A Post About Obamacare Costs and Conservative Religious Zealots

Marina at Twilight wallpaper

Marina at Twilight wallpaper

Jonathan Cohn has another good post on Obamacare and basically deals with what some people see in their crystal balls,  Six Reasons Hipsters Will Bite on Obamacare

You’re a 26-year-old single dude, holding down a pair of part-time jobs tending bar and painting houses, and making about $24,000 a year. Thanks to Obamacare, you can finally get decent health insurance, just like people with full-time jobs at large companies do. But when you go online to check out your options, you see that even the cheapest “bronze” plan, which has high deductibles and co-payments, will cost you about $100 a month. Obamacare’s penalty for carrying no insurance next year is less than one-tenth of that. Do you buy the insurance anyway?

Obamacare critics think it will be a “tough sell,” as Reason’s Peter Suderman puts it. And they make a credible case. To get coverage under Obamacare, many young people will have to pay more than they’d pay for insurance today. That’s because Obamacare prohibits insurers from offering ultra-cheap, bare-bones policies and restricts insurers’ to vary prices based on health status. It’s safe to assume that at least some young, healthy people will look at the numbers, figure Obamacare’s coverage just isn’t worth the price, and pay the penalty instead. A story by Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal last week profiled several young people from Oregon who were contemplating that very option.

The danger here isn’t just that these people will remain uninsured, leaving themselves exposed to crushing medical bills if they get sick or injured. If too many young, healthy people opt not to get insurance, then the insurers would be stuck with beneficiaries who are disproportionately older and sicker.

He notes that opting out the first year is certainly an option if you fall into that group that makes enough money they do not qualify for subsidies and see the premiums as cutting into their take-home pay. There are going to be bigger penalties down the road. he also points out that while those filled with the spirit of Obamacare hysteria think they young people do not need or want health insurance, two large surveys prove them wrong. I would throw in my personal experience. I’ve been to the emergency room a couple of times. Once I was in the hospital for just under 12 hours. The hospital bill, the radiologists bill and my personal doctor’s bill ( she came in once I was admitted) came to about $2 thousand dollars. When the penalty gets up to $625 a year, what are those young people going to choose. Two thousand or more ( I got out relatively cheap as far as emergency room admissions go) or are they going to pay the, say $90 a month ($1,100 to 1,250 a year. If it is employers supplied insurance with a group plan it could be less) for insurance . Look past the oh my goodness Obamacare is sooo expensive scare stories on the Right. Be afraid of the realities of living in the real world – of the ten most common reason for going to the emergency room, the cost ranged from a low of $10,403 to a high of $73,000. So even the $625 sounds like a bad deal when you could end up paying a half year’s pay for a simple back sprain. Cohn again concedes Obamacare and the insurance exchanges are not perfect – hopefully we’ll see some fine tuning like Congress did with medicare over the years, but it does look like most people will be better off.

Maybe I’m going Godwin here or maybe this is one of those cases where current events and rhetoric mirror history – You can’t be a Christian and a Democrat at the same time, Virginia’s GOP candidate for lieutenant governor E.W. Jackson says,

In a local radio interview this morning, Virginia Republican lieutenant governor nominee E.W. Jackson said the Democratic Party is “anti-God” and that Christians should leave it.

…He continued: “I said it because I believe that the Democrat Party has become an anti-God party, I think it’s an anti-life party, I think it’s an anti-family party. And these are all things I think Christians hold to very dearly.”

Religious zealot who think they are the last word on who is or is not a good Christian is an unfortunate American tradition going back to Cotton Mather and the Salem Witch trials to Jefferson Davis who claimed that God approved of slavery  – [Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.” – Jefferson Davis. And there is this,

“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice… And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.

-Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

Jackson seems to be substituting Democrat where Hitler used the Jews. These are the hallmarks of dangerous zealots. They control the ideological gates of who meets the purity  test of a set of beliefs that exists largely inside their minds. I see and hear conservative Christians and wonder how they so conveniently jettison the Sermon on the Mount. I don’t know that it disqualifies them from being Christians, but it does make one wonder about how they so conveniently ignore one of the most important lessons of the Bible. I’ve listened to Pat Robertson for enough years to know that the Christian Right can rationalize just about anything that serves their agenda. Jackson seems to be kool-aid drinking member of the club.

