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Uncle Mitt Feels Your Pain

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Posted on Apr 11, 2012
AP/Charles Krupa

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney fuels up his campaign bus during a stop in Randolph, N.H., in December.

By Bill Boyarsky

The pain of the Great Recession lingers, remaining a big obstacle to President Barack Obama’s hopes for re-election. Fewer than half of the 8.6 million jobs lost since the recession began have come back. The long-term unemployed are a permanent feature of the national landscape.

These figures are well known. But they deserve a closer examination now that Obama’s probable opponent, Mitt Romney, has emerged from the primaries and is preparing to ditch the right wing for something approximating the center. Despite a modest recovery, these years of hard times have left a legacy of fear that Obama must counter. Last week, I wrote of the efforts of Obama’s grass-roots workers. But their dedication may not be enough to overcome the weakness of the economy and Romney’s well-financed efforts to place the blame on the president.

The slowness of recovery was documented in the nonpartisan, liberally oriented Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ latest report on the economy, the Legacy of the Great Recession. Although the report credits the stimulus measures of the last days of the Bush administration and the beginning of Obama’s term with staving off the worst possible results, it points out the difficulty facing a president who needs to convince a shaken electorate of his successes.

“The economy still faces a long and difficult climb out of the jobs hole created by the recent recession,” the report said. “The private sector created, on average, about 162,000 jobs a month in the past 25 months—a pace somewhat faster than population growth. That has contributed to a decline in the unemployment rate, but much faster job growth will be needed to restore normal labor force participation.

“The jobs deficit from this recession is much larger than those in previous recessions. The economy would have to create an average of 215,000 jobs each month for the next two years just to return to the December 2007 level of employment—and even more to restore full employment, since the population and potential labor force are now larger. Economic growth will have to remain strong in the next few months to see a strong jobs recovery begin.”

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“It’s clear to every American that there will still be ups and downs along the way and that we’ve got a lot more work to do,” Obama said when the less-than-expected job increase figures came out Friday.

Polling information isn’t worth much at this early stage, but the Real Clear Politics website’s average of surveys shows Obama leading Romney 48.2 percent to 43.5 percent. More people approve of the president’s job performance—48 percent—than disapprove, 46.5 percent. In addition, unemployment is declining in some of the states Obama needs to win.

In Colorado, unemployment has dropped to 7.8 percent from a recession high of 8.6 percent. “The figures mean our recovery is on track,” economist Patricia Silverstein of Littleton, Colo.-based Development Research Partners told The Denver Post. In the key state of Ohio, unemployment, which peaked at more than 10 percent at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010, is now 7.7 percent.

But there’s one figure that should worry the Democrats. A total of 60 percent think the country is headed on the wrong track, compared with 33.7 percent who think it is going in the right direction. I think this, to a great extent, reflects pervasive fear over unemployment.

Romney and his budget-cutting ally, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, have offered little comfort. Their answer is cutting taxes, including a 25 percent reduction in corporate taxes along with a sharp reduction in spending in a category called non-defense discretionary spending. This includes, according to the Economic Policy Institute, spending for veterans, safety net programs such as housing vouchers, nutrition assistance for women and infants, and consumer and environmental protection. As Ezra Klein wrote in his Washington Post Wonkblog, “The cuts to Medicaid and other health programs for the poor are twice the size of those to Medicare. The cuts to education, to food stamps, to transportation infrastructure and to pretty much everything else besides defense are draconian. As for the tax reform component, it cuts taxes on millionaires by more than $250,000, but it doesn’t name a single loophole or tax break that Ryan and the Republicans would close.”

This is frightening stuff. But Romney’s image makers are remaking him. He’s losing the hard edges of his primary campaign. Thomas B. Edsall noted in The New York Times Campaign Stops blog that Romney, after winning the Wisconsin, District of Columbia and Maryland primaries, said: “And the most vulnerable have been hurt the most—over 30 percent of single moms are struggling in poverty.” This was a contrast to what he said on CNN in the heat of his primary fights: “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.” After saying this, he embraced the Ryan budget plan that would eviscerate the safety net.

