Mitt Romney: No Apology: Book Analysis: Chapter 11: America The Beautiful. Epilogue and Acknowledgements. (A BUSH IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING.)

December 27, 2010 by · 5 Comments
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This is Romney’s last chapter and he addresses and congratulates all the brave men and women who fought in wars to protect the United States. He mentions 600,000 died in the Civil War alone. (But that one wasn’t against a foreign enemy but ourselves albeit to preserve the Union.  While he’s praising the service men and women who did serve he fails to mention his own contribution. He was 20 in 1967 at the height of the Vietnam War. However he obtained  deferments to go to  France on missionary duty, not exactly a hardship assignment and then it was off to Brigham Young University to finish his B.A and then on to Harvard for a joint MBA/JD degree. By the time he graduated he had a high lottery number. Nothing is mentioned about any of his sons serving in Afghanistan or Iraq. However he extols the patriotism of those who did serve but he offers no examples of sacrifice on his part when the country needed young men. If patriotism is what made this country great then he has no claim on it.)

Thorough out this book Romney is a man who sees the future in terms of the past or to put it another  the way he analyzes what the problems of the future may be by looking to the past.( However it is not the predictable but the Black Swans whose demands  we need to be able to meet even if we cannot prepare  for any particular risk because it is unknown and unpredictable.)

In terms of economics he mentions the Composite Index of Leading Indicators that economists use to analyze the current state of the economy and trends in the economy.

Cleverly, he has devised a broader index to forecast the long term heath of the United States with indicators he suggests that might include the following:  (He leaves out a few things that account for our rise as a World power including the fact the success of the U.S is based on an efficient agriculture providing the capital for the country to industrialize and then the advent of oil  and other forms of cheap power that gave meaning to the rule of law, personal freedom, individual rights and political stability provided by the Founding Fathers.)

1. The Prevalence Of Freedom,

2. National Security Assessment,

3. Relative Productivity,

4. Relative GDP An Growth Rate,

5. Trade Share Of The GDP,

6. Relative Market Shares in Growing, Traded-Product Industries,

7. Innovation Index,

8. National Debt and Liabilities,

9. Tax Bite,

10. Health Care Funding Gap,

11. Energy Burden,

12. Children born Out Of Wedlock,

13. Relative Education Attainment,

14. Citizen Engagement.

(Most if not all of these items are already being addressed by the regulatory bodies responsible for the given areas and which issue reports that are public and become part of the National policy dialogue and ultimately are addressed by the President and Congress. However Romney doesn’t believe in regulation but lightly regulated free market forces.

Let us examine the presently most contentious issue; health care. Making health care universal will benefit everyone in the long run.  Taxpayers used to pay for crisis management for the uninsured who only went to an emergency room when their problems became acute and were more difficult to treat, often resulting in long term disability or death.

Under Obama Care everyone gets routine checkups and developing problems are addressed early with the likelihood of a better medical result with less cost. The formerly uninsured are healthier, live longer, are more apt to have useful occupations and the welfare rolls are reduced.

In the long run this is likely to bring down the overall ratio of health care costs to Gross Domestic Product.  Formerly, private insurance skimmed off the best risks, had no interest in containing costs in the long term as they took a percentage of the gross cost.  Also the principle of the larger the insurance pool the lower the individual cost was not brought into play. Obama Care sounds more humanitarian and less costly in the long run than what Romney is suggesting.)

Romney says there is evil in the world not just evil men. Examples of the manifestation of this evil are seen in the leaders of Iran and N. Korea and must be dealt with by good men everywhere and in particular a strong and resourceful United States. The U.S. has always been a leader in protecting the world from evil and must continue to do so. We cannot rely on others.

Therefore we must foster free markets and defense, limit unions, limit government regulation, reduce taxes, reduce entitlements, reduce welfare, etc. His mantra is the same as most conservative Republicans, short sighted and designed to benefit the top 20 % of the population to the detriment of the middle class and the poor.

This chapter was highly charged with patriotic stories of personal sacrifice by our men and woman serving in a military that he never participated in all though he had the opportunity. It now seems he wants to be elected to high office based on someone else’ hard work and sacrifice while he enjoyed the benefits of being well off from birth.

The Epilogue to this book deals with a series of talking points that have already been dealt with but which have been restated in aphoristic form.

The Acknowledgments include friends, a professor and foundations ranging from the Heritage Foundation to the Brookings Institution.

Overall this book was based on sophomoric economic arguments and appeals in favor of God, family and the flag that have served Republican candidates so well in the past. He seems to forget that from 2000 to 2008 George Bush was President. A conservative Republican who presided over the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression, the decimation of the American middle class and a huge increase in the national defense bureaucracy. Romney would continue the same feckless policies of Bush.

