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The latest from Day Three

  • Tampa speaks up

    Tonight, Congressman Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee for vice president and champion of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans at the expense of middle class and seniors, will address the Republican National Convention. But before he goes on, a few regular folks—college students and retirees, veterans, and Medicare recipients—stopped by to make their voices heard about what matters to the middle class.

    For many Floridians, health care is a top priority, and the people we met today are concerned about what the extreme Romney-Ryan budget would mean for themselves and their families. Carole, who shared her story during this morning's press conference, says her husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer five years ago—and there is no way they'd be able to pay his medical bills without Medicare.

    "Medicare paid for his excellent surgeons and the excellent treatment. It paid for chemotherapy, which is very, very expensive. We're middle class. Up until then we had a charmed life, but it hits you. It hits all of a sudden."

    The fact that Mitt Romney and Ryan want to end Medicare as we know it and replace it with a voucher system prompted Carole to get up in front of a room of journalists and cameras and share her story—even though she says she'd never dreamed she'd do such a thing. There's just too much at risk to keep quiet. Carole explains, "I would say our medical bills are over a million dollars. Medicare paid for this. We have a small supplement, but it's dependent on Medicare. We have private homeowners' insurance that we can't afford anymore. If there's a voucher program for health care, I'm skeptical about turning over medical insurance to a private company."

    Veterans are also worried about what a Romney-Ryan ticket means for their health. Annie, a Tampa senior who stood up at today's press conference, says her husband is a veteran who suffers from PTSD. She's worried that if the Republicans get elected, his medical benefits will get cut—or that the VA will be forced to cut back on his doctors and counselors. It's a concern Elena, a Tampa-area veteran, shares. "The President has always had our back," Elena says. "If we elect Romney, we'd be turning our backs on veterans when we need them most—when they gave us their all."

    Annie sums up what's at stake. It's the reason they all came out today: "I don't want to go back to those eight years that we had before. I just don't want to go back. I want to go forward."

  • Kansas Gov. Brownback acknowledges that Romney’s welfare attack is false

    The Romney campaign’s claim that President Obama has eliminated welfare-to-work requirements has been thoroughly debunked by nonpartisan fact checkers and widely criticized as intentionally misleading by independent news organizations. Today Kansas Republican Governor Sam Brownback acknowledged the truth, saying that, “as far as I have seen,” Romney’s welfare attack ads are false. Check out the video, then share it with your friends.

  • Mitt Romney’s tax plan revealed

    Mitt Romney’s tax plans don’t add up. He says he will pay for his $5 trillion tax cut—tilted heavily toward the wealthiest Americans—without adding a dime to the deficit or raising any taxes on the middle class. Independent, nonpartisan experts have called the claim baloney.

    As these independent analysts have concluded, Romney’s tax plan would either explode the deficit or increase middle class taxes. In fact, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center (TPC) estimated that Romney’s plan would raise taxes on a typical middle-class family with children by $2,000, all while giving massive tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.

    National Policy Director James Kvaal breaks it down:

    1. Romney’s plan offers a large tax cut for the wealthy, no matter how you slice it: Romney’s tax cuts for the wealthy are so large that closing every tax benefit for those making more than $200,000—other than preferential rates on investment income, which Romney says he won’t touch—would still cut the average multimillionaire’s taxes by $250,000. That’s just math. And it comes on top of all the Bush tax cuts.

    2. They have no way to pay for these tax cuts: Romney and his campaign have emphasized that his tax cuts would be “revenue-neutral”—meaning no net loss of tax revenue. But if you are cutting taxes on the top, that means you have to raise taxes for everyone else. And while Romney’s advisors said the economy would grow, they ignored the fact that, even when the Tax Policy Center considered unrealistically generous estimates (derived from the academic work of Romney’s own advisor), they concluded that Romney’s plan couldn’t create enough growth to pay for the proposed tax cuts for the wealthy.

    3. Romney refuses to clarify his plan: Romney had said that his tax plan “can’t be scored.” Now we know what Romney really meant: that he didn’t want it to be scored. Walking through the details means showing that he is paying for deep tax cuts for the wealthy with tax increases on the middle class. As Josh Barro put it, “If Romney thinks TPC missed something, and he has a way to make his plan work without a middle class tax increase, he should release the details that show what that is. So long as he refuses to tell us exactly what his tax plan is, Romney has no one to blame for distortions of the plan but himself.”

    4. The bottom line: Filling in the blanks on Romney’s plan requires a large tax increase on the middle class. Don’t take our word for it—take a look at what others have found:

      • Ezra Klein: “[T]he tax cuts Romney is promising the rich are larger than the available storehouse of tax breaks Romney can close to pay for them. As such, if the plan is going to be revenue neutral, as Romney has pledged, it is mathematically impossible for it to do anything but shift the tax burden away from the rich.”

      • Wall Street Journal: “A new study released Wednesday suggests that Mitt Romney’s tax plan would benefit the rich and hurt the poor and middle class, no matter how current blanks in the plan are filled in.”

      • “Romney has said he would offset the loss of personal income tax revenue (estimated at $360 billion a year by the Tax Policy Center) by reducing tax deductions and credits. And he has said he would do this while making sure that those at the top keep paying the ‘same share of the tax burden they’re paying now’ … Romney has failed to produce evidence that what he promises is possible. And we judge that the weight of evidence and expert opinion is clear—it’s not possible.”

      • Jonathan Chait: “Mitt Romney appears to have blundered his way into a bona fide political disaster with his tax plan.”

    It’s no surprise that Romney has refused to give specifics about his tax plan, or even name which loopholes he’d close—the numbers don’t even come close to adding up. But there’s no hiding the facts. There’s only one way Mitt Romney could pay for his massive tax cut for the wealthiest Americans without increasing the deficit: Raise taxes on the middle class.

  • Five takeaways from the first night of Republican speeches

    Last night, the GOP officially kicked off their convention with speeches from big-name Republicans like Chris Christie and Scott Walker. This morning, OFA Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter headlined a press conference in the Democratic war room in Tampa, where she shared her five takeaways from the first night of Republican speeches.

    1. There was absolutely no discussion of Mitt Romney’s plans for the economy—in fact, there was very little talk of Mitt Romney at all.

    2. Instead, we heard from Republican governors about how the economy in states like Ohio, Wisconsin, and Virginia is growing under the President’s policies.

    3. We also heard false and hypocritical attacks about President Obama's belief that the government should stand behind our small businesses to help them prosper and grow—even from some who are currently benefiting from government contracts and investments.

    4. We heard an endless stream of insults and ideology from a party more bent on tearing down the President than lifting up our country.

    5. You may not have heard this from the speakers last night, but Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have made their plans perfectly clear. They want to repeat the same failed policies of the past—the policies that led to Massachusetts falling to 47th out of 50 in job creation under Mitt Romney and that got us into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.