During George W. Bush’s eight years in office, he and his Republican cohorts nearly bankrupted America by increasing defense spending with two unfunded wars and giving unfunded tax cuts to the wealthy. Bush’s economic and foreign policies were textbook lessons for future presidents and politicians for how not to run the country. President Obama learned from Bush’s folly and rejected cowboy diplomacy and has sought to end Bush-era tax cuts for the rich that engendered opposition from Republicans anxious to return to Bush policies that set America’s economy back decades. Last week, Willard “Mitt” Romney gave a speech to supporters that laid out a simple economic and foreign policy agenda that follows the blueprint Bush used to devastate the economy and sully America’s reputation around the world. Romney’s plan, if implemented, actually scales up the Bush blueprint to epic proportions and will, in a brief time period, bankrupt America and millions of Americans.
Romney is facing increasing criticism from Republicans and Democrats alike for his business practices while he headed Bain Capital. Bain invested other people’s money in struggling or start up businesses and saddled them with crippling debt that eventually bankrupted 22% of the companies Bain leveraged with debt. Romney and his wealthy investors reaped the benefits when companies could no longer meet their obligations and are responsible for sending employees to the unemployment lines when the companies went out of business or laid off workers to make ends meet. Now, Willard is proposing a similar tactic in the guise of a grand economic plan for America and the results will be exactly the same as his time at Bain Capital.
First, Romney pledged that as president, he will increase defense spending and said that President Obama “doesn’t see the need for overwhelming American military superiority. I will insist on a military so powerful no one would think of challenging it.” President Obama actually increased defense spending by $20.4 billion in 2010, and substantially increases military spending over the next several years according to the CBO. Conservative pundits and Republicans claimed Obama is cutting defense spending, but as usual, they lie. As it stands now, defense spending accounts for 59% of all discretionary spending and in 2010, the Pentagon budget of $693 billion was nearly half of all military spending on Earth. The military will continue growing over the next decade, but there are areas to streamline the defense budget that the military leadership agrees with starting with corporate welfare in the form of subsidies to defense contractors that bloats defense spending. Romney’s claim that President Obama does not see the need for American military superiority is more than campaign rhetoric; it is a lie.
Romney has not told voters how he plans to fund the increased military spending, but he did offer a tax plan that reduces the already anemic revenue source that could be used to fund an all-powerful military. If George Bush’s tax policy was devastating for the economy, and it was, then Romney’s planned tax cuts for the wealthy will not only fail to fund his overwhelming military superiority, but will increase the nation’s debt leaving a bankrupt nation to rival the 22% of companies Romney destroyed during his tenure at Bain Capital. Romney proposes an unrealistic cap on spending, but even with Draconian spending cuts, his tax plan “raises so little revenue that we’d still be left with perpetual deficits.” Those perpetual deficits are without increasing defense spending to create overwhelming military superiority; the deficit increase is solely from giving tax cuts to the wealthy.
Bush’s tax cuts for households making over $1,000,000 were $141,312 annually and Romney’s proposal is to double the size of the Bush cuts to $286,880 with no plan to fund the cuts other than capping spending on programs 99% of Americans depend on. To make matters worse, Romney’s plan gives 1% of the wealthiest Americans 60% of new tax cuts and they are more than the other 99% of Americans combined and that includes the poor Americans earning only $1 million annually. Romney’s planned cuts are “more heavily skewed toward the top 1% than Bush’s tax cuts.” For millions of declining middle class and working families, Romney’s proposal increases taxes for 40% of families who earn less than $100,000 because his plan eliminates tax breaks for working parents and those paying for their children’s college education. For the record, the median income in America is $49,500 annually.
Romney does not mind eliminating tax breaks for families, but his economic plan fails to eliminate any tax loopholes for corporations. He intends on keeping loopholes for oil companies, yacht and jet owners, horse breeders and especially for private equity firm partners like himself and his former company, Bain Capital. In fact, Romney keeps a “carried interest” loophole for private equity partners that allow them to pay lower tax rates on compensation than middle class families pay on their wages.
Throughout all of Romney’s grand economic plan, there are no new sources of revenue to pay for a bigger military, and although he advocates for a Constitutional balanced budget amendment, his proposal increases spending on tax cuts for the wealthy that are on average 5% more than revenue. So not only does Romney’s plan not balance the budget, he leaves perpetual deficits through 2021 at least. Add to that increased defense spending, and America will be precariously close to bankruptcy.
Romney claims his business acumen makes him best qualified to lead the nation, but like the companies Bain Capital bankrupted by saddling them with crushing debt, America will be worse off than at any time in history. The tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% Romney is proposing will not create any jobs, but the cap on spending and myriad other cuts Romney intends to impose will destroy jobs and further reduce tax revenue. It is important to remember that when Republicans proposed spending cuts that killed a million jobs, their leader, Speaker Boehner, said, so be it. Romney has demonstrated the same attitude during his time at Bain, and as long as he enriches the wealthy, then killing jobs is not an issue.
Romney is attacking President Obama’s defense spending, foreign policy, and economic agenda because they are working. The president learned that the Bush doctrine, cowboy diplomacy, and tax cuts for the wealthy are detrimental to America’s security and implemented change that helped save the economy and our reputation on the world stage. Romney is counting on ignorant Americans who long to return to foreign policy that uses military superiority instead of diplomacy to exert influence around the world, and the fallacious trickle-down economic theory that says giving more wealth to the rich helps all Americans.
President Obama has single-handedly decimated Bush-Republican ideology that might makes right and giving the wealthy all the breaks helps economic growth by doing the opposite. All the while, the President has increased military spending and created more jobs in two years than Bush did in eight. Romney will undo that progress in one year if he is elected. The prescient point to remember is that Romney will increase spending on the military and increased tax cuts for the wealthy without paying for any of it despite raising taxes on 22 million Americans who earn less than $100,000 annually. Any semi-intelligent child understands that to be successful in business, one has to bring in more revenue than goes out and Romney, like Bush, will do the opposite by borrowing more to pay for an overwhelmingly superior military and tax cuts for the wealthy that are twice as large as the Bush cuts. The result is a country that will face that same fate as nearly 25% of Bain Capital’s bankrupt businesses that eliminated jobs and went out of business while the wealthy investors reaped enormous profits. Romney’s tactics may have worked well for wealthy investors, but they were devastating for workers and businesses that were leveraged to death.
Willard Romney will leverage America to death by increasing the military and cutting revenue while increasing spending on the wealthy’s entitlements. It is obvious that Romney resorts to lying about President Obama’s military spending record and the economy because it has strengthened America abroad and created jobs at home. President Obama is a national leader who takes into account the people, America’s security, and economic recovery, and Romney is a private equity investor whose only regard is enriching investors and his own bank account. As president, Romney promises to lead the nation the way he led Bain Capital and if it means bankruptcy and massive job losses, then so be it. He criticizes President Obama because he is envious of a leader who can do more than bankrupt businesses and if he does win the White House, he has shown he will revert to the only thing he knows how to do; bankrupt America to enrich his wealthy investors.