Math v. Vitriol

With Wisconsin lost, all that is left for the Left to do is mewl and spit vitriol.
This is the perfect time for Conservatives to take the high ground, and win the day with calm, common sense, and actual honest-to-God numbers.

As Matt Welch argues over at Reason, "No amount of crying over evil Scott Walker will help governments fix their bleeding balance sheets."

Get Serious About Governing, Democrats
  [...]   Wisconsin has been the front line of America's Democrat vs. Republican, blue vs. red rhetorical war for 16 months now, ever since newly elected Republican governor Scott Walker pushed through a budget repair bill that withdrew government from the union dues-collecting business for public employees and removed the collective bargaining power of most government unions, an act that triggered historic public protests. So on the morning after Walker survived a labor-led recall election by a higher margin than he originally won office in 2010, there were plenty on the left grumbling darkly about the Dark Lord rising over our once-free country. 
At The American Prospect, Harold Meyerson compared Walker's actions to a "jihad" and suggested (paradoxically) that a post-union labor movement might just resort to rioting. Walker "wins one for the plutocrats," Joan Walsh lamented at Salon, without really explaining how the monocle-wearers could win 38 percent of the union vote. 
Such demonization was of a piece with leftish commentary in the run-up to the recall. Esquire's Charles P. Pierce described Walker as a "goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage its midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin," which would now be subject to "the habits of oligarchy." Even more grossly, The Nation's Katrina vanden Heuvel wrote in The Washington Post that Walker's policies were intended to "cleanse the electorate of people who don’t look, earn or think like him."    
So, progressives: What is the right percentage of a government budget to be spent on public sector pensions? If this requires that cities and states simply need to come up with bigger budgets (through increased taxes) precisely how much bigger would be appropriate? If you don't want to increase overall budgets, what other government services are you willing to cut?    
As long as Democrats keep dodging these questions, no amount of plutocrat-baiting will reverse their political fortunes. Governments at all levels are out of money. Progressives are going to have to come up with a better response to that than saying "we were robbed."


Dear Brett Kimberlin...

I won't be moving to an undisclosed location....

(No slight intended to the esteemed Robert Stacy McCain, who obviously felt the actual threat required such action.  I just saw the picture in my blog history, and the idea popped into my head...)


Mitt Romney on Taxes and California

#hhrs #tcot   
From Jim Geraghty:

On California governor Jerry Browns call for a referendum in November on his proposal for an $8.5 billion tax hike:
“I think you are seeing the result of a series of actions in California, actions that have led to public-sector unions’ having benefits and wages out of line with those in the private sector. There’s an unwillingness to deal with fiscal problems before they reach near-crisis level. And the high rate of taxes in California is causing businesses to leave California.

“I hope that doesn’t accelerate, but as the governor continues to raise taxes on the most successful, the most successful will leave. Others will decide to not open their doors because the risk will be too great that even if they’re successful, the government will end up taking what they earn. The governor is taking them in the wrong direction. I wish Californians had elected Meg Whitman. She would have been more successful and explained to Californians the need to cut back on spending and eliminate unnecessary programs. There are other states that have very different records. I think it’s interesting that the state with the highest or among the highest tax rates in the nation also has the worst or near the worst deficit.

“You can’t tax your way out of debt or a deficit. You simply have to rein in the size of the government, because the government will simply ask for more and more and more, until the taxpayers finally say ‘enough.’”

Mitt Romney on Greece

#hhrs #tcot   
From Jim Geraghty:

On whether Greece should leave the euro, and whether the euro was a mistake from the beginning: 
“I think the euro is under the stress that many had predicted. Cobbling together in one currency nations with such different fiscal policies and such different levels of productivity was bound to cause strains that, if not addressed, could imperil the other nations and the currency itself. The fact that Greece has found it difficult to live up to the commitments it made coming into the euro — that has made those stresses even greater. And now you have an extremely threatening setting that has the entire world holding its breath. We’re all concerned about what might happen to Greece and the people there if aggressive action is not taken to restore its fiscal balance and allow it to grow again and start participating fully in the world economy. I can’t predict precisely what will happen. That will depend upon the people of that nation, the leaders of that nation, and the leaders of countries like France and Germany. They may decide that it’s in their interest to try to cover for the shortfalls of another nation, but that is yet to be seen.”

