Mitt Romney And The Cash Register Heart

HEY, LET’S GIVE IT UP FOR Mitt Romney. He looked pretty good in the first presidential debate, not his usual robotic self.

Still, when he put his full faith and trust, not in the federal government, but in business to solve any problem confronting the American people, did anybody else notice that Romney still has a cash register for a heart?

Romney was defending Medicare at the time–clearly a successful government program–and whining about how President Obama was taking money away from innocent insurance companies and poor doctors and hospitals.

If you’re old enough to remember the “good old days,” however, sometimes you wonder about this unwavering faith in private enterprise. You remember, for example, how Ford Motors cut corners to save money when designing the Pinto and ended up with a car prone to explode and incinerate unlucky consumers. Or, if you’re from Ohio, you remember the Chemdyne Corporation, which specialized in disposal of toxic chemicals. You can make good money, Mr. Romney, cleaning up the environment. Especially if you do what Chemdyne did in the dead of night and dump barrels of waste into a canal running into the Great Miami River.

Romney, by the way, IS old enough to remember. That’s why his infatuation ought to worry all other Americans.

It’s not like it’s hard to find current examples. Pick up the New York Times and look at any recent story about fashion. What you notice are the anorexic models. You’d think an entire industry might stop using models who endanger their health to meet a certain body-type standard. Then again, like Mr. Romney, you’d be assuming businesses actually cared about human beings, not just piling up dollars. Check out the spindly legs on Isabel Marant if you have any doubt.

How about horses? Mr. Romney and his wife love horses! (After all those four-legged beasts aren’t part of the 47%.) So how is the racing business doing? There are widespread accusations of drugging horses, shooting them up with pain killers so they can perform, even if they break down during or after races, requiring their euthanasia. New Jersey and New York state officials, working together, have “determined that [Luis] Pena amassed 1,719 drug violations in connection with 675 races,” winning $2.5 million in purses.

Screw it. Millions in the pocket and a few dead animals. Good deal.

What else are Romney’s business heroes up to lately? Well, how about Bank of America? Romney doesn’t think regulation is good for the economy. The bank just agreed to a deal to pay $2.43 billion to settle claims that it mislead investors.

What else is in the news this week? Trouble for the Zetas drug cartel. That’s a bloody business but a business it is. You have twenty million women and children, victims of human trafficking. (Cha-ching, cha-ching, right?) American Express is refunding $85 million to customers to settle accusations it violated federal law in marketing.  JPMorgan is being sued for defrauding investors and selling mortgage securities the bank knew were shaky. And the Federal Trade Commission has charged fourteen companies, most of them in India, with fraud, after they duped unwary consumers into believing their computers were infected with malware and charged them hundreds of dollars to “fix” non-existent problems.

But, wait, there’s more! Remember that $716 billion Mitt Romney kept insisting President Obama stole from the Medicare system. Let’s face it. Mr. Obama could have done a better job explaining how he was forcing insurance companies to meet certain standards of care or pay penalties. So let’s think about this. Mitt? Really? You think private enterprise always does a better job than government? Turns out there are plenty of crooks in the world of business. The federal government has just charged 91 doctors, nurses and  medical professionals in seven cities with $430 million in false billings to Medicare.

Well, good job in the debate, Mr. Romney. We know you want to insure that the United States always has the world’s strongest military. And we know, when it comes to business, red, white and blue always triumphs over green. Well, there’s another bummer:  Federal prosecutors just charged a Houston businessman with illegally supplying the Russians with “American high-tech goods for use in Russian weapons systems.”

Meanwhile, at the state level (where Mitt believes government does its best work when government must be involved), GOP-controlled legislatures are passing voter-ID laws left and right, trying to make sure that the American electorate fits the same profile it did in 1801. And when it comes to voter registration, if you can’t trust businessmen, who can you trust? Since 2004, the GOP has paid Nathan Sproul and his various companies $17.6 million to register more voters, particularly the conservative kind.

How is Sproul doing??

GREAT, GREAT. WE WON’T EVEN NEED HEALTH CARE by the time he and his employees are finished, because Sproul has the sharp skills of a crafty businessman in pursuit of a fatter pay check. In fact, Sproul can raise the dead and sign them up to vote.

That’s illegal, of course, but who can you trust if you can’t trust Mitt Romney and his businessmen and businesswomen friends?

Viall also writes about education issues at