Romney Rewrites, Sampler

There's been a lot of pick-up on my item about changes in the new paperback edition of Mitt Romney's "No Apology." I didn't have room to provide more than a summary there, so I thought I'd provide more of the changes here, so people can judge for themselves.

Bear in mind that the remainder of the book (other than the new introduction) is virtually unchanged -- aside from the two sections I wrote about, I could only identify five paragraphs altered in the entire book, all of which were either to change something to past tense, or to remove something that is no longer true (eg, "there has never been an oil spill from an offshore platform"). Oh, and to remove journalist Nina Easton from the acknowledgements. (Perhaps at her request, after she got grief for the ethics of advising Romney.)

Starting with the economic-stimulus section, here's a paragraph as it reads in the original hardcover:

The "all-Democrat" stimulus that was passed in early 2009 will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery, but not as much as it could have had it included genuine tax- and job-generating incentives. President Obama and his economic team said their stimulus would hold unemployment below 8 percent. But unemployment soared well above that level. Not only has the 2009 package already been far less than successful, it will impose a heavy burden on the economy in the intermediate and long term.

Here's how it reads in the new paperback:

The "all-Democrat" stimulus passed in early 2009 has been a failure. The administration takes great pains to argue that the stimulus helped grow the economy. The relevant question is whether it performed according to the Obama administration's own standards -- and that answer is "no." President Obama and his economic team said that it would hold unemployment below 8 percent. But unemployment soared to 10 percent and has remained over 9.5 percent for more than a year. Rather than focusing on incentives to create private sector employment, the stimulus funded federal programs and bailed out state governments. Washington, D.C., became a boom town as the government added 127 thousand new jobs. People throughout the rest of the country suffered, however, as private sector employment plunged by 2.4 million jobs. The 15 million Americans out of work as of August 2010 would constitute an unemployment line reaching from Washington, D.C., to California and back again. The Obama stimulus, funded with a mountain of debt, was a bust.

A couple of paragraphs later the following is newly inserted:

The administration's economic missteps went well beyond its poorly designed stimulus. Rather than focus on the economy, the president embarked on a dizzying array of initiatives intended to "change" America and install his liberal agenda. The economic crisis was to be exploited, not solved. Unfortunately, the initiatives were decidedly anti-investment, anti-growth, and anti-jobs. Obamacare was slated to raise taxes by one-half a trillion dollars, to place heavy administrative burdens on small business, and to radically change health insurance and healthcare. Cap-and-trade would rocket energy prices by an indeterminable amount. Financial reform legislation would fundamentally change the rules for financial services companies -- sometime in the future. Individual and small business taxes were set to sharply rise: The tax on dividends, for example, would jump from 15 percent to 39 percent. The administration would slant the employment field toward labor unions by installing a labor stooge at the NLRB and by promoting "card check" and mandatory arbitration.

This legislative assault introduced new layers of uncertainty into the private sector. Most businesses can handle bad news, but they can't handle lack of predictability. All the while, the president toured the nation to scapegoat and demonize the private sector -- everyone from insurance managers, auto managers, health-care managers, financial managers, bankers, bond holders, and doctors felt his wrath. With the economy in the doldrums and with the president piling on, small business in particular retreated. Even large companies held back new investments and hiring: A record amount of capital has been frozen on corporate balance sheets. In the past, we have had government declare war on poverty and war on drugs, but this is the first time government has declared war on free enterprise.

Next, the section titled "The Massachusetts Model" in the chapter "Healing Health Care." The first paragraph of that section in the hardcover has been completely removed; here it is:

In 2009, the national health-care policy supported by Barack Obama was often and erroneously reported as being based on the plan we enacted in Massachusetts. There were some big differences -- in particular, our plan did not include a public insurance option. The notion of getting the federal government into the health-insurance business is a very bad idea. Government-supplied insurance would inevitably be subsidized at great cost to the taxpayers and, combined with Medicare and Medicaid, it would give government the kind of monopoly we would never allow a private entity to claim. Clearly, the public insurance option is simply a transitional step toward the president's stated goal of creating a single-payer system, one in which the nation's sole health insurer would be the federal government.

You can see the problem: he argued that the major difference is the public option, which did not end up being part of the federal law. That paragraph is gone in the new edition. Over the next several paragraphs, there are a few other removals and changes, mostly removing suggestions or hints about how to do national health-care reform right. One good example comes at the end of a paragraph boasting of the success of his plan in Massachusetts. The original paragraph ends with this sentence:

We can accomplish the same thing for everyone in the country, and it can be done without letting government take over health care.

That has been replaced with:

And it was done without government taking over health care.

The biggest change, however, is the addition of seven paragraphs at the end of the section. Here are some excerpts:

...When the bill was signed, we noted that as with any experiment, it would need mid-course corrections. In addition, we knew that the legislature had added a number of troublesome provisions to the program -- subsequent data would prove that these would be among the necessary corrections.

I am often asked how I would make the program better. First, of course, I would reinstitute my vetoes of the legislature's additions.... I would also have rather provided a tax break for those who have health insurance rather than a tax penalty for those without health insurance....

I would have made very different choices in the years since I left office than those that were made by the Democrats. When the reform was passed, for example, we required everyone who received subsidized insurance to pay a fair share of their premiums -- the new liberal administration decided that some people should get their insurance for nothing. Imagine the additional cost to the state of such a decision. Imagine as well the incentive it creates for people -- particularly unhealthy people -- to move into the state.... There is no question in my mind that our program could be significantly improved if it were managed by a conservative administration....

Had we not passed out program, it is probable that an expensive entitlement would have been imposed on Massachusetts taxpayers: a ballot initiative would have made government-provided health care for every resident a constitutional right -- and that initiative was leading in the polls. And it has been an instructive experiment, teaching both the "do" and "don't"....

Here is why Obamacare will not work and should be repealed. First, the Massachusetts health-care plan was designed for Massachusetts, not for every state and not for the nation.... Second, Obamacare was a major departure from what we had crafted: It raised taxes, cut benefits for seniors, and imposed laborious burdens on small business -- we did not. His bill was over two thousand pages and is intended as a step toward a government takeover of health care; our bill was seventy pages and was intended as a step toward market-driven health care. Our reform was constitutional; Obamacare is an unconstitutional federal incursion into the rights of states. And, as Florida's Marco Rubio put it: "Even if Obamacare was a good program, which it is not, we simply cannot afford more federal spending. [Italics in original]


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