Systemic, long-term change is needed in Washington, but after four years with President Barack Obama setting the nation’s course, that change has not come.
Let’s acknowledge some of Obama’s achievements up front, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.
But in regard to the issue that is front and center for Americans — jobs and economic recovery — this nation remains stalled.
And on the issue that most threatens our nation’s future well-being — unchecked federal spending — this nation is more than stalled. It is in reverse.
In four years, our national debt slid from $10.7 trillion to $16.1 trillion, coming despite Obama’s promise to cut annual deficits in half.
Obama’s mistake was that he favored short-term, targeted solutions. Think “Cash for Clunkers,” for example, or those stimulus payments. Instead, long-range, core change is needed.
We also believe that while health care reform was and is needed, his health care plan was an overreach in more ways than one. Though legal, it was unwise. It was imprudent to add another national entitlement promise when there are serious questions about whether existing entitlement programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, can even survive.
The question is, will Mitt Romney bring the systemic change this nation needs?
Let’s start off with a central disagreement between the two candidates: the role of taxes in reducing the federal debt.
Romney won’t raise any new taxes to reduce the deficit. Period.
Obama believes taxes should be raised on the wealthy, and he would then use the tax code to provide more incentives to certain industries, such as manufacturing, to get the economy moving. Again, targeted, short-term solutions.
It’s true that the nation’s wealthiest 2 percent — individuals making more than $200,000 and couples making more than $250,000 — can pay more, but why should they? We don’t think any American should have to pay 40 percent of his income in federal taxes — not to mention the good amount that’s also spent on local, state and federal taxes — regardless of what that person makes.
Romney’s plan is to roll back individual income tax rates for all income groups by 20 percent, and cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, while at the same time reducing personal and corporate deductions.
This gets us closer to the kind of overhaul that is needed.
Some in Obama’s own camp have even acknowledged that Romney’s plan will not result in a tax hit to the middle class, as the president first alleged. Recently, Obama campaign spokesman Jen Psaki confessed that the elimination of enough deductions and loopholes, which Romney proposes, could in fact cover nearly $4 trillion of the $5 trillion in tax cuts.
According to The Wall Street Journal, “Princeton economics professor Harvey Rosen, cited by the Obama campaign as a source for the claim that the Romney plan must raise taxes on the middle class to avoid increasing the deficit, now says that Team Obama has been misrepresenting his research.
“In fact, his work shows that increased economic growth from a more efficient tax code and lower marginal tax rates will allow Mr. Romney to cut rates and deductions, while avoiding both a rate hike on the middle class and a deficit increase.”
When it comes to systemic problems, think Big Bird. Recent posturing over that “Sesame Street” character is telling.
During the first debate, Romney bluntly warned moderator Jim Lehrer that he would cut off funds for public broadcasting if the nation was having to borrow money from China to pay for it. If true, it’s the kind of thing a debtor nation must do.
The Obama campaign attacked Romney on that point.
Sure, funding for public broadcasting is an insignificant part of the budget, but if Obama isn’t even willing to cut one one-hundreth of 1 percent of federal spending for something that is non-vital to America, then the president is not serious about reducing spending at all.
If Obama is not serious about that, he is the wrong person for the job.
Mitt Romney should be the next president.