The Nihilistic Twilight Zone of Conservatives and What They Believe

Tranquil Retreat wallpaper

Tranquil Retreat wallpaper

Far Right Christian Employers Claim Their Religion Puts Them Above the Law

Hobby Lobby’s owners are conservative Christians, and though their company isn’t a church, they’d like to choose which laws they approve of and which they don’t, and follow only the laws they like. And a federal appeals court just ruled that not only can their suit go forward, but they’re likely to win. Because apparently, “This law violates my religious beliefs” is now a get-out-of-jail-free card.

[  ]…Before we get to the core question here, it’s just incredible that one of the reasons the court found in favor of Hobby Lobby was that the company didn’t want to pay for insurance that would pay for “drugs and devices that the plaintiffs believe to be abortifacients.” But what they believe is utterly irrelevant. One of the methods they object to is Plan B, the morning-after pill. But Plan B isn’t an abortifacient. The plaintiffs can choose to “believe” that it is if they want, but they’re asking that the state accept their belief as if it were true just because they believe it, and thereby exempt them from obeying the law. In effect that creates a justification for anyone who wants to ignore the law to create their own factual universe, then use that invented universe to say they’re exempt from the laws everyone else has to follow. If you get caught by a speed camera going 50 in a 35 zone, you can’t say, “Your honor, I believe that all speed cameras automatically register cars as going 15 miles per hour over their actual speeds. Therefore, I was going 35, and I am exempt from this fine.”

This is an important distinction between a moderate reasonable person who has religious beliefs and practices those beliefs under the protection of the 1st Amendment. These far right conservatives thinks the practice of their particular brand of dogma extends to their beliefs taking precedence over everyone else. is there a difference between the way they interpret their beliefs and the way a radical Muslim fundamentalist practices their religion. There might be a tiny particle of difference, but not enough to really distinction between the two without a powerful microscope. Some of us remember when Rand Paul was running for Senate in 2010. Some of his supporters decided to stomp on the head of a protester at one of his events. Suppose that was part of a political groups religious beliefs, head stumping is ordained by their church doctrine. Well, we couldn’t send anyone to jail for head stumping, because of the way Hobby Lobby and other conservative zealots, with the court’s help, interpret freedom of religion.

In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own. -Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio G. Spafford, March 17, 1814.

Organizer Of Armed March Loads Shotgun In Middle Of Washington DC While Warning Of ‘Revolution’

The libertarian activist Adam Kokesh who called for and then canceled an armed march on Washington uploaded a YouTube video on July 4 that shows him loading a shotgun in the center of Freedom Plaza, Washington, D.C, near the White House. In the video, Kokesh cryptically warns, “We will not allow our government to destroy our humanity. We are the final American revolution. See you next Independence Day.”

Let’s differentiate between the average gun owner, capable of rational thought and those who belong to the Church of the Gun, like Kokesh. he and his kindred gun fetishists see the 2nd Amendment and suffering from the delusions that generally go with is kind of freakishness, fail to see the words “well regulated.” have you seen the Church of the Gun hold any rallies or protests that promote a living wage for an honest day’s work. Seen them hold a protest over the probably legal, but excessive surveillance by the NSA. Ever seen the guns are holy crowd protest on behave of the right of children to have clean water and air. Ever hear of gun worshiping nutbars having a rally to protest the government intrusion on a woman’s right to have autonomy over her own body. You have not seen these pathetic specimens at such events because they have no real core beliefs except guns. Ina future USA where most of our constitutional and economic rights have been slowly eroded, the Church of the Gun is smiling in blissful ignorance because they have one single right left, the right to load a gun and make weird threats.

Notes on Fear and Terrorism in America

Santa Monica Pier wallpaper

Santa Monica Pier wallpaper

 

