Romney/Ryan: U.S. can’t afford to be great any more

Democrats assembled some quick looks at federal budgeting with Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney:

Someone with a handle LLORT3 maybe put it concisely:  “We need healthcare, not wealthcare.”

The lines for the election seem to me to very well drawn:  Back to the Gilded Age, or on to the 21st century.

What do you think?  Did Romney just double down on a Marie Antoinette economy?  Will more than 20% of Americans vote to screw the middle class like that?

Related information:

21 Responses to Romney/Ryan: U.S. can’t afford to be great any more

  1. James Hanley says:


    When there’s a population that can’t afford to buy many cars and a government willing to pay cost-plus on tanks, I think it’s really the government that’s determining the market. And of course the government was rationing things left and right for the war effort. And although it’s slight hyperbole, I like to say that the government took those ten million out of work males and put them to work in government jobs–the army.

    But whatever term we use, the economy from late ’41-45 was not a true market/consumer economy. So however we want to define it, I don’t think it’s right to call it a recovered economy. It wasn’t a depression economy anymore, that’s for sure, but it wasn’t a market economy either. Neither fish nor fowl. But presumably necessary for the time.


  2. JamesK says:

    I’d really like it if some conservative would explain to me, or at least attempt to, why the rich getting all the wealth and income and the rest of the classes being stagnant in their wealth and income growth is a good thing….


  3. Ed Darrell says:

    Certainly Britain had a command economy in World War II. But the U.S.? Some functions were similar to a command economy — but wouldn’t it be more accurate to call it an oligopoly? Much of the production was coordinated by big business leaders, cooperating, to help the war effort, without laws commanding that the automakers, for example, turn their production away from cars.

    Am I wrong on that?

    You’re right, however, that the recovery really came after the war, on free enterprise terms. What drove that recovery was demand pent up during the war. Plus, we had a full-employment economy, whether we got there by command or choice, just about anyone who wanted a job could get one.


  4. James Hanley says:

    …the full-employment economy of World War II?

    Grrr, pet peeve of mine here. WWII was a command economy, it was not an economic recovery. Post WWII was the recovery, one that lots of folks didn’t expect because they thought demobilization of troops–e.g., government layoffs–would send us right back into the depression. It’s still debated just why the economy recovered so well after the war, but I chalk it up to a combination of rebuilding Europe and just plain optimism.

    I’ll take the beer, you can keep the shot.

    Oh, man, you and I could be such goooood drinking buddies!


  5. mark says:

    On the issue of what constitutes class levels, there is no single standard breakpoint between classes. I suggest 3 levels based on percentiles of net worth as follows. Lower: Less than 50 percent; Middle: 50 – 90 percent; and Upper: greater than 90 percent. Approximate median net worth of these groups would be $16, $280, and $1864 in thousands of 2010 dollars.
    This information can be found here.


  6. JamesK says:

    Thank you for the correction, Ed.


  7. Ed Darrell says:

    These figures are not correct:

    Salary of retired US Presidents: $450,000 for life.
    Salary of House/Senate members: $174,000 for life
    Salary of the Speaker of the House: $223,500 for life
    Salary of Ma’ority/Minority leaders: $194,400 for life

    See better figures here:

    And more, here:


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Fetid, indeed — smells like this. (another good post at your site, Mark)


  9. JamesK says:

    Salary of retired US Presidents: $450,000 for life.
    Salary of House/Senate members: $174,000 for life
    Salary of the Speaker of the House: $223,500 for life
    Salary of Ma’ority/Minority leaders: $194,400 for life

    Average salary of a soldier deployed to Afghanistan: $38,000
    Average income for seniors on Social Security: $12,000

    And we should cut social security and medicare? We should privatize both? Oh please. How about if the Republicans are so anxious to make spending cuts they do it out of their own wallets.


  10. JamesK says:

    So, Pino, the top 2% who have incomes exceeding more then $250,000 a year deserve further tax cuts why? What is those tax cuts going to accomplish? Other then further exacerbate the deficit the conservatives so love to supposedly worry about?

    Mitt Romney should have his tax rate dropped to sub 1% for what reason?

    Sorry if you make more then $250,000 a year you’re not middle class. If you make $120,000-$2490,000 you’re at worst upper middle class though that’s being diplomatic about the term.

    And conversely if you make anything around the federal poverty rate or less you ain’t middle class. Unlike Mittens who thinks if you mkae $10,000 a year that you’re firmly middle class.

    So why should I, my dad, the entirety of my family and the rest of us who are certainly not rich have our taxes raised and our “entitlements” cut while Mittens and them gets another tax cut? What good does it do us?

    I’ve paid, so far, 20 years into medicare and social security. I’ve paid for them so I want what I paid for. That “privatize medicare” is nothing more then horse’s nothing more then a glorified coupon that will never pay for anything approaching adequate health care when I’m old. That coupon will be absolutely worthless by the time I’m ready to retire. And no insurance company is going to insure any old person as they are the most expensive group of people to insure.

    You honestly think my dad would be able to buy private health insurance when he’s 75 years old, has high blood pressure, diabetes, congential heart failure and his family has a history of cancer and parkisons?

    My uncles John’s family should have went bankrupt paying for the 8 years he was in a nursing home with Parksinsons? My uncle Bills family should have went bankrupt paying for his 6 years in the nursing home after his stroke?

    It’s not like farmers, which is what my dad and the two uncles I just named are, make a lot of money.

    Or my uncle Dale’s and aunt Ardis’s pancreatic cancer? My aunt Bev, a former nun, should have paid for her hip replacement out of her own pocket? On what money?

