Former President Bill Clinton delivered a scathing indictment of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s economic and tax plans to an enthusiastic crowd at the Democratic National Convention, exhorting the crowd to re-elect President Barack Obama.
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“I think the President's plan is better than the Romney plan, because the Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal responsibility: The numbers don't add up,” said Clinton in a rousing 48-minute speech Wednesday night in Charlotte, N.C. “It's supposed to be a debt reduction plan, but it begins with $5 trillion in tax cuts over a 10-year period. That makes the debt hole bigger before they even start to dig out. They say they'll make it up by eliminating loopholes in the Tax Code. When you ask, ‘Which loopholes and how much?’ they say, ‘See me after the election on that.’”
Clinton pointed out that Obama had cut taxes for the majority of Americans. “The Recovery Act saved and created millions of jobs and cut taxes for 95 percent of the American people,” he said. “In the last 29 months the economy has produced about 4.5 million private sector jobs. But last year, the Republicans blocked the President's jobs plan costing the economy more than a million new jobs. So here's another jobs score: President Obama plus 4.5 million, congressional Republicans zero.”
Clinton criticized the lack of policy details on display at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., last week. “In order to look like an acceptable alternative to President Obama, they couldn’t say much about the ideas they have offered over the last two years,” he said. “You see they want to go back to the same old policies that got us into trouble in the first place: to cut taxes for high-income Americans even more than President Bush did; to get rid of those pesky financial regulations designed to prevent another crash and prohibit future bailouts; to increase defense spending $2 trillion more than the Pentagon has requested without saying what they'll spend the money on; to make enormous cuts in the rest of the budget, especially programs that help the middle class and poor kids. As another President once said, ‘There they go again.’”
Clinton pointed out that the “numbers don’t add up” in the Romney and Ryan plan for reducing the deficit with large tax cuts for upper-income taxpayers combined with steep spending cuts. He compared that to his own administration’s success at balancing the budget. “People ask me all the time how we delivered four surplus budgets,” he said. “What new ideas did we bring? I always give a one-word answer: arithmetic. If they stay with a $5 trillion tax cut in a debt reduction plan, the arithmetic tells us that one of three things will happen: 1) they’ll have to eliminate so many deductions like the ones for home mortgages and charitable giving that middle-class families will see their tax bill go up $2,000 year while people making over $3 million a year will still get a $250,000 tax cut; or 2) they’ll have to cut so much spending that they'll obliterate the budget for our national parks, for ensuring clean air, clean water, safe food, safe air travel; or they’ll cut way back on Pell Grants, college loans, early childhood education and other programs that help middle class families and poor children, not to mention cutting investments in roads, bridges, science, technology and medical research; or 3) they’ll do what they’ve been doing for 30-plus years now—cut taxes more than they cut spending, explode the debt, and weaken the economy. Remember, Republican economic policies quadrupled the debt before I took office and doubled it after I left. We simply can’t afford to double-down on trickle-down. President Obama’s plan cuts the debt, honors our values, and brightens the future for our children, our families and our nation.”