Count on this: Romney, the corporate downsizer, will be put in storage until after the election, replaced by kindly, reasonable Uncle Mitt, surrounded by wife and sons. Let’s hope a nation traumatized by the Great Recession, seeing recovery proceeding far too slowly, doesn’t fall for his act.


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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, April 13, 2012 at 4:59 am Link to this comment

Yeah right Bill! Good luck with your search!

Report this

By - bill, April 13, 2012 at 1:42 am Link to this comment

I’m mostly out for accuracy, AG.  You should try it sometime:  while in some cases it may not promote the agenda you’d prefer it to, it still leaves one feeling kind of refreshed.

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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, April 12, 2012 at 11:43 pm Link to this comment

Of course he had a good relationship as long as they went along with the busting
of the private manufacturing shops that sold parts to Detroit’s Car Biz. Romney’s
are out for one thing - Self enrichment.!!! What are you out for Bill?

Report this

By - bill, April 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

Hmmm, Angel Gabriel - looks as if you’d be wiser to stick with your core competence, which clearly is not anything related to politics.

If “like father, like son” is indeed the case, Mitt Romney would be a far more progressive president than Obama has turned out to be.  His father was considerably more progressive than Richard Nixon, and despite Nixon’s severe personal flaws he was a significantly more progressive president than Obama has been.

George Romney had a good relationship with the United Auto Workers during his leadership of American Motors - sufficiently so that it helped get him elected Michigan’s governor when he left the auto industry.  He was a progressive governor (a strong supporter of the Civil Rights Movement, in fact - defying his church’s positions in this area), a progressive Republican candidate for president in 1968 (favoring withdrawal from Vietnam), a progressive HUD Secretary under Nixon, and a strong promoter of public service and volunteerism after leaving political life.

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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, April 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm Link to this comment

Uncle mitt’s Daddy was the Michigan Republican Governor that started the Rust
Belt era and put thousands of Michigan workers out of Job’s in order to asset
strip small Manufacturing Support Business’s around the Auto Industry. 40
years later the Michigan economy has never recovered. The plan at the time was
to consolidate all the small Part’s Manufacturing Shop’s into one big Eltitist
owned Company and increase the Imports from Japan to compete with the
American Automobile Manufacturer’s. Mitt’s Daddy was in collusion with the Oil
Cartels as well and allowed prices at the pump to jump from around .30cents a
gallon to over .75cents during the summer of ‘75. Can anybody say “Happy
Stockholder’s”??

Like Father like Son!  Uncle Mitt’s Bank account feels no pain! Take a drive down
I-94 from Detroit to Kalamazoo, or I-75 up to Saginaw and look at the
accomplishments for the Romney Family and their Buddies! Go ahead and make
this bloodsucker President American’s! Then you too can have Multiple Wives,
multiple Children and no responsibility to feed, clothe, or Educate any of em!

Report this
Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, April 12, 2012 at 1:14 pm Link to this comment

Romney is PNAC - light… READ the PNAC Doctrine you Nim-Rods! Then
research Bush & Cheney’s “Great Federal Land - Oil giveaway”.! In the last few
months of the Bush Administration Bush and Cheney summoned their Oil Cony
Pal’s to the White House to construct a plan that opened up ALL Federal Lands
to “Frack and Horizontal Drilling - cut the Royalties to the Government to 5%
and signed the Deal into Law as a parting gift to the Oil Companies.
Look at the Energy Boom’s going on Right Now in 11+ States - 95% are on
Federal Reserve Land, Reservation’s, National Park’s and Forests and previously
protected Fragile Environmental places owned by the Fed! Fracking using
Horizontal Drilling Technology now “Legally” allows the long contamination of
Ground Water (you know, the stuff you drink??, and the Nation’s Farmer’s count
on for Food production?) A Sleuth of “Secret” Chemical’s are pumped into
Sedimentary Rock (shale) and break apart the Earth’s Crust. Natural Gas is
extracted and the Chemicals stay in the ground and mix with the Water Table.
The Oil Company’s have NO liabilities to restore, or even protect the Water
Tables and Sub-Strata once they suck out the Oil & Gas.
Who supposedly owns “Federal Land”????? I once thought it was The Government
(We the People”) So now, the Oil Company’s can sell Options on Wall Street that
pay Royalty Checks to Private investor’s to fund their Frack Drilling and syphon
off 95% of the Production AND Destroy the Water Tables with no liability. The
Government (We the People) get 5% and no say Whatsoever about ANYTHING!
Uncle Mitt is in collusion with these Robber Baron’s! Carpe-Diem mentality!
Face it folks, you & your Kid’s are being had in ways you won’t even know
about until you wake up and drop dead from Contaminated Water that can’t be
cleaned!
At least Obama had the moral fortitude to nix the XL Pipeline deal and save the
Federal & Farmlands for another 4 years, or until Wall Street and the Oil
Company’s find a way around the Injunctions.
Uncle Mitt will hold the Farm Gate’s Open for the Rig’s and pave Wall Street with
Gold… So everyone who buy’s and option to Destroy your Water get’s a monthly
Dividend check for $100K +!  Good Luck with the Choice in November!

