Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Knockout

Hopefully everyone tuned in last Wednesday night for an extremely insightful debate between Romney and Obama.  If you did, you saw Romney land punch after punch and wondered why Obama didn't even bother to put up a glove to protect himself.  Watching Obama get exposed as a President with a poor record and no vision for a next term was fun, but I enjoyed the way Romney layed out and defended his positions so much more.

I think it is worth highlighting and expanding on a few of his thoughts:


"You raise taxes and you kill jobs. That's why the National Federation of Independent Businesses said your plan will kill 700,000 jobs. I don't want to kill jobs in this environment."

"There's no question in my mind that if the president were to be re-elected you'll continue to see a middle-class squeeze with incomes going down and prices going up. I'll get incomes up again. You'll see chronic unemployment. We've had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent. If I'm president, I will create...12 million new jobs in this country with rising incomes."

More important to me than the exact policies is Romney's laser focus on creating jobs as priority #1.  I cannot believe Obama spent his first 2 years in office working on a very controversial healthcare law that adds a lot of uncertainty to employers.  That was an enormous mistake that has blunted our recovery.

Tax Policy:

"Mr. President, you're absolutely right, which is that, with regards to 97 percent of the businesses are not -- not taxed at the 35 percent tax rate, they're taxed at a lower rate. But those businesses that are in the last 3 percent of businesses happen to employ half -- half of all the people who work in small business. Those are the businesses that employ one-quarter of all the workers in America. And your plan is to take their tax rate from 35 percent to 40 percent."

Obama wants to make competing harder those who employ 25% of ALL Americans.  No great leap or complicated correlation needs to be made here, employers have less money they will hire less.   

"My plan is not like anything that's been tried before. My plan is to bring down rates, but also bring down deductions and exemptions and credits at the same time so the revenue stays in, but that we bring down rates to get more people working."

"I want to bring down the tax burden on middle-income families. And I'm going to work together with Congress to say, OK, what are the various ways we could bring down deductions, for instance? One way, for instance, would be to have a single number. Make up a number — 25,000 (dollars), $50,000. Anybody can have deductions up to that amount. And then that number disappears for high-income people. That's one way one could do it. One could follow Bowles-Simpson as a model and take deduction by deduction and make differences that way."

Romney's tax plan is very good because it is focused on giving incentives to people to work and produce more.  Lower tax rates for everyone will increase how much money people bring home while limiting or capping deductions is an excellent way to cut government spending disguised in the tax code.

Lets face it, you may like your home mortgage or property tax deduction (I like mine), but this is the federal government sending you a check to take out a loan or buy a house.  And for those of you who think the rich need to pay more, who do you think take out the biggest loans and buy the biggest houses and get the biggest deductions?

"The second topic, which is you said you get a deduction for getting a plant overseas. Look, I've been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you're talking about."

Obama's Failures:

"Middle- income Americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. This is a -- this is a tax in and of itself. I'll call it the economy tax. It's been crushing."

I am sure you will hear the term 'the economy tax' again.  Few can deny that food and energy prices have gone up and wages are stagnant or declining. This combo lowers our standard of living across the board, and if you think that Obama is turning things around, these facts are a staggering reminder that we are still reeling and the recovery promoted by the left is non-existent.  

"My priority is putting people back to work in America. They're suffering in this country. And we talk about evidence. Look at the evidence of the last four years. It's absolutely extraordinary. We've got 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work in this country. It's just -- it's -- we've got -- when the president took office, 32 million people on food stamps; 47 million on food stamps today; economic growth this year slower than last year, and last year slower than the year before."

The numbers are damning, the economy is poor and Obama has vastly extended government dependency.

"there was a survey done of small businesses across the country. It said, what's been the effect of "Obamacare" on your hiring plans? And three-quarters of them said, it makes us less likely to hire people. I just don't know how the president could have come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis at the — at the kitchen table and spent his energy and passion for two years fighting for "Obamacare" instead of fighting for jobs for the American people."


Deficit Spending:

"I will eliminate all programs by this test, if they don't pass it: Is the program so critical it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I'll get rid of it."

Excellent way to say it.  I might also add that any deficit spending is a direct punch to the face of our children.


"the Department of Energy has said the tax break for oil companies is $2.8 billion a year. And it's actually an accounting treatment, as you know, that's been in place for a hundred years. Now…in one year, you provided $90 billion in breaks to the green energy world."

We must let economic forces work.  When green energy has an economic benefit, it will be embraced across the board.  Until then we cannot afford to flush taxpayer money down the drain chasing windmills.


