Dear Governor Romney:
You have based your campaign on the claim that the president has broken promises to the American people, namely that he has failed to deliver on the promise of recovery and further that as president you would be able to make good the promise to return America to its usual prosperity. You have not proven your case.
You claim the president has failed to get the economy healthy. Before the president took office in 2009, we were losing 800,000 jobs monthly. The job loss began to slow in spring 2009, after the president was only a few months in office, and we’re now experiencing a run of 29 consecutive months of job growth. Unemployment is under 8%. The president is digging us out of a hole which bankers like you and your colleagues pushed us into. This is a problem inherited from a Republican administration which paired massive government spending with tax cuts for the wealthy, a policy you would reinstate.
It was people such as you, your colleagues at Bain Capital, and on Wall Street who drove America’s economy into a ditch five years ago before the president had won election. It was greed and the effect of years of peeling back financial-sector regulation that encouraged our biggest banks and mortgage brokers to continue to make subprime loans to Americans who did not qualify because they could always offload the risk to someone else — like a game of Old Maid. The problem was they all offloaded it on each other. Everyone was holding bad cards. It was your industry who torpedoed our economy. Despite this, you continue to oppose any serious change to how Wall Street does business.
When the economy went bad, some of America’s industries began to suffer. The auto industry was faced with bankruptcy and, worse, the prospect of massive layoffs of thousands of workers in American cities already suffering. We haven’t forgotten that despite your professed love of the auto industry inherited from your father, a former auto executive, your solution was to just let them go bankrupt. Now that history has shown saving the auto industry was a good thing, you’re attempting to change your story.
That isn’t the only time. You now claim repealing the Affordable Care Act will be one of your priorities, despite it being based on your own plan. You also flip-flopped on previous positions on ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’, abortion, tax cuts, gun control, and your choice not to serve in the military during Vietnam. It is hard to know what you really believe. It would have been your policy to privatize government agencies such as FEMA, though you have again changed your mind again in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
You claim business experience would aid you in getting America’s economy back on track. However, your business experience has been in dismantling American companies to sell off their assets, laying-off U.S. workers in the process, and helping companies outsource to China. That may be how it is done in business, but that’s not what’s good for America. Your economic prescription has been to cut taxes to get more money to ‘job-creators.’ President Bush instituted this policy as well and it exploded the deficit before the economic crisis. Doubling down on that failed policy now during a fragile recovery does not show the experienced judgment you claim to have.
On cutting the federal deficit, you refuse to pair reasonable spending cuts with revenue increases from those who can afford it, showing you’re not serious about solving the problem in a bipartisan way. Anyone who looks at their household finances knows there is only so much one can cut and bringing more money home is the other half of the solution. You refuse to allow the middle class’s burden to be lightened by asking those who can afford it pay their fair share and exacerbate this by cutting funding for federal programs that benefit the middle class most, namely education, Medicare/Medicaid, and Social Security.
You offer we should follow the resoundingly-rejected Paul Ryan plan on turning Medicare into a voucher system and pair it with cuts in funding for police, fire-fighters, and ambulances and money for schools and student aid for higher education. Yet, you want to increase defense spending, something the Pentagon hasn’t even asked for. How can we afford a bigger Navy the Admirals don’t think we need, but can’t afford first-responders or teachers? You offer we can make up the difference by closing loopholes in the tax code, but you cannot offer specifics as to which loopholes you would close.
You’ve criticized the president’s foreign and national security policy, yet what few policy specifics you have offered differ little if at all from his. You promise to deliver drastically different results while instituting the same policies. Your campaign trip to Europe and the Middle East didn’t show a confident leader able to reassure our allies and stand against our enemies. Your rhetoric on Iran and Syria, informed by your Bush-era advisers, may lead one to believe American ground troops could become involved in one or both places at a time when Americans are glad to see us leaving behind wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As is often the case, your actual policy stances don’t match your rhetoric.
Governor Romney, your domestic and foreign policy offerings have either been vague and non-specific, identical to the president’s, or vacillating between current and previous stances. You spent most of your career before politics profiting greatly in the very industry whose excesses created our current economic problems in the first place and now claim that experience will help you fix the problems. Voting for you represents a combination of rehashing failed Bush-era policies and leaving the rest to the chance that your vague policies may work in favor of the middle class. That is a risk I am not willing to take when electing a president and why the president has earned another four years.