Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Wall Street Journal's Brutal Takedown of Mitt Romney

The following is an absolutely brutal takedown of RomneyCare by The Wall Street Journal. I was curious as to who wrote it, but no author is listed. It's most likey an opinion piece put together by several members of the editorial staff. If this is a sign of what's to come, his candidacy is in trouble.

I'm actually looking forward to hearing his speech today. Many prominent members of the GOP are all but begging him to admit that his signature accomplishment was a mistake. That's unlikely to happen, but it will be interesting to see if he provides any specifics as to what he would have done differently. I'll reserve judgement until I watch the speech.

In the name of personal responsibility, Mr. Romney also introduced the individual mandate, first in the nation, requiring everyone to buy coverage or else pay a penalty. Free riders, he said, transferred their own costs to others, either through higher premiums or taxes. This is the same argument the Obama Administration is now using to justify the coercion of the individual mandate in the federal courts. Because the states have police powers under the Constitution, Mr. Romney's plan posed no legal problems. His blunder was his philosophy of government.

The people who don't buy coverage though they can afford it aren't really a major fiscal problem—unless the goal of the individual mandate is to force them to subsidize others. People who are priced out of coverage require subsidies—so in practice the logic of the individual mandate is that it is a government mandate too. Entitlements automatically grow and grow, and then the political class begins to make decisions that used to be left to markets and individuals.

Massachusetts took off on this entitlement trajectory after Mr. Romney signed the bill in 2006 and stepped down to run for President two years later. Let's go to the data, all of which are state-reported, in search of evidence of Mr. Romney's "success."

The only good news we can find is that the uninsured rate has dropped to 2% today from 6% in 2006. Yet four out of five of the newly insured receive low- or no-cost coverage from the government. The subsidies will cost at least $830 million in 2011 and are growing, conservatively measured, at 5.1% a year. Total state health-care spending as a share of the budget has grown from about 16% in the 1980s to 30% in 2006 to 40% today. The national state average is about 25%.

The safety-net fund that was supposed to be unwound, well, wasn't. Uncompensated hospital care rose 5% from 2008 to 2009, and 15% from 2009 to 2010, hitting $475 million (though the state only paid out $405 million). "Avoidable" use of emergency rooms—that is, for routine care like a sore throat—increased 9% between 2004 and 2008. Meanwhile, unsubsidized insurance premiums for individuals and small businesses have climbed to among the highest in the nation.

Like Mr. Obama's reform, RomneyCare was predicated on the illusion that insurance would be less expensive if everyone were covered. Even if this theory were plausible, it is not true in Massachusetts today. So as costs continue to climb, Mr. Romney's Democratic successor now wants to create a central board of political appointees to decide how much doctors and hospitals should be paid for thousands of services.

The Romney camp blames all this on a failure of execution, not of design. But by this cause-and-effect standard, Mr. Romney could push someone out of an airplane and blame the ground for killing him. Once government takes on the direct or implicit liability of paying for health care for everyone, the only way to afford it is through raw political control of all medical decisions.


In reality, his ostensible liberal allies like the late Ted Kennedy saw an opening to advance their own priorities, and in Mr. Romney they took advantage of a politician who still doesn't seem to understand how government works. It's no accident that RomneyCare's most vociferous defenders now are in the White House and left-wing media and think tanks. They know what happened, even if he doesn't.


More immediately for his Republican candidacy, the debate over ObamaCare and the larger entitlement state may be the central question of the 2012 election. On that question, Mr. Romney is compromised and not credible. If he does not change his message, he might as well try to knock off Joe Biden and get on the Obama ticket.
Read the entire article HERE


Right Wingnut said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this RW. Unfortunately, I am sure that this analysis will fall on deaf ears here.


CraigS said...

Just to add some reality to this subject, consider the following comments from the Wall Street Journal on April 12, 2006

" GOP Governors don't usually grab friendly national headlines. So it's worth paying attention when Mitt Romney of Massachusetts starts getting raves for passing legislation promising " universal " health insurance. All the more so because the details of his new " national model " don't measure up to the political and media hosannas.
Give Mr Romney a rare Republican willing to at least discuss health care. In that he's miles ahead of GOP Congressional leaders, who won't even vote on pro-market reforms. We certainly favor state policy experiments and Mr Romney may have done the best he could given his far left legislature. The new law also avoids the worst corcive pitfalls of Hillary Clinton's 1993 reform."

I guess I don't even have to comment on the blatant hypocrisy of today's WSJ BS


Anonymous said...

So everyone thinks Romney is toast after today?

That's hilarious as heck.

I read the article--found it quite hyperbolic and full of gratuitous accusations. The idea that Romney paved the way for ObamaCare is nonsense---but convenient for many.

Hey everyone, don't let the facts get in the way of a good slam!


Spenza said...

Ha ha ha! You used the word "takedown" in this posts title?? Man, you are a REAL piece of work. Talk about spin and distortion! If I were Bosman, I'd kick you to the curb if you didn't start posting less bias and more substantial stuff. Quit trying to manipulate people's minds with false statements.

It's highly unlikely that the Wall Street Journal has taken Mitt down with this single article. Give me a break dude!

Right Wingnut said...


Bosman doesn't want this to be an echo chamber. If that's what you're looking for, go hang out at MRC.

Takedown is a metaphor. I didn't imply that they walked up to Mitt and tackled him....dude.

I think you need to take it up with the Wall Street Journal.

CraigS said...

WSJ doesn't seem connected with North Florida
Romney is up 7 % over Huckabee in todays poll

"A new poll finds Jacksonville, an important bastion of Republican support for statewide races in Florida, likes Mitt Romney but is not so fond of Ron Paul, as the Republican presidential candidates line up.

A poll from Dixie Strategies taken on behalf of First Coast News found that former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts was leading the pack of candidates for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 in Jacksonville -- good news for his many prominent backers on the First Coast including Sen. John Thrasher. Thrasher had backed Romney’s 2008 efforts and Romney helped kick off Thrasher’s bid for re-election in 2010.

Romney took 24.3 percent of the poll followed by former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas who took second with 17.1 percent. Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Jacksonville won the backing of 15.1 percent of those surveyed. The rest of the field trailed with single digits. Donald Trump stood at 7.6 percent, Florida Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- who has expressed no interest in running -- took 6.8 percent and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska stood in sixth place in Jacksonville with 6.4 percent. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota took 3.2 percent, followed by two members of Congress -- U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, also of Minnesota, at 2.0 percent and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul at 1.2 percent.

The poll of 1,039 likely voters was taken on May 4-5 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.04 percent.


Anonymous said...

What a crock of crap.

Romney 2012


Anonymous said...

It is a crock, but I consider the source. And BTW, what was palins great plan for health care? I'm not hearing a whole lot of plans, just a handfull of hate for the current admistration wrapped up in a bumper sticker format.