To date, Governor Romney has failed to take advantage of a plethora of evidence supporting the argument against the re-election of the president: high and sustained unemployment, slowing GDP growth, chaos in the Middle East as his foreign policy goes up in flames. Likewise, Romney has largely failed to make the case for his own election by touting his success in private enterprise, as a governor, and as a humanitarian. His failure to do so has been inexplicable. However, on Wednesday he went on the attack from the first moment, respectfully but firmly challenging the Obama narrative that the pliant media has dutifully parroted. The effect was noticeable, with Obama rarely looking at Romney, often smirking and sighing, and just looking irritated that anyone would challenge his greatness.
During the debate, Obama made a number of claims which are demonstrably false, and most of the time Romney called him on it. We also had an opportunity to hear each candidate’s view of the proper role of government, with Obama articulating a vision of a powerful and benevolent government that guides every aspect of our lives, and Romney talking of the need to reduce the size and scope of government and return many functions back to the states under the Tenth Amendment powers.
One catchphrase that caught my ear was “economic patriotism,” uttered by Obama, referring to his view that Americans, especially upper income Americans, should gleefully pay more taxes to support an ever-growing government. I suppose this is rooted in Obama’s “You didn’t build that” and “… there comes a point when you’ve made enough money” worldview, which starts with the premise that the product of a man’s labor belongs to government, and government then graciously allows us to keep some of those earnings. The first thought that popped into my head at hearing that phrase was of President Jimmy Carter telling us that we must accept the economic malaise as the new normal. Luckily, Americans rejected that philosophy then as well.
Obama also trotted out the well-worn claim that the massive deficits he’s run up are not actually his fault, but rather something he “inherited” the day he came into office, the result of two wars put on a credit card, and tax cuts for the rich that were “not paid for.” The problem with that narrative is that America spent less on eight years of war in Iraq than they did on Obama’s stimulus bill. In addition, despite the cost of the war, the economy grew and the unemployment rate went down under Bush, whereas with the stimulus bill we incurred $6 TRILLION in new debt, and unemployment spiked by more than 2 percent, jumping to over 10 percent and averaging 9.2 percent over the course of his first term. The “cost” of the tax cuts is yet another lie Democrats love to repeat, one that again starts with the premise that our earnings belong to government (how can something “cost” government unless it belongs to the government), and one that is mathematically false. After the Bush tax cuts, gross revenues to the U.S. Treasury hit record levels, bringing the deficit down to about $160 billion the year before Democrats regained control of Congress.
Obama also returned to his favorite class warfare mantra of asking the rich to pay “just a little more,” in order to fund the cost of government without adding a greater tax burden to the middle class. The problem with that is that it would be the economic equivalent of spitting in the ocean. According to the IRS, total adjusted gross income for the Top 1 percent (those evil villains, a group starting at $360,000) in 2009 (latest year available) was $1.3 trillion. That means that we could take ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of the income of the Top 1 percent and it would fund the operation of government for a whopping four months. We could take every cent they earn and it would not even cover one year of Obama budget deficits. Then what? If taking everything the rich earn won’t even pay off a single year’s deficit, how is it supposed to even make a dent in the $16 trillion national debt? Romney deftly reminded the president that he agreed with him, at least the 2010 version of him, who extended the Bush tax cuts because, as Obama noted, raising taxes in a bad economy just makes things worse.
Obama later told another … well, we’ll be polite and call it a tall tale … when he said that Social Security is structurally sound and only in need of a “few tweaks.” This is a lie so big that Obama should hide in shame for trying to pawn it off on the American people. Buried on page 252 of the 2012 Social Security Trustees Report is the inconvenient truth that any on-paper gains in the trust fund will be wiped out, and then some, by the effects of inflation. The truth is that Social Security is near insolvency, projected to be completely bankrupt in the year 2033, which is three years sooner than was projected last year, and four years sooner than projected the year before. Payroll taxes will have to be increased by 33 percent, or benefits reduced by 24 percent, in order to meet the shortfall. On top of that is the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled that you have NO right to any benefits, regardless of duration or amount paid into the system. That sounds like more than just a tweak to me.
Obama criticized Romney for wanting tax cuts that would take money away from education, saying that Romney wants to make kids borrow money from their parents in order to pay for college (why these kids feel they have a right to a free education, Obama doesn’t say … I suppose that is another “right” like health care and high speed internet). To that I would point out that Obama, whose policies currently force us to borrow 40 percent of every dollar spent from Communist China, would rather education be paid for by our children and grandchildren.
The national chattering class had speculated for weeks about how each candidate would perform during the debates, and more specifically, whether Mitt Romney could show that he was presidential material worthy of the vote of the American people. On Wednesday night, Romney did just that, clearly articulating an alternative vision to Obama’s high tax, big government, massive debt, government-controlled America. He didn’t claim that a Romney presidency would cause the rise of the oceans to slow, or that the Earth begin to heal. No, nothing so grandiose as that. He just promised that he would work to reduce the burden of government on all Americans, and in the process, help us become more free and prosperous. After four years offering sacrifices at the altar of the Obamessiah, I think I’m good with that.
Louis DeBroux is a Taylorsville resident, married, with eight children. He is chairman of the Bartow County Republican Party. He owns Gatekeeper data backup and recovery. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.