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Romney's Backers, Romney's Brain: The Money, the Thinking, the Plan

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These aren't just Romney's peers, and friends and backers. They're the same people who helped wreck the economy in 2008 and then sneered at their own newly-jobless victims, as Romney did in that video: "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." No wonder Romney promised to stop any attempt to police them when he pledged to overturn the tepid Dodd/Frank financial reform bill, giving them free reign to do it all again.

They say "money talks," and that was the sound of its voice.


Romney's key financial backers say they're "makers" and most other Americans are "takers." But they're not "makers." They're "book-makers." They encourage other people to gamble and keep a piece of the winnings for themselves.

They didn't "build that." They didn't build anything. They got rich betting on "that," often harming its employees and society as a whole in the process. (I wrote about how this has poisoned one of the most important parts of our economy -- health -- in "Sick Money.")

"Makers" are people who actually build things and hire people. Sure, some have acted unethically. But the best of them raise the country's overall wage base, while arguably improving our quality of life. Romney's backers -- the "bookmakers" -- don't have any particular interest in seeing these socially productive "makers" succeed. That's one way to make money, but nowadays it's hardly the easiest.

The bookmakers love to say that their critics are people who hate success. Not true: Their critics are people who want to rein in unproductive, socially harmful, predatory and near-sociopathic forms of greed. Big difference.

The "bookie" agenda can be found, in more or less severe forms, in economic proposals with labels like "austerity," "Simpson Bowles," "deficit fix," and "bipartisan." But the Romney/Ryan/Republican economic platform reflects that agenda in its most naked and shameless state.

The Agenda

The GOP has departed radically from the post-war economic consensus that led Eisenhower to build the national highway system and George W. Bush to invest a quarter of a trillion dollars in infrastructure. Why?

Makers need educated employees. Bookmakers don't.

The "bookie" financier agenda guts funding for education, a mainstay of both parties for generations. Here's their attitude: If one of our investments needs workers, outsource it and let India or China pay the cost of educating them.

Makers need roads and bridges. Bookmakers don't.

Our roads are crumbling. Our bridges are falling down. But when you don't make anything you don't need raw materials brought to you, and you don't need products shipped to market. You don't even need public transportation so your employees can get to work -- because ideally you won't have any employees.

The Society of Civil Engineers says it will take $2.2 trillion to restore our crumbling infrastructure -- money that would also create jobs. That boost would help everybody, including the Makers. Everybody, that is, except the Bookies. So we're not spending the money, and under their agenda we never will. If they prevail, the results are estimated to include $3.1 trillion in lost economic growth, "Maker" businesses paying an added $430 billion in transportation costs, and household incomes falling by more than $7,000 annually.

The Bookies don't care. They like their special tax breaks.

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Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

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