Have you seen the pro-Romney ad that begins with voice over saying, "Welcome to the New Normal"? It proceeds to argue that although President Obama's campaign slogan is "Forward," America is falling behind under his policies. Romney's Super PAC called "Restore Our Future" sponsors the ad, which has been running a lot lately in the last few days of the campaign.
This ad has a big flaw. Tucked into the middle of its argument is visual evidence that does not support the ad's own rhetoric. As the ad's speaker drones on ominously, he says that President Obama's New Normal is one "where our children will grow up under the weight of crushing debt in a world where America is no longer the leader and we're told we're going farther even as we fall farther behind." On the screen a list flashes that shows viewers who is leading the world in economic competitiveness, and the United States is not number one but number seven, according to World Economic Forum Competitiveness Rankings for 2012.
I have no problem with the list itself, but what I see when I look at it is not that we are behind as much as who is ahead of us. As you can see in the picture above, the six countries ahead of the United States are Switzerland, Singapore, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany. But consider this fact: these six countries have something else in common other than coming in ahead of the United States. All six countries have what the Romney campaign wants to eliminate in America: a public health care system:
- Switzerland: It has a system that provides healthcare for all citizens but requires them to buy private health insurance as well.
- Singapore: It has government-run, national healthcare with better outcomes than healthcare in the USA.
- Finland: It has a publicly-funded healthcare system that offers its citizens universal healthcare.
- Sweden: "Everyone in Sweden has equal access to health care services under a largely decentralized, taxpayer-funded system."
- Netherlands: The country has an "innovative universal healthcare system."
- Germany: According to Spiegel Online, Germans are baffled by American conservatives attack on Obamacare - "They also question the continued portrayal of US President Barack Obama and his health reform backers as socialists and communists, noting that healthcare was introduced in Germany in the 19th century by Otto von Bismarck, who was definitely not a leftist, and is supported by conservative and pro-business politicians today."
A closer look at the evidence provided by Romney's Super PAC makes it clear to those who think critically that President Obama's vision for the nation is one that moves America forward to a better day. If we want to be at the top of the list again, why go back to the old health care system? Why go backward at all?