Monday, July 16, 2012

Free Stuff

Mitt Romney is an accomplished flip-flopper.    But there are common strands through his rhetoric.    Later in the day after his speech to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People last week, the former governor remarked at a fund-raiser in Montana

I want people to know what I stand for and if I don't stand for what they want, go vote for someone else, that's just fine.   But I hope people understand this, your friends who like Obamacare, you remind them of this, if they want more stuff from government tell them to go vote for the other guy-more free stuff.

In a speech (transcript here) last month to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Romney contended

Everybody likes free stuff, but there is no free stuff when government has to the pay and it has to tax the American people or when it borrows from future generations. Obamacare is depressing job growth. If priority number one is jobs, you have to get Obamacare out of there.

The day after the NAACP speech and the fund-raiser, Steve Benen wrote

As someone who's read the transcript of nearly every Romney speech for a year, I should note in fairness that he's used the "free stuff" line before. But in this case, this realization isn't especially helpful to his defense.

A few months ago, for example, the GOP presidential hopeful responded to questions about contraception access by saying, "If you're looking for free stuff you don't have to pay for, vote for the other guy." Soon after, Romney complained that Obama is trying to buy students' political support by offering them "free stuff."

There is a pattern to this. If you're a woman who wants access to preventive care you might not otherwise be able to afford, Romney sees you as wanting "free stuff." If you're a young student who can't afford higher-ed tuition, Romney assumes you expect "free stuff."

And if you're an African American supporter of the NAACP who wants your family to have access to affordable health care, Romney suspects you're just looking for "free stuff."

We know the presumptive GOP presidential nominee doesn't want women interested in occasional sex, or poor people needing health care, or students trying to get an education to get "free stuff," or even access.    So Romney opposes free stuff.

No, not for everyone he doesn't.    Last week we learned from The Boston Globe

Romney has said he left Bain in 1999 to lead the winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, ending his role in the company. But public Securities and Exchange Commission documents filed later by Bain Capital state he remained the firm’s “sole stockholder, chairman of the board, chief executive officer, and president.”

Also, a Massachusetts financial disclosure form Romney filed in 2003 states that he still owned 100 percent of Bain Capital in 2002. And Romney’s state financial disclosure forms indicate he earned at least $100,000 as a Bain “executive” in 2001 and 2002, separate from investment earnings.

Mitt Romney says he left Bain in 1999 and has tried to leave the impression he had nothing to do with the company after that.   It didn't stop him, however, from pocketing $100,000.  (That is the gross figure; but given Romney's refusal to release tax returns, you're forgiven for suspecting it was darn close to $100,000 net.)    That's not chump change, but awfully good pay  for doing nothing.   It might even be considered "free stuff."

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