Saturday, October 20, 2012


Presidential Debate 
October 16, 2012 
Moderator: Candy Crowley 
Place: Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY 
Format: Town Hall 

Tuesday night was the second presidential debate and I was glad it was a town hall setting; I knew President Obama excels in that environment and I was right. President Obama was outstanding, so much different than during the first debate where most of us felt that his body was there but his mind and spirit where somewhere else and we kept waiting for him to wake up. This time, this time he was excellent and if he disappointed someone it was probably the people at Fox News. 

The debate began with a student, Jeremy Epstein, who asked the following question: “Mr. President, Governor Romney, as a 20-year-old college student, all I hear from professors, neighbors and others is that when I graduate, I will have little chance to get employment. What can you say to reassure me, but more importantly my parents, that I will be able to sufficiently support myself after I graduate?” 

I will not be providing Romney’s full answer to every question because if I do you will need three days to read this article. Instead I will just provide the “key” parts of some answers. Romney's answer to Jeremy's question was “…So what we have to do is two things. We have to make sure that we make it easier for kids to afford college and also make sure that when they get out of college, there's a job. When I was governor of Massachusetts, to get a high school degree, you had to pass an exam. If you graduated in the top quarter of your airlines, we gave you a John and Abigail Adams scholarship, four years tuition free in the college of your choice in Massachusetts; it's a public institution. I want to make sure we keep our Pell grant program growing. We're also going to have our loan program, so that people are able to afford school. But the key thing is to make sure you can get a job when you get out of school. And what's happened over the last four years has been very, very hard for America's young people. I want you to be able to get a job.

In his plan, A Chance for Every Child, page 31, first paragraph, you’ll find how Romney is planning to help students from low to middle-income families to attend college, or at least it was back in May of this year… before he decided that in order to get the vote of young people he needed to change his tune and be a huge supporter of Pell grants, but that will not be what he will do if he ever gets in the Oval Office. 

This is what he says on the paragraph in question: “Last but not least, families must be supported in their efforts to plan ahead and save for their children’s higher education. A Romney Administration will aim to increase the opportunity to save and invest for higher education, particularly for low- and moderate-income families. With better information and more affordable options, financing higher-education can once again become an attractive opportunity instead of an overwhelming burden.” 

Of course, for a person that believes a middle-income family makes between $200,000 to $250,000 a year, this is a very doable proposition. The problem is, his figures are wrong. Middle-class income is somewhere around $50,000 and his strategy its completely impossible to do for low-income families. Once more, only the wealthy are worthy of higher education. Romney keeps mentioning that his Education plan while he was governor of Massachusetts was a success, but a recently Faculty Research Paper published by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government reveals that the contrary its true. If you wish to read it, click here.  

The next question was directed at President Obama and was asked by Phillip Tricolla: “Your energy secretary, Steven Chu, has now been on record three times stating it's not policy of his department to help lower gas prices. Do you agree with Secretary Chu that this is not the job of the Energy Department?” 

I must admit that President Obama didn’t answer the question; instead he began to mention all the things he has accomplished or wishes to accomplish regarding energy. But Romney, his answer was terrible, providing the wrong figures and what is worse supports the Keystone XL Pipeline, which the majority of Americans are against. Romney, mocking the president, said if he gets to be president: “We're going to bring that pipeline in from Canada. How in the world the president said no to that pipeline? I will never know.” 

Perhaps Mr. Romney hasn’t heard of all the environmental damages this pipeline represents. That dirty tar sands oil is not ours, it belongs to Canada and it will be shipped out of the US as fast as it’s being extracted. This will only benefit Transcanada, not our country and not our environment. But of course, Romney doesn’t care about either; he only serves the big oil moguls and the mighty buck, the rest can go to hell for all he cares.

Romney continued to say, “Talk to the people that are working in those industries. I was in coal country. People grabbed my arms and said, "Please save my job." The head of the EPA said, "You can't build a coal plant. You'll virtually -- it's virtually impossible given our regulations." When the president ran for office, he said if you build a coal plant, you can go ahead, but you'll go bankrupt. That's not the right course for America.” 

President Obama gave us a hint at Mitt Romney's chameleon opinions:  “…And when I hear Governor Romney say he's a big coal guy, I mean, keep in mind, when -- Governor, when you were governor of Massachusetts, you stood in front of a coal plant and pointed at it and said, "This plant kills," and took great pride in shutting it down. And now suddenly you're a big champion of coal.” As usual, President Obama was telling the truth, if you don't believe me, watch Mitt Romney's video stating it.

Romney accused the president of reducing production of oil in federal land, the President kept persisting that oil production in Federal land has gone up, not down. According to CNN, the President is right and, as usual, Romney is wrong. Click here to read CNN's article. 

Mary Follano directed her question to Romney. She asked him: “You have stated that if you're elected president, you would plan to reduce the tax rates for all the tax brackets and that you would work with the Congress to eliminate some deductions in order to make up for the loss in revenue. Concerning these various deductions, the mortgage deductions, the charitable deductions, the child tax credit and also the education credits, which are important to me, because I have children in college. What would be your position on those things, which are important to the middle class?” 

