At first glance of the Republican presidential debate on Thursday, it seems as though they supported President Obama:
Perry—“Americans want a leader who has a proven record of job creation.”
Guess what? When Obama took office, we were losing over 700,000 jobs a month. Without Obama's stimulus package, the Labor Department estimated we would have lost more than 11 million jobs.
Then came healthcare reform, with 32 million new patients added to the insurance pool and a saving of over $230 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Furthermore, Obama passed Wall Street reform, holding executives accountable, ending "too big to fail" bailouts, and enacting the strongest consumer protections in history.
All these measures have helped. The Congressional Budget Office, for example, just released a report finding that Obama’s Recovery Act created around 2.5 million jobs, and shaved a full percentage point off of the unemployment rate.
Hunstman –“We need to fix the underlying structural problems in this economy.”
Since the beginning of the Reagan years, the share of total income captured by the top 2 percent of earners has rapidly increased while the share taken by the rest of the country has fallen. A recent U.S. Census Bureau study finds that America’s poverty rate is now the worst since 1993, with over 46 million Americans living below the poverty line (a family of four earning less than $22,000). Further, adjusted for inflation, the middle-income family only earned 11% more in 2010 than they did in 1980, while the richest 5% in America saw their incomes surge 42%.
Simply put: the rich have been getting richer at the expense of the poor and the middle-class. Which is why Obama has proposed letting the Bush tax cuts expire and imposing the Buffett Rule.
Under President Clinton, the marginal tax rate was at 39%, yet we still created more than 23 million net new jobs with about 90% in the private sector in less than eight years! However, under President Bush (with a lower marginal tax rate of 35%), our economy had a net growth of only 3 million new jobs and ZERO in the private sector (not to mention we went from a $200 billion surplusto an incredible $1 trillion deficit).
The Buffett Rule asks the wealthiest to pay their fair share. Typically, the wealthiest Americans derive a lot of income from investments, which are often classified as “carried interest” and later taxed at a lower rate (around 15%) than ordinary income such as wages (around 36%). As a result, they can end up owing a lower percentage of their income in federal taxes than someone who makes far less money. The concept of the Buffett Rule is to prevent this corporate loophole.
Romney—“The people who have been most hurt are the middle-income families.”
President Obama agrees and has acted on it. His American Jobs Act will create jobs fixing roads and bridges, give tax credits to small businesses that hire new workers, extend the line of credit to these businesses, and put more money in the wallets of the average worker.
Caine –“It’s out of control.”
You bet it is! Even though Governor Perry’s home state of Texas ranks 6th in terms of people living in poverty—one in five--has one of the lowest rates of spending on its citizens per capita, and the highest share of those lacking health insurance; or that during his tenure as Governor, Romney’s state ranked 47th in the country on job creation; they are quick to blame Obama for the economic downturn.
But when it came down to extending healthcare for millions of Americans, extending unemployment benefits, extending payroll tax cuts, or providing tax incentives for small businesses, Republicans screamed for lower taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent.
When it came to repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, ratifying a new Start Treaty, ending the Iraq War, stimulating the economy to prevent a collapse of the US Auto Industry, or investing in long-term job growth projects like infrastructure and clean energy, Republicans screamed for repealing Obamacare.
And now when it comes to passing the American Jobs bill to reduce our deficit, create jobs, and provide relief to our middle-class and small businesses, Republicans have said nothing.
But, if Republicans want a "leader who has a proven record of job creation", who understands how to "fix the underlying structural problems in this economy", who has helped "the people who have been most hurt", and does not get us "out of control", I guess they found their answer in Obama.