Refusing to offer any specifics, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have been pushing the same old set of falsehoods and a five point plan. To distract from their tax plan that would raise taxes on the middle class, Romney and Ryan are holding up this five point plan as a clear way to create jobs. But as independent economists have noted, the only clear consequence of their plan is “more harm in the short term” and slowing the recovery.
Here’s a look at the realities of the Romney-Ryan five point plan.
Make America energy independent
Romney: Championing the policies that make Big Oil proud, he has suggested that wind and solar power are “imaginary” sources of energy. And he opposes fuel economy standards—without which he has no way to get us to his goal of North American energy independence by 2020.
Reality: Only an all-of-the-above energy plan like the President’s can move the country towards energy independence. Under President Obama, U.S. dependence on foreign oil is at a 20-year low, and our oil production is at its highest level in 14 years. And President Obama’s investments in clean energy have more than doubled the amount of electricity we get from wind and solar and supported nearly a quarter of a million jobs. The Obama administration also negotiated a historic agreement with automakers to nearly double our fuel efficiency standards, which will save 2.2 million barrels of oil a day by 2025.
Stand up to China
Romney: Combating China’s unfair trade practices requires a willingness to take action—but when President Obama took that action to stand up to China for American tire workers, Romney called it “bad for the nation and for our workers.” He also stands to profit from Chinese companies that are implementing the very practices he claims he’ll be tough on.
Reality: President Obama has brought trade cases against China at twice the rate of President Bush. He imposed stiff tariffs on Chinese-made tires as a safeguard provision to protect our tire industry, saving over 1,000 U.S. jobs. Romney called this action “misguided.”
Romney: Romney’s budget plan could cut more than $115 billion from the Department of Education over the next 10 years, cutting K-12 and special education funding by nearly $5 billion and leaving nearly 10 million students with $1,000 less each in Pell Grant funding. He plans to voucherize America’s public education system while offering no plan to fix failing public schools.
Reality: President Obama believes that we need to reform our schools and invest more in them. His Race to the Top initiative spurred nearly every state to raise academic standards. For states that are committed to reform, he is now offering relief from the mandates of No Child Left Behind—such as incentives to teach to the test and water down standards—in exchange for their own solutions. Now he has set a goal to recruit 100,000 math and science teachers over the next decade, and cut the growth of college tuition in half over the next decade.
Cut federal spending
Romney: Romney says he’ll balance the budget within a decade, but has offered no details on how he’ll do so. In fact, the only way to make sure his plan, which includes $5 trillion in new tax cuts weighted towards the wealthy, won’t explode the deficit is to hike taxes on middle-class families with kids by more than $2,000.
Reality: A responsible deficit plan reduces spending without cutting critical investments that support economic growth. President Obama has a balanced plan to reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion, including the $1 trillion in cuts he signed into law last year, while asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share. He also plans to use half of the money saved from responsibly ending foreign wars to pay down the deficit, and the other half to invest in infrastructure at home.
Cut taxes for small businesses
Romney: The Romney-Ryan tax plan could raise taxes for 30 million small business owners, and their budget could cut funding for the Small Business Administration by $170 million. In promising to repeal Obamacare, he is pledging to end the tax credits that help small business owners afford the cost of covering their employees and will cover up to 50 percent of their health coverage costs in 2014.
Reality: Small businesses are the engine of the economy and need investment and policies that help them hire and expand. President Obama cut taxes for small businesses 18 times, and under his leadership the Small Business Administration supported a record volume of small business lending in 2011. He also signed legislation allowing small businesses to immediately deduct the full cost of key equipment last year.