Future historians should consider the Bush-Cheney years as the Chicken-Little Era. Every day all conservatives did was tell America we were going to all die from a terrorist attack by radicalized Muslims. Actually they would just say Muslims. As though the world’s estimated 1.6 billion Muslims – the world’s second largest religion, were at world with the rest of the world. Back in 2010 the CIA estimated there were about 50 to 100, perhaps 500 Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. That is out of a population of 30 million. There are an estimated 25,000 members world-wide. The math says that less than 1% of the world’s Muslims are members. It doesn’t take many people to commit a few acts of terror and produce the desired results, fear and over reaction. Conservatives practically fall over themselves to live up to those expectations. It is reasonable to be concerned about terrorism or any organized form of violence. there is a point which reaches unjustified levels of paranoia. My anecdotal experience is that conservatives are easier to scare and quicker to reach a paranoid world view. That level of fear may not be much more than normal, humanity has a history of living in fear and has given itself reason for doing so. It may be that conservatives are only a few degrees more paranoid than the average, and that small degree is enough to produce behavior that thus far caused substantial loss of American and innocent foreign lives. It has also cost us in other ways. The Iraq war may end up costing $6 trillion. The US has become a surveillance state. I’m not sure how that could happen since the NRA says it cannot tolerant even modest regulation of fire arms because they need them to protect us from intrusions on the Constitution. Anyone seen the NRA lobbying or pulling guns on Congress over the more despicable parts of the Patriot Act. Of course not. The NRA is all about being armed to the teeth to defend us against their weird fantasies, not reality. It did not take long for the same Chicken-Little conservatives to exploit the religion of the Boston Marathon in the hopes of furthering their radical agenda, Tea Party Congressman Exploits Manhunt For Suspected Boston Bomber To Advance Weaker Gun Laws

A Tea Party Congressman has joined a growing list of conservatives are seizing on the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect to argue for looser gun laws. Appearing on The Blaze Thursday afternoon, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggested that the Bostonians on lock down need high capacity magazines to protect themselves from violence. Via Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch:

What hit me this morning when I heard the residents there around Boston and in the area where they thought someone might be were ordered to stay in their homes, businesses were ordered closed, public transportation was ordered closed. Let me ask you, if you’re sitting in your home and you know there are only two possibilities for people coming, one is law enforcement and the other is somebody who has already killed Americans and continues to do so, how many rounds do you want to be limited to in your magazine as you sit in your chair and wait?

There were about 192,000 licensed gun owners in Massachusetts in 2007. The number has gone up since than and went up with recent events. So despite 192,000 gun owners, the terrorist still managed to murder three people and maim or wound over a hundred others. These gun owners did not seem to join police and FBI in pursuit after the initial fire fight at Watertown. What stopped them. Common sense or letting the professionals do their job. The USA has one of the highest gun ownership rates in the world and while it has been declining the last decade, we still have a pretty violent society. Though not so high that it warrants living in fear and staying at home all the time. Eight facts about terrorism in the United States

Your odds of dying in a terrorist attack are still far, far lower than dying from just about anything else.

Your odds of dying in a terrorist attack are still far, far lower than dying from just about anything else.

In the last five years, the odds of an American being killed in a terrorist attack have been about 1 in 20 million (that’s including both domestic attacks and overseas attacks). As the chart above from the Economist shows, that’s considerably smaller than the risk of dying from many other things, from post-surgery complications to ordinary gun violence to lightning.

That said, terrorist attacks obviously loom much larger in our collective consciousness — not least because they’re designed to horrify. So, understandably, they get much more attention.

Note that your odds of being harmed by a friendly gun owner are much higher than being harmed by any kind of terrorist, rather it is a radicalized Muslim or some home grown conservative abortion fanatic. If conservatives were genuinely concerned about preserving the life and health of US citizens they’d stampede Congress demanding a public insurance program like Medicare for everyone. Funding science research that targets what has become known as superbugs – infections resistant to antibiotics will kill more people this year in the U.S. than any kind of terrorism.

Total terror attacks are on decline.

Bill Maher: Comparing violence of Islam to Christianity ‘liberal bullsh*t’ [VIDEO].

On HBO’s “Real Time” on Friday night, host Bill Maher entertained CSU-San Bernardino professor Brian Levin, director of the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism, who maintained that despite the events in recent days, religious extremism isn’t only a product of Islam.

But Maher took issue with that claim, calling it “liberal bullshit” and said there was no comparison.

“You know what, yeah, yeah,” Maher said. “You know what — that’s liberal bullshit right there … they’re not as dangerous. I mean there’s only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So you know, I’m just saying let’s keep it real.”

Besides playing up his alleged anti-political correctness to get publicity, the major thing that Bill is guilty of here is sloppy thinking. Certainly there are Muslims who are sociopaths. Most of them are not. That is fact, not a point of view. In the next category down are the Muslims who do need some liberalizing. They’re the ones who were and likely still are angry over some cartoons. I have zero sympathy for people offended by any kind of religious cartoon. I don’t know every liberal, neither does Bill, but most of them think of the cartoon nonsense the same way. Though I’ve read some liberals who would prefer that cartoonist not make religious themed cartoons so as not to offend any religion. They’re mistaken to feel that way in my opinion, but I understand where they’re coming from in terms of being sensitive to others beliefs. I grew up on Mark Twain. He was cranky, irreverent,  pro censorship for children, but not adults.

