Romney's Cruel Joke on the Middle Class

In response, it seems, to criticism of his economic plan—which will raise taxes on the vast majority of Americans in order to cut taxes for the wealthiest taxpayers—Mitt Romney has released a one-page “plan for a stronger middle-class.” The provisions are what you would expect:

  • Increase domestic drilling, reduce regulations on the coal industry, and complete the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Sign new trade agreements and “curtail the unfair trade pracices of countries like China.”
  • Devolve federal programs, like Medicaid, to the states, cut spending on an existing agencies and social programs, and institute a larger, long-term cut by capping federal spending at below 20 percent.
  • Cut taxes, repeal the Affordable Care Act, reduce regulations, and make it more difficult for unions to organize.

Romney’s cuts to Medicaid, Pell Grants and other social services—the inevitable outcome of capping federal spending while drastically reducing revenue—would shred the social safety net and make financial security an impossible prospect for millions of Americans. His promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act would deprive countless people of health insurance, and force them to shoulder the burden of an expensive and dysfunctional health care system. His promise to drastically reduce regulations would allow unscrupulous corporations to mislead consumers, and pollute our air, water, and soil with dangerous chemicals. His promise to take on unions—which are already in decline—would make it even harder for workers to negotiate and stand up for themselves.

It’s a cruel joke to describe this as a plan to strengthen the middle class, when in reality, it would destroy opportunity, eliminate security, and place vulnerable Americans at the mercy of employers who lack a commitment to anything other than profits.

Even more galling than the plan itself is the fact that it’s wrapped in a promise to create 12 million jobs over the next four years. As Greg Sargent points out at the Washington Post, the economy is already projected to create 12 million jobs.

In other words, Romney is peddling a sham plan that does nothing for the economy and nothing for ordinary people. Instead, it drains our shared resources, and diverts them to “job creators”—the privileged elite that has jettisoned any and all concern for the public good.