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The stadium may have been empty but the speech certainly wasn’t.

During Mitt Romney’s speech in Detroit yesterday, he laid out his bold, new economic policy. Massive tax cuts for the top bracket paid for by cutting spending on programs that benefit the neediest of the needy. As Ezra Klein put it:

“When Romney said he “wasn’t concerned about the very poor,” he wasn’t kidding. He’s using the policies they depend on most as a piggy bank for tax cuts.”

Most of what Romney addressed was familiar territory–raising the retirement age, privatizing Medicare, and repealing “Obamacare.” He also called for cutting things like subsidies to Amtrak and Planned Parenthood, which amount to pocket change in the federal budget, and bringing federal worker’s pay down to the same crappy level as people in the private sector.

But the bulk of the spending cuts would come from sending Medicaid back to the states:

“Romney’s real savings come in the next section. He’ll “send Medicaid back to the states and cap that program’s rate of growth,” and then “do the same for other programs, like food stamps, housing subsidies and job training.”

Sending the programs back to the states is a red herring. The key bit for deficit reduction is capping their rates of growth. Which is to say, cutting their rates of growth. Which is to say, cutting them.

What Romney is essentially proposing to do is finance a massive tax cut by cutting Medicaid, food stamps, housing subsidies and job training. In other words, the neediest Americans…will be financing a massive tax cut.”

This is Romney’s idea of shared sacrifice:

“My plan for America requires real leadership. And it calls for sacrifice. It doesn’t require a leader to promise bigger and bigger benefits, and something for nothing. Let me underscore that. It doesn’t require a leader to promise bigger and bigger benefits, and free stuff. It requires a leader … to call for sacrifice.”

Here’s who would bear the brunt of that sacrifice (BCCA is an acronym for Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention and Treatment Act that allows states to provide early access to Medicaid to women with cancer).

Here are the Medicaid dollars spent per beneficiary:

So in order for cuts in the scope of what Romney is proposing to have any substantial affect, here’s what would have to happen:

“…[T]he amount we spent per blind or disabled person, or per elderly person, is much, much more than the amount we spend per child or adult. This means that if we really want to cut Medicaid spending, and we want to do it on the backs of adults or children, we will have to drop many, many more of them to make a real impact on spending.

If we cut 1 million elderly from the Medicaid rolls, we reduce Medicaid spending by about 5%. If we cut 1 million adults, however, we reduce Medicaid spending by only 1%. We need to cut 5 times as many adults. If we want to cut Medicaid spending by 10%…we’d need to drop more than 10 million adults from Medicaid. That’s almost three-quarters of all of them. If we want to cut overall Medicaid spending by 20%, then we’d need to drop all non-elderly adults, including all pregnant women, as well as about 10 million kids, or more than a third of them.

So what will we do? Should we cut some of their benefits instead? Again, look how little we already spend on children and adults. If we cut spending on every child and every non-elderly adult by 25%, that will reduce overall Medicaid spending by less than 8%.

Or do you want to go after the money we spend on the blind and disabled? Women with breast cancer or colon cancer? The elderly?”

Right on, Mitt. Let’s take all that “free stuff” away from all those “something for nothing” freeloaders like the blind, the disabled, the elderly, and women with cancer. They’ve had it too easy for too long. It’s high damn time they sacrificed something so your buds can have another yacht to water ski behind or another vacation home.