Mitt Romney on Bain Capital & Private Equity

#hhrs #tcot   
From Jim Geraghty:

On the fact that one of his successors at Bain Capital, Jonathan Lavine, is a top Obama bundler:
“I have no problem with people who have differing political sentiments participating in the political process. I can say I know that the Obama campaign misfired with this attack. The GS Steel Enterprises events that are in question occurred after I left the firm, so that obviously is not a very effective attack. Although the whole idea that we’re going to attack people in private equity — who make over 100 investments to get results in any one investment — is a very strange course for the president to take. I realize, however, that the president wants to do anything he can to deflect attention from his record, and he will persist in personal attacks.”

On how a firm like Bain can make money while the companies it manages, such as GST or Dade Bering, can fail:

“With very few exceptions, the times you are successful in an investment are when the enterprise itself becomes larger and more successful. That is how our firm and other firms were able to achieve such success. There are a few exceptions where an enterprise is doing well, and realizing dividends from its success, but then it encounters a reversal in circumstances, and it no longer does well. . . . That tends to be rare. The people in my firm, in every investment we made, we wanted to make the business more successful. The cartoon caricature of investors coming in, taking all the money out of a business and leaving it bankrupt is, of course, absurd. The only way you make money in the industry that I’m familiar with is by making the business more successful, more profitable, not by making it less so.”

Mitt Romney on Patriotic Debt

#hhrs #tcot   
From Jim Geraghty:

During the campaign of 2008, Obama said that running up $4 trillion in debt was “unpatriotic.” On whether he would use the same term to describe Obamas running up $5 trillion:
“I’ll call it inexcusable and disappointing that a president who was so critical of his predecessor for roughly $400 billion to $500 billion annual deficits is now running trillion-dollar deficits and has not apologized for them. When a president says that he pledges to cut this deficit in half by the end of his first term, and he’s doubled it instead — that shows he is on the wrong track. I try to avoid highly incendiary language, but this is something that puts our country very much at risk.”

Mitt Romney on Restoring our AAA Credit Rating

#hhrs #tcot   
From Jim Geraghty:
On restoring America’s AAA credit rating, and how long that would take:

“I believe that if we show we have tackled our long-term unfunded liabilities, which are primarily Social Security and Medicare, and if we have killed certain federal programs, and if we’re on track to have a balanced budget in about eight years or so, at that point rating agencies will recognize that our credit rating is solid.

“ . . . Right now, the challenge from having been downgraded is not as apparent [as it might be] to the American people because the world is frightened of the euro, and so people are bringing their cash to the United States. That is holding down interest rates here. In addition, the Federal Reserve is purchasing our treasuries and holding down interest rates here. But at some point these features will come to an end, and if we are not on track to having a superior credit rating, we will start paying the costs of higher interest.”


Mitt Romney on the National Debt

Mitt Romney on getting Americans to focus on the difficult, sometimes abstract issues of the deficit and accumulating national debt:
“I think it helps to translate the federal-debt and unfunded-liability numbers into personal numbers. The total amount of accumulated debt and unfunded liabilities is approximately $520,000 per American household. What that means is that each household will be paying the interest on the debt and paying the principal on the unfunded liabilities over the coming decade or two. It means that our kids will get saddled with that $520,000 — which of course will become a good deal larger over the next four or five years if the president is reelected.

“That number says that as interest rates go up, as they undoubtedly will down the road, people will get burdened with a tax figure that makes it harder for them to start their lives out, get homes, and build a future for themselves. It really kills the American Dream to be burdened with that kind of a figure from the beginning of your life. And so I think that’s the most effective way I can talk about the personal impact, long term, of this debt and unfunded-liability burden.

“There is also a recognition in this country that what Greece and Italy and Spain are facing could conceivably be brought home to us. The recognition that you reach a point where the world decides that your obligations are perhaps not going to be met, or that they will be inflated away — in which case people will ask for higher interest rates, and you’ll find yourself in a doom loop.”