The Romney campaign has given general statements concerning principles and policies they wish to implement. Unfortunately, these statements have consisted primarily of talking points devoid of specifics or definitive stances. They want to be given the White House before they give America the details. Like an online article that lets viewers read the first line of the story before making them pay to read the rest, they want 50 cents first. Romney’s fluctuation on social issues has been well-documented. He has regularly tailored his views on abortion to put him at a political advantage, and it’s doubtful that even he knows his current position on gay rights. But his campaign has pushed his social record aside, in an attempt to focus on this election’s seminal issue: the economy.
The republican ticket has criticized President Barack Obama for wasteful spending and deepening the country’s $16 trillion hole. So it would stand to reason, in an election as significant as this, that the Romney camp would be clear in articulating how they would reduce that debt and get America on solid ground. That hasn’t been the case.
Romney has insisted he will not make cuts to Medicare and Social Security for those already on the programs or nearing eligibility, presumably leaving spending at current levels.
On health care, Romney has vowed to repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act, claiming that it will save $90 billion over the next four years. His answer is a voucher system that seeks to prolong staples of Obamacare like coverage of the uninsured and those with pre-existing conditions, but is somehow supposed to cost considerably less.
Most importantly, a Romney presidency means a heightened fiscal commitment to our military. His budget calls for a $2 trillion increase on defense over the next decade. This covers the cost of training more troops and building more ships than the Pentagon even wants. Based on his own math, Romney would need to repeal 22 Affordable Care Acts in order to offset this military subsidy.
And all of this will come at no expense to the American people, Romney says. He has promised to slash taxes by 20 percent “across the board.” In order to compensate for the drop in government revenue, Romney has indicated he will close corporate tax loopholes, though he has failed to list any by name.
So according to Romney’s platform of self-proclaimed frugality and fiscal responsibility, Americans will retain all the benefits they’re currently enjoying, with a major spike in defense spending; and taxes and the national debt will somehow go down. In other words, we will get much more for much less.
His campaign asserts that the math adds up, but when pressed for details, they tell voters to wait until the election is over. If Romney truly had an ingenious solution to our financial woes, one would think he would be eager to release the specifics. How can a man running on the strength of his business career be so reluctant to divulge details of his economic plan?
It has become customary for politicians, our current president included, to be intentionally vague about some positions they hold. But Romney seems to have made ambiguity and minimum disclosure his platform. Romney hopes for this race to be a referendum on the last four years, and that is understandable. But he is taking for granted the American people if he believes he should be elected simply because his name is not Barack Obama.
It is not Romney’s ideology or policy preferences that should be unsettling to voters. It’s his lack of details concerning those policies and his apparent sense of entitlement to the presidency. Nobody knows if Romney would handle the job more or less effectively than Obama. But at least the current president has told us his story. He has given voters something definitive and tangible from which they can judge him.
Americans shouldn’t have to pay Romney their support, their 50 cents, in order to receive the rest of his story. They may not like how it ends.
BY KYLE FARRIS firstname.lastname@example.org