ANALYSIS: Romney Plan Nothing to Laugh About

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  • Mitt Romney’s latest vision for the nation defies rational reasoning.

    Romney, the billionaire Republican candidate for president, says he may eliminate the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and consolidate the U.S. Department of Education if he’s elected president in November.

    It’s a random concept that could have dire consequences for millions of African-Americans who have relied on the government to save their homes from foreclosure, get access to affordable housing, and take advantage of special assistance for first-time home buyers.

    “I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said during a private campaign fundraiser last weekend. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later.”

    Romney, who promises to represent all Americans – including the poor– has quickly shifted to the general election against President Barack Obama. In addition to asking for an extension on filing his federal income taxes and hiding his assets in a Swiss bank, Romney is now threatening to dismantle two critical agencies that have provided a much-needed safety net for so many Americans.

    What’s more disconcerting about Romney’s ill-advised plan to overhaul government agencies is this: Either he hasn’t thought through the ramifications of his proposals or he doesn’t want to share his thinking with the general public. Pitching a plan to scrap federal agencies in a private, behind-closed-doors fundraiser is irresponsible – and somewhat shady.

    The issue of eliminating HUD is incomprehensible considering the number of Americans –blacks and whites — who take advantage of HUD’s many programs.

    “The data this month show that we’re making important progress in providing relief to homeowners under the Obama Administration’s programs,” HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic said in a statement Monday.

    “With fewer borrowers falling behind on their mortgages and some 425,000 families taking advantage of our enhanced Home Affordable Refinance Program – standing to save on average $2,500 per year – it’s clear that the Administration’s efforts continue to provide significant positive benefits.”

    And on Monday, The White House hosted a Summit on Entrepreneurship for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Minority Serving Institutions. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Small Business Administration, the White House Summit was designed to increase entrepreneurial resources for HBCUs serving African American students.

    “Not only must America become more competitive, America21 firmly holds that we must become more inclusively competitive – and HBCUs are key assets,” according to America21 officials who participated in the summit.

    Romney’s revelations about scrapping or consolidating at least two federal agencies comes as Obama has called on Romney to release his past tax returns, saying that candidates for office need to be “as transparent as possible.”

    In an interview with Univision Obama said: “I think that it’s important for any candidate in public office to be as transparent as possible, to let people know who we are, what we stand for, and you know, I think that this is just carrying on a tradition that has existed throughout the modern presidency.”

    While Romney decides when to release his tax returns, the Obama campaign has raised a combined $53 million in March. Obama has raked in about $350 million so far but campaign strategists say that’s still not enough.

    “We’re all going to have to dig even deeper, work even harder, move even faster,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a video released Monday. “It’s going to take all of us working together.”

    Obama holds a 9-point lead over Romney, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday. “The poll indicates a pronounced gender gap that benefits Obama, who holds a 16-point advantage over his challenger among women and a 3-point advantage among men,” CNN reported.

    Meanwhile, Romney, who has raised about $75 million for this campaign, has been invited to host “Saturday Night Live” and is considering the offer from SNL Executive Producer Lorne Michaels.

    If Romney appears on the 37-year-old comedy show, perhaps he’ll offer viewers more insight into his plan to scrap HUD. SNL will certainly provide the perfect stage for Romney since his simple-minded idea is nothing more than a joke.

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