If there was anything that defined the debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama last night, it was the aggression that came out of Mitt Romney. In exposing himself as what amounted to an aggressive white man, I do not believe that he did himself any favors. There are many that believe that the President did not handle himself well, that he did not attack in the manner Mitt Romney did.
What the president did do, is very clearly, calmly and succinctly explain to the American people what he has accomplished. He explained, for instance, the advantages in the American Care Act.
When the president spoke about medicare and the money that he has managed to save, Romney insisted that he was taking money out of the system, as though making a system more efficient is taking money out of the system. If Romney declares himself to be a businessman, he must understand that there are efficiencies to be gained in any enterprise, That does not entail necessarily taking money out of the system, rather it is making the system work more efficiently, by for instance creating electronic records for patients.
Romney prevaricated his way throughout the debate, misrepresenting his positions on any number of things. For instance, his claim that he would lower tax rates across the board, yet not raise the deficit, is clearly not feasible. He claims that he will eliminate deductions without mentioning those deductions in order to create a revenue neutral system. That is not possible without taking deductions away from the middle class, deductions that would effectively raise their taxes. It does not help if the tax rate is lowered, but you lose any deductions that you may have. You will end up paying more taxes. Your effective tax rate rises, it does not fall.
Romney forgets that the standard deduction, around $12500 per family and $2500 per individual add up to around $17000 per family. Most families just do not have itemized deductions that reach anywhere near that level. If you do away with the standard deduction, you will raise income by $17,000 per family, thus dramatically increasing a families tax burden. This burden will be on the middle classes, not on the wealthy, who will see massive reductions in their tax rates.
What Romney was very clear about is that he wants to broaden the tax base, which means he wants the poorest people in this country to pay more tax. If he does away with the standard deductions, even at a 10% rate, on $17.000 in income, poor people will have a tax burden of $1700, in addition to parole taxes, money they cannot afford. In addition, Romney wants to do away with the mortgage deduction, something that many middle class people rely on, thereby raising their tax rate.
The fact is that Romney’s plan will increase taxes dramatically on the middle class. If he does not eliminate these deductions, but rather just lowers tax rates, revenue for the Federal government will fall dramatically, creating a fiscal crisis.
Romney also wants an increase in military spending, which will succeed in raising the deficit in an unsustainable fashion. This country does not need a bigger military, what it needs is health care for the citizens, and jobs for the middle classes.
Nowhere did Romney indicate how he was going to increase the number of jobs available in the economy. He indicated that he wants to allow more oil drilling, that will only increase the problem of global warming, rather than encouraging the growth of the green energy sector and reducing greenhouse gases. He claims that he is going to create 12m jobs by increasing the size of the energy sector. Mathematically this is just not feasible. There are not that many jobs in the sector.
An oil pipeline will only create more pollution and create very few new jobs. The oil sector can only handle a few more jobs, regardless how large you make it, and that will not change the price of oil around the world. Since oil is dependent on the prices around the world, prices will not change.
Romney wants a voucher system in Medicare, which will dramatically increase the costs for seniors. Even if he had to keep the system the same for those seniors today, there is no reason that future generations will want to pay for a system that only benefits current seniors. With vouchers, seniors will be left on the hook for costs that they cannot afford.
People say that Romney won this debate. I don’t agree. The President was far more specific, he told the people what he has done and wants to do. Romney continues to change positions whenever he feels that it suits him, without any specifics. I think that the American people will see through this tactic and understand that Obama is the better man for the job.
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