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Five Reasons Romney's "Plan" Is the Same Old Job-Killing Madness

Mitt Romney has very serious ideas for fixing the economy. How do we know? By the typeface.
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Mitt Romney has very serious ideas for fixing the economy. How do we know? By the typeface.

Romney's released a 59-page plan in one of those very, very serious typefaces -- Garamond, or Cambria, or Times New Roman -- Well, to be honest, I'm not sure which. But trust me. It's a serious typeface. And get this:

There are graphs.

The graphs and layout and typography in this "jobs plan" remind us that Romney's crowning career achievement was running the massive consulting company Bain. He's clearly taken the chief maxim of the consulting profession to heart: If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullsh*t.

That's exactly what this "plan" is. It's a slickly packaged re-presentation of the same agenda that's killed millions of American jobs and will kill millions more if enacted again.

But it is pretty. All typesetters show you their proposed layout using the same dummy Latin language, which begins "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna ..." Those typesetters did a great job with this booklet. But the ideas?

Here are five reasons Romney's "new ideas" are the same job-killing conservative poison we've swallowed and regurgitated before:

1. It ignores the lessons of history.

Romney opens with the human touch, which is another old consultant's trick. He talks about how joblessness "breaks his heart" and personalizes the statistics with his own life story: "In 1947, the year I was born, unemployment was 3.9 percent. In 1968, when I turned 21, it was 3.6 percent."

But he doesn't explain why unemployment was so much lower then. In 1947 the country was in a period of massive spending, driven first by the war effort and then by postwar rebuilding. The top tax bracket that year was 86.47%. In 1968 the country had initiated a number of spending measures under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, including the War on Poverty. The top tax bracket that year was 75%.

Today the Republicans have driven the top bracket down to 35%. The taxes collected during those earlier years was used to generate jobs, fuel our nation's economic growth, and build a thriving and prosperous middle class.

By mentioning those years, Romney undercuts his party's agenda before he even presents it.

2. It adds to that "giant sucking sound" of jobs lost to outsourcing

Washington insiders laughed at Ross Perot during the 1992 Presidential campaign when he said NAFTA would create the "giant sucking sound" of Americans jobs going to lower-cost Third World countries. NAFTA passed with massive Republican support, and President Clinton signed it.

But Ross Perot was right. The US manufacturing sector, along with other portions of our working economy, was decimated by free trade agreements that led to the outsourcing of jobs to other parts of the world.

What does Mitt Romney promise to do as "Job One, Day One" on the first day of his Presidency? He says he'll introduce an "Open Markets Act" to " implement the Colombia, Panama, and South Korea Free Trade Agreements." He has the temerity to claim that this will actually create jobs.

Romney's ignoring something the rest of us have learned the hard way: When it comes to American jobs, free trade "sucks."

3. It cuts the "red tape" -- tape that keeps us from falling apart

Romney says he'll issue an Executive Order on "Day One" to "cut the red tape." He says he'll "direct all agencies to immediately initiate the elimination of Obama-era regulations that unduly burden the economy or job creation, and then caps annual increases in regulatory costs at zero dollars."

Republicans love to talk about how "cutting red tapes" creates jobs. But we saw massive cuts in regulations under George W. Bush -- and we lost jobs. So that part of their theory's been disproved.

What did we see as the result of deregulation over the last twenty years? The biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression. And the massively expensive, job-destroying, environment-killing, life-threatening BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The "red" on that tape might as well be American blood. And as for cutting it -- well, just take a look at our economy and the Gulf of Mexico and then paraphrase Sarah Palin a little: How's that regulation-cuttin' thingy workin' out for ya?

4. It would destroy unions -- and the middle class

Romney says he'll "reverse the executive orders issued by President Obama that tilt the playing field in favor of organized labor, including the one encouraging the use of union labor on major government construction projects."

Unions won all the major concessions -- in wages, benefits, working hours, and work conditions -- that built the American middle class. Unions were larger and more powerful during those years of low unemployment Romney waxed nostalgic about than they are today.

If President Obama "tilted the playing field" toward the unions it's sure not showing up on the scoreboard. Republicans in the states and in Congress are waging a full-out assault on unions' right to organize. The effects of that campaign are showing themselves in wage stagnation and unemployment.

Romney uses the feel-good language of the self-help seventies, describing this action as "an Order to Empower American Businesses and Workers." Apparently businesses haven't been "empowered" enough by their lobbyists, billions in campaign cash, and the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. They have major influence over the Democratic Party, and the Republicans are their servant class -- lock, stock, and barrel.

He says he'd "empower" workers, too -- be making sure that unionized workers could be replaced at any time by non-unionized replacements unable to fight for wages or benefits. If that happens it'll be "Welcome back to the nineties" -- the eighteen-nineties, that is. Back then people were forced to work sixty or seventy hours a week on subsistence wages, with no overtime or benefits.

Welcome to your "empowerment."

5. Spending cuts that will destroy jobs, crush wages, kill growth

And that's not all, folks! Romney also promises that on "Day One" he'll introduce the "Down Payment on Fiscal Sanity Act," which would "immediately cut non-security discretionary spending by 5 percent, reducing the annual federal budget by $20 billion."

The folklore definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." By that standard this should be called the "Fiscal In-sanity Act," since it repeats theausterity moves that have worsened economic conditions here and throughout Europe.

Insanity in 12-Point Font

We could quibble about the figures Romney uses, and trust us, there's more madness in this document than we can cover here. But the overarching message is clear: If you liked the financial crisis and the BP oil spill, if you like soaring unemployment rates and stagnating wages, then you'll love the Romney plan.

And the Romney plan is just a gussied-up version of what all the Republicans are selling, packaged by a slick consultant with slick advisors. This document would be better if Romney had just left in the dummy typeface the printer used: "Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit magna ..." These ideas are literally "worse than useless." They're extremely destructive.

The Democratic team has made more than its share of economic mistakes, and we've been vocal about them. But the GOP is offering a plan for more and deeper economic devastation. It would hurt pretty much everyone except billionaires and top corporate executives.

And typesetters. A Romney Presidency would mean more work for them. It would bring boom times for the "baffle 'em with BS" industry.

This "jobs plan" is a compendium of madness. But man, it sure is pretty.