My Fellow Conservatives…Stay Away From Mitt Romney

I am a classic conservative. Perhaps like you, I lean toward maximizing individual liberties and being prudent about money.  People should be able to live without government interference, and we must be honest about our need to balance the budget. 

For these reasons, I am not voting for Mitt Romney.

The individual responsibility issues are easy. Mitt Romney does not believe in a woman’s right to make certain choices about her own body. He would likely appoint a deciding vote to the U.S. Supreme Court who might allow states to ban all abortions. VP-nominee Paul Ryan was asked last week if women who are pro-choice should be worried about his election. He didn’t say No.

Mitt Romney wants to amend the U.S Constitution (the least amended governing document in the world) specifically to ensure that gay couples cannot get married.

If you believe that the government should get out of individual lives, then Mr. Romney is not your candidate.

I know many classic conservatives like myself who support gay marriage and believe women should control their own bodies. But they still plan on voting for Mr. Romney. Why? Because they assume he better matches their preferences on economic issues.

Look closer.

The facts are these: From 1998-2002 we had annual budget surpluses–we lived within our means. Every year since President George W. Bush took office we have had annual budget deficits–we spend more every year than we take in. What changed? Two massive tax cuts (skewed heavily toward those in the top 5%) and greatly amped up military spending. In other words, we cut the money that we took in (by a lot) and increased the money we were spending. When President Obama took office the annual deficit was roughly $1.4 trillion. That annual deficit has decreased modestly in the four years of Obama’s presidency. The last Obama budget had about a $1.1 trillion deficit. That means that year over year the annual deficit has been getting smaller–though only slightly.The claims about him being some crazed spender are grossly inaccurate.

But maybe you believe that we need to cut the deficit faster than the current trajectory. I do. Does Mr. Romney have a better plan? No. It’s actually worse.

The facts are these: He is proposing lowering revenues by $4.8-$5 trillion over ten years. That is done by cutting taxes 20%–including to the wealthiest. On top of that he is going to increase military spending by $2 trillion from current projections–even while we are supposed to be getting out of two wars. Taken together that means that we are starting out $7 trillion more in the hole than where we are right now.

How are we going to pay for that? His only answer: “cutting loopholes.” That sounds good. What loopholes? He’ll tell us later.

Here’s the rub, it is mathematically impossible to make up that difference by cutting loopholes–even if we cut virtually all of them. And what are those “loopholes?” They are deductions that middle class families take, like being able to deduct your mortgage interest payments, state and local taxes, and charitable contributions. The biggest “loopholes” have nothing to do with secret rules that only corporations benefit from.

And don’t forget that even if this impossible math made sense, it does nothing to actually improve the situation–it just keeps us at the current level ($1.1 trillion annual deficit). Mr. Romney’s plan is to cut revenue drastically, increase military spending, and (if his comments at the last debate are to be believed) not cut anything from education or healthcare.

And he is supposed to be the fiscally conservative candidate? Nonsense. Either he is unable to comprehend basic math or he assumes Americans will believe anything he says to them.

We are all in a car driving to surplus budget land. Mr. Romney is complaining our driver, President Obama, is driving too slow to get us there. He wants to kick Obama out of the driver’s seat and take the wheel. His plan? Turn around and drive us 7 hours in the opposite direction.

I urge my fellow conservatives to be vigilant about the facts. Mr. Romney is not the candidate of individual responsibility and prudent fiscal policy.

As Americans we disagree on virtually everything–from politics and baseball teams to the appropriate way to grill a burger. But at the end of the day, one thing most of us have in common is our ability to recognize when hucksters are blowing smoke up our ass. We don’t fall for it.

You may not be able to get yourself to vote for President Obama, but under no circumstances should an actual conservative think a vote for Mr. Romney makes sense. It doesn’t. Conservatives should stand united against his candidacy.