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Mitt Romney: No Apology: Book Analysis: Chapter Ten: The Culture Of Citizenship. (Pragmatist Or Ideologue)

December 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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MITT ROMNEY AND FAMILY:  OCCUPATIONAL STABILITY MAKES FOR STABLE FAMILIES.

WOULD ANN HAVE STUCK AROUND IF MITT WAS NOT A GOOD PROVIDER?

WELFARE

In this chapter Romney addresses the 1965 welfare provisions of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society legislation. By providing welfare benefits to mothers of children born out of wedlock this legislation greatly increased the number of children born to a single mother and also made it economically more feasible for single mothers to stay single and deprive there children of a nuclear home. A home requires a mother and father which Romney believes is the key to the development of Western Civilization and a necessity if the United States is to remain the predominant power in the world.  (Romney doesn’t mention the bipartisan Welfare Reform Act of 1966 which shortened a single mother’s benefits to two years and gave an unearned tax credit to those mothers when they went to work even at a low wage. Thus every single mother who worked had her income increased to above the poverty line even if she worked at a low paying job.

Also he fails to mention that income, in terms of buying power, for the poor and the lower middle class has not increased since 1975. This is true even if low cost Chinese goods are available, because many have lost jobs to those cheaper Chinese imports they once made. This static low income makes it exceedingly difficult for people to form a family and has as much to do with the increase in single motherhood as anything else.

The 1996 act may have put single mothers to work and off the welfare rolls, but it did little to encourage marriage although it made it economically more feasible because women with children increased their income but their potential spouses were still stuck with low paying jobs that did not keep up with the economy and gave them little incentive to enter into a marriage where they could not be the bread winner.

Welfare is a complex problem and Romney’s knee jerk approach to blame Lyndon Johnson is sophomoric and unfounded. He might as well blame Nixon, Carter, Reagan, and Bush I and II for poor management of the benefits of our economy by over rewarding the top 20% of the population and neglecting the incomes of the bottom 20% and the middle class in between. Also he speaks in generalities the only legislation that took a step forward was the 1996 act. It was been the only positive move in the right direction to solve the problem.

Romney doesn’t mention any solution but the obvious one is to have a more egalitarian distribution of income in our economy. Also the key to the development of Western Civilization was agriculture, or family farms that needed mothers, fathers and children to do the work to make the farm successful.)

AMERICAN VALUES

American culture makes our country the most successful in the world. A belief in hard work, entrepreneurship, self reliance, education, citizenship, sobriety and strong religious principles made us what we are today. These beliefs are the linchpins of American culture. However many of these principles are under attack; from marriage between a man and a woman to the nuclear family to diminished belief and purpose, to belief in the sanctity of life are all under pressure. Belonging and commitment to the community, respect for law, the duties of citizenship, patriotism and military service   are often fulfilled in a lukewarm manner.

The challenge going forward is renewal of our commitment to these principles which form the bricks and mortar that has made our society great.

(As one might expect Romney is against gay marriage: for pro-life and for don’t ask don’t tell in the military. This all makes him an enigma because he was once pro choice and generally more liberal when he was Governor of Massachusetts. However to be successful in the GOP primaries he has to appear conservative to beat his more conservative rivals. Thus he appears to be more of a pragmatist than either a liberal or a conservative.

The question if he is a Reagan Republican or a Rockefeller Republican is still open.)

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Mitt Romney: No Apology: Book Analysis: Chapter Nine: Running Low. (The Case for Nuclear Energy. What About The Waste? )

December 15, 2010 by · 1 Comment
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Romney in this chapter addresses Global Warming and Energy in just 23 pages.

MOCK NUCLEAR POWER PLANT OF THE FUTURE.

