What Romney just told his major donors is not clear.
There is no tape as there was of the infamous 47% remarks, when he said that 47% of the voters wouldn’t vote for him because they were dependent on government largesse. In this case, he seems to have said that Hispanics and young people in particular got “gifts” from President Obama that brought them over to his side. The remarks at least skirt the 47% argument even if they don’t repeat it.
Romney later apologized for the 47% comment and said that it was ” all wrong.” It was all wrong. Let’s imagine for a moment that instead of saying that 47% were unlikely to vote for him because of dependence on the government, he had instead said that President Obama was trying to buy votes. That would not have embarrassed him if it had come out. And it would have put the blame where it belongs, with the politicians, not the voters. Voters do not have a direct say in these programs. And once they are enacted into law, they will use them just as Romney uses business and charitable deductions for himself.
What were the big “gifts” that Romney allegedly cited as giving Obama his winning edge? Romney said that young people were swayed by the president’s keeping student loan rates low and by allowing them via Obamacare to stay on their parents insurance policy until age 26. He said that lower income people were swayed by the hope of getting free medical care.
But the truth in all this is really quite different. The federal government borrows money at negligible rates and then re-lends it to students at much higher rates. The profit is booked in the federal accounts as “deficit reduction.” So the students, who will inherit all the accumulated deficits, have to pay much higher than necessary student loan rates to help reduce the deficit. Why didn’t Romney mention this scam?
As for Obamacare, it requires young people to buy health insurance they don’t need so that older people, who on average have 47 times as much money as the young, can pay less for their insurance. This was practically declaring war on the young, yet Romney said nothing about that. The free medical care for lower income people will cost many of them their jobs. The hourly cost of Obamacare for a minimum wage worker with a family is estimated to be $5.50, almost as much as the minimum wage itself. Many employers will fire workers rather than pay it. And Obamacare will also produce fewer full time workers because the mandate penalty does not apply for part time workers. Why didn’t Romney point that out?
For much of the last two weeks of the election, Romney seemed to be trying to keep an imagined lead by avoiding controversial statements. Did his polling really tell him to avoid any of this?
The voters are not the problem. They are often confused, but they are also our only hope for the future. In recent decades, elite leaders such as Obama, Romney, and Bernanke have taken this country down the wrong road, and more elitist condescension we don’t need.