The Hill Pundits Blog

The Obama message: Moving forward, not back

By Peter Fenn – 05/01/12 03:05 PM ET

After much debate and discussion, the Obama message for 2012 has taken shape. The narrative is pretty simple: During the first eight years of the 21st century the Republicans drove the car right up to the edge, where it was leaning, ready to go over the cliff. Barack Obama took over as 800,000 jobs a month were being lost, the economy was in meltdown and our entire auto industry was on the brink of dissolution.

Because of President Obama’s leadership, the car is safely back on the road, proceeding to its destination, still not going at 60 mph, but picking up speed.

Meanwhile, the Republicans have made it perfectly clear that they offer nothing new or innovative or different from what they proposed under George Bush.
Let’s face it, the Republicans have decided that they are going to continue to embrace policies that put the nation in the ditch in the first place. Big tax breaks for the top 1 percent, cut programs vital to education, families and communities, and propose budgets that keep the red ink flowing. By keeping the huge Bush tax breaks for the wealthy in place and proposing even more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, Mitt Romney will be adding $5 trillion in red ink, with only a “secret plan” to close tax breaks that he refuses to calculate.

Trickle-down has never worked. Putting more money in the pockets of hedge fund managers will not create jobs; keeping alive tax breaks for parking millions in the Cayman Islands and Swiss bank accounts will not cause the economy to prosper. Allowing the largest corporations like Apple to evade taxes with brilliant lawyers and accountants only serves to enrich those at the top — and the lawyers and accountants. Why not close these loopholes if they are not fair and equitable? Why not admit that regulation and cracking down on these “schemes” makes economic sense for the country? Far from penalizing economic success, it is an admission that with success comes responsibility — responsibility to play fair and play by equitable rules.

Why won’t Mitt Romney admit that because he can take advantage of these loopholes does not make it right, does not make it fair to working families, and sends a message that those who have much, get more? Why not say, “Yes, I did what was currently legal to avoid taxes by sending my money overseas and taking advantage of the carried interest rules, but those laws need to be changed, those loopholes closed”?

But the entire economic platform of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will perpetuate those tax dodges and the huge subsidies for the oil companies, while continuing to squeeze the middle class.

So, at such a critical time, why would the American people want to go “back to the future” and elect Mitt Romney, who promises exactly what they had during the bust times of 2001-2008? His policies promised job growth in Massachusetts when it was 34th in the country — he took it to 47th — and left Bay Staters with the highest per capita debt in the nation.

Obama has created 4.1 million new jobs, has been in positive territory for 25 straight months and saved millions of jobs in the auto industry alone. The economy is improving no thanks to Republican policies or votes, rather in spite of them.

So the message of moving forward makes perfect sense, especially when we consider the consequences of sliding back.