Global Warming

Romney recognizes there is a global warming trend, however he is not sure if it is a natural fluctuation in temperature, caused by man’s activities or by both. The current unanimity among scientists that it is caused by man’s activity on the planet is not an established fact. Scientists have been wrong before. Earthquakes were once thought not to be caused by the movement of tectonic plates. Now the reverse has been shown to be true. In the 20th Century some scientists believed that we were entering a new Ice Age.
Whatever the source or cause of Global Warming, Romney recognizes that it can have severe consequences to the planet in terms of climate change. The melting of the ice caps and the rise in sea levels will devastate low lying islands and coastal cities. Global Warming will affect agriculture and the availability of arable land among other things.
Tied in with Global Warming is our dependence on fossil fuels which are the biggest emitters of the greenhouse gases that are believed to cause Global Warming. Our dependence on oil is a major problem because imported oil adds about 300 billion dollars to our yearly current account deficit. Further our need to import oil enriches and empowers some of our worst enemies in hostile countries in the Middle East and South America.
The price of oil is also controlled by the oil cartel which constrains supply and makes it necessary to produce high cost oil first and then sells the cartels cheap oil at the higher price. Further, while the supply of high cost oil is running out the cartel reserves are greater. In the not too distant future, when non- OPEC nations no longer have domestic oil the cartel will have a complete monopoly on oil and the importers of oil will be at their mercy.
Peak Oil
Peak oil is that point where daily world production does not meet the daily demand for oil. When this will happen is not known with any accuracy but it is likely to happen sometime in the foreseeable future. When this occurs the price of oil will skyrocket and only the richest nations will be able to buy the oil necessary to maintain their standard of living. (This will also create political unrest and maybe even war to determine who gets the needed oil.)

Nuclear
Therefore we must find alternate sources of energy other than oil and that new source should be clean energy. The most feasible alternative to oil is nuclear power. The technology is present and has been greatly improved upon since the first generators were built. The cost to produce can be reasonable and can be made cheaper if governmental, red tape can be eliminated. Vermont now gets 73% of its power from nuclear. France gets 80% of its power from nuclear sources and has for many years. The United States has 104, essentially, trouble free reactors at 64 sites. In the short term (and maybe the long term) this appears to be the most practical alternative to imported oil and fossil fuels in general. Further the waste problem is not insurmountable. Eleven countries around the world are building 48 new reactors. Many of these countries have long experience with nuclear energy and one has to ask themselves, would they be building new reactors if they were unsafe environmentally or economically unfeasible? (This is the weak point in his argument in behalf of nuclear. He doesn’t address the waste problem in any depth.)
Other Alternatives.
Coal, gas, ethanol, hydrogen, wind and solar power are some of the alternatives advanced today and they all should be developed. Coal can be processed so it emits less greenhouse gases; gas production can be increased as well as oil production domestically but probably never in sufficient quantities to meet our energy needs. Wind and solar probably will never be able to meet internal energy demands alone or even to together. Hydrogen is still in the development stage and when it will become feasible is unknown. All these alternatives should be developed, but even taken together they are unlikely to meet our energy needs. The best source of energy right now is nuclear.
Romney believes that Cap and Trade is too difficult to enforce or obtain agreement on a world basis. Why should India and China, two of the largest emitters, who are striving to raise their standard of living, restrict themselves because of the Industrial Revolution practices by the Western Democracies that created the pollution problem in the first place? Also it is a disguised energy tax.

Conservation

Conservation is also an alternative and many measures have been taken and will need to be taken to conserve energy from wherever the source, but it alone will not solve the problems of Global Warming or the need for ever increasing energy.
He points out that while oil appears to be the cheapest source of energy it actually has many subsidies and costs from climate change to favorable tax treatment to the maintenance of and Army and Navy on a Worldwide basis to secure its production and delivery to the United States. If these costs were added in at the pump then we would realize just how much we really pay for a barrel of oil and this would incentivized the U.S. to become energy independent.
Romney is optimistic the United States, which has solved complex problems in the past, will solve these problems in the future.

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Mitt Romney: No Apology: Chapter Eight: An American Education. (IT’S THE ECONOMY MITT. FORGET ABOUT BAND AIDS)

December 5, 2010 by · 4 Comments
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MICHELLE RHEE FORCED FROM HER JOB AS HEAD OF D.C. SCHOOLS BECAUSE OF POLITICAL AN UNION PRESSURE

Romney’s Insight Into The Problems Of Education.

Based on his experience as Governor of Massachusetts and his own experience Romney addresses what’s wrong with American public education. He recalls his early education when he was taught to read by his mother. She read to him from the great poets like Tennyson. Thus when he arrived in kindergarten he was well on the road in his education. He was a public school student until he left in the seventh grade to attend a private school , Cranbook, where he learned among other thing to read and write well. Thereafter he attended college and later business school. He mentions he took two years off from college to perform his missionary work in France where he lived on a small stipend, about $600 a month in today’s dollars, to cover food, rent, transportation and clothing. (Sounds like an exaggeration.) This experience, living in France with people from all walks of life, taught him the value of a good education.

