I know Master Job Creator and poster boy for jungle capitalism Mitt Romney no longer is in the leveraged buyout business. But I have a tip on a currently undervalued business, a factory manufacturing clues for preppies hoping to be elected president. In fact, this is a profitable investment for almost any Republican currently embarrassingly underinvested in useful knowledge.
Whether it has been pressures associated with becoming the target of the aggressions of enraged homunculus Newt Gingrich or perhaps the withering critiques from Comrade Rick Perry expressing The People’s scorn for chop shop buyout operations such as Bain Capital, more than usual of late Mitt has become a reliable fount of entertainingly sublime inanities.
Captain of Finance Mitt has made it clearer than a church bell chiming on Christmas morning that he has spent more time in the private sector than Cornelius Vanderbilt, Henry Ford and all of Horatio Alger’s characters combined, the unparalleled wisdom he has accrued during this time equipping him to be savior of our American economy should we know what is good for us and just elect him president. Personally I think just his offer to save us is enough by itself. But somehow in his vast and intimate experience of free enterprise he failed to learn that an individual, no matter how enjoyable the prospect, cannot dismiss the services of an insurance provider that will not provide insurance to said individual to begin with. To borrow Ed McMahon’s words to the Magnificent Carnak, “Thank you, oh wise one.”
Asked about polling revealing that more than two-thirds of Americans perceive “strong tensions” between the rich and poor, Mitt insulted the intelligence of millions by claiming that when they correctly identify the shaft committing deep penetration of their delicate areas by the upper brackets they are guilty of base “envy”. I am sure there’s plenty of envy to go around in these United States, but spiffy, privileged Mitt lecturing from his high perch Americans who have suffered decades of stagnant wages and the loss of middle-class security isn’t just lousy politics, it’s incredibly stupid, morally vicious kicking of sand into the face of the middle-class.
But Mitt’s most emblematic offense, emblematic of the perpetuation of Republicans’ Grandest Big Lie of the last forty or fifty years was included in his swipe at purported government waste in the Meet the Press debate Sunday. We all know the lie: Government is a bog of waste and inefficiency comprised of lazy leeches who exist only to sloppily provide unearned largesse to even lazier leeches, while private enterprise is a gleaming edifice of efficiency and moral invincibility straight from an Ayn Rand protagonist’s wet dream.
Conservatives long have been aware they cannot win the argument that Americans don’t value government or do not welcome and rely upon its abundant services (paid for by their collective contribution) so they have developed the two-pronged strategy of demonizing government as wasteful, while continuing to push shrunken government as an ideological edict from the Founding Fathers, though Americans long have resisted conservative-libertarian ideology that government is inherently evil. In both cases it is utterly contrived myth of course, but when did that ever stop a Republican from spreading fertilizer? But in furtherance of the creed, Romney said:
“What unfortunately happens is with all the multiplicity of federal programs, you have massive overhead, with government bureaucrats in Washington administering all these programs, very little of the money that’s actually needed by those that really need help, those that can’t care for themselves, actually reaches them.”
There’s nothing wrong with what Romney said of course aside from it being demonstrably false. There is more data in the bank than Bain had investor moolah showing that the largest government program of all, Medicare, operates with administrative overhead costs of between four and six percent, while the administrative costs for private health insurers is in the range of ten percent to fifteen percent. If Americans bedraggled from years of recession and high unemployment want whoppers they’ll get the 99 cent special at Burger King. In fact, well-timed information released by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities blasts Romney’s canards in every single area. According to them at least (and they stress that in most cases the percentage is higher) nine-tenths of federal spending for each of these programs reaches low-income Americans. Their report says:
“Budget data for the major low-income assistance programs — Medicaid, food stamps (now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP), the Supplemental Security Income program for the elderly and disabled poor, housing vouchers, the school lunch and breakfast programs, and the Earned Income Tax Credit — show that, in every case, federal administrative costs range from less than 1 percent to 8 percent of total federal program spending. Combined federal and state administrative costs range from 1 percent to 10 percent of total federal- and state-funded program spending.”
Of course, we know by now Republicans care as much about facts as fish care about scuba gear and are about as likely to use them. Still, it’s important for Americans to have as many of them as possible in order to assess the nutritional content of the sludge coming out of Republican megaphones.
While I risk wallowing in far too much heightened pleasure wailing on deceased equines, what the hell: here’s more from CBPP:
- Medicaid. Federally funded administrative costs accounted for 3.8 percent of federal Medicaid spending in fiscal year 2010; the other 96.2 percent went for health care and long-term care for beneficiaries. Moreover, most of the 3.8 percent went for the federally financed portion of state administrative costs. The federal government’s own administrative costs accounted for only 0.2 percent of federal Medicaid spending. For federal- and state-funded Medicaid spending combined, 4.6 percent went for administrative costs and 95.4 percent went for care for beneficiaries.
- SNAP (formerly known as food stamps). Federal administrative costs accounted for one-quarter of 1 percent of federal SNAP spending in 2010. Adding the federally financed portion of state administrative costs brings total administrative costs to 4 percent of federal SNAP spending. Another 1 percent of federal costs went for the federal share of costs of nutrition education and employment and training services for SNAP participants. Some 94.6 percent of federal spending went directly for food that the program’s low-income beneficiaries purchased.
These percentages change only modestly with regard to total SNAP costs — i.e., federal- and state-funded costs combined. Eight percent of total federal- and state-funded costs went for administration, less than 2 percent went for services for beneficiaries, and about 90 percent went for food that beneficiaries purchased.
- Housing vouchers. Some 0.3 percent of program dollars went for federal administrative costs, 8.7 percent went for the administrative costs of the 2,400 state and local public housing agencies (PHAs) that operate the program, and 90.9 percent went for rental assistance for low-income tenants.
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Some 92.8 percent of spending went for benefit payments to beneficiaries, with administrative costs accounting for the remaining 7.2 percent. That figure includes the federal government’s own administrative costs (5.2 percent) as well as the costs of the states’ Disability Determination Services (2.0 percent), which are reimbursed by the federal government.
- School lunch and breakfast programs. One percent of federal spending went for federal administrative costs, while 1.6 percent went for federal support for state administrative costs. The rest, 97.4 percent, went to schools to subsidize their costs in operating the school meals programs.
- Earned Income Tax Credit. Over 99 percent of EITC dollars went directly to households receiving the EITC, with the IRS estimating that its administrative costs amounted to less than 1 percent of EITC costs.