How racist is the Romney campaign?

Al Green is supposed to be scary? Really? *Al Green*?

Pretty damned racist.

I mean, Al Green is supposed to be scary? Really? Al Green?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

13 thoughts on “How racist is the Romney campaign?”

  1. Do you have a link that’s not to the flipping FT? Nothing against their reporting or their editing, but they’re web-hostile.

  2. Be fair: she didn’t say scary. She implied that people who either like or are Al Green are not real Americans. That’s different from scary.

  3. Last I knew, the Reverend Green is the pastor of a church in Memphis.

    Seeing as how Mitt Romney retained his childhood affiliation with a church that, well into Mr. Romney’s adulthood, explicitly excluded black people from its priesthood, I doubt that the Romney campaign wants to go there.

    Is there any evidence that Mitt Romney ever expressed even a whisper of disagreement with his church about that policy while it was in force?

  4. …affiliation with a church that, well into Mr. Romney’s adulthood, explicitly excluded black people from its priesthood, I doubt that the Romney campaign wants to go there.

    Not only Mr Romney, but the entire country doesn’t want to go there.
    It’s been decided R-Money’s non secular religious views (sic) are out of bounds.
    However Romney’s secular religious views (sic) are fair game.
    Which is to say only the second part of this fun phrase matters: He is a Mormon who also worships at the temple of Mammon.

    And that might be just enough to make him no-term president. At least we all should certainly pray that Jon Chait is correct about the strategy:

    I speculated this last month, and Greg Sargent did actual reporting to help confirm it: The main point of the attacks on Bain is to soften up Romney for the final argument about policy. The Ryan budget, with its tax cuts for the rich and massive cuts to the social safety net, is so far out of line with public opinion that many undecided voters have trouble believing that Romney would do such a thing. Defining his biography is a way to set up that argument.

    I like that strategy. It is shrewd and smart. If the country votes for Romney they need to do so fully aware of what the Ryan budget means. And if R-Money can’t be defeated despite his support of the Ryan budget, then… well… it is game over for liberalism isn’t it? So indeed let’s have this as the central campaign issue. In that context, Romney’s religion is as important as transporting a dog atop a car. America is either going to take care of its middle class and poor or it isn’t. That is what the country is deciding in November once and for all.


  5. The ad to which Romney is responding takes a direct hit at outsourcing, an issue that, like immigration, is intimately intertwined with racism and jingoism. I mean, there’s a reason Pat Buchanan favors protectionism.

    The ad singles out Mexico, India, and China while playing “America the Beautiful”. To make matters worse, we know from the last time he did this (Goolsbee affair) that Obama is perfectly aware of huge consensus Comparative Advantage holds among economists. Shipping jobs overseas does not in fact result in a net jobs loss except under very particular circumstances (like a liquidity trap).

    The people who will be hurt by protectionism are poor brown folks overseas. I’m voting for Obama but his ad is much more racist than Romney’s (though, as a whole, Republicans are playing the race card more than Dems…I hasten to ad).

    1. But you have to recognize the distributional effects.

      If all the gains are captured by Bain and other PE firms, and the losses suffered by factory workers, then whatever the aggregate numbers say, it’s not a good idea. Would you take a dollar away from each of a hundred workers if that meant you could give Romney $110?

      1. Fair point. Allow me to address it.

        First, that’s not relevant to India. Paul Krugman:

        Although the outsourcing of some high-tech jobs to India has made headlines, on balance, highly educated workers in the United States benefit from higher wages and expanded job opportunities because of trade.

        That leaves Mexico and China. The boilerplate answer is this (Krugman again):

        In an economy that isn’t in a liquidity trap, one can reasonably assume that jobs lost due to Chinese exports will be offset by jobs gained elsewhere, although that may be small comfort to the workers affected

        So, in a liquidity trap, trade with a nation with a much a much higher ratio of unskilled workers is a bad idea. The rest of the time good. But what about distribution? Here is the consensus argument. Paul Krugman:

        When a country with a highly skilled labor force increases its trade with a country in which skill is at a greater premium, it can expect a decline in the real wages of its own unskilled workers….All the evidence suggests, however, that this effect will be extremely small.

        But wait! There has been a development. Krugman:

        …when the effects of third-world exports on U.S. wages first became an issue in the 1990s, a number of economists — myself included — looked at the data and concluded that any negative effects on U.S. wages were modest.

        The trouble now is that these effects may no longer be as modest as they were, because imports of manufactured goods from the third world have grown dramatically…

        Krugman’s conclusion? The topic needs to be revisited but he is leaning toward the “the uncomfortable conclusion that the income distribution effects of trade have gotten a lot bigger.” His solution:

        For the sake of the world as a whole, I hope that we respond to the trouble with trade not by shutting trade down, but by doing things like strengthening the social safety net. But those who are worried about trade have a point, and deserve some respect.

      2. Anyway, that was the nuanced answer. If Krugman is correct, while there is a lot of truth in what you’re saying, there is no way to justify saying; “all the gains are captured by Bain and other PE firms, and the losses suffered by factory workers.”

        Regarding Obama’s ad, he cannot justify the inclusion of India. He does not consider the needs of the global poor…nor does he consider those Americans who benefit from trade. That leaves low-skilled American workers. He has an argument there but his implied solution may be worse than the problem (see Krugman’s solution).

        To put this in perspective, the effects low-skilled immigrants have on depressing the wages of workers already here are much more certain than those due to outsourcing.

        1. Well yes. Saying all the gains are captured by PE firms is an exaggeration. But surely a large portion of them in certain cases are in fact so captured, and Krugman says that other gains are captured by highly educated workers and that unskilled workers are the losers.

          Given that, and given the GOP’s attitude towards social safety net, I’d say the criticism is fair. You say that those hurt by protectionism are poor brown people overseas. That’s a sensible point. But a lot of the people hurt by outsourcing in the context of the US economy are poor brown or black people right here. So I don’t really buy the “racist” accusation.

          It’s a tricky question. I do understand comparative advantage, and am generally a free trader, but my zeal has decreased a lot as I wonder how the benfits and costs are distributed. We’re doing a poor job in that area.

    2. Manju,
      There are also the externalities from losing manufacturing infrastructure. This was particularly salient in the auto industry bailout*, but is generically true. The other day, Tim Cook said he could get all the tool-and-die makers (i.e., extremely skilled machinists) in America in a room. I agree with your main point–Obama’s ads appeal to ugly things. But there are legitimate economic arguments for protectionism.

      (*At the time, I thought that the externality argument was the only legitimate one for bailing Chrysler out. It turned out that I was wrong–Chrysler was a far more viable firm that I had thought.)

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