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Mitt Romney Economic Plan Debunked in 5 Simple Bullets

Mitt Romney veep pick Paul Ryan reaffirms what we already knew: This election is all about the economy. So let’s break down the two candidates' opposing plans for economic recovery.

Regardless of whether or not Paul Ryan will help or hurt the Romney ticket, Romney’s decision to select  the Budget Committee chairman reaffirms that this campaign hinges on the promise of an improved economy. 

Since both candidate promise that their economic ideas are better than the other, here's a breakdown of Obama vs. Romney's economic plans. These five highlights show why Romney's economic vision is fundamentally flawed: 

According to recent campaign speeches, Mitt Romney has a five-point plan to revive the economy.

1) Increase domestic energy

Pros: The National Association of Manufacturers claims that domestic energy production is essential for to the long-term health of the U.S. economy and the prosperity of American workers.  Along with giving the U.S. a little energy independence that would make American markets less susceptible to that pesky OPEC, domestic energy production would put more money in the hands of American companies.

Cons: This plan harkens back to the days of “Drill Baby Drill,” which turned out to be an unpopular idea.This proposal could be absolutely devastating to the environment. The Nation finds the faults with this plan by debunking the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act, which would have a slight chance of becoming law if the Romney ticket were victorious. This plan would not generate more prosperity for the nation, but instead line the already deep pockets of Big Oil CEO’s.

2) Fix public educationGenerate higher test scores through more attention on students, and less on teachers’ unions

Pros: The reelection of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin in June provided evidence that many agree with the Governor’s mindset that unions, through lobbying for teacher’s rights, block plans that could help students better succeed. By essentially dismantling unions, teachers would no longer be able to stand in the way of legislation that might, for example, increase school hours. The implication is that teachers are avoiding working harder and test scores are suffering as a result.

Cons: There are plenty of teachers who work extremely hard for not enough money. Dismantling unions could dissuade young, educated, motivated professionals from becoming teachers, which we desperately need. Why would a competent applicant forgo a high paying professional job for a low teacher’s salary and no power to protect their interests? The American Federation of Teachers points out that many teachers are also confined by government bureaucracy and that fingers are pointed in the wrong direction. 

3) Cut the deficit

There are not pros and cons to this argument. Crushing debt is never a good thing. The debate centers on who can cut the deficit more effectively and whether or not we prioritize social programs or fiscal conservatism.  

President Obama promised to cut the deficit in half, but the Romney campaign claims that “since President Obama assumed office three years ago, federal spending has accelerated at a pace without precedent in recent history, taking us from an already staggering $3.5 trillion in federal spending in 2010 to a projected $5.6 trillion within the next decade.” However deficit and debt data can be presented in many ways, and there is disagreement on how Obama’s presidency really affected the national financial situation.  

Factcheck.gov points out, “The federal government ended fiscal year 2008 with a deficit of $458 billion, as the CBO reported in table F-1 of a January 2010 report. Four times that (the amount by which the Romney campaign claims Obama multiplied the deficit) would be about $1.8 – far higher than the deficit spending under Obama. Of course, as we already explained, it would be wrong to go back to 2008 and ignore the projected deficit as it stood when Obama took office.”  This plan rests on a hypothetical: Do voters believe that U.S. finances would be better or worse had President Obama lost in 2008? Another problem with this argument is that some social advocates think that a deficit is a secondary issue to functioning social programs and support for the less fortunate.

4) Celebrate success

Pros: A government that rewards success will inspire innovation and help many to rise to prosperity of their own volition. A more innovative and wealthy populous will lead to a more robust economy.

Cons: Another way of interpreting this point is “punish the poor.” Social programs will undoubtedly suffer dearly under this plan. Welfare economics, even in a time of severe debt, is far from dead. This plan will result in more tax cuts for the super rich for the purpose of “job creation.” This will in turn result in larger offshore savings accounts for multi-millionaires and less money circulating in the U.S. economy. One can celebrate success and still implement a tax that is proportional to income. The incentive to be wealthy is still plenty strong.

5) Repeal “Obamacare” and cut excess government regulation

Pros: Dismantling federal power is a popular idea given the rise of libertarian ideals. Many believe that leaving as many decisions to the individual consumer will allow citizens to make the best decisions for them, personally. This means that the decision to have healthcare is up to the individual. A poll by Common Good found 76% of voters polled think many laws, regulations, and government programs waste billions of dollars because they are obsolete and no longer needed. 

Cons: The problem is that society then pays the cost when one of the free-thinking individuals gets sick or injured, needs medical attention, and has no insurance. But as Representative Ron Paul stated, “Freedom is risky.” If we repeal Obamacare, then what? The presidential hopeful provides no concrete plan to replace The Affordable Care Act. Form Mitt’s own website: “In place of Obamacare, Mitt will pursue policies that give each state the power to craft a health care reform plan that is best for its own citizens. The federal government’s role will be to help markets work by creating a level playing field for competition.” So the plan appears to be to get rid of Obamacre because it is Obama’s and then let the states figure it out.  

I don’t see how that will help the economy. It might in some states. How could we possibly know? As far as government regulation is concerned, simply transferring expenditures from the federal to the state level does not suddenly make costs lower. 

The choice is yours! May the man with the better plan win.

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