In this election, the people of America have to make a choice between two candidates with very different values, visions and solutions to the most pressing problems facing our country. The question voters need to ask themselves when they walk into the voting booth on November 6th is: "Will the country be better off returning to the policies of George W. Bush's Administration?"
Like Bush, Governor Romney believes we need more tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% and fewer rules for Wall Street. He wants to roll back financial reform and set Wall Street free to write its own rules again. He wants to repeal health care reform and leave 30 million people without a safety net. And the trillions in tax cuts he wants to give to millionaires and billionaires will only force more devastating cuts to critical programs that serve the middle-class.
It's hard to believe that Mitt Romney would campaign on policies that nearly destroyed the country and virtually eliminated so much of America's middle-class. With stagnant wages, escalating medical costs, foreclosures, rampant unemployment, loss of good paying jobs and the disappearance of retirement savings due to deregulation and manipulation by Wall Street, Mitt Romney and the Republican narrative fail to address the key concerns of everyday Americans.
Time and again, Republicans' policies put corporations, not the people, first. They challenge current regulations and try to block new regulations that help to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Just recently, House Republicans went to great lengths to block the implementation of a new food safety law, while also trying to cut the budgets of agencies that oversee food safety. And many in the party either deny the science on climate change or refuse to support legislation that will begin to help mitigate the effects of global warming.
The only budget proposal that Republicans will support is the Ryan budget, which completely disinvests in America during a time when the country desperately needs investments to spur growth and competitiveness. Our country, and the notion of the American Dream, was built on the bedrock that government must play a vital role in providing investments that ultimately afford opportunity for all. If everyone was left to fend for themselves, and government failed to take the lead in investing in schools, roads, research and development, space exploration, and the internet, we would have a very different country where the fate of a person's future would be sealed in the socio-economic status that he or she was born into. Ultimately, Mitt Romney and his party see an America where the wealth should trickle down, instead of building a strong middle class so that everyone can rise up together.
HERE ARE THE FACTS
No matter how much undisclosed money floods into Romney affiliated super PACs from the likes of Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers, and their friends, the things they cannot change are the facts.
It's a fact that Mitt Romney became enormously wealthy, while his company, Bain Capital, bought and bankrupted companies, laid off American workers and shipped jobs overseas.
It's a fact that Mitt Romney had the 47th worst job creation record as Governor.
It's a fact that Mitt Romney has millions of dollars in Swiss bank accounts and secretive offshore investment funds in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda in order to avoid paying his fair share of U.S. taxes. And given his refusal to release more than two years of tax returns (unprecedented for a Presidential candidate), it's clear that the Romney campaign believes that the truth about what is contained in those tax returns is far more damaging than Romney's refusal to release them.
It's a fact that Mitt Romney has taken both sides on virtually every issue important to voters. He was for and then against -- gun control, a women's right to reproductive choice, health care for all, and the economic stimulus. He once believed that people's actions contributed to global warming and now he has changed his position. He was against signing the no-tax pledge and now he is a strong supporter.
It's a fact that Mitt Romney's solution to stimulate the economy is further deregulation, a tactic that led to the growth of "too big to fail" banks, the BP oil spill, the housing crisis, and ultimately, the American and global financial and economic meltdown.
And it's a fact that Republican legislators across the country are passing new voting restrictions to disenfranchise voters, shutting down non-partisan voter registration drives, and cutting back on early voting. They hope that these shameful tactics to subvert the democratic process will have an impact on the election.
While the millions raised by Mitt Romney's super PACs to defeat President Obama may not be able to change the facts, these funds can saturate the media with misinformation and lies in order to bury the truth and persuade swing-state voters.
HERE ARE TRUTHS THEY WILL TRY TO BURY
When Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the primary goal of the Republican Party was not to fix the country and get Americans back to work, but to defeat the President four years later. They spent these past few years obstructing the passage of important legislation. Since 2007, the Senate Historical Office has shown that Democrats have had to end Republican filibusters more than 360 times, a historic record for what had been a very rarely used parliamentary procedure.
Compared to George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, Obama has been more fiscally conservative than any other president in recent history, with the exception of President Bill Clinton.
President Obama has been far better at creating jobs than President George W. Bush. During the 7 years and 8 months of George Bush's presidency, before the financial crash, only 2.6 million new private sector jobs were created. In the final month of George Bush's presidency, the country lost 800,000 jobs, and in the last six months of the Bush Administration, the country lost over 3.5 million jobs.
However, in the last 30 months under President Obama's leadership, nearly 4.6 million new private sector jobs were created (averaging about 150,000 new jobs per month). In President Obama's last 2 ½ years in office, 40% more jobs were created than in nearly all of President Bush's eight years in office.
The last President who was elected amidst a severe economic crisis and high unemployment was Franklin D. Roosevelt. His policies strengthened government so that it would protect the people (creating Glass-Steagall to regulate the banks, the FDIC to insure bank depositors, the Securities and Exchange Commission to regulate the stock market, and Social Security to help people build a safety net for their retirement). FDR's strategy to spend money to create jobs and stimulate the economy is what ultimately helped pull the country out of a depression.
Even though the country's most respected economists have agreed on what history has already proven -- that MORE federal spending, not austerity, is necessary to stimulate the economy and create jobs, today's Republicans categorically reject this strategy. They are running on a platform of further deregulation and cutting spending to the bone, so that those earning millions will get more tax cuts, even though it means Americans who need a safety net won't have it.
Unlike Mitt Romney, President Obama believes we need to invest in education, energy, innovation and infrastructure and reform our tax system to create good jobs, grow our economy and pay down the debt in a reasoned way. He believes in an inclusive country where all people deserve equal protection and treatment under the law, as well as equal opportunity, whether they are gay, straight, black, brown, white, religious, atheist, old or young.
The choice is clear. Would you vote for a person who pays his taxes or someone who wiggles his way out of them? Do you want a President who has gained the respect of the world community or someone who on a recent diplomatic trip abroad provoked the ire and ridicule of other world leaders? Do we want a country where everyone is fending for themselves or where everyone is pitching in and working together? Do we want to go backward with Mitt Romney or move forward with President Obama?
On Tuesday, November 6th, the American people will have the power to make that choice. And I hope everyone, young and old, from red state to blue state, chooses progress over corporate profit. And over the course of the next four years, I hope we can all come together to re-build an America where opportunity and prosperity is once again within everyone's reach.