Romney is right to raise the issue of subsidies, but he badly misstates what has happened in the United States during the last four years. The big, nontransparent, and dangerous subsidies are off-budget, contingent liabilities generated by government support for too-big-to-fail financial institutions. These subsidies do not appear in any annual appropriation, and they are not well measured by the government, which is part of what makes them so appealing to the big banks and so damaging to everyone else.
If only Romney had turned popular disdain for subsidies against the global megabanks, he would now be coasting into the White House. Instead, by going after the hard-pressed 47—the very people who have been hurt the most by reckless bank behavior—his prospect of victory in November has been severely damaged.