The Las Vegas debate, like all of the previous Republican presidential debates, will continue to show a sharp contrast between the President, who is working hard to create more jobs and grow the economy, and the GOP candidates, whose plans would fail to create jobs, could actually make the economy worse, and would simply provide more tax breaks for special interests and millionaires and billionaires – all while opposing economic relief for the middle class and common-sense protections for families and consumers.
As the GOP presidential candidates and their Republican allies in Congress attempt to push through policies that would devastate the middle class and undermine our nation’s economic security, they refuse to work with President Obama to pass the bipartisan American Jobs Act, the President’s jobs proposal that would get more Americans back to work and put more money back into the pockets of middle-class families and small businesses.
This debate will demonstrate that for the American people, the choice is clear: the President is committed to fighting for the interests of the middle class, while Republicans are only interested in fighting for special interests and protecting the wealth of the privileged few.
Week in Review: GOP Candidates Continue to Push for Failed Policies
In the week that has passed since the last debate, the Republican presidential field has continued to advocate for policies that are deeply out of touch with middle-class Americans. Herman Cain has been criticized for his headline-grabbing but substantially substantively weak 9-9-9 plan, which would amount to a massive tax increase on middle and low-income Americans.
During last week’s debate, Mitt Romney came out in opposition to extending the President’s payroll tax cut for the middle class, saying it amounted to “little Band-Aids” that he would let expire. Romney’s characterization of this vital economic relief for middle-class Americans is both belittling and factually inaccurate: the President’s American Jobs Act would cut the payroll tax in half, meaning a typical American family would be able to keep an extra $1,500 of what they earn a year. $1,500 would pay for roughly four months of groceries, more than seven months of gasoline, and an electric bill for an entire year. Apparently Mitt Romney doesn’t think that money is important for working Americans – he’s preoccupied with cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class. Instead, Mitt Romney has proposed cutting capital gains, interest and dividend taxes for those making $200,000 or less. That would save a family earning $50,000 a mere $54.
Additionally, Rick Perry has proposed an energy plan that doubles down on using up finite natural resources with no plan to transition America to a clean energy economy. All of these proposals would fail to create jobs and improve the lives of middle-class Americans.
GOP Candidates Support Washington Republicans in Blocking the President’s Jobs Plan
The GOP presidential candidates remain in lockstep with the Washington Republican establishment, led by people like House Majority Leader Eric Cantor – who declared the American Jobs Act dead before even holding a single hearing on the bill or giving it a minute of serious consideration – and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, who has said that his number one goal for the country is not creating jobs, but ensuring that the President isn’t re-elected.
Last week, the U.S. Senate had an opportunity to proceed with consideration of the American Jobs Act, and despite the fact that this bill incorporates ideas that Republicans have previously supported, every single Republican in the Senate voted to filibuster it. It was a moment of truth for Republican Senators – a chance to put country before party for once and work with the President and Democrats to provide immediate relief to the middle class, keep teachers in the classroom and police and firefighters on the beat, and put construction workers on the job rebuilding America’s crumbling schools, roads and bridges. But Senate Republicans all said “no” – “no” to compromise, “no” to giving working Americans a chance to succeed, and “no” to restoring our economic security.
And the Republican presidential candidates are with them every step of the way – refusing to work with President to create jobs and get our country back on track. Republicans have made one thing perfectly clear: they are more than willing to suffocate our economy – even if it means risking American jobs and plunging the nation back into recession - to increase their odds of winning an election next year.
Economists and the American People Agree: President is Right, GOP Wrong on Jobs
Just days after Senate Republicans voted to block the President’s plan to get more Americans working again, the Senate GOP unveiled a so-called jobs plan that, according to a leading Moody’s economist, could actually hurt rather than help our economy and bring our country spiraling down into another recession. This was just the latest development demonstrating that leading economists and the American people agree: the President is right and Republicans are wrong on jobs.
Prior to the Senate GOP introducing its disastrous new plan, a report from John McCain’s former economic advisor estimated that the that the American Jobs Act, President Obama’s plan to get more Americans working again, would create as many as 1.9 million jobs and spur economic growth and recovery. And the American people are echoing the sentiment of our nation’s leading economists: in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, when asked about the individual components of the American Jobs Act, 63% of respondents said they favored the bill, with just 32% opposed. The majority of Americans want to see the President’s jobs bill passed now.
Unfortunately, the Republican candidates don’t seem to be getting the message. Mitt Romney’s campaign, for example, at the same time their candidate is belittling middle class tax cuts as “little Band-Aids,” seems quite proud of the fact they are leading the money race for campaign cash from Wall Street. Well, considering Mitt Romney has promised Wall Street’s big banks that if he’s elected he will allow them to write their own rules again – just as they were doing when the economy nearly collapsed just three short years ago – perhaps no one should be surprised that he’s raking in big bucks from the banks for his campaign. And of course, it’s the same Mitt Romney who posed for this famous photo when he was buying up companies and laying off workers for his and his partners’ profit in the private sector.
The truth is, from Mitt Romney to Herman Cain to Rick Perry and the rest of the field - they have cast their lot with the Tea Party and its extreme, out-of-touch economic policies that would hurt the middle class. Their support of Congressional Republicans’ “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan would result in protecting corporate subsidies and costly tax loopholes while doing nothing to help America’s middle-class families. In fact, if the balanced budget amendment that is part of Cut, Cap, and Balance were fully implemented today, it would cost our economy an estimated 9.5 million jobs – and according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, it would inevitably lead to drastic cuts to Medicare and Social Security benefits that millions of America’s seniors rely on to make ends meet.
Unlike the President, who is actively working to move our nation forward with an economic vision and jobs plan that will get provide much-needed relief to middle-class families, the Republican candidates in today’s debate will continue to appease the increasingly influential Tea Party, which has been afforded more and more power by Washington Republicans.
Instead of working in a bipartisan manner to create jobs like the American people want, the Republican candidates are sticking to their same old failed policies of slashing taxes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans and claiming it will trickle down to the middle class. Rather than offering their support for more reckless proposals that will lead us to another recession, it’s time for the GOP candidates for president to wake up, start listening to America’s economic experts and middle-class families, and work with the President to create jobs now.