Thursday Reads

Good Morning!! I’ve got a potpourri of interesting links for you today, so I’ll get right to it.

Yesterday Mitt Romney gave an interview to Mark {Gag!} Halperin of Time. Halperin asked the putative Republican nominee to say specifically what the unemployment rate would be after his first year as POTUS. You may recall that not long ago, Romney stated that unemployment should be below 4 percent and that anything higher than that is unacceptable. But now he’s singing a different tune.

Romney: I can’t possibly predict precisely what the unemployment rate will be at the end of one year. I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we’d put in place, we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6%, and perhaps a little lower. It depends in part upon the rate of growth of the globe, as well as what we’re seeing here in the United States, but we’d get the rate down quite substantially, and frankly, the key is we’re going to show such job growth that there will be competition for employees again. And wages – we’ll see the end of this decline we’re having. The median income in America is down 10% in just the last four years. That’s got to stop. We’ve got to start seeing rising wages and job growth.

Romney gave no specifics about how he would achieve this with the policies he has been promoting–cutting taxes on the rich, raising them on people with lower incomes, and cutting everything except defense spending, which he would increase substantially. Halperin did ask for more specifics, but Romney just babbled a bunch of nonsense:

Halperin: One more question generally about jobs. For people out there, for voters who want to know what you’re about in terms of job creation, is there some new idea, some original idea, that hasn’t been part of the debate in American politics before, that you have that you think would lead to a lot of new jobs?

Romney: Well the wonderful thing about the economy is that there’s not just one element that somehow makes the whole economy turn around, or everybody in the world would have figured that out and said there’s just one little thing we have to do – you know, Greece is settled, and France and Italy are all back and well again. No, it’s a whole series of things. It’s a system of factors that come together to make an economy work. What is it that makes America’s economy the strongest in the world, the most robust, over a century? It’s a whole series of things – everything from our financial service sector, to the cost of our inputs, our natural resources, to the productivity of our workforce, to our labor and management rules and how they work together, to our appreciation for fair trade and free trade around the world, and negotiating trade arrangements that are favorable to us. It is a whole passel of elements that come together to create a strong economy, and for someone who spent their life in the economy, they understand how that works. And it’s very clear, by virtue of the President’s record, that he does not, and he is struggling. Look at him right now. He just doesn’t have a clue what to do to get this economy going. I do. I laid out a 59-step plan that encompasses a whole series of efforts that will together get this economy going and put people back to work.

But from what I could make out in wading through all the blather, it really comes down to the confidence that will wash through all of us once we know that Mr. Fixit, Willard Mitt Romney is going to save us.

Romney: Well actually if I’m lucky enough to be elected the consumers and the small-business people in this country will realize that they have a friend in the White House, who is actively going to encourage economic growth, and there will be a resurgence in confidence in this country and a willingness to take risks, to invest, to add employees. I think it will be very positive news to the American economy. Will I be able to get done between January 1 and January 20 the things that I’d like to do? Of course not, I’m not in office. But I believe that we will be able to have a grace period, which allows us to tackle these issues one by one and put in place a structure, which is very much designed to get America working again.

Romney also gave a speech about education policy in which he proposed to further privatize America’s education system:

Mitt Romney proposed a series of steps to overhaul the public education system, reigniting the debate over school choice as his campaign intensifies its effort to introduce the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to a general-election audience.

The education plan, detailed in a speech today in Washington, would create a voucher-like system to give low- income and disabled students federal funds to attend charter schools, private institutions and public schools outside their district.

“I don’t like the direction of American education, and as president, I will do everything in my power to get education on track for the kids of this great land,” Romney told a gathering of Latino business owners at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

No new ideas there. To be perfectly honest, I strongly doubt that Romney knows the first thing about American public schools. But let me refer you to an expert on Willard’s past history in dealing with public education, the one and only Charles P. Pierce. Pierce writes about what Romney did to the public education system of Massachusetts during his one term as Governor:
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