Snap Fact #332:  A Lesson About the 2012 Presidential Candidates.

Post date: Oct 10, 2012 7:41:10 PM

Snap Fact #332A Lesson About the 2012 Presidential Candidates.

OBAMA UniversityObama U. Students have had the lesson of 4 years of President Obama’s steady, thoughtful, and straightforward leadership. In a complex world the President has made many creative and correct decisions. Final exam - GM is alive and Bin Laden is not.

ROMNEY UniversityRomney U. Students have had over 4 years of listening to the Professor of Prevarication evade, lie, misinform and flip-flop on virtually every issue. Your homework is below. An educated voter is a good voter. Final exam, Nov 6th

Following are some highlights mainly (but not solely) from the series by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, sources below:

Economic Worldview Romney’s economic proposals are based on the conservative economic theory of the last three decades that has been discredited by empirical studies. “Supply-side economics” a.k.a. “trickle-down economics” a.k.a. “Reagonomics” was popularized in the 1970s but began in earnest in 1981. It resulted in two sustained eras of tax cuts aimed at the wealthy, separated by a brief respite in the 1990s with the Bill Clinton administration, a variation that allowed an assessment of economic performance.

This assessment revealed that supply-side economics did not work and left a deteriorated fiscal health and a $3 trillion debt. In fact, by every important measure, our nation’s economic performance after the tax increases of 1993 (Clinton) significantly outpaced that of the periods following the tax cuts of the early 1980s and the early 2000s. The data does not mean that higher taxes are always better and lower taxes are always worse for the economy—there were other forces at work besides tax policies. It does mean that lower taxes aren’t a magical economic cure. Romney and other conservatives slavishly reject empirical studies that reveal the middle class drives the U.S. economy in favor of myth and cherished belief to rig the system for the rich.

The supply-side economic theory holds that the best way to ensure prosperity is to minimize taxation and government regulation on those who are the most likely to produce growth: the rich—reward wealth, allow the rich the freedom to use their money as they see fit, give corporations a free hand in how they treat their workers and customers, minimize taxes for the rich but raise taxes on nearly everyone else, effect massive yet unspecified sending cuts in the federal budget that threaten economic competitiveness, future prosperity and public safety—fiscal policies that will only exacerbate our federal budget challenges and exempt businesses from adhering to the most basic safety, health, environmental, and workplace rules and regulations. The economist John Kenneth Galbraith noted that supply side economics was the old horse-and-sparrow theory: If you feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows.”

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman believes that if Mitt Romney is elected president, the U.S. will experience an economic disaster similar to that seen in Ireland: “They’ve laid off a large fraction of their public workforce, they’ve slashed spending, they’ve had extreme austerity programs, they haven’t really raised taxes on corporations or the rich at all, they have 14 percent unemployment, 30 percent youth unemployment, zero economic growth.”

Jobs  Romney’s campaign claims that “Romney had the best jobs record in a decade” when he was governor of Massachusetts. According to FactCheck, that depends on how you measure it. Because national employment trends largely drive state employment and because there were national recessions both before and after Romney was in office, the Romney campaign claim of jobs success must be examined in that context. It must be remembered that the Republican Party has a poor history of job creation: the decade of Republican dominance that began in 1999 was the worst for the U.S. economy and jobs in modern times, and resulted in zero job creation. No previous decade going back to the 1940s had job growth of less than 20 percent. [Irwin]

Taxes  Romney is proposing a 20 percent across-the-board federal income tax cut. This would not be a reduction in federal revenue of $5 trillion over a decade as reported, but in reality, a $10 trillion cut, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. While he has kept the details of his plan secret, the “math” presented so far is flim flam—the math doesn’t add up,  and the plan is irresponsible. [Citizens for Tax Justice] Loss in tax revenue in his plan would have to be made up from others beside the rich. The Romney-Ryan plan would raise taxes on middle-class families with children by more than $2,000 a year on an average; raises taxes on 95 percent of Americans to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest 5 percent; would give every millionaire a new $265,000 tax cut on top of the Bush taxes cuts, give Romney a $4.5 million tax cut and an income tax rate of less than 1 percent on more than $20 million. He has signaled that he would eliminate deductions for real property taxes. The “studies” to which he refers are not actual empirical studies but opinions, some paid for by his campaign. As of October 8, the Romney campaign states that Romney is withholding details of his proposed 20 percent income tax cut “to avoid criticism.” [Israel]

