Horserace snapshot since August 1, 2012
If you missed yesterday's battleground snapshot from kos, make sure to read it here.
The New York Times editorial board looks at Romney's personality, his inability to gain traction in this race, and his campaign of contempt:
Asked about the government’s responsibility to the 50 million Americans without health insurance, Mr. Romney said they already have access to health care: in emergency rooms. That, of course, is the most expensive and least effective way of providing care, as someone who once advocated universal care has reason to know. But it also reeks of contempt for those left behind by the current insurance system, suggesting that they must suffer with illness until the point where they need an ambulance.
Mr. Romney is free to pursue this shallow, cavalier campaign for six more weeks, but he shouldn’t be surprised if voters increasingly choose not to pay attention.
Meanwhile, the fallout from Mitt Romney's interview with CBS's Scott Pelley continues, as analysts savage his response on his tax plans. To recap, Romney said that it was "fair" that the mega-rich pay less of a tax rate than working class Americans. On top of that, Romney dodged all questions on just how he would pay for those tax cuts for the rich. Up first, The Washington Post editorial board:
NOW WE GET IT: Mitt Romney’s refusal to specify what tax breaks he proposes eliminating is not a matter of dangling tantalizing goodies in front of voters now, before the election, and postponing the painful part until later. No, Mr. Romney’s dodging is, he claimed in an interview broadcast Sunday, an example of his strong leadership skills. [...] This is leading by ducking. Mr. Romney is right that the American people do not benefit from intransigent, my-way-or-the-highway governing. But his answer ignores the difference between maintaining flexibility and hiding your cards from the people whose votes you seek. If leadership means never having to get specific, why then does Mr. Romney identify a particular number — 20 percent — for the amount he wants to cut rates? The answer is obvious: voter appeal.Jonathan Bernstein:
The interview serves as another reminder that Romney’s insistence on certain specifics — tax rates, for instance, and several specific tax treatments he insists on protecting against reform — mean that his other “principles” of revenue-neutrality and keeping middle-income taxpayers from tax increases just don’t add up, as the Tax Policy Center told us.Joe Nocera at The New York Times:
Unfortunately, CBS’s Pelley didn’t follow up with a question on why some details are apparently perfectly fine while others would be the dreaded “Washington” way of doing things. Nor did he follow up on the mathematical impossibility of Romney’s tax policies. As bad as it is for Romney to still be peddling this stuff six weeks after the TPC made it clear that his math doesn’t work, it’s even worse for a network correspondent to not be prepared to challenge him on it.
Thirty years ago, when Forbes published its first Forbes 400, a net worth of $75 million would get you on the list. Today it takes $1.1 billion. In the last year alone, the cumulative net worth of the wealthiest 400 people, by Forbes’s calculation, rose by $200 billion. That compares with a 4 percent drop in median household income last year, according to the Census Bureau. One would be hard pressed to find a clearer example of how powerfully income inequality has taken root.
Like Romney, Forbes magazine is a little defensive about this — and, like Romney, Forbes has adopted a self-justifying narrative. Luisa Kroll, one of the magazine’s “wealth editors,” nods toward “concerns” about income inequality in her introduction to the list, but she goes on to write that “a deeper analysis instills confidence that the American dream is still very much alive.” In fact, it does nothing of the sort.
The fundamental reason the Romneys pay so little in taxes is that the bulk of their income comes from investments and thus is taxed at the capital gains rate of 15 percent. Although Romney himself isn’t close to being rich enough to join the Forbes 400, his reliance on capital gains is a trait he shares with most of the ultrawealthy. It is the thread that ties together the Forbes 400
Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post writes about the "crime against democracy" -- trying to prevent people from exercising their right to vote:
Not coincidentally, this voter ID campaign has been particularly intense in swing states such as Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Invariably, advocates cloak the restrictive new measures in pious-sounding rhetoric about “the integrity of the voting process.” This sounds uncontroversial — who’s against integrity? — until you weigh the laws’ unconscionable costs against their undetectable benefits.
“But you need an ID to do a lot of things, like board a plane,” advocates say. Unlike commercial air travel, however, voting is a constitutionally protected right. To infringe or abridge that right — for no demonstrable reason — should be considered a crime against democracy.
Justin Sink at The Hill reports on what should be the major news of the item of the day. Paul Ryan basically admitted that Mitt Romney uses tax shelters to lower his tax rate:
Rep. Paul Ryan said Monday that running mate Mitt Romney would pay more than he does currently under tax reform proposed by the Republican presidential candidate.
The Wisconsin lawmaker was asked during an interview with Fox Business Network whether Romney would pay more under his tax system.
"Yes, starting with people in the top tax bracket," Ryan replied. "Here's how it works. Higher income people can use lots of tax shelters to shelter some of their income from taxation. Close those tax shelters, more of their income is subject to taxation. That allows us to lower tax rates for everybody."