*I have tried to provide a link for as much of the information as possible so you know it didn’t come from mittromney.com or something*
In 2008, I could definitely see the appeal in Barack Obama. Everything he promised seemed so well-intentioned – even if I didn’t agree with all of it. The problem, however, is that he hasn’t done any of it.
- He promised immigration reform (didn’t happen).
- He promised to be a new kind of politician and bring people together (He – has – been – very – divisive).
- He promised to close Guantanamo Bay (still open).
- He promised to end Bush policies, such as rendition (all still in place, expanded Patriot Act to include indefinite detention of US citizens if they are suspected of terrorism, the guy who made the film that Obama falsely blamed for the Benghazi attack is still in jail).
- About six months ago, when Obama was having trouble raising campaign money, he came out in favor of gay marriage – then 10 days before the election, he announced he wouldn’t do anything about it.
With the economy, many people believe that Obama has done the best he could in a tough situation. He did come in to a tough situation, but we have had tough situations before, and this has empirically been the worst recovery since WWII.
- For economic growth, this recovery ranks dead last.
- For job growth, this recovery ranks dead last.
- Median household income has declined from $55,198 to $50,678.
- Incomes have declined more during the recovery than they did during the actual recession.
- 46.2 million people are living in poverty despite the government spending $1 Trillion on welfare programs.
The average family is very much worse off. Obama promised to lower healthcare costs by $2,500 per family, yet costs have increased by $3,000. Costs spiked the year after his healthcare bill passed. Tuition costs up over 25%, from $6,585 to $8,655. Gas prices up from $1.85/gallon the day Obama took office to $3.55 today. With the decrease in incomes and increase in living costs, the average family is around $10,000/year worse off.
In the early 80’s, we were recovering from a very similarly deep recession. Our current recovery is 3 years old, yet in the first 3 years of Reagan’s recovery we had more than double the economic growth (avg. 4.8% compared to 2.3% today). We’ve had 31 months of job growth (but still have fewer total jobs than when Obama took office). Again, during Reagan’s first 31 months of job growth, we created more than twice as many jobs (8,870,000 compared to 4,256,000 today – official numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). And that was with a population of ~230 million, compared to ~310 million today.
If looked at in context and in comparison to similar periods in our history, Obama’s record is pitiful. And Obama’s plan for his 2nd term is to raise tax rates to get more revenue to spend on programs he believes will help the economy. There are a few reasons why this will not work.
- Since WWII, tax revenue as a % of GDP has always been between 16-20%, no matter what the tax rates were. Revenue as a % of GDP was actually higher under Reagan’s 28% top tax rate than it was under Eisenhower’s 90% top rate. Increases in tax rates never get the expected revenue, and sometimes lead to a decrease in revenue.
- Government (federal, state, and local) already takes up over 40% of our economy. Obama talks about going back to a time when the government did more to look out for people. But that time never existed. The only time the government was a bigger part of our economy than today was during WWII. The government has never played a bigger role than it does today.
- On education, we already spend much more per student than any other country. On poverty, we spend $60,000 per year for every family in poverty. The poverty line is $18,530. We spend enough to eradicate poverty 3 times over, yet the poverty rate is still 15%. If we just gave them the money we spend, they would be solidly middle class. More spending will never fix these problems.
- Obama says his tax increases will decrease the deficit, yet he’s also setting aside that hypothetical money (that will not materialize) for new programs. Even if he did get the revenue he was expecting, he could not do both. And we cannot keep spending more than $1 trillion more than we bring in each year. We already spend $230 BILLION a year just paying the interest on the debt – which is half of what we spend on Medicare. It’s on pace to sky-rocket to $800 billion/year by 2022. And the Obama Administration has admitted they don’t have a plan to keep entitlement programs solvent – they just don’t like the GOP plan. And Obama’s budget was so unserious, it got ZERO votes in the House or the Senate. ZERO!
But why vote for Romney?
A year ago, I would have said I was voting for the lesser of two evils. But over the past year, I have become genuinely excited about the idea of a Mitt Romney Presidency. He has been successful at everything he’s ever done.
- Obama has tried to distort what Romney did at Bain Capital. He invested in struggling businesses and tried to help them turn things around. You hear a lot about GST Steel, which went under and 750 people lost their jobs. You don’t hear much about Steel Dynamics, which Romney helped get off the ground and now employs 6,500 people. He also helped either launch or turn around Staples, Sports Authority, Brookstone, Dominoes, Bright Horizons, etc. etc. On a net basis, tens of thousands of people have a job today that wouldn’t if not for Bain Capital. Even Bill Clinton said Romney’s business career was “sterling“.
- I don’t want to describe the whole story, but the 2002 Winter Olympics were in a crap situation and Romney came in and made it not crap.
- When Romney became Governor of Massachusetts (2003-2007), they were losing jobs – MA was ranked dead last in job creation. However, Romney took the unemployment rate from 5.6% to 4.7%, more net jobs were created in MA than in the entire US under Obama, per capita income increased from $40k to $48k. By the time he left office, MA had improved from 50th to 28th in job creation. He was also able to work with a legislature that was 85% Democrat, while Obama constantly complains about Republicans controlling 1/2 of 1/3 of the government.
I also think his plans will actually work and allow us to have the type of recovery we’ve always had following a recession.
- His plan to lower tax rates and eliminate deductions and loopholes has worked every single time it’s been tried (including under President Kennedy). And every single time it’s been tried it’s lead to the rich paying a higher share of the tax burden. That’s because it encourages investment, leads to the rich putting more of their money into taxable sources, and limits the amount they can shelter from taxation.
- I like Romney and Ryan’s plan to give people the option to get private plans for Medicare (and hopefully Social Security) instead of the government-run programs. This will allow us to get the costs under control and give people better benefits for their money. In the 70’s, Galveston, Texas was allowed to privatize Social Security for their public employees and their return has been much, much better (source).
- He understands that we must get government spending below 20% of GDP. The federal government is currently ~24% of GDP and Obama wants to make it bigger. But even when the top tax rate was 90%, tax revenue as a % of GDP was under 20%. If we keep spending more than 20% of GDP, we can never balance the budget.
Obama’s policies have not worked. As a great man once said, “If somebody doesn’t do the job, you gotta let ’em go.” Mitt Romney has been successful at everything he’s ever done. He is the picture of competence. You should vote for him.