State and Local Budgets  The Romney-Ryan Budget Plan and its drastic cutbacks in federal investments for states will have serious consequences for state and local budgets and cost the middle class dearly. Their promised cuts in overall federal spending of some $5 trillion over 10 years  (calculated to be actually over $10 trillion) means that the entire bulk of their plan will fall on 40 percent of the budget in which nearly all federal support for state and local budgets are found.

Attack on Poor  The Romney-Ryan Budget Plan showers more money on the rich, decimates programs that help people achieve the American Dream, and attacks not poverty but the poor themselves. Millions of Americans, predominantly children, seniors, the disabled and working poor will lose access to health insurance, nutrition aid, and education services.

Attack on Public Lands  Romney-Ryan want to drill, slash, and sell our nation’s public lands.  Romney told The Reno Gazette-Journal earlier this year that he doesn’t know “the purpose of ” public lands. The public lands policies of Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan would be disastrous for the 700 million acres of federal public lands that belong to all of us.

Attack on Public Health  The Romney-Ryan  economic plan would permit poisoning of our air--bad news for Americans’ public health. It would largely benefit oil and gas companies. Gov. Romney opposes these pollution-reduction measures that would shield children, seniors, and other vulnerable people from mercury, carcinogens, and carbon pollution.


Attack on Education Romney rails against federal spending for education rather than discussing ways to improve struggling schools or the lives of disadvantaged students. He unveiled his K-12 education plan—“A Chance for Every Child” in May 2012. Romney supports the Ryan budget plan that slashes education and related funding by 33 percent and could cut programs for low-income students and special education by almost $5 billion. Romney proposed no new initiatives but would turn federal funds into vouchers. The plan contains weak or bad ideas, contradictions, and few details. He has a mixed record as governor of Massachusetts—much of the credit for the state’s educational achievements is based on major policy changes in 1993 well before Romney became governor in 2002. Romney has flip-flopped on education at least five times with regard to educating disadvantaged students, federal role in education, the U.S. Department of Education, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top. The Ryan budget would cut more than $15 billion from the Pell Grant program, which helps low-income students pay for college.


Social Security  Romney wants to privatize Social Security. In 2007, when Romney was also campaigning for the Republican nomination for president, he supported his own radical change, repeatedly advocating for the privatization of Social Security, a plan pushed by Republicans and former President George W. Bush that failed in 2005. [Perr, Waldron]

Medicare  Romney-Ryan are proposing drastic cuts to Medicaid and want to turn Medicare from a “defined benefit” into a “defined contribution” plan--”vouchercare”—seniors would get a voucher from the federal government that they could use to help pay for a selection of private plans. According to Krugman, the Romney-Ryan plan would not “protect and strengthen Medicare,” it would actually kill the program. [Krugman]


Housing Romney’s Housing Plan is still elusive. His campaign website provides no indication of his housing policy. He has signaled that he would eliminate deductions for real property taxes.



Abomowitz, David M. “Romney’s Housing Plan: Still Elusive.” We may see Mitt Romney's tax returns before we know where he stands on the housing issues facing so many middle-class Americans. Center for American Progress, 2012-09-01.

Ayers, Jeremy. “Romney’s Paltry Education Plan.” Center for American Progress, 2012-08-20.

_______Infographic: Obama v. Romney: K-12 Education. Center for American Progress, 2012-08-30.“Infograpic: 5 Romney Flip-flops.” Center for American Progress Action Fund, 2012-08-30.

