The most notable thing to look for in tonight's debate, and it won't be hard to find, is how eager Republicans, especially Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney, are to return to the failed Republican policies of the last decade that put our economy on the brink of a second Great Depression. While the vast majority of Americans have no interest in returning to those policies - the Laissez-Faire attitude towards big banks, health insurance companies and big oil and tax policies that favor the wealthiest Americans - Republican presidential candidates want to return to these policies and then some.
The willingness of Republican presidential candidates to double down on the disaster of the last decade not three years after our nation's near total financial collapse boggles the mind - but they are doing so without apology - and to date - with only occasionally being challenged by the media.
Tonight, Republicans will compete for the affections of their primary voters who want to return to the policies that led us to the situation we were in when the President was first elected in 2008 – a financial crisis that led to the loss of 3.6 million jobs in the final months of 2008, froze lending and gravely affected middle class families across America. That wasn’t the result of bad luck – it was the result of bad policies.
Tim Pawlenty’s proposed economic plan, for instance, proves to be more fiscally irresponsible than George W. Bush’s. He would increase the deficit by extending and expanding by 2 or 3 times the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans and he would do so at the expense of investments to fuel our economic recovery. And Mitt Romney wants more of the same – more tax cuts for the richest Americans and fewer investments in education, clean energy and the jobs of the future.
The fact is Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty are in no position to talk about economic growth, budgets or job creation.
In Romney’s four years as governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of all 50 states in job growth. There's a bumper sticker for you - "Elect Me: I finished fourth from dead last in jobs."
Tim Pawlenty’s record is no better. He left Minnesota with a $6.2 billion projected deficit, making him the first Minnesota governor in history to pass on such a massive shortfall. And he shifted tax burdens to localities by cutting local funding. The result was that, under Tim Pawlenty, 90% of Minnesotans saw an increase in property taxes. And during his entire tenure in Minnesota - eight full years - he created a mere 6,200 jobs while seeing a large spike in the jobless rate.
Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and the rest of the Republican field have learned nothing from the near collapse of Wall Street in 2008. Not even three years away from the worst financial crisis in a generation, they want to roll back the protections that the President put in place to ensure that the financial crisis will not be repeated – they would let Wall Street run wild, making up their own rules as they go as the middle class is stuck to fend for itself.
The massive financial crisis and the recession and deficits it caused weren’t created overnight, and they won’t be solved overnight - and matters would simply be worse if Republicans get their way.
In contrast, despite what you will hear tonight, President Obama understands that the effort to win the future begins with getting our economy moving today. The President’s budget cuts $1 trillion over ten years to put our economy on a stronger footing while making investments we need in education, clean energy, technology and infrastructure to get Americans back to work today and meet the challenge of global competition in the future.
We’ve gone from 3.6 million jobs lost at the end of 2008 to 15 straight months of private sector job gains. The President has cut taxes 26 times – tax cuts to benefit the middle class and get our economy moving. With the President’s continued leadership, we can continue on that path instead of returning to 2008.
Americans want progress that works for them, and they know that the same old recipe the Republicans are offering isn’t going to taste any better for them the second time around.
ROMNEY’S JOB CREATION RECORD IN MASSACHUSETTS WAS ONE OF THE WORST IN THE COUNTRY
During Romney’s Tenure as Governor, Massachusetts’ Economic Performance Was “One Of The Worst In The Country” On “All Key Labor Market Measures.” [Boston Globe, 7/29/07]
Factcheck.org: “Romney’s Jobs Record Provides Little To Boast About.” [Factcheck.org, 1/11/08]
In Romney’s Four Years As Governor Massachusetts Ranked 47th Out Of 50 In Jobs Growth. [Marketwatch, 2/23/10]
PAWLENTY LEFT MINNESOTA WITH A PROJECTED $6.2 BILLION DEFICIT
When Pawlenty Left Office, Minnesota Faced A $6.2 Billion Deficit For The 2012-2013 Biennium. [Minnesota Public Radio, 12/2/10]
- · “Minnesota's Projected Budget Deficit Shrank By A Fifth To $5 Billion … State Economist Tom Stinson Attributed The Improvement To Federal Action That Helped The Economy, Including A Payroll Tax Cut And Delay In A Capital Gains Tax Hike.” [Associated Press, 2/28/11]
- · Minnesota’s Budget “Deficit Is Nearly 13 Percent Of The State's General Fund.” [Associated Press, 2/28/11]
Star Tribune’s Lori Sturdevant: “No Other Governor In Minnesota's 152-Year History” Besides Pawlenty “Has Handed His Successor A $6.2 Billion Deficit Forecast.” [Lori Sturdevant op-ed, Star Tribune, 12/4/10]
“Gov. Mark Dayton… Says He Inherited A ‘Horrendous Fiscal Mess’ And Poorly Managed State Agencies” From Pawlenty.” [Associated Press, 2/9/11]
UNDER GOVERNOR PAWLENTY, TAXES INCREEASED FOR 90 PERCENT OF MINNESOTANS
During Tim Pawlenty’s tenure as Minnesota governor, taxes decreased for the wealthiest 10 percent and increased for 90 percent of middle and lower-income families. This shift in tax burden came as a result of local funding cuts enacted by Tim Pawlenty that prompted local governments to raise property taxes. (PoliGraph, MPR, 4/29/11)
THE ECONOMY HAS ADDED 2.1 MILLION PRIVATE SECTOR JOBS OVER THE LAST 15 MONTHS, INCLUDING MORE THAN 800,000 JOBS SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR
MAY 2011: Private Sector Payrolls Increased By 83,000 In May And Has Added More Than 2.1 Million Jobs Over The Past 15 Months. [WH Council of Economic Advisers blog, 6/3/11]
USA Today: “Americans Are Paying The Smallest Share Of Their Income For Taxes Since 1958.” [USA Today, 5/6/11]
Politifact: Obama Gave A Tax Cut To 95% Of Working Families. [Politifact, 1/28/10]