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Hollywood Russ's avatar

By Hollywood Russ, April 12, 2012 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

I think Obama is going to clean the floor with Romney. The Christian Right will
not line up behind a Mormon. More Independents are going to vote for Obama
because the GOP has painted itself as the party of extremism, the party of
obstruction. Their tactics in Congress clearly position them as the party of “No!”
No matter what Obama offers, even when its one of their ideas, they will
automatically oppose it. Their leaders swore that their number 1 objective was
to make Obama a one term president. Obama has positioned himself as a
moderate who is willing to compromise. That’s what the American people want.
“Moderate” is a dirty word in the Republican Party! Governors like Jan Brewer
have done little to enhance the image of the GOP. Obama will win by over 10%
and will be able to declare a mandate. The House will go over to the Dems and
the Senate will remain Democratic as well. Then we get another 4 years after
Obama. We’ll be able to make big changes on the Supreme Court, replacing
Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy. Go Democrats!

Report this

By grokker, April 12, 2012 at 6:17 am Link to this comment

Will all of you stupid, stubborn Americans who think voting D or R makes a single bit of difference finally admit your error when, two years into Romney’s presidency, all hell breaks loose on the streets of America?

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DonSchneider's avatar

By DonSchneider, April 12, 2012 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

Uncle Mitt (Willard Milton Romney)  feels nothing!
            I fear that even the act of stuffing his hand inside his trousers, he is the
kind of “man” that remains even then, without feeling ! America can no longer
afford its wealthy !

Report this

By GJS, April 12, 2012 at 5:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Until Politicians are held responsible & accountable for their decisions & moreso their proven lies NO-ONE in the west will ever get back to even half way decent representation. Anyone who does NOT recognise that is either self interested, blindly bigoted or have not known or experienced a Politician that was not in it for only what they could get out of it for themselves.
The entire Western World desperately needs to go back to basics with political reform & the ONLY way this will ever be achieved is to vote AGAINST the two major parties who between have led us to the most dangerous crossroads & scenario that mankind has thus far ever faced, we are nearing a perfect storm scenario on several fronts, people (voters) must start realising this if they want their kids or grandkids to simply have a place or environment to even exist let alone ANY type of quality, we have failed them shockingly.
Next time you vote THINK of alternatives instead of continuing a tradition that you probably don’t even remember how or why it started, Political parties are nothing like they used to be, they are totally out of touch with the people they are supposed to represent, most are more concerned about feathering their own nests & nearly all would lie to your face without the blink of an eye.
There are always alternatives so DON’T just waste your vote because you are sick to death of party politics, LOOK for unaligned independents & the smaller parties, they are usually there but lack the mega dollars to make you aware of them, they normally stand for something very passionately in the electorate or state or even country with little to no rewards for doing so. These are the types of people we DESPERATELY NEED to come back into Politics, people who know what it’s like to run a family or even a flat or unit, people who are in it because they indeed want to make a difference & improve life for everyone & not like it is now where you are judged by many for your bank book.
It is such a shame we have become so complacement & self doubting many of us just vote for the person with the glitziest campaign, tells the most lies & of course has the most money to run down any competition.
We have CAUSED this total mess by keeping on re-electing one of the two main parties who have both previously & continually let us down. The LEAST we can do is face the fact & rectify our own mess together with accepting any pain required to get us at least back on track, they will still be left with much of our debt but at least they might have a decent world to live in, we owe them that much don’t we ?
I thank you for reading.