Boteach, Melissa. “Romney-Ryan Plan Slams the Poor, Showers More Money on the Rich.” Candidates’ Policies Prioritize Tax Breaks for the Wealthy While Decimating Programs that Help People Achieve the American Dream. Gov. Mitt Romney’s plan, along with his endorsement of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, calls not for an attack on poverty but for an attack on the poor themselves. Center for American Progress, 2012-09-11.

Caperton, Richard W., Matt Kapser, and Nicholas Richter. “The Romney-Ryan Ticket: Ceding the Energy Future.”

Abandoning Clean Energy Investments Means More Jobs Shipped Overseas and Declining American Economic Competitiveness. Center for American progress, 2012-09-05.

Center for American Progress. “The Romney-Ryan Economic Vision.” You pay more so millionaires pay less. 2012-08-22.

Citizens for Tax Justice. “Debate Debrief: Romney and Obama Compare Tax Policies.” 2012-10-04.

Ettlinger, Michael. “The Middle Class and Economic Growth.” Center for American Progress, 2012-08-01.

Ettlinger, Michael and Michael Linden. “The Failure of Supply-Side Economics.” Three Decades of Empirical Economic Data Shows That Supply-Side Economics Doesn’t Work. Center for American Progress, 2012-08-01. “Romney’s Jobs Record Is Best (or Worst).” 2012-06-08.

Fiore, Mark. VIDEO: “Once Upon a Trickle Down.” The Rise and Fall of Supply-Side Economics. Center for American Progress, 2011-08-01.

Goad, Jessica. “Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan Want to Drill, Sash, and Sell Our Nation’s Public Lands. Center for American Progress, 2012-09-10.

Irwin, Neil. “Aughts were a lost decade for U.S. economy, workers.” The Washington Post, 2010-01-02.

Israel, John. “GOP Strategist Says Romney Is Withholding Details of His Tax Plan To Avoid Criticism.” 2012-10-08.

Krugman, Paul. VIDEO: “Ireland is Romney economics in practice.” Politico, 2012-06-19.

_______ “The Medicare Killers.” The International Herald Tribune, 2012-08-30.

_______“Supply-Side Virus Strikes Again.” Why there is no cure for this virulent infection. Slate, 1996-08-16.

Linden, Michael and Lori Lodes. “The Consequences of the Romney-Ryan Budget Plan on State and Local Budgets.

The Burden of Drastic Cutbacks in Federal Investments for States Will Cost the Middle Class Dearly.” Center for American Progress, 2012-04-02.

Linden, Michael, Seth Hanlon, Jennifer Erickson, Gadi Dechter, Adam Hersh, and Karla Walter. “The Romney Economic Agenda and Its Effect on the Middle Class and Growth.” How His Economic Proposals Depend on the Failed Bush Strategy of Enriching the Wealthy at the Expense of Everyone Else. Center for American Progress, 2012-07-31.

Perr, Jon. “Obama Forgot Romney Wanted to Privatize Social Security.” Perrspectives, 2012-10-05.

Politifact. “Obama said Romney’s plan would cost retiree’s $6,000.”

Steigleder, Stephen. “The Ryan Budget’s Pell Grants Cuts Put College Out of Reach for Low-Income Students.” Center for American Progress, 2012-08-28.

Volsky, Igor. “At Last Night’s Debate: Romney Told 27 Myths In 38 Minutes.”

Waldron, Travis. “Flashback: Mitt Romney has Consistently Supported the Privatization Of Social Security.” Think Progress, 2012-09-08.

Weiss, Daniel J. and Jackie Weidman. “Permitting Poison in the Air Means More Money for the Romney-Ryan Campaign.” Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan’s economic plan would be bad news for Americans’ public health and would largely benefit oil and gas companies.” Center for American Progress, 2012-09-18.


This SNAP-CAP was produced by Beverly Bandler


Beverly Bandler’s public affairs career spans some 40 years. Her credentials include serving as president of the state-level League of Women Voters of the Virgin Islands and extensive public education efforts in the Washington, D.C. area for 16 years. Bandler attended Sarah Lawrence College (‘59) and has a master’s degree in Public Administration from George Washington University (‘82). She writes from Mexico.