Friday, November 2, 2012

Who Loses if Romney Wins?

Yes, that's right Captain Obvious, Obama will be the official loser if Romney gets to the magic electoral number of 270, but who else will lose?  And how bad?  

There are the obvious losses: the LGBT community stands to lose their greatest advocate  ever to reside in the White House.  The tenuous steps made toward marriage equality will be decimated by a Romney administration.  Romney has pledged to appoint an attorney general who will defend the Defense of Marriage Act and "champion a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman."  If he succeeds, it would be the only amendment (putting aside the 18th...we all know how well that turned out) that restricts citizens' liberty.  To expect anything less than blatant discrimination from Romney, who brags (behind closed doors, naturally) about blocking routine birth certificates for children of gay parents during his tenure as Massachusetts governor, is foolish.  

Also on the losing end, women with an interest in preserving their privacy and choice.  Romney has pledged to end federal funding of Planned Parenthood.  While good protein for right-wing social issues-voters, that funding is critical for services unrelated to abortion (which accounted for 3% of services performed by Planned Parenthood in 2010), like cancer screening (14.5%), contraception (33.5%) and STD testing and treatment (38%).  Seventy-six percent of Planned Parenthood patients have incomes at or below one hundred fifty percent of the federal poverty level.  Pair defunding Planned Parenthood and Romney's promised repeal of Obamacare, and you have a huge population with zero access to reproductive health services.  Add to that scenario, "forcible rape" Paul Ryan a heartbeat away from the presidency and four Supreme Court justices in their 70s, and Romney's professed "delight" at signing a bill overturning Roe v. Wade, and you can see all the choices women stand to lose.  

Also losing, the Earth and science.  In the wake of superstorm Sandy, it is hard for me to understand turning environmental issues political.  But that is exactly what we can expect under a President Romney.  His quip about Obama's concern for rising sea levels during the 2008 campaign, was the biggest laugh line in his RNC speech after all, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.  As is all too often the case, Romney was for it before he was against it, the environment I mean.  As governor he issued a "climate protection plan" and directed the creation of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (only to shy away once bitten by the presidential bug).  He fought against the "Filthy Five" high pollution power plants.  But as President, Romney has promised to end subsidies for renewable energy sources, like wind and solar.  He has vowed to curb regulations that discourage burning coal, basically thumbing his nose at the fact that coal use accounts for 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  Similarly, Romney plans to roll back Obama's fuel economy standards, which requires automakers to more than double fuel efficiency in vehicles by 2025, so that new cars average 54.5 miles per gallon.  The policy is projected to reduce oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day by 2025-- that's as much as the US currently imports a day.  The Environmental Protection Agency projects that the fuel rule will save families more than $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, with an average savings of $8,000 by 2025 over the lifetime of the vehicle. 

Education will also suffer under Romney's proposal of shifting student loans back to the private sector, at a cost of $58 Billion to taxpayers, according to the Congressional Budget Office.  That's right, $58 Billion of taxpayer money over the next decade, paid to private lenders to service federal student loans.  A President Romney will repeal Obama's programs for income-based student loan repayment and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.  Better hope you can "borrow the money from your parents" if you plan to attend classes during the next four years.  Public education will also lose when Romney ties federal funding to "parental choice" voucher-system reforms.  

Immigration reform will also, not surprisingly, lose.  Romney opposes the DREAM Act, and has only come out in support of a pathway to citizenship for military veterans.  That leaves approximately 800,000 young people without citizenship options, in spite of the fact that they were brought to this country as children through no "fault" of their own.  

I would be remiss to leave out the pivotal issue of job creation, which is of course related to all of the aforementioned "losers."  We've been promised 12 million jobs under a President Romney.  While his Jobs plan is made up of a hodgepodge of numbers from several studies (some projecting 10 year figures, not 4, as he'd have you believe), it may hold water, regardless of who wins November 6th.  In August, Moody's Analytics predicted 12 million jobs will be created by 2016, NO MATTER WHO WINS THE WHITE HOUSE.  Likewise, Macroeconomic Advisors predicted 12.3 million jobs created by 2016, regardless of winner and loser.  

So, to all of those tossing off the "social issues" as backseaters in this election, I encourage you to give them a thought.  And consider what you're willing to lose in the next 4 years.