a lifetime,’ the policy portion was void of any detail. As listener, I found myself affirming the question that yes indeed I may not be better off than I was four years ago, but I certainly found no substance in how Mr. Romney and Ryan would actually make my life any better.
To that end, I found Romney’s speech more a checklist speech. Discuss family background. Check! Honor women. Check! Disparage the Chinese and Iran. Check! Check! Check! Check! But unless I feel asleep, we heard no plans for the country. There was almost no mention of his budget, tax, health care or Medicare plans.
To answer those magic questions, I visited the Romney-Ryan campaign site. So here’s a quick summary:
- On Taxes: Mr. Romney supports a fundamental redesign of the existing U.S. tax system. Great. Every four years, some candidate throws out the gauntlet of redesigning the tax rate. Unfortunately, his website does not actually detail exactly how’s he’s going to do that nor how he would manage the subsequent mess of said redesign.
- On Taxes: Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax. Tax Policy Center (TPC) reported the four major new tax cuts in the Ryan plan, including repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax, and repealing the tax increases in health reform would cost $4.6 trillion in lost federal revenue over the next ten years. All four revenue-losing measures would disproportionately benefit wealthy Americans. Romney fails to mention how his policies would replace the $4.6 trillion.
- On China: As President, Mr. Romney will work to enforce stronger protections of our Intellectual Property in an effort to ensure proper renumeration for our technological accomplishments. This is nothing more than a sound bite. Every candidate says this. But to get an entire business community who rely upon cheap Asian labor to manufacture their products in supporting actual sanctions would be on par with the second coming of Christ.
- On Spending: Governor Romney wants major cuts in spending, by a reform of Medicaid, wage alignments, federal workforce reductions and undertaking a major restructuring of government programs and services. Mr. Romney supports capping federal spending at 20% of GDP and wishes to pursue a Balanced Budget Amendment. Another sound bite. Sounds great. In truth, needs to be done. However, Romney’s fails to clarify his definition of ‘major.’ There are no details of what Romney would restructure, which federal workforce would be reduced.
Continuing the entitlement perspective for a moment, Ryan lambasted Obama for failing to act on a deficit-reduction plan that he himself helped to kill. He chided Democrats for seeking the same $716 billion in Medicare cuts he sought. And he admonished Obama for the nation’s credit rating, which was downgraded after a debt-ceiling standoff that he and other Republicans instigated.
Borrowing a quote from the movie “The American President,” all I’ve heard from Democrats and Republicans is “… two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it.” In truth, while I can unequivocally state I dislike where America is at the moment, I still don’t know what Romney’s for, except to say he seems to be for winning and against Obama winning.
Damn … Where’s the beef?