Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Romney-Ryan game plan


If you like football metaphors, you might like this campaign speech President Obama gave the other day in Ohio. Personally, I think the president gives Romney and Ryan too much credit for having a plan to improve the economy. The truth is that they don't even have a play book at all. 

They don't have a tax plan. I heard Romney try to explain his idea of lowering marginal tax rates, and making up the difference by closing some unspecified loopholes and deductions, to be determined at a later date. First of all, it is disingenuous to pretend that Congress is going to eliminate loopholes and deductions enjoyed by many of the most powerful people in the country. But even if they could, and Romney stays true to his promise that he is not lowering taxes for the wealthy, where is the plan in that? If you give back with one hand what you are taking away with the other, the net effect of your plan is zero.

They don't have a spending plan either. There is a lot of loose talk among Republicans about cutting wasteful spending and reducing the size of government, but they never seem to be able to specify what they are going to cut. And they certainly aren't going to cut defense. They are going to increase that part of the budget. So once again, the net economic impact is going to be zero.

They don't have a jobs plan. Romney promised in his acceptance speech that he would add 12 million jobs to the economy, but it turns out this number is about what economists forecast will happen regardless of who is president. And Romney doesn't specify what he plans to do to create those jobs anyway.

They don't have an education plan. They don't have an infrastructure plan. They don't have a plan to create incentives for manufacturing jobs in the United States. They say they have an energy plan, but they can't explain how it would boost the economy more than President Obama's energy policies, which have done more than any administration in decades to increase domestic energy production and reduce dependence on foreign sources.

What they do have is a plan that will increase the tax burdens on the middle class, and reduce spending for things like Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, college grants and loans. How this plan is going to help the economy is never explained. So I would not even dignify it by calling it an economic plan.  

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