In spite of Romney’s claims that a businessman can fix what’s broken, his record in one term as Governor of Massachusetts tells another story. In one term, he managed to explode the debt per capita and decimate job growth, in addition to raising taxes and fees on everyone but the wealthiest residents.
Yet in Romney’s new ad, his campaign claims “Some can’t live up to their promises. Others find a way.” The narrator says that a four-year term is “all Mitt Romney needed. He turned Massachusetts around, cut unemployment, turned the deficit he inherited into a rainy day fund, all with an 85% Democratic legislature.”
Kudos to the Romney camp for finally managing the adjective “Democratic” instead of “Democrat” (that intentional misuse of the English language is an old and deliberate Republican trick intended to deny Democrats being associated with “democratic”.)
Obama for America spokeswoman Lis Smith released the following statement on Mitt Romney’s new ad:
“If his latest ad is any indication, Mitt Romney’s Romnesia is only getting worse. But he is right on one point- he only needed four years as governor of Massachusetts. That’s because in just one term, Romney drove the state down to 47th out of 50th in job creation, increased per capita debt to the largest in the nation, left his successor a $1 billion deficit, and pushed through a tax cut that overwhelmingly benefited 278 of the wealthiest residents while raising taxes and fees on everyone else. And he did all of this while refusing to work across the aisle. Mitt Romney wouldn’t make Washington better- he’d make it worse.”
In one term, Romney did manage to decimate job growth. “Unlike Obama, Romney took office during an economic uptick. Massachusetts had a net job growth of 1.4 percent under Romney. However, that was far slower growth than the national average of 5.3%. As Romney’s opponents have frequently, and correctly, noted, Massachusetts ranked 47th in job growth over the entirety of Romney’s term. The only states that did worse: Louisiana, Michigan and Ohio.” [Fact Check, USA Today, 1/5/12]
Romney and Republicans like to paint their party as the party of low spending, but George W Bush’s term of drunken spending that was not paid for tells the real story. Romney has a similar record in Massachusetts, where “State Spending Rose By 22% On Romney’s Watch, Nearly Double The Rate Of Inflation.” [Los Angeles Times, 6/9/12]
Romney left a billion dollar deficit in his wake, even though he claims otherwise in public. From an op-ed by Peter Gelzinis: “In off-the-record comments to reporters, those leftover Romney aides conceded that the state’s finances were in much rougher shape than their boss with Potomac fever had admitted to. Even as Mitt’s mouthpiece, Eric Fehrnstrom, scrambled to get out of Dodge a year ago, he declined to offer an on-the-record explanation for the huge discrepancy between what Mitt and his people were claiming in public and what they were privately telling their successors in Deval Patrick’s administration.” [Boston Herald, op-ed, 2/1/08]
The debt per capital did increase under Romney, to such an extent that Massachusetts topped U.S. as debtor state. [The Republican, 2/3/07] The Tax Foundation listed their debt as first in the nation, and per capita as $10,546 at the end of fiscal year 2007. (Alaska was second.)
So unconcerned was Romney with the debt that he found a way to reimburse the wealthiest in his state for capital gains they had paid 3 years previously. “Gov. Mitt Romney proposed on Friday that Massachusetts residents forced to pay retroactive capital gains taxes from 2002 get the money back in rebates over three years… The Department of Revenue has already begun mailing out the new tax bills. About $78 million of that is owed by just 278 wealthy people, who would pay an average of $281,000 each.” [Associated Press, 11/18/05]
According to a Mitt Romney press release, “The state is required to refund between $225 million and $275 million to the estimated 157,000 taxpayers who paid the higher capital gains tax rate in the last eight months of 2002.” Press Release, Mitt Romney, 12/8/05]
There’s always money in the till to reimburse the folks like Romney — those who aren’t “victims” and shouldn’t have to pay their fair share. It doesn’t matter how much it balloons the deficit, so long as entitlements for the rich are in place.
You know how Romney is always saying that he won’t raise taxes (when he’s not saying that he will), and then he launches into loopholes and deductions but fails to be specific? In spite of his claims that he didn’t raise taxes in Massachusetts, he did in fact raise taxes in Massachusetts through fees and loophole closures, and he raised fees more than any other state in the nation:
“The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation Estimated That The Former Governor Raised An Extra $750 Million Per Year Through Fees And Loophole Closures.” [Washington Post, Fact Checker, 6/12/12]
Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation also found that Romney’s fees hit just like a tax, and hit less fairly than a regular tax would. That sounds like our venture capitalist, harvesting the middle class to give tax cuts to the rich – which is exactly what he did in Massachusetts by cutting the capital gains tax and reimbursing the wealthiest for previous years while hitting the middle class and poor with fees and closed loopholes.
History does not confirm Romney’s claims that a businessman can do a better job in the White House, but even if it did, Romney’s own record speaks for itself. Furthermore, Romney’s experience as a businessman was not that of someone who grew a business or created jobs, but rather someone who harvested existing companies for revenue for his investors.
It only took Romney one term to leave Massachusetts in such bitter dismay that his disapproval ratings were exceptionally high. In one term, Romney built more debt, less job growth, and higher taxes on everyone but the rich. If his record is anything to go on, had Romney been at the wheel in the last four years we would not be in an economic recovery — we would be knee deep in Bushian fiscal failure for all but the wealthiest Americans.