Romney replied, and this time I will quote his entire response: “Thank you very much. And let me tell you, you're absolutely right about part of that, which is I want to bring the rates down, I want to simplify the tax code, and I want to get middle- income taxpayers to have lower taxes. And the reason I want middle-income taxpayers to have lower taxes is because middle-income taxpayers have been buried over the past four years. 

You've seen, as middle-income people in this country, incomes go down $4,300 a family, even as gasoline prices have gone up $2,000. Health insurance premiums, up $2,500. Food prices up. Utility prices up. The middle-income families in America have been crushed over the last four years. So I want to get some relief to middle-income families. That's part one. Now, how about deductions? 'Cause I'm going to bring rates down across the board for everybody, but I'm going to limit deductions and exemptions and credits, particularly for people at the high end, because I am not going to have people at the high end pay less than they're paying now. The top 5 percent of taxpayers will continue to pay 60 percent of the income tax the nation collects. So that'll stay the same. 

Middle-income people are going to get a tax break. And so, in terms of bringing down deductions, one way of doing that would be say everybody gets -- I'll pick a number -- $25,000 of deductions and credits, and you can decide which ones to use. Your home mortgage interest deduction, charity, child tax credit, and so forth, you can use those as part of filling that bucket, if you will, of deductions. But your rate comes down and the burden also comes down on you for one more reason, and that is every middle-income taxpayer no longer will pay any tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. No tax on your savings. That makes life a lot easier. If you're getting interest from a bank, if you're getting a statement from a mutual fund or any other kind of investment you have, you don't have to worry about filing taxes on that, because there'll be no taxes for anybody making $200,000.00 per year and less, on your interest, dividends and capital gains. Why am I lowering taxes on the middle-class? Because under the last four years, they've been buried. And I want to help people in the middle-class. And I will not under any circumstances, reduce the share that's being paid by the highest income taxpayers. And I will not, under any circumstances increase taxes on the middle-class. The president's spending, the president's borrowing will cost this nation to have to raise taxes on the American people. Not just at the high end. A recent study has shown the people in the middle-class will see $4,000.00 per year in higher taxes as a result of the spending and borrowing of this administration.” 

Mitt Romney has no idea what it’s considered to be a middle-class income. For a man that has never been “middle-class,” he thinks that $250,000 its what constitutes the annual income of those from the middle-class. He has no idea that middle-class earnings are about $50,000 a year. So when you hear him puffing about our President raising the taxes on the middle-class, bear in mind that he is referring to those making from $200,000 to $250,000. For a man that makes in dividends millions of dollars those that earn a quarter or half of what he makes without moving a finger, it’s the middle-class.  The real middle-class are those that he was despotically referring to as lazy and government leaches that don't want to take responsibility for their lives.  Remember that!
Ironically, Romney believes that the top 5% pays about 60% of their income in taxes and as far as I know, that is not true. The maximum amount for an individual making over $379,150 is 35% and that’s before all the loopholes which the very wealthy are “entitled” to and which allows individuals like Mitt Romney to pay less than 13% in taxes while the rest of us pay an average of 23%.  The same is true for Corporations. 

The Tax Policy Center believes that Romney’s tax plan doesn’t have a leg to stand on and that the math simply is not there. To see the report, click here.

Katherine Fenton asked Romney a great question: "In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?

Romney never provided an answer to that question. Must of us just only remember his now famous “binder full of women” because apparently there were no women available in Massachusetts to do the required job, so he had to “go and find them.” While it is true that he had 9 women in his cabinet, the previous governors from Michael Dukakis to Jane Swift, all of them had women in their cabinet, including the present governor Duval Patrick. The honor of having more women in cabinet positions belongs to Paul Celluci, Republican, who governed Massachusetts from 1997 to 2001. However, the question was not about his opinion about hiring women, the question was about equal pay which Romney refused to answer and, during a Presidential Debate where so much is at risk not answering this very important question means that he agrees that women should earn less than their male counterpart. What’s more, when pressed by Crowley, his replied was: “I'm going to help women in America get good work by getting a stronger economy and by supporting women in the workforce.

Is he serious? Women don’t need “support” to be part of the workforce, women have been part of the workforce for over half a century. Women have been getting “good work” for a long time now. What women are not getting is equal pay for that “good work” and that was precisely the question. His stand on this subject reflects how distant Romney is from what women need and how deaf he is to women’s pleas… He ignored it completely and it is obvious that he like things just the way they are. Another thing one must keep in mind is his hiring record while he was running Bain Capital… He hired no women while at Bain  and you can rest assured that he will overturn the Lilly Ledbetter Bill since it allows women to file suit, retroactively, against the companies that pay less to women for equal work. All Romney wants to protect are the interests of Corporate America, not the workers and certainly not the women... after all, unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney only has sons and for him and his religion, women are second-class citizens.

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