“You’re wrong about that and you’re wrong about your facts,” Maher said. “Now, obviously, most Muslim people are not terrorists. But ask most Muslim people in the world, if you insult the prophet, do you have what’s coming to you? It’s more than just a fringe element.”

It is fair and obvious that there are some violent Muslims. Again this is shoddy thinking on Bill’s part. there are also far radicalized conservative groups around the world. Membership in conservative militia groups spiked when Obama was elected president. Most of these groups have not carried out what we think of as terror attacks. Though remember that the Norway attacks were by a conservative killed 77 people. And that the fighting in the Middle-east is mostly about Muslim killing other Muslims. As this article notes more people were murdered in a terror attack in Iraq during the Boston marathon than the marathon bombings. It is not just Bill Maher – who had some good points to make and went too far. This is about critical thinking. About details that matter. At one point in history Protestants and Catholics were doing a very good job of murdering each other. Even up to modern era Northern Ireland. Maher said that no one could put on a play criticizing Muslims. He might be right about that, but it would not surprise me if Broadway producers were reluctant to put on an anti-Catholic play with child abuse and molestation as it’s central theme. Or a play about the Posse Comitatus paramilitary/Christian movement. Though if Bill could take off his blinders for a minute he might find there has been of anti-Muslim films made and distributed. What Bill is proud of, in an indirect way, and conservatives as well, though they are loath to follow their thoughts to conclusion, is that the U.S., Canada and western Europe have been largely secularized. Sure there are a lot of people that believe in some deity, but like American Catholics who have overwhelmingly embraced contraceptives, or American Muslims that hang on to bits of tradition, they largely think for themselves rather than go by strict interpretation of religious dogma.

Mount Rainier National Park wallpaper – Romney and Conservatives Seem to Think Venal and Values Mean The Same Thing

Mount Rainier National Park wallpaper

This is a frustrating post from Robert Wright at The Atlantic, The Muslim Protests: Two Myths Down, Three to Go

Here is the narrative that pretty much everyone was buying into 36 hours ago: Crude anti-Islam film made by Israeli-American and funded by Jews leads to Muslim protests that boil over, causing four American deaths in Libya.

Here is what now seems to be the case: the anti-Islam film wasn’t made by an Israeli-American, wasn’t funded by Jews, and probably had nothing to do with the American deaths, which seem to have resulted from a long-planned attack by a specific terrorist group, not spontaneous mob violence.

The bold part does seem to be the case. Film or not the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and three others likely would have happened whether there was a film or rumor about a film or not. On the other hand the rest of what were then simple protests, that have now turned into widespread rioting, that is mostly about the film. That part of it, from the perspective of someone who gave their first political donation when i was sixteen to the American Civil Liberties Union, seems totally out of proportion to any harm done. This is what some – though not all of the rioters are saying they stand for – violence, arson and murder are to be tolerated, directing insults at their religion, totally intolerable. I got the picture below from here, Muslim Protests Spread Around the Globe. In one picture a man is holding a sign that says yes to freedom of speech, but no to insulting their prophet.

Outrage in the Muslim community, stoked by a crude anti-Islam video mocking the prophet Muhammad, has spread across much of the globe today. Starting earlier this week in Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt, protesters stormed embassies, resulting in multiple deaths, four of them American. Since then, demonstrations have erupted in more than two dozen countries — ranging from small peaceful gatherings to violent attacks on western targets. Host nations have been struggling to defend western consulates after thousands took to the streets following Friday prayers. Gathered here are scenes of this growing unrest over the past few days. [36 photos]

Conservative nuts think Obama is Muslim, Muslim protesters show president as a tool of Israel. Sept. 2012

