Remember Gene Cranick from South Fulton, Tennessee? Maybe this will refresh your memory. There is a 30-second commercial you have to wade through, but it will be worth it. Besides, it's Olbermann on "Countdown"
Here is Mitt Romney's opinion about firefighters
We don't need more firefighters, he says. Well, at least not public sector firefighters. However, if there were a fee to cover it....
He did a lot of this as Governor of Massachusetts.
Mike Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, tells NPR that Romney raised state revenues more than he cut them. Widmer says most of those 19 tax cuts Romney talks about were pretty modest. Some were weekend sales tax holidays.A fee by any another name is a tax. In this case, it disproportionally hits the middle-class (like Mr. Cranick) and the poor much more than the rich because fees are a set rate not a percentage of what you make like the income tax. In hard times, people will resort to cutting out these fees like Mr. Cranick did in the waning days of the Great Recession.
"He raised corporate taxes. He also raised fees very dramatically in his first year," said Widmer.
Widmer's foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that attempts to truth-squad policies that cost taxpayers money. He remembers eight years ago when Romney came into office facing a huge budget deficit.
"He put together a plan which included major spending cuts and significant tax and fee increases, which is the only thing he or any other governor could have really done," said Widmer. "I mean, there's no magic here."
Widmer says Romney didn't raise the state income tax. Instead he raised state fees.
He probably had to do something ridiculous like fix his car or buy some groceries or something.
When someone tells you that Romney is going to cut your taxes, tell them "You're right. Then he is going to replace them with fees."
We need to remind everyone about Gene Cranick. I don't know how he is doing now. I hope he is well. My fear is that he might not be. The Cranick family did have insurance on the house itself, but they said it wasn't enough to cover the loss of the house and all its possessions, including a 150-year old bedroom set. Besides, think about what you would lose if you lost your house in a fire. A lot of those things are irreplaceable, and, even though the house is gone, you will still have to pay what is left of the mortgage. That does not go away.
If the Republicans win in 2012, his future could very well be ours.