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rbe4free's avatar

By rbe4free, April 12, 2012 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

Do you people actually believe that any of the options stated in the comments will truly address this issue, when you are not addressing the underlying cause.  The cause is our Fiat monetary driven, socio-economic system, until we get rid of it, nothing will change.  Want a real solution?  Check out The Venus Project, if you have questions see the FAQ page.

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Angel Gabriel's avatar

By Angel Gabriel, April 12, 2012 at 4:51 am Link to this comment

“10 years time when housing hits bottom, America will be a greatly changed
country….and not for the better.”
America in 10 years time?  10 years? What you see when you look around right
now is nothing compared to 10 more years of the continued middle former
working-class castration. 10 yrs more of this and the population of the US will
have shifted South to find job’s, or died of starvation and over exposure.

Report this
UreKismet's avatar

By UreKismet, April 12, 2012 at 2:59 am Link to this comment

I just can’t understand why amerikans, as opposed to the amerikan media, are bothering to pay any attention at all to the quadrennial farce that allegedly underpins the amerikan empire.
So a figurehead gets swapped every few years min 4 max 8. Nothing else changes.  Whatever hot air these creeps blow outta each end claiming what they intend doing, is irrelevant to whatever they actually do.
We know now that ya can’t push a rizla between them on whatever they actually do, so who cares?

At least the englanders make no bones about the fact that whoever it is that is their head of state won’t make a blind bit of difference to the decisions the posse of hostages to capitalism, that claims to be the englander government, actually makes.
They admit their head of state is just like the changing of its guard.  Lots of pomp, ceremony, and local colour which attracts the tourists but nothing to do with yer actual power.

The sooner amerikans acknowledge that reality; ticking a box, pulling a handle or pressing a button in a voting booth is an action completely divorced from the allocation of political power in amerika, the sooner it will be possible for amerikans to organise themselves to wrest the process back from the gang that took control of it immediately after the cessation of the last amerikan revolution.

A good first step would be to encourage more amerikans to ‘stay at home’ on election day.
It is hard at first to eschew the hot buttons, and dog whistles, but making oneself face the facts i.e. even on those issues the difference between the two halves is so minuscule as to be meaningless, certainly eases the withdrawal pangs.

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By - bill, April 12, 2012 at 1:24 am Link to this comment

Better that the nation should fall for Obama’s act, Bill?  Now that he’s back in election-mode he sure sounds like the candidate people THOUGHT they’d elected in 2008, but since that turned out to be an illusion they may be a little less swift to embrace his act this time around.

Two peas in the duopoly pod, our lustrous candidates.  The important question isn’t which corporate puppet we’ll elect but how we’ll go about getting the ‘end to business as usual’ and ‘change we can believe in’ we were promised 4 years ago.  If the U.S. Green party weren’t so abjectly disorganized they’d be a good alternative and Americans Elect’s unusual approach might conceivably amount to something, but as of now no clear solution seems even to be on the horizon.

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By Mary McCurnin, April 11, 2012 at 11:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama is 95% as bad as Romney. Does it really matter
who wins? What will be different?

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Queenie's avatar

By Queenie, April 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm Link to this comment

Who does he thing he is? Bush the Elder?

“Oh, looky, looky! I can pump gas from this hose thingy and scratch my balls at the same time! Will the marvels of technology never cease!”

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By bmeisen, April 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

Totally cheap foto op.

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By diamond, April 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm Link to this comment

The great recession lingers? Maybe it does. But Mitt Romney belongs to the party that caused the great recession and I would have thought that would be a bit of a problem for him too.

Report this

By Marian Griffith, April 11, 2012 at 11:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@prisnersdilemma
It does not even matter if there is recovery or not. Or if there is a great or small difference between Romney and Obama.

