It might be his ability to perform? It might spur from the day he stabbed his buddy in the back and hit on the other girl who eventually, thankfully, romantically, I guess, became his bride. How nice. But, he must've missed math the day they taught math class. Or, maybe, calling upon his corporate background and wealth management resume, he simply knows how to cook the books.
|DC: Washington Monument (T. Peter Lyons)|
So after the POTUS stuck to the facts, abided by the so-called rules of a Presidential Debate where Jim Lehrer "let 'em play" like the old days of Earl Strom, Jake O'Donnell and Jack Madden, we were left to hear all the pundits claim victory for Mr. Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts who instituted universal healthcare in the Commonwealth, seconds after the spin-room flacks hit the airwaves.
Long have I thought that the former Governor ... Mr. Romney ... Mitt to his friends, family and followers ... has a tendency to omit (oh-Mitt?) the facts. He carves up a story, the studies or the analysis of the real economy to fit his pre-conceived notion for what he (honestly, I'm sure) hopes, prays, believes MIGHT occur. He overlooks specifics and has chosen not to make his plans public until after the election?
Problem-o! None of it adds up and - worse than that - our recent history a.k.a - The Bush presidency - proves the mathematics don't work. They don't compuete in any way, by any study - except in Sean Hannity's warped mind, may he be placed in a padded room and rest in peace.
Here's the scoop:
without raising taxes on the middle class. Those rate reductions would cost $5 trillion, according to the analysis, and Obama characterized Romney's plan as a $5 trillion tax cut during the debate. That statement that has drawn fire from conservatives who note that Romney has also proposed closing loopholes and ending deductions in the tax code, and the Romney campaign is currently running a television ad accusing Obama of misrepresenting Romney's plan by using the $5 trillion figure.
Romney adviser Ed Gillespie, appearing on "This Week," repeated Romney's debate claim that six other studies back up his contention that he can pay for the tax cuts without eliminating benefits for the middle class. As reported everywhere, however, three of the so-called studies are blog posts or opinion columns, and others say that Romney would have to eliminate perks for those making $100,000 a year in order to pay for his plan. Romney, meanwhile, supports extending the Bush-era tax cuts for those who make over $250,000 a year, which means he would have to raise taxes on people making between $100,000 and $250,000 while explicitly maintaining tax breaks for people making more than $250,000.>
So, where does this fall?
I might call this section of the debate to your attention:
PRIVATE EQUITY INVESTOR ROMNEY - (early on) - "First of all, I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don't have a tax cut of a scale that you're talking about. My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I'm not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. High-income people are doing just fine in this economy. They'll do fine whether you're president or I am. The people who are having the hard time right now are middle-income Americans. Under the president's policies, middle-income Americans have been buried. They're just being crushed. Middle-income Americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. This is a -- this is a tax in and of itself. I'll call it the economy tax. It's been crushing."
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (countering) - "Now, four years ago, when I stood on this stage, I said that I would cut taxes for middle-class families. And that's exactly what I did. We cut taxes for middle-class families by about $3,600.
"And the reason is, because I believe that we do best when the middle class is doing well. And by giving them those tax cuts, they had a little more money in their pocket, and so maybe they can buy a new car. They are certainly in a better position to weather the extraordinary recession that we went through. They can buy a computer for their kid who's going off to college, which means they're spending more money, businesses have more customers, businesses make more profits, and then hire more workers.
Now, Governor Romney's proposal that he has been promoting for 18 months calls for a $5 trillion tax cut, on top of $2 trillion of additional spending for our military. And he is saying that he is going to pay for it by closing loopholes and deductions. The problem is that he's been asked over 100 times how you would close those deductions and loopholes, and he hasn't been able to identify them.
But I'm going to make an important point here, Jim.
When you add up all the loopholes and deductions that upper-income individuals can -- are currently taking advantage of, you take those all away, you don't come close to paying for $5 trillion in tax cuts and $2 trillion in additional military spending.
FORMER BAIN & ASSOCIATES CEO ROMNEY: (attempting to counter) - "Well, but -- but virtually -- virtually everything he just said about my tax plan is inaccurate."
What I've said is I won't put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. That's part one. So there's no economist that can say Mitt Romney's tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan.
Number two, I will not reduce the share paid by high-income individuals. I know that you and your running mate keep saying that and I know it's a popular thing to say with a lot of people, but it's just not the case.
OBAMA - (countering and making sense to any reasonable and educated person) - "Well, for 18 months he's been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election, he's saying that his big, bold idea is, "Never mind."
