We should not let discussion of who won the second presidential debate distract us from the consequences of who wins and loses if Romney wins the election. A brief survey:
Winners under an unconstrained Romney-Ryan administration:
· Wall Street: All their wishes will be fulfilled. Water down Dodd-Frank. No increase in capital gains tax rates. No Buffet tax. No reinstatement of Glass- Steaggall. No ordinary income tax or employment tax on private fund managers. A clean sweep for the plutocracy.
· The Oil and Gas Industry: Loosen regulations on drilling everywhere including off shore and in the Arctic. No controls on fracking. Keep open dirty coal plants. Roll back mileage standards.
· Abortion advocates: With Ryan leading the charge, the federal government will side with states trying to further restrict access to abortion and, probably contraception.
· Bibi Netanyahu: The Israeli Prime Minister will have his long-time friend in the White House and the job of dictating U.S. policy toward Iran.
· Iran: Counter-intuitively, Iran will see a disintegration of the sanctions coalition due to increased Israeli influence on U.S. policy and Romney's antagonism to Russia and China and a return to the Bush go-it-alone policies.
And the likely losers?
· Women: Say goodbye to Planned Parenthood, equal pay, military service in combat positions and probably Title IX.
· Seniors: With the end of ObamaCare seniors will see the opening of the prescription drug "donut hole" and near-seniors will face a voucher Medicare future.
· Gay people: Return to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and support of DOMA.
· Consumers: At best the new Consumer Protection agency will be neutered, at worst it will be killed.
· Uninsured: Whatever the GOP plan to "repeal and replace ObamaCare, it will not provide insurance to the millions now uninsured or pre-existing protection for those not now insured.
· Medicaid: The Ryan plan would result in millions of children and the elderly being gradually pruned from needed nursing home and medical support.
· Students: The student loan program is sure to be cut and turned over to the private sector.
· National Parks: In addition to drilling, large sections of national parks and public lands will be sold to private developers and speculators.
· The Military: Again counter-intuitively, Romney's plan to increase ground forces by 200,000 over the 9/11 levels will decrease quality and increase discipline problems. In 2007 when those forces were 100,000 above the 9/11 base, recruits were accepted without high school diplomas, then without GED certificates and then with felony conditions. The predictable results followed. They will be worse this time, especially if the job market continues to improve.
· Veterans: The Ryan budget cuts veterans spending 11 percent. Ryan voted against the New GI Bill of Rights and Romney did not mention veterans in his acceptance speech or recent debate.
Will all of these things happen? Probably not. Will all be attempted? Probably so. But a Romney victory could bring a GOP Senate and leave the Democrats no choice but to do to Romney what the Republicans did to President Obama. In a choice between disaster and gridlock, between strengthening the plutocracy and preserving some semblance of democracy, the choice is clear.