The track record of Romney, from his Bain Capital days is clear, as is his from his days as a politician. We already know that he will do and say anything to get elected. The few times he apparently expressed his honest opinion of something he turned out to be a rich spoiled man so far out of touch with the every day reality of the (vanishing) middle class that he could not grasp the fact that they do not have many cars and several homes, and for whom $250,000 is a small amount of money instead of 6 times the annual income of a working family. We could see he has difficulty empathising with others and views his priveleged position as the norm.
He is a politician so of course we can not trust anything he will say, but his stance on too many social issues was destructive to feel comfortable.

By contrast we could not tell much about Obama before he was elected, but these past almost four years have shown him to be a weird genetic cross between a turtle and a doormat. When under pressure he retreats into his shell and lets others walk over him.

With Obama as president nothing much will change. The economy will slowly crawl out of the pit that the bankers (and their political peons) have dug for it, unless of course something else goes wrong, like the eurozone collapsing which will do very nasty things indeed to the world’s economy. The usa will sort of kind of get out of afghasistan and might avoid tripping into another war in the region mainly because Obama is so hard to get to move by his corporate handlers. A liberal member of the supreme court might retire and be replaced by somebody who can almost pretend to be liberal at times. The country will continue its slide into irrelevance but it will do so at a leisurely place.

If Romney becomes the next president there is no telling what will happen, mainly because nobody knows anymore what Romney stands for. Besides for him being president of the usa that is.
He may turn out to be the Obama clone that you hold him for, leading to much the same outcome. Or perhaps he really is rabid right teaparty activist he pretended to be during the primaries. The one who expressed the sentiment that the only women’s right is the right to be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.
Or is he going to be the slash and burn conservative who supported the Ryan obliteration act (can’t bring myself to call it a budget).
Or is Romney the ‘I like to fire people’ Bain Capital CEO (sociopath) who does not care about people or the long term damage, and only about the short term profit?

Crying that the world is doomed and the sky may fall any time now is not productive either. Right now the system is corrupt and massively rigged to support and protect those who make billions of dollars out of it. This is nothing new. At the end of the 1800s the USA was in much the same state as it is today, even worse. The USA reinvented itself as it did several times before. It can do so again. In fact, the first stirrings of protest against 4 decades of greed are being heard. Not in the halls of power, for they have been thoroughly corrupted.

If the rules of the game are unfair you do not continue playing. You change the rules. It is time we all start doing just that.

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By gerard, April 11, 2012 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

It is stupid to expect different results from the same behavior.

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By tom, April 11, 2012 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

romney has so much wealth taht every 17 hours that pass romney recieves 44,000 dollars in interest Mr romney feels no pain economicaly nor does he give a damn about middle class or working poor people

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prisnersdilema's avatar

By prisnersdilema, April 11, 2012 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

I am sure this is one of just a series of pieces in the coming months, that will say in
essence Romney is Rich, so he can’t possibly care about what happens to the American
people, as opposed to Mr. Obama. This is just an attempt to try and create, some sort of
difference in peoples perceptions, when in fact both are the same.

In point of fact there is no recovery, it’s just as ephemeral as those green shoots that
vanished into oblivion, several months ago, along with the failure to prosecute will street,
the callous disregard to 11 million Americans with underwater mortgages, and billions of
dollars in national treasured wasted, because the on percenters want to steal the
resources of the world.

Once again… THERE IS NO FUCKING RECOVERY…....

Wall street going up, is not a recovery for main street , and in any event, the only reason
it has gone up at all is that the Fed has illegally held it up by it’s boot straps.

When the idiot in charge of the Fed said he wasn’t going to do that anymore the market
crashed…...the next day….

Those jobs aren’t coming back, NADA, never… the standard of living is falling… and in
10 years time when housing hits bottom, America will be a greatly changed
country….and not for the better.

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By Hank Van den Berg, April 11, 2012 at 6:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The “American public” is just as likely to fall for Uncle Mitt’s new manufactured image as it is to Obama’s new manufactured image of “fighter for the middle class.”  Both candidates’ images are based on smoke and mirrors, and the one with the thickest smoke and brightest mirrors will win the so-called election.  Of course, the special interests behind both of the candidates will be the real winners, which means we all lose.

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