    Do you honestly think any insurance company would have sold my mom insurance after she retired due to her lung cancer? My dad should have paid the $100,000 hospital bill out of his wifes estate when she died 3 months after she retired? As I said, my dad was a farmer, and he basically lives on my mom’s estate and the small amount he gets from social security. While that $100,000 wouldn’t have wiped out of the estate it would have taken quite a bit of a chunk out of it.

    What do you think will happen to the economy if Paul Ryan and his little friend Mittens implement their budget and gut the safety net? Do you honestly think the economy will grow when that plan makes 98% of the people in this country poorer?

    The average private insurance plan will cost $10,000 this year after going up 10% in cost. That rate of increase has been increasing every year for at least the last decade if not more. And you want to think that tomorrow’s senior citizens will be able to afford to buy it even if the insurance companies will be willing to sell it?

    Sorry, Pino, despite what the GOP spouts…we simply can not afford austerity. It never does what they claim it does. And if they were really worried about lowering the deficit then shouldn’t they be making cuts to such things as military spending and closing tax loopholes that benefit the rich and companies and raising taxes?

    Why should the poor and the middle class get savaged just to give the richest people in the country another round of tax cuts?


  11. mark says:

    Under Paul Ryan’s tax plan, Romney would have paid less than 1 percent (rather than the 13.9 percent he did pay) in 2010, despite having more than $21M in income. That’s because Ryan’s plan would eliminate taxes on investment income, a source that is only available (in serious quantity) to the wealthy. Don’t forget that many of the breaks the middle class get (such as mortgage deductions) would have to be eliminated in order to pay for Ryan’s tax cuts and military buildup.


  12. Ed Darrell says:

    Pino, I’m not sure why you think it’s difficult to define a middle class. I offered a good and fair definition in my first answer. Why is that not perfect? Why do you say it doesn’t work at all?

    Sniping for the sake of sniping is what Romney’s been doing (and why his popularity has been on a month-long wane). You’re carping without borders. That’s not a response, really.


  13. Ed Darrell says:

    What difference does it make how much is being paid now? That question gets to the issue of a progressive income tax — the changes proposed are inherently and massively regressive. What advocates would need to do is justify making our taxes much more regressive than they are now — and most economists have been complaining they’ve been much too regressive for the past decade.

    In other words, why do you propose to exacerbate the problems?


  14. Ed Darrell says:

    Mark, the only question most people had was, “where’s the codpiece?”

    I thought it was interesting that Rep. Ryan promised to “turn this thing around” while standing aboard a ship in permanent dock. Plus, it’s pointed out to sea — if it were turned around, and driven forward by its massive propellers, it would run aground.

    I think that was unintentionally, but accurately, symbolic.


  15. pino says:

    The graph shows how much the various quintiles of our population, divided by income, get from Romney’s economics plan.

    Close, there is no division of income though; we’ll call it even.

    This chart shows how big are your tax cuts, by your income category. Who gets the benefits?

    This isn’t useful, however, because the graph doesn’t attempt to show how much each quintile is paying now. In other words, when Romney gives out 20% tax cuts to everyone, everyone benefits the same, not different. This is true when Mr. Fillmore, earning 100k, paying 25% or $25k and then gets a 20% tax cut and is now paying 20% or $20k. His “get” is $5,000. But poor Mr. Pino, earning only $50k paying 15% or $7,500. His 20% tax cut drops his rate to 12% for a tax bill of $6,000, a savings of only $1,500.

    Mr. Pino and Mr. Fillmore “got” the same thing and should be equally happy. However, in your world somehow Mr. Fillmore is robbing Mr. Pino and it. Just. Isn’t. Fair!

    This isn’t rocket science.

    And yet people fall for this shleb all the time! I think you may have benefited from me firing what can only be your crummy Sr. Math teacher! ;-)

    Pino, can you explain why you think giving money to the rich will benefit the economy in any way?

    First, no one is “giving money to the rich.” They earned it, it’s their’s. We’re taking it FROM them. It would be good to remember that. However, we ARE giving money to the lowest 2 quintiles. That group of people get a government check in lieu of payig federal income tax.

    With that said, I don’t think that I would suggest a tax cut right now. I would be happy with making permanent the structure we have right now.


  16. Ed Darrell says:

    Pino, can you explain why you think giving money to the rich will benefit the economy in any way?


  17. mark says:

    I thought Romney’s announcement of his running mate had a familiar, fetid redolence.


  18. Ed Darrell says:

    The graph shows how much the various quintiles of our population, divided by income, get from Romney’s economics plan. Actually it hides some of the worst stuff. Romney’s plan costs people on the poverty line between $600 to $2,000 a year, a hit of 7% of income. This chart shows how big are your tax cuts, by your income category. Who gets the benefits?

    In the Great Depression, Pino, was it Andrew Mellon who bailed out the economy? J. P. Morgan was dead by that time, of course — was it his ghost who got us out of trouble? Or was it he millions of people who got jobs building and repairing America, and creating works of art(!), who got us through until the full-employment economy of World War II?

    This isn’t rocket science. But when you call in the rocket scientists, they’ll tell us the same thing the economists tell us — now is the time to build America, not tax the middle class. We cannot tax the middle class out of existence in any good way.

    I’ll take the beer, you can keep the shot.


  19. pino says:

    Everybody but the tippy top gets screwed in the Romney plan:

    Okay, I win the bet.

    I’ll letch play double or nothin’

    Explain that graph.


  20. Ed Darrell says:

    Above poverty level, below $250,000. Almost doesn’t matter — pick any definition used in research or policy making, and that class gets screwed by Romney’s tax-the-poor plan.

    Everybody but the tippy top gets screwed in the Romney plan:
    Who benefits from Romney plan tax loopholes


  21. pino says:

    Will more than 20% of Americans vote to screw the middle class like that?

    I’ll betcha a shot and a beer you can’t define what the Middle Class even is.


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