From the perspective of the protesters – who are not in the USA and do not have a 1st Amendment that guarantees freedom of speech, the press and freedom of expression – they feel they’re right. Respect for their beliefs comes before freedoms that most Americans take as their birthright. Some of the rioters are in countries such as Libya and Egypt that are nascent democracies, they are going to have growing pains in regards criticism or irreverent jokes about religion. One lesson here, completely lost on conservative bloggers and pundits, is that church and state never mix to the benefit of a stable democratic republic. Professional Islamiphobe Pam Gellar ( at Atlas Shrugged) has almost all the Atlantic pictures up, except the one that shows Muslims hating on President Obama. Gellar is also on the front of the bandwagon of pitchfork carrying conservatives trying to blame the United States for the film riots and the embassy deaths. having no real conscience or sense of shame that comes with said conscience this is no surprise, Republican Media Dubiously Accuse Hillary Clinton Of Ignoring Warnings Of Embassy Violence

Right-wing media outlets are pushing dubious allegations to attack Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the violence that claimed the life of the U.S. ambassador to Libya. But the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee has poured cold water on the attack.

Breitbart.com attacked Clinton by citing a report from the U.K. Independent that cites anonymous “senior diplomatic sources” saying:

[T]he US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and “lockdown”, under which movement is severely restricted.”

[   ]….But later on Fox, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) showed why right-wing media should not have jumped on this one thinly-sourced report so quickly. Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade asked Rogers about the Independent report. Rogers responded: “As chairman of the Intelligence Committee, I have seen nothing yet that indicates that they had information that could have prevented the event.”

Taking anything from Breitbart or Matt Drudge as reality based is like saying fetid water makes good coffee. While the overreaction is uncalled for so it the maliciously incendiary film by this creep, Christian charity, ex-con linked to film on Islam

One ran a low-profile Christian charity from a sleepy suburb east of Los Angeles. The other was a financially strapped gas station operator just out of federal prison.

In the last year, these men, both Egyptian immigrants, became unlikely collaborators in an endeavor that has shaken the stability of the Middle East.

Joseph Nassralla Abdelmasih, the president of the Duarte-based charity Media for Christ, and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a convicted felon from Cerritos, emerged Thursday as forces behind “Innocence of Muslims.” An online trailer for the low-budget film incited violence in recent days across the Arab world.

Media for Christ, whose stated mission is to “glow Jesus’ light” to the world, obtained permits to shoot the movie in August 2011, and Nakoula provided his home as a set and paid the actors, according to government officials and those involved in the production.

[  ]…Some of those activities were criminal. He was convicted on state drug charges in 1997. In 2010, he was convicted in an identity theft scheme. According to the court file, Nakoula, who ran gas stations in Hawaiian Gardens, operated under a dizzying array of aliases, including Kritbag Difrat. He was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and was released last summer.

The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church issued a statement this week condemning the funding and production of the film.

Coptic Christianity traces its roots to Egypt, where it was said to have been founded by one of Christ’s apostles. Its followers constitute the largest religious minority in Egypt.

If nothing else they knew this film was going to have consequences. One cannot even defend it as a serious look at Islam, with serious criticism or some fair rebuttal. It was intended as pure propaganda. Again, a lesson lost on Breibart.com, James O’Keefe and Karl Rove’s American Crossroads (Karl Rove Brings Ad Based On Fox’s Deceptive Editing Of Obama’s Remarks To Fox News). Radical extremists tend to think alike.

This has been a strange election cycle in several ways. One is that Romney-Ryan and the conservative movement have pretty much dropped all pretense as to have much in the way of integrity or honor. Conservatives values have always been part of a twisted morass of hypocrisy, have been tossed in the ditch, Romney’s Jaw-Dropping Lack of Morality

Economic Distortions

Other commentators have made the same point about Romney and his readiness to seize on any distortion relating to President Obama if it helps reinforce one of Romney’s campaign themes.

As New York Times columnist Paul Krugman noted earlier this year, Romney’s whole campaign is based on a cynical belief that Americans suffer from “amnesia” about what caused the nation’s economic mess and that they will simply blame President Obama for not quickly fixing it.

To illustrate the point last April, Romney staged a campaign event in Ohio at a shuttered drywall factory that closed in 2008, when Bush was still president and when the housing market, which had grown into a bubble under Bush’s deregulatory policies, was collapsing.

Krugman wrote: “Mr. Romney constantly talks about job losses under Mr. Obama. Yet all of the net job loss took place in the first few months of 2009, that is, before any of the new administration’s policies had time to take effect. So the Ohio speech was a perfect illustration of the way the Romney campaign is banking on amnesia, on the hope that voters don’t remember that Mr. Obama inherited an economy that was already in free fall.”

