I recently made plans to liveblog all the presidential debates in October with a comedian here in town, so today I figured I'd bone up on the Republicans' platform, instead of...writing my poetry analysis paper. So here we go.
Before I go any further, I want to just list off all the negative associations this homepage gives me.
1. Is Mitt a stewardess?
2. Am I sexist for calling him a stewardess and not a steward?
3. He looks like he is in control of the plane, but he is not wearing a pilot's uniform, and that makes me really nervous and honestly, even though I know it's cheap, really does bring the word "terrorist" to mind.
4. I also keep thinking of that scene in Left Behind where all the righteous people disappear from the plane at The Reckoning, which I know is supposed to be called The Rapture but I like The Reckoning better. Anyway, I'm pretty sure the insinuation of "all the righteous are getting out of here, so which side do you want to be on" is pretty deliberate. I bet Kirk Cameron is really popular with Mitten's base.
5. I hate that he makes this a lottery. Here you go, you unwashed huddled masses, I know how you love to spend your government money on lotto tickets, so if you donate to me, maybe you'll get to ride on a plane for the first time, whoo-eeeee! I bet you've never been on a private jet before, huh? It's pretty sweet. I'm not saying Barack's "Have Dinner with the Obamas" lottery is any better conceptually, but at least it has less creepy photo ops.
So Mittens has a 5 Point Plan. He calls it his Plan for a Stronger Middle Class.
Sidenote: one of the most basic joke set ups in comedy is The List. Just saying.
But actually, each of the 5 points has 4 sub-points, so really it's a 20 point plan. But I guess he thought calling it a 20 Point Plan would sound too elitist.
Let's go through it, shall we? Mittens, make me understand you, yield to me your capitalist wisdom....
Point One: Energy Independence
• Increase access to domestic energy resources
• Streamline permitting for exploration and
• Eliminate regulations destroying the coal industry
• Approve the Keystone XL pipeline
This is pretty self explanatory, right? We're going to drill wherever we want. Fracking is awesome, so PA and OH should just shut their stupid corn-fat mouths. Regulations are the fifth horseman of the apocalypse. The coal industry isn't in trouble because they are running out of coal, they are being destroyed by rules that say they can't blow up everything they see whenever they see it. And even though the pipeline has already been approved, this "hold up" to conduct environmental and safety studies is an unnecessary commie plot.
Point Two: The Skills to Succeed
• Give every family access to a great school and
• Provide access to affordable and effective higher
• Focus job training programs on building valuable
skills that align with opportunities
• Attract and retain the best and the brightest from
around the world
Alright, I did some reading on this one, because those sub-points up there are about as vague as a politician can be. What are you going to do to make people smarter, Mr. Romney? Well, I thought we'd just make sure everyone has a good school to go to. Oh, okay, cool. He has a 35 page paper on the subject. It was hard to read, because Mittens's plan for education reform has a forward written by Jeb Bush. It was...difficult to get past that. I may have stopped, gone outside to have a cigarette, and reconsidered my entire life direction before diving into this. But three cups of coffee later, and a few quick looks at the wiki page for the Planet Kobol, and here's what I've emerged with.
Romney believes in charter schools with all his clockwork heart. A charter school is basically a private school that contracts with the government, so it's the equivalent of private defense contractors or private infrastructure contractors. Since it is private, teachers are not required to hold the same certifications, and they can hire non-union teachers. The Republican pitch is that opening up free market competition for schools will give families a choice for better schools, and have the effect of upping current public school quality, because we know that's how the free market works every time, right? Romney also wants to defund public schools that do not meet state testing minimums. And he wants to privatize federal school loans.
I am of course pro-union, anti-testing, and I hate Sallie Mae with the fiery passion of ten million suns, so I guess you can figure out how I feel about these positions. If you think taking more money away from from already underfunded school systems is going to make things better...well, we'll talk about this some more a little further on.
Point Three: Trade That Works for America
• Curtail the unfair trade practices of countries
• Open new markets for American goods and services
• Build stronger economic ties in Latin America
• Create a Reagan Economic Zone to strengthen free
enterprise around the world
Let's be clear. When Mittens says "like China", what he means is "FUCK YOU CHINA, SUCK IT".
I think it's a little over the top - because China looks to be pretty fucked on its own.
