Mitt's attack on HUD -- which his father once led -- reveals how far right the GOP has drifted
We’re going to be seeing a lot of this for the next seven months: Mitt Romney is “overheard” by reporters explaining new details of his economic plan and a million bloggers immediately pull out their calculators and scream “argh!”
Specifically, Romney suggested that he would be able to pay for his planned 20 percent tax cut for everyone by eliminating the mortgage tax deduction for second homes as well as deductions for state and property taxes. Matthew Yglesias, Kevin Drum and James Kwak all quickly pointed out how the numbers don’t add up. Romney’s tax cut proposals still cut far more revenue than his targeted tax code tweaks add to the ledger. That means that under Romney, without extraordinary, economy-killing government spending cuts, the U.S. federal deficit would balloon even faster than it is now.
The most systematic demolition of Romney’s arithmetic comes courtesy of the Atlantic’s Matthew O’Brien, who also points out that even though the plan won’t work, it still might be considered good politics.
So far, Romney has only shown a willingness to upset a small group: rich people in blue states. After all, state income and property taxes are generally higher in Democratic states than in Republican ones. Ditching the deductibility of these taxes will mostly hurt a minority of voters in states Romney isn’t going to win anyway. The politics of it are genius. The economics, not so much.
Again, we’re going to be seeing a lot more of this between now and November. But a much more revealing insight into the potential nature of a Mitt Romney presidency came in his offhand comment at the same fundraising event that he might “eliminate” some Washington departments.
“Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later.”
There is a case to be made for chopping up HUD, most smartly made here by Josh Barro. But Romney’s passing mention of the fact that his father was once secretary of HUD deserves more scrutiny.
HUD was created in 1965 as part of the Great Society program pushed through by Lyndon Johnson. A core part of its mandate, as specified by the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, was to address discrimination in housing markets. George Romney, appointed secretary of HUD by Richard Nixon in 1969, took to the job of executing that mandate with great vim and vigor, much to the dismay of the president.
From the context of contemporary Republican concerns, George Romney’s perspective on the problems caused by segregation — specifically, the emergence of affluent white suburbs surrounding poor and heavily minority urban cores — is eye-opening.
In a speech delivered in January 1970, Romney declared his fervent support for government subsidized housing for poor and minority Americans:
“The most explosive threat to our nation is the confrontation between the poor and the minority groups who are concentrated in the central cities, and the middle income and affluent who live in the surrounding and separate communities. This confrontation is divisive. It is explosive. It must be resolved.”
Romney set about using all the powers of government to achieve surburban integration. Majority white communities that wanted government grants for civic improvements such as new sewer construction were forced to allow the construction of subsidized low-income housing.
“Romney is remembered not only for his enforcement of the Fair Housing Act, but also for his innovative plans to racially and economically integrate the suburbs … What was needed then, according to Romney, was equality of results as well as equality of opportunity. The secretary assumed that federal policy should seek to ensure that actual economic and racial integration take place in the suburbs. The time was right to open the suburbs to all, build racially balanced new communities, and make the cities more pleasant places to reside.”
The emphasis is mine: equality of results! The phrase jumps out, because it is part of Mitt Romney’s core critique of Barack Obama. As Romney declared in a speech in December, Obama’s vision of an entitlement society is an expression of his belief “that government should create equal outcomes … that everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others.”
Mitt Romney understands what Richard Nixon did: Rich people don’t like their wealth being redistributed to the poor. George Romney’s efforts caused considered resentment in the white suburbs that he was attempting to integrate and Nixon ended up quashing the Romney agenda. But whatever one thinks of the merits of the elder Romney’s plan, one thing seems clear: Sigmund Freud would have a field day with Romney’s rejection of the progressive Republicanism of his father and projection of it onto Barack Obama. The father believed in using government’s power to directly achieve economic integration, while the son’s primary economic agenda is to reduce the tax burden on the wealthy and corporations. The father saw housing policy as a way to reduce racial division. The son wants to get rid of the government department that his father tried to use to achieve that goal.
More Related Stories
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11