Mitt Romney Will Not Be Providing a Detailed Economic Plan Anytime Soon, Thankyouverymuch

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The Washington Post reports that Mitt Romney is tired of being derailed and is determined to refocus his campaign on the economy. He’s going to create 12 million jobs during his first term, and here’s his detailed 5-point plan to do it:

  • Drill, baby, drill
  • Bash China
  • Fix our schools
  • Cut spending
  • Cut taxes and regulations

Am I being unfair? Not really. If you click the link above you’ll see that his plan is about half a page long. There’s no real detail there and there never has been.

There are at least two reasons for this lack of detail. First, there’s the usual one: he knows that if he starts to get specific about taking away tax loopholes and cutting spending, people will realize that they don’t like some of the specifics. Cut ag subsidies and farmers get mad. Take away the home mortgage deduction and homeowners get mad. No politician ever wants to get specific about the price that voters might have to pay to balance the budget or let kids go to any school they want.

But there’s a second reason for fuzziness that’s very specific to Romney: his numbers don’t add up. They don’t even come close. Romney can’t offer details even if he wants to because any detail he provides would immediately demonstrate just how laughable his plan his.

So all those tea partiers who want details can forget it. They may be convinced that the American public will swoon if someone presents them with a full-throated, blow-by-blow defense of their principles, but Romney knows better. If he did what they want, his election chances would go from bad to zero overnight.

But there is one thing Romney is being oddly accurate about: his jobs claim. If he’s elected, he probably will be able to create 12 million new jobs over the next four years. That’s because this is a very modest goal. The economy will probably create 12 million new jobs no matter who’s president. This is a case where Romney is taking advantage of the public’s general innumeracy. Most people have no idea how many jobs a good economy produces, so there’s no point in making an outrageous claim. Sure, he could say he’ll produce 20 million jobs, but to the average voter that’s just as meaningless as 12 million or 100 million. So he might as well stick to reality.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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