Recently, when Clinton gave a speech at the Democratic convention that apparently impregnated every lib girl under 35 in the country, I whined about all these kids tweeting about how much they missed the Clinton administration, when they were in middle school at the time and probably barely aware we even had a president. So I am not going to start pretending I'm some expert on Reagan economics. Reagan was president basically my entire childhood, leaving office when I was in 5th grade. Most of my political awareness bloomed in those pubescent years of George Bush Sr. (which good lord, should explain a lot about me). But here is what I remember about the Reagan years - if you went anywhere in Latin American you got shot or kidnapped, I learned what the words contra and guerrilla meant, a lot of nuns died, and I learned about the giant mountains of old computers sitting around Asia. Also I learned what class action lawsuit meant, because my middle school was very environmentally conscious.
So okay, I'm sure your plan to build a coalition of anti-China allies by giving out trade agreements to surrounding countries like India will totally work and China will totally respond to pressure and disarm North Korea. That will totally happen. Because China is scared of us, right? Oh yeah, China is just TERRIFIED of us.
Point Four: Cut the Deficit
• Immediately reduce non-security discretionary
spending by five percent
• Cap federal spending below twenty percent of
• Give states responsibility for programs that they can
implement more effectively
• Consolidate agencies and align compensation
of federal workers with their private-sector
So cut funding from everything that is not a corporate sub-contractor (ie Defense), and reduce everyone's pay/benefits. Something tells me that's gonna be preceded by some serious anti-union legislation. Also by "responsibility", we mean "find your own funds for libraries, county health support, ect". Goodbye National Endowment for the Arts, goodbye any family planning funding. Goodbye daycare services that will be needed once lots of people can't get birth control anymore.
Another thing that scares me about this list is that it doesn't include any ways for the Feds to make money, only save money. Like, for instance, closing tax loopholes. I wonder how much money they would make if they made religious institutions pay taxes, for instance. (Hahaha, like that would ever happen. Sigh.)
Champion Small Business
• Reduce taxes on job creation through individual and
corporate tax reform
• Stop the increases in regulation that are tangling job
creators in red tape
• Protect workers and businesses from strong-arm
labor union tactics
• Replace Obamacare with real health care reform
that controls cost and improves care
Let's be clear, this should read Champion Business. Because there is no distinction here between small and gross large corporate evil squid that secretly rule the world. We are all businesses in the Lord's eyes.
So once again, let's cut a bunch of taxes, because THAT'S GOOD FOR THE DEFICIT. And there's so many people out there sitting around thinking "gee, I really want to start my own business, and I've got the loan and the property and the free time and the health insurance and a giant pool of qualified educated employees to choose from, but you know what's really holding me back? The taxes." I think our dying cities are doing a pretty good job of reducing the taxes they need to operate just to desperately beg businesses to come back, I don't think we need your help there Mitt.
Also, god forbid we hold those businesses to any responsible standards of health and safety. That's just blasphemous.
And there, finally, is our anti-union legislation.
I've said this before, but it bears repeating. I know a lot of you are on the fence about unions, and you believe a lot of them are corrupt and pretty much just operating as political super pacs. And I am not denying the reality of that happening sometimes. But that is not every union. And if you ask the people you know, chances are you know people in unions, and it's a big deal for them. This is a serious issue for anyone in the middle class, and I mean the real middle class, not the imaginary one Mittens was talking about the other day that makes 200k a year. (I cannot....even....begin...to talk about that.)
Legislation is about two things - reality and principle. First, does Reality match the scenario that the legislation is claiming? Second, is the principle behind the legislation ethically correct? The principle of a people's right to organize and have a mediated way to defend themselves, their paychecks, their benefits, and their families, against their employers decisions is an important ethical right. Regardless of how you feel about whatever specific union you have experience in, the principle of unions is something to fight for. Saying all unions are bad because some are corrupt is akin to saying that all government is bad because some politicians are corrupt. That's just not how it works. You gotta have principles. And for all their talk of freedom, I think the freedom to organize is a pretty major one.
So to summarize the important points here: Mittens would let companies do exactly what they like, send your kids to franchise schools, make you more in debt to banks, take away your birth control, and make sure employees have no means with which to keep their employers in check while keeping them chained to those companies by debt and lack of option. He would also very much like to try and bully China. So okay....this should go well. Bring on the debates.