Three Takeaways from Last Night’s Presidential Debate

This is a cross post from AFL-CIO Now Blog

by Jackie Tortora

Mitt Romney continues to be disconnected from working families’ priorities. Just take a look at his tax and jobs plans he touted during last night’s second presidential debate. Romney insisted he could cut tax rates for the wealthiest earners across the board without increasing the deficit or raising taxes on working people. He also touted his five-point jobs plan, which President Obama called out for what it really is:

“Gov. Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules. That’s been his philosophy in the private sector, that’s been his philosophy as governor, that’s been his philosophy as a presidential candidate.”

Here are the three takeaways from last night’s debate:

1. There is a stark contrast between President Obama’s and Mitt Romney’s visions. President Obama laid out a clear vision for economic growth and progress. Romney’s ideas are recycled from President Bush. President Obama put forward concrete ideas to invest in American manufacturing, bring jobs from overseas back to the United States and create highly skilled jobs for America’s workers. The president’s vision includes making sure college and student loans are affordable and available to working families and to invest in new energy resources. Romney’s vision is narrow. Its cornerstone is the failed economic policies that got our country into the recession in the first place. We need to move forward, not backward.

2. Romney’s tax plan and jobs plan don’t add up—he wants to continue the failed economic policies of President Bush. Romney is not giving up his plan to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy (one of the biggest drivers of our deficit). He also claims his jobs plan would create 12 million jobs in his first term. One study points out the tax plan could create 7 million jobs, but that’s over 10 years, not four. The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein writes:

“Worse, the study assumed that a Romney-like tax plan would be completely paid for and would happen in an economy at full employment. Neither is likely.”

For his tax plan, the math is even more fuzzy. Bloomberg’s Josh Barro writes:

“I said Romney’s tax plan is mathematically impossible: he can’t simultaneously keep his pledges to cut tax rates 20 percent and repeal the estate tax and alternative minimum tax; broaden the tax base enough to avoid growing the deficit; and not raise taxes on the middle class.”

3. Romney is only interested in protecting tax breaks and giveaways for the wealthy (like himself). Romney and the GOP continue to insist we cannot allow the Bush-era tax cuts to expire on the wealthiest 2% of taxpayers. They are even willing to hold the middle-class tax cuts hostage to continue these tax breaks millionaires and billionaires simply don’t need. Romney is out of touch and clearly doesn’t understand what working people go through.

Romney’s disconnect from working families was made even more clear when he said it took him 25 years to notice women did not receive equal pay or treatment in the workplace. He needs to pay more attention. Equal pay, education, sensible immigration reform that doesn’t rip families apart and creating jobs are issues working people care about. Extending tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% is not the vision we need.

Read the rest of this post and others from AFL-CIO Now Blog by clicking here.

(Photo: Nation of Change)


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