July 2012

TROUBLE WITH THE HELP

Having flubbed his way through England and Israel, Romney set his sights on Poland. This time it was not Romney but an aide that provided the sound bite.

Romney hasn’t talked to the press on his foreign ‘getting to know you’ jaunt. So the press has taken to yelling questions at him – which he ignores. So far, par for the campaign course – the President, as well, has ignored his fair share of shouted questions.

But it was all too much for Richard Gorka, Romney’s travelling press secretary. During an event at the ‘Tomb of the Unknown Soldier” Gorka thought that the press wasn’t behaving appropriately. As they shouted questions at Romney, Gorka told them to “show some respect”.

When reporters protested that Romney had answered a total of three questions on the trip, he followed that up with “kiss my ass”, and brought it home with “shove it”. Way to show respect Richard.

This isn’t the first time that Romney aides have made the headlines. Romney’s ex-foreign policy spokesman resigned after two weeks on the job. A prolific tweeter, he had made misogynistic comments about prominent Democratic women. That was OK. What forced his resignation was his support, as a gay man, for gay marriage.

In 2007 Romney’s then director of campaign operations resigned after accusations that he impersonated a police officer and handed out fake badges to the staff allowing them to cut lines and dodge tolls.

I can’t really blame Romney – it is hard to keep everyone on message during long campaigns – but you can bet that if an Obama staffer said something out of line he would be whining about it.

ROMNEY AND THE ECONOMIES OF ISRAEL AND POLAND

Romney congratulated the Israelis on the “vitality” of their economy. In Poland he lauded the Polish economy. Its too bad that there aren’t more bright spots like them.

So here’s a few facts about those vibrant economies. In Israel the top individual tax rate is 48% (US 35%), social security tax rate is (employer and employee contribution combined) 17.43% (US 10.4%), corporate taxes are 25% (US 35%) and capital gains 25% (US 15%). In addition Israel has a VAT (essentially a sales tax) of 16%. Sales tax in the US varies from 0% to Tennessee’s average of 9.2%.

In Poland the top income and capital gains rate tax rate is 32%, corporate taxes are 19%, social security taxes are 32.23% and VAT is 22%.

The point is, that the two economies that Romney singled out for praise, bear a significantly higher tax burden than we do – and both countries have less income inequality.

Actually Romney is both right and wrong about Poland. They do have a relative strong growth in GDP, but the unemployment rate is 12.4%. Where is the money going, if not to create jobs?

MITT ROMNEY AND ISRAELI HEALTHCARE

Romney said of healthcare in Israel: “Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? 8 percent. You spend 8 percent of GDP on health care. And you’re a pretty healthy nation. We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care.”

What he didn’t mention is that healthcare in Israel is universal because they have the individual mandate – and citizens chose from four non-profit plans.

Well Mitt – want to try that in the US?

MITT ROMNEY AND THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH POLAND

In Poland, Romney gave a speech celebrating the historical links between the Poles and the US, saying in part:

“On behalf of our countrymen, I express deep appreciation for your willingness to fight with us, to stand with us, and to be our friends in times of crisis and military conflict”.

So Romney is praising the Poles for something he chose not to do – fight for America – as he sat out the Vietnam War trying to convert the French to Mormonism. (I wonder how he did – after all they would have had to quit drinking wine – and smoking)

 

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