Mitt Romney read the new July jobs stats on Friday morning and struck out at Barack Obama’s job creation record from a campaign event in Las Vegas, an area with unemployment well above the national average. Hitting Obama where it hurts the most, Romney pounced on July jobs numbers which indicate unemployment figures rose above 8% again for the 42nd straight month, despite a campaign promise from Obama in 2008 that he would effectively lower unemployment. Romney told the enthusiastic crowd:
“This continues a pattern of American families really struggling, having hard times, and the president’s to blame for not having gotten the economy back on track. A lot of people are suffering in this country and I think it’s an extraordinary failure of policy, a failure of leadership, and I think it’s a moral failure for a country as successful and prosperous as our own to go now four years in a mode which feels to many people as a recession.”
Romney knows this is the ding in Obama’s media created armor, with voters registering the economy and in particular, high unemployment to be the biggest issues.
The July figures announced Friday showed an increase in the unemployment rate to 8.3%, which hurts Obama on the issue, but also showed a net job creation of 163,000, all in the private sector. Analysts predict that if the next 3 months show similar figures, Obama could very well stake claim to a “positive jobs record” by election day, because of the 4.3 million jobs lost during his first year in office, he has now recouped 4 million. If by November he has regained the 4.3 million lost, and added just TWO extra, he can claim that he did in fact create job(s).
In response president Obama said the July figures showed 29 straight months of new job growth, which included 1.1 million new jobs so far this year:
“We haven’t had to come back from an economic crisis this deep or this painful since the 1930s. But we also knew that if we were persistent, if we kept at it and kept working, that we’d gradually get to where we need to be.”
Romney contends that if elected he has a plan that could turn things around in pretty quick fashion, making this bold statement:
“My plan will turn things around and bring the economy roaring back, with 12 million new jobs created by the end of my first term.”
But, that same new Romney plan was the target of partisan rhetoric from the Obama administration on taxation policy – differences between democrats and republicans citing that the Romney plan would mean large tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and higher taxes for the middle class. According to Obama that policy amounts to “upside down economics. I just think we’ve got our priorities skewed if the notion is that we give tax breaks to folks who don’t need it, and to help pay for that, we tax folks who’re already struggling to get by. That’s not how you grow an economy.” In his next breath Obama repeated his call for House Republicans to follow the Senate and pass a tax measure which would extend tax cuts on incomes up to $250,000 for families and $200,000 for individuals.
“At a time when too many working families are already struggling to make ends meet, they want to give millionaires and billionaires and folks like me tax cuts that we don’t need and that the country can’t afford, even if middle-class families have to pick up the tab for it,” chided Obama.
But according to Mitt Romney, his tax policy would lower rates across the board while doing away with exemptions for high-income taxpayers. He denounced the accusation by Obama that his plan would increase taxes on middle-income Americans:
“I want to lower the taxes paid by middle-income Americans. I will not raise taxes on the American people.”
Obama’s accusations were founded on a report by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center who found that the Romney plan would provide tax breaks for wealthy Americans and increase taxation on the middle class to lower incomes, but Romney’s campaign rejected the report as biased for not including the impact of job creation under the Romney tax plan in its findings, and noted a former Obama economic adviser was one of the three authors.
Both sides call for comprehensive tax reform after the election as part of necessary deficit reduction steps.