"Dodd- Frank was passed, and it includes within it a number of provisions that I think have some unintended consequences that are harmful to the economy. One is it designates a number of banks as too big to fail, and they're effectively guaranteed by the federal government...This is the biggest kiss that's been given to — to New York banks I've ever seen. This is an enormous boon for them. There's been — 122 community and small banks have closed since Dodd-Frank."

I love this point, but maybe for a little different reason.  This very much highlights the point that just because the government does something doesn't mean it will have the desired effect.  People must realize that markets almost without fail provide better solutions to these problems than governments do.  We just need to find more ways to get out of the way.  

The Role of Government:

"And what we're seeing right now is, in my view, a — a trickle-down government approach which has government thinking it can do a better job than free people pursuing their dreams. And it's not working...And the proof of that is 23 million people out of work. The proof of that is one out of six people in poverty. The proof of that is we've gone from 32 million on food stamps to 47 million on food stamps. The proof of that is that 50 percent of college graduates this year can't find work."

"My experience is the private sector typically is able to provide a better product at a lower cost."
"But you make a very good point, which is that the — the place you put your money makes a pretty clear indication of where your heart is. You put $90 billion into — into green jobs...that would have hired 2 million teachers. Ninety billion dollars."

Not only does Romney believe the government does not have the answers, he clearly points out how poor Obama's judgement in spending taxpayer money has been.

Working together:

"I had the great experience...of being elected in a state where my legislature was 87 percent Democrat, and that meant I figured out from day one I had to get along and I had to work across the aisle to get anything done. We drove our schools to be number one in the nation. We cut taxes 19 times."

Amen.  You have to be able to find some common ground.  I believe Romney will, now more than ever.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Debates

What should you look for in the debate?

Hopefully everyone will be watching Wednesday evening for the first round of the Presidential Debates between Obama and Romney.  The debates are very important for Romney as he needs to show both a strong sense of what America needs moving forward as well as have a presidential look when he presents his case.

Obama's job is a lot easier, as he only has to tell the people that he is for government solving all of your problems and avoid tough math questions on how we would pay for any of it, i.e. like long term payment for Obama-care, run away stimulus spending, subsidizing student loans, no entitlement reform, etc...  Basically Obama will talk about the government giveaways and tell you that if everyone paid their fair share we could afford it.  Of course, it is a complete lie, but people like to believe in a free lunch, so it will play.

So, here is what I think Romney needs to punch home on Wednesday:

First, he NEEDS to define the election about 2 things: the economy and the deficit.  These really are the only 2 important topics in this election, but since the President is an abysmal failure on each he will do anything to pivot away from them.  Anything he wants to do needs to be shown to help, anything Obama wants to do needs to be shown to hurt.

The Five Point Plan:

Mitt needs to sell and believe in his 5 point plan like its the Bible.  It has some great stuff in it, but needs to all tie back to his key themes:    

1) Energy: Grow our domestic oil, gas and coal production.  Why? it will create jobs, reduce energy costs to business and consumers, and reduce dependence on oil from our enemies.  Key Example: Keystone Pipeline

2) Help Small Business: Cut tax rates, reduce regulations.  Why? Reduces cost on business, increases incentive for business to operate in the US.  Key Example:  Obama-Care, 20% Tax Cuts

3) Deficit Reduction: Cap Spending at 20% GDP.  Reform Entitlements.  Reduce tax rates, eliminate deductions.  Cut wasteful programs and align federal wages to private sector.  Key Example: Medicare Reform

4) Free Trade: Tough on China, Open new markets.  Makes consumer goods cheaper and opens new markets for American companies to compete.

5) Workforce Skills:  Open up Visa program to allow more legal immigration, improve school competition to drive better student results.  Key Example: Teacher's Unions  

Ultimately Romney needs to explain that Obama's policies are sure to make operating a business and hiring people much more expensive while increasing taxes and exploding deficits.  A set of policies that have proven to fail.

If we spend the whole evening talking about Immigration, Student Loans and Auto Bailouts, Romney will have a much harder task.  Don't get me wrong, Obama bought the votes of illegal immigrants through his 'policy' of letting them stay, he bought students votes through his subsidizing their loans, and of course paid the unions directly with tax payer money in the auto bailouts.  However, since only the American taxpayer got creamed in these situations and the costs are easy to cover up, these seem to be winning issues for Obama.  Losers for the country, but difficult to defend without looking heartless.

All in all, when you are watching, make sure you do not get distracted by stupid issues as I'm sure the moderator will ask Mitt about his taxes or some other such non-sense. Listen closely to see if Obama has any real ideas on how to put America on sure footing for the future.  I know Romney does, but listen for him to lay it out.