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The choice for rural America

In Iowa, Mitt Romney told a series of falsehoods about the President’s plan for rural America. And unsurprisingly, he failed to detail specific plans of his own. The truth is that independent economists agree that Romney’s plans would do nothing to create jobs and could slow our recovery. In fact, Romney would have to raise taxes on middle-class families and small business owners to pay for his massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Here are the facts about President Obama and Mitt Romney’s plans for rural America:

  1. Taxes

    • President Obama

      The President has cut taxes for a typical family by $3,600 over the past four years, and he has called on Congress to extend the middle class income tax cuts to prevent a tax increase on families making less than $250,000 a year—98% of American families. The President has also cut taxes for small businesses 18 times and called on Congress to prevent income tax increases on 97% of small businesses and farms.  His jobs plan—which Mitt Romney opposes—would allow farms and other small businesses to immediately write off 100% of the cost of new investments—including in new farm buildings and equipment.

    • Mitt Romney

      Romney has proposed a “revenue neutral” $5 trillion tax cut favoring millionaires and billionaires, which he says he’ll pay for by closing tax deductions and loopholes. But Romney won’t identify which ones because he knows that math doesn’t add up. In fact, his tax cuts for the wealthy are so large that paying for his plan would require raising taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000, according to nonpartisan tax experts. Romney‘s plan to repeal the estate tax would cost more than $150 billion over the next decade to help the wealthiest families in America.

  2. Trade

    • President Obama

      The President has helped farm exports reach all-time highs. In fact, American exports of food and other agriculture products reached a record high of $137 billion last year, supporting over 1.1 million jobs. President Obama has signed three new trade deals with South Korea, Panama, and Colombia that are projected to boost U.S. agricultural exports by $2.3 billion per year. Farmers are already benefiting: During negotiations with South Korea, U.S. beef exports to the country more than doubled. And the President is now negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership to open new markets for America’s farmers and ranchers. The Obama administration also continues to fight for America’s farmers and ranchers to open export markets where they face unwarranted barriers—and has taken action to do so in countries like China and India. He has brought trade cases against China at more than twice the rate of the Bush administration, and created a new trade enforcement unit to challenge unfair trading practices by other countries.

    • Mitt Romney

      Romney doesn’t stand up for American workers in the global marketplace: When President Obama imposed stiff tariffs on Chinese tires to save over 1,000 American jobs, Romney called it “bad for the nation and our workers.” Romney doesn’t look out for American workers when he thinks of international trade—he says he’ll stand up to China but he stands to profit from investments in Chinese companies that use the same unfair trade practices he promises he’ll combat. Romney’s irresponsible statements about our foreign trade partners could hurt farm exports: His policies could start a trade war with China, which even his fellow conservatives have called “wrongheaded,” “a remarkably bad idea,” and “wise to avoid.” Damaging trade would hurt farmers—agriculture is responsible for more than 10% of our exports.

  3. Regulations

    • President Obama

      The President approved fewer regulations in the first three years of his presidency than George Bush did in the first three years of his. A sweeping review of rules on the books has resulted in agencies identifying over 580 reforms, a small fraction of which—already finalized or formally proposed to the public—will save more than $10 billion over the next five years. When it has acted, the Obama administration’s rules have created more than $91 billion in net benefits, over 25 times the corresponding figure in the first three years of the Bush administration. They will save tens of thousands of lives and prevent hundreds of thousands of cases of disease. The Obama administration has also worked with farmers to identify and reduce regulatory burdens. For example, in return for voluntarily making habitat improvements on their lands, landowners can reduce any burden of further conservation action they might need to take. This helps reduce the burden on landowners while ensuring the protection of surrounding lands and species.

    • Mitt Romney

      Romney’s regulatory policies are more dependent on scare tactics than fact. By dredging up several myths about environmental regulations, Romney has adopted the false rhetoric of extreme elements of his party, including their tall tales about farm dust, airplane surveillance, child labor, and water regulations that have been thoroughly debunked. Under the guise of protecting rural Americans from these mythical intrusions, Romney would repeal environmental safeguards that protect the health of our children and keep our air and water clean.

  4. Energy

    • President Obama

      The President’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy has charted a course to cut net oil imports in half by 2020 by responsibly developing all of our natural resources, like wind, solar, biofuels, natural gas, oil, and clean coal. Unlike Romney, President Obama has proposed the extension of the wind Production Tax Credit because he knows it supports an industry that employs tens of thousands of people across America. Since he took office, electricity from wind and solar has already more than doubled. President Obama is also working to expand the use of ethanol and other biofuels, including increasing the amount of ethanol that can be blended in gasoline, and implementing the Renewable Fuel Standard that will displace over 300 million barrels of oil by 2022.

    • Mitt Romney

      Romney would roll back investments in the clean energy economy, and raise taxes on wind energy by allowing the wind Production Tax Credit to expire which would risk 37,000 jobs across the country. From handing over our sensitive lands to weakening the safeguards needed to protect our water supplies, Romney puts oil corporations first. Since Big Oil helped Mitt Romney write his energy plan, it’s no wonder his policies put their interests first, to the tune of $4 billion in tax breaks every year he pledged to protect. Romney also opposes fuel economy standards that will save consumers more than $8,000 at the pump and he would undo President Obama’s efforts to stop Wall Street speculators from manipulating the price of gas.

  5. Agriculture

    • President Obama

      The President is urging Congress to pass a five-year farm and jobs bill that strengthens the farm safety net, including natural disaster relief and a strong crop insurance program. And his plan invests in rural economies by increasing access to credit for rural small businesses, investing in rural broadband, water and sewer infrastructure, and expanding access to health care.

    • Mitt Romney

      Romney has refused to take a stand on the Farm Bill. His agriculture white paper barely mentions the Farm Bill, and doesn’t say which version of the farm bill he supports. Meanwhile, Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, a leader of the House Republicans who are holding up passage of the Farm Bill. The Romney-Ryan budget would require farmers to pay more for crop insurance, and without a farm bill, farmers affected by this historic drought will not get the critical disaster relief that they need.