Romney gives his opinions about what is needed for the American public school system to make it competitive with places like Singapore or South Korea.
First, he notes class size has little to do with the success or failure in the education of students. He quotes from a study in Massachusetts where students in classes ranging from ten students to eighteen were compared and no discernable difference was found. (This study appears to be flawed because at some point class size does matter. A comparison between classes of ten up to forty students would be move relevant.) Also he found as Governor the amount of money spent per pupil made no difference in a student’s performance.
Romney believes that teacher unions while, protecting teachers, do little for education of pupils and in fact do much to damage the success of K-12 education in the United States. Tenure and seniority for poor to mediocre teachers is a big factor in the low educational scores of pupils. Another factor was that unions push for smaller classes which translates into higher cost per student because more teachers are needed, however, as pointed out above he feels that class size (at least) between 10 and 18 students has no effect on educational achievement.

Romney states that 29% of all American children do not complete high school. Even those that do, on average, score poorly on performance tests when compared with students in the other industrialized democracies.
Students that finish high school can expect to earn $400,000 more during their working life than students who don’t. College graduates can expect to earn $1,700,000 more than high school dropouts. Also high school drop outs are more likely to go on welfare, become divorced, or spend time in prison.

As a democracy we all have an interest in a well educated constituency because in today’s highly skilled world the nation with the best educated work force has a comparative advantage over nations with a less well educated populace. Also the broader and better educated the middle class the more stable the democracy politically.

THE SOLUTION
Romney feels that education begins in the home and that homes composed of a female mother and male father and other siblings who have an interest in the child’s education is a prerequisite for a successful student. Also in studies of the top performing educational systems like Singapore and South Korea he found that the educational system hired from the top third of college graduating classes not the bottom third as the case in this country. Further poor performing teachers, as reflected in the scores of their students, were culled out of the system rather than given lifelong seniority or tenure.
Thus those students born into a stable marriage between a man and a woman that care and nurture the child both before entering school and while in the school system have the best chance at succeeding in school. Also attending teacher competitive schools staffed by motivated, bright and well compensated teachers is a necessary factor. These teachers do better at mentoring pupils and inspiring them to excel.
THE PROBLEM
Among all children currently born to mothers 30 or younger 44% are born out of wedlock, 77% when only Afro Americans are considered or 46% for Hispanics. So many pupils are from dysfunctional single parent households
The financial and time demands on single parents are too great to insure the proper guidance and nurturing of pupils from these homes to succeed in school.
Teacher quality And literacy are an essential element in mentoring and inspiring students to do well. As constituted our present system, dominated by unions with political power, seniority and tenure rules that protect poor or poorly motivated teachers is counterproductive.

(What Romney doesn’t mention is that people with only a high school education are not expected to earn enough money to support the nuclear family he is talking about. He further points out that only about 30% of all Americans are college graduates. Thus the financial and cultural ground work of single parent families struggling to survive is long established before the children from these conditions enter kindergarten. These are the single parents of past generations that dropped out or did poorly in school whose children now are in the same counterproductive situation.
This is a social problem and the financial problems faced by high school drop outs and high school graduates are a root cause of the single parent situation which is a contributor to poor success in school.
Teaching is hard work and before teachers unions were established the pay was low and job security nonexistent. The unions bought a level of professionalism and requirements of specialized education to teaching. So the unions are not all bad. The problem is allowing teachers unions to endorse political candidates, donate to campaign funds, strike and collective bargain that makes them too powerful for the politicians they help elect to say no to their demands. This is generally a problem with all public service unions. In any case the inmates end up running the asylum)

THE ECONOMIC CONUNDRUM
(The core problem was evidenced in the last Republican administration of passing off the cost of government to the middle class, the people who produce the best students and the future leaders of our country. Under Bush the middle class shrunk and many of its members fell below the poverty line. Working class income has about the same purchasing power in 2010 as it did in 1975. Thus the people who produce poor students are not improving and the conditions that create poor students is stagnating or increasing. Romney’s plans are for naught if he doesn’t address the core social problems creating the conditions generating poor student performance.
This chapter talks about Kipp (knowledge is power program) or charter schools but it is far too early to prognosticate on the success or failure of this system. Also this system, designed to circumvent union and political meddling in the school system, creams off the best students for its programs and has had only middling success thus far. Also what about the other children left in the old public school system?
Romney mentions the No Child Left Behind Program created by George Bush but only to say only the federal government had the power to force testing, evaluation of school performance and to make sure it reached the public. In this manner Bush put the problems on the front burner of our society where it should be.
Finally he makes no mention of the celebrity and professional athletics driven media where persons of little education, sometimes of no ascertainable talent or skills succeed financially beyond the wildest dreams of the children in the K-12 grades. Thus the role models of our society are often not teachers, scientists and professional people but counter culture, tattooed musicians, fashion queens and athletes whoose career often burns bright for a short time.

What we need is a more just distribution of wealth in our society and Romney is talking about band aids.)

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