Krugman added that the amnesia factor was relevant, too, because Romney is proposing more tax cuts and more banking deregulation, Bush’s disastrous recipe. In other words, Romney’s campaign is based on the fundamental lie that the cure for Bush’s economic collapse is a larger dose of Bush’s economic policies.

Romney’s speech at the shuttered drywall factory in Ohio was a precursor to a similar misrepresentation at the Republican convention when Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney’s vice presidential running mate, blasted Obama over the fact that a GM plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, which stopped production under President Bush, had not been reopened – as if it were suddenly the role of the federal government to make such detailed decisions for corporations.

Unfortunately the Republican reliance on the gullibility of just enough of the American public to squeeze out razor thin victories has paid off in the past and regardless of polls showing President Obama with a national lead, do not underestimate the power of the negative ad storm to come. Conservative sugar daddy Sheldon Adelson alone can buy a million dollars with of attack ads every day until election day with just the money he keeps in his sock drawer. But no, issues matter. Maybe to the people who read political blogs and research articles, but not to a lot of voters  – Romney’s magical thinking about the deficit

Mitt Romney made it pretty clear today on Good Morning America: his tax plan (and his overall budget plan) will rely on two parts pixie dust, three of Jeannie’s blinks, a pinch of technobabble from Geordi La Forge, and something about the Elder Wand (which, I have to confess, I’ve never quite understood). That is, it’s all magic and fiction.

Specifically, Romney confirmed that he will balance the barget largely through economic growth:

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: You cite your own studies. But one of the studies you cite by Martin Feldstein at Harvard shows that to make your math work, it could work, if you eliminate the home mortgage, charity, and state and local tax deductions for everyone earning over $100,000. Is that what you propose?

MITT ROMNEY: No, that’s not what I propose. And, of course, part of my plan is to stimulate economic growth. The biggest source of getting the country to a balanced budget is not by raising taxes or by cutting spending. It’s by encouraging the growth of the economy. So my tax plan is to encourage investment in growth in America, more jobs, that means more people paying taxes. So that’s a big component of what allows us to get to a balanced budget.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But his study, which you’ve cited, says it can only work if you take away those deductions for everyone earning more than $100,000.

MITT ROMNEY: Well, it doesn’t necessarily show the same growth that we’re anticipating.

Well, there you have it. Mitt Romney’s not going to balance the budget by raising taxes or by cutting spending; we’re going to have presto-chango-magico growth. Exactly the way that Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush “balanced” the budget by projecting magical growth rates.

Its voodoo now, voodoo back under Saint Ronnie and it was supply-side voodoo under George W. Bush. This is something for the physiologists to explain. The average American would never think of running their household budget based on spending they have no reasonable reason to think they can pay for. Nor would they project totally unrealistic increases in revenue based on the proportion of pixie duct to unicorns, yet many of them will go into the voting booth and do just that.

Have to include this last bit from Ezra Klein, So Romney agrees with the U.S Embassy in Egypt?

This is a bit off Wonkblog’s typical beat, but I’m honestly baffled by Mitt Romney these days. Here he is talking to George Stephanopoulos about the anti-Muslim video that’s sparked mob anger (or has at least been the stated excuse for mob anger) in the Arab world:

Mitt Romney: Well, I haven’t seen the film.  I don’t intend to see it.  I, you know, I think it’s dispiriting sometimes to see some of the awful things people say.  And the idea of using something that some people consider sacred and then parading that out in a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong.  And I wish people wouldn’t do it.  Of course, we have a First Amendment.  And under the First Amendment, people are allowed to do what they feel they want to do.  They have the right to do that, but it’s not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film.

George Stephanopoulos: We’ve seen General Martin Dempsey call Pastor Jones to say, “Please don’t promote this film.” You think that’s a good idea?

Romney: I think the whole film is a terrible idea.  I think him making it, promoting it, showing it is disrespectful to people of other faiths.  I don’t think that should happen.  I think people should have the common courtesy and judgment – the good judgment – not to be, not to offend other peoples’ faiths.  It’s a very bad thing, I think, this guy’s doing.

Which as Ezra and others have noted is the same thing that original unauthorized statement from the American embassy said. The statement that Romney used as an indictment of the White House. Romney is either an air-head whose entire skill set extends to reading a spread sheet or he thinks venal and values mean the same thing.