President Barack Obama critiqued his rival Mitt Romney’s tax reform plans during his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, comparing Republican proposals to a doctor’s standard prescription.
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“Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn't have much to say about how they'd make it right,” he said Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C., where he was forced to cancel plans to deliver his acceptance speech to a larger audience at an outdoor stadium because of the threat of thunder storms.
“They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan,” Obama added. “And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last 30 years: Have a surplus? Try a tax cut. Deficit too high? Try another. Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!
“Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need it—middle-class families and small businesses,” he continued. “But I don't believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit. I don't believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China. After all that we've been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home. We’ve been there, we've tried that, and we’re not going back. We’re moving forward.”
Obama also criticized the former Massachusetts governor’s tax reform plans, arguing they would cut taxes for upper-income taxpayers while removing tax breaks and benefits for the middle class and low-income workers.
“I want to reform the Tax Code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000—the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was President; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot,” he said. Now, I'm still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. But when Governor Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy—well, you do the math. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I'm President, I never will.
“I refuse to ask middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut,” Obama added. “I refuse to ask students to pay more for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled—all so those with the most can pay less.”
Obama also took aim at the Medicare reform proposals championed by Romney’s running mate, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. “And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher,” said Obama. “No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we'll do it by reducing the cost of health care—not by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it—not by turning it over to Wall Street.”
Obama contrasted his approach to corporate tax reform with that of Republicans. “After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years,” he said. “And now you have a choice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America. We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years. You can make that happen. You can choose that future.”