And the fact is that if you are lowering the rates the way you described, Governor, then it is not possible to come up with enough deductions and loopholes that only affect high-income individuals to avoid either raising the deficit or burdening the middle class. It's -- it's math. It's arithmetic.
Now, Governor Romney and I do share a deep interest in encouraging small-business growth. So at the same time that my tax plan has already lowered taxes for 98 percent of families, I also lowered taxes for small businesses 18 times. And what I want to do is continue the tax rates -- the tax cuts that we put into place for small businesses and families.
But I have said that for incomes over $250,000 a year, that we should go back to the rates that we had when Bill Clinton was president, when we created 23 million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus, and created a whole lot of millionaires to boot. And the reason this is important is because by doing that, we cannot only reduce the deficit, we cannot only encourage job growth through small businesses, but we're also able to make the investments that are necessary in education or in energy.
And we do have a difference, though, when it comes to definitions of small business. Under -- under my plan, 97 percent of small businesses would not see their income taxes go up. Governor Romney says, well, those top 3 percent, they're the job creators, they'd be burdened.
But under Governor Romney's definition, there are a whole bunch of millionaires and billionaires who are small businesses. Donald Trump is a small business. Now, I know Donald Trump doesn't like to think of himself as small anything, but -- but that's how you define small businesses if you're getting business income.
And that kind of approach, I believe, will not grow our economy, because the only way to pay for it without either burdening the middle class or blowing up our deficit is to make drastic cuts in things like education, making sure that we are continuing to invest in basic science and research, all the things that are helping America grow. And I think that would be a mistake.
Jim, I -- you may want to move onto another topic, but I -- I would just say this to the American people.
If you believe that we can cut taxes by $5 trillion and add $2 trillion in additional spending that the military is not asking for, $7 trillion -- just to give you a sense, over 10 years, that's more than our entire defense budget -- and you think that by closing loopholes and deductions for the well-to-do, somehow you will not end up picking up the tab, then Governor Romney's plan may work for you.
But I think math, common sense, and our history shows us that's not a recipe for job growth. Look, we've tried this. We've tried both approaches. The approach that Governor Romney's talking about is the same sales pitch that was made in 2001 and 2003, and we ended up with the slowest job growth in 50 years, we ended up moving from surplus to deficits, and it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Bill Clinton tried the approach that I'm talking about. We created 23 million new jobs. We went from deficit to surplus. And businesses did very well. So, in some ways, we've got some data on which approach is more likely to create jobs and opportunity for Americans and I believe that the economy works best when middle-class families are getting tax breaks so that they've got some money in their pockets, and those of us who have done extraordinarily well because of this magnificent country that we live in, that we can afford to do a little bit more to make sure we're not blowing up the deficit."
BAIN OFFSHORE INVESTOR ROMNEY: (at his low point of the entire campaign) - "Jim, the president began this segment, so I think I get the last word." ... All right. Well, but he gets the first word of that segment. I get the last word (inaudible) I hope. Let me just make this comment.
I think first of all, let me -- let me repeat -- let me repeat what I said. I'm not in favor of a $5 trillion tax cut. That's not my plan. My plan is not to put in place any tax cut that will add to the deficit. That's point one.
So you may keep referring to it as a $5 trillion tax cut, but that's not my plan.
Number two, let's look at history. My plan is not like anything that's been tried before. My plan is to bring down rates, but also bring down deductions and exemptions and credits at the same time so the revenue stays in, but that we bring down rates to get more people working."
TERRY LYONS: "So what do I think? EXACTLY, what is the plan that will not add to the deficit, Mr. Romney? Can I see the details of that plan before the election, please? I think I have the right to ask that simple question and get a complete answer - maybe even a plan with a timeline and numbers on your campaign site before I vote, eh? (If it's there, please send the URL).
Personally, after loking for days and days, I still can't find any details to Mr. Romney's "plan that's is not like anything tried before." And, being in the toughest of financial times, certainly the toughest of our lifetime (not that of the Greatest Generation, who will really get screwed by Mr. Romney's so-called "plan") - I am NOT sure I'd like to try a plan that hasn't been tried before?
Maybe you'd like to roll the dice with a plan that looks an awful lot like what Mr. Bush did to us, before he rode off to the Texas sunset leaving the biggest mess in American history on the deak at the Oval office - (and, oh yeah, Obama was supposed to clean that up in four years with a Speaker of the House who won't give him the time of day).
By the way, I can't find his healthcare plan, either - other than "I'll leave it to the States" (where the USA is 1-for-49 ... that's .020 for you batting average or FT % guys).
Who won this debate?
What are the FACTS? Did anyone in the country of ours take a math class? Ever?
Please be sure to vote.