Taken by itself, Mitt Romney’s attack on President Obama’s July memo expanding the waiver authority of the Health and Human Services Department for welfare programs may seem overblown. But put in the context of Obama’s relentless push to expand the welfare state, the larger argument becomes clear.
Right after Obama was sworn into office, his failed stimulus bill reversed the fiscal foundation of the 1996 bill by paying states bonuses to increase, not decrease, the number of people on their welfare rolls. Since then he has pushed to keep more Americans on unemployment benefits and fought to add as many Americans as possible to food stamp rolls. The number of Americans receiving disability payments from the federal government has exploded under Obama and in June, more Americans went on disability than got jobs.
Now Obama is even pushing back against his own “you didn’t build that” line by recruiting small business owners who support his big government agenda and are willing to say they could not have succeeded without extra benefits from federal government. Obama’s argument seems to be, “If you owe everything you own to the federal government, then the federal government owns everything you own.”
Obama’s rhetoric on taxes reflect this world view. He has repeatedly referred to extending the current tax rates as a “trillion giveaway to the wealthiest Americans.” But how is letting people keep more of their own money a “giveaway” unless you believe that the federal government already owns all American income?
Obama and Romney clearly have sharply different visions about the proper size and scope of the federal government. Welfare reform is another perfect issue arena to help illuminate this debate.
Obama: Team Obama spent the day attacking one television ad and defending another. Responding to Romney’s new ad accusing him of gutting welfare reform, Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter hosted a conference call with reporters where she claimed Romney supported the very types of waivers he is now attacking. And after CNN labeled Obama’s latest Super PAC ad accusing Romney of killing a man’s wife in Kansas “not accurate,” the White House denied seeing the ad.
Romney: Romney doubled down on his welfare reform attack today, releasing a new video “The Rise And Fall Of Welfare Reform” which contrasts Senate Democrats supporting the 1996 welfare reform bill, with Obama saying he would have voted against it.
Polls: A new Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll shows Romney beating Obama 50 to 45 in Colorado and Obama beating Romney 49 to 45 in Virginia and 51 to 45 in Wisconsin.
Super PACs: Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party organization backed by the Koch brothers, will begin spending $25 million on ads attacking Obama in 11 states, including: Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Massachusetts Senate: Democrat Elizabeth Warren first asked Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., to release 20 years of tax returns. When Brown pointed out he had already released six while Brown had released four, Brown retracted the attack.
In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Home Prices Climb as Supply Dwindles: Home prices rose by their largest percentage in at least seven years during the second quarter, propelled by low inventories of properties for sale and high demand for bargain-priced foreclosures, according to two reports Tuesday.
The Washington Post, Ohio economy improving, but residents can’t feel it: Ohio’s unemployment rate has plummeted over the past three years and is now far below the national average. But more than two out of three say the economy is worse or the same as it was a year ago, according to a recent poll.
Politico, Papa John’s says Obamacare will raise pizza prices: On a conference call last week, Papa John’s CEO and founder John Schnatter (a Mitt Romney supporter and fundraiser) said Obamacare — set to go into effect in 2014 — will result in higher costs for the company — which they vowed to pass onto consumers.
Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., identifies Three More Reasons Medicaid Is (Already) Unsustainable.
The Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney identifies another example of Obama providing corporate welfare for big banks.
Rush Limbaugh tells Obama that “Robin Hood was stealing from the government. Robin Hood was a Tea Party activist. Robin Hood was anti-taxes.”
The Washington Monthly‘s Ed Kilgore claims Democrats and Liberals invented and pushed welfare reforms work requirements.
Rachel Maddow‘s Steve Benen suggests that Obama deny all welfare reform waivers.
Former-Vice President Joe Biden economist Jared Bernstein says Paul Ryan’s budget numbers don’t add up.