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article imageOp-Ed: Mitt Romney vs Barack Obama ― A few questions

By Sadiq Green     Apr 26, 2012 in Politics
Though he still has to deal with the nuisance factor of Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, and the potential for a divide at their convention in Tampa, it is a foregone conclusion that former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney will be the Republican nominee.
It is now down to President Barack Obama and Former Mass. Governor Willard Romney as opponents in November. The entertainment and posturing of the GOP primary debtes is over and it’s time to get down to business.
According to some recent poll numbers, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has pulled even with incumbent President Barack Obama. While the hardcore left and right voters know how they will vote in November, it will be the Independents that hold the key to victory in this presidential election, just as they have in the previous two. Those who are undecided about the political path they'd like the country to take ought to look at several areas of contrast, and consider what either candidate might do in three areas.
JOBS
The unemployment rate took a miniscule dip month, from 8.3 to 8.2 percent, but only 120,000 new jobs were created. Industries need to create at least 300,000 jobs a month for the next year or so to just begin to catch up with all the jobs that were lost since the economic collapse of 2008. Unemployment is trending down, albeit slowly, and the Obama Administration has been prompt to share these facts. Furthermore, had President Obama and his opponents been able to pass job creation legislation at the end of 2011, the rate might have dropped even faster.
President Obama must answer at least two questions: What he will he do to change the pace of job creation, specifically what kind of legislation he considers is needed for him to implement his plan, and whether he thinks he can pull a political consensus together to pass such legislation? Finally, I'd ask about a focus on youth unemployment, given the fact that young people who complete college and cannot find jobs have lifetime effects from initial joblessness after graduation.
My question to Mitt Romney would be specifically how he plans to accelerate the pace of job creation and lower unemployment rates. I'd also like to know whether he still enjoys firing people and what message he thinks that sends to the least and the left out.
TAXES
Mitt Romney pays a lower proportion of his income on taxes than the average (not upper income, just average) working person does, mostly because investment income is taxed at a lower rate than earnings. Romney called for an extension of the Bush tax cuts, while President Obama would eliminate them.
A question for Mitt Romney is: Does he believe it is fair for the rich to pay proportionately less in taxes than middle income people do and if so why? Would he detail his objections to the so-called Buffett plan, and will he offer an alternative plan for tax fairness?
For President Obama: Does he plan to offer, beyond the Buffett plan, other keys to tax fairness? Should investment income be taxed at an equal or higher rate than earnings? Finally, what kind of coalition is needed to turn the Buffett plan into public policy beyond congress passing legislation?
STUDENTS
President Obama has vigorously defended Pell Grants. Mr. Romney, on the other hand, in his embracing the Walker Plan would eliminate not only these grants but many other social programs. Furthermore, students pay more than 6 percent interest on federal loans, while some of the bailout banks paid less than 1 percent interest on their loans. If the youth are indeed the future of our nation, why aren't our future workers, more highly considered in the budget process?
Mitt Romney needs to make clear what is his plan for US success and what role today's students play in that prosperity. And although he and Republican lawmakers attempted to co-opt the President Obama’s message on freezing interest rates on student loans, Romney needs to explain why he is opposed to Pell grants. What does Romney think of the interest differential between the way students are treated and bailout banks are treated.
President Obama must be commended for his fight to protect colleges. Yet he also must answer questions about the interest differential between students and banks who received bailout funds. The President must provide an update on the progress of his pledge to restore the US to world leadership in educational attainment.
Now these are just a few of peripheral issues of a much bigger debate that includes income equality, domestic spending. Now with Romney declared his party’s presumptive nominee, maybe voters can get down to business to truly compare and contrast the candidates.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about 2012 presidential election, President barack obama, Mitt Romney, Taxes, Higher education
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