George Romney, former governor of Michigan, auto industry executive and father of presumptive Republican nominee Mitt, once reportedly gave his son this bit of advice: become a successful businessman before getting into politics. Romney père, who as a failed presidential contender set a standard for candidates to release multiple years of tax returns, likely never suspected that his son's success could haunt his White House bid. In the 2012 election cycle, Romney has become the poster boy for Mr. 1%, leading liberals and probably more than a few conservatives to question whether he's the right candidate to carry the GOP mantle when so many other Americans are struggling to make ends meet.
If one believes a series of analysts at a Center for American Progress event titled "Romney University," that aimed to teach attendees everything they need to know about the Republican candidate, Romney is exactly the opposite of what the 99 percent need to rebuild the nation's still-weak economy. According a new report released by the think tank, "The Romney Economic Agenda and Its Effect on the Middle Class and Growth," his economic proposals are a throwback to the George W. Bush era that would enrich the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.
"Ultimately, Gov. Romney's economic policies are heavily tilted toward the rich and corporations because that's who he thinks are important for economic growth," the report surmises. "The result of implementing those policies would be higher costs, fewer services and weaker protections for the middle class as well as for lower-income Americans aspiring to the middle class."
President Obama has made economic fairness a central theme in his standard stump speeches, telling voters that they have a big choice in November between a candidate who believes that the nation's top earners are the engine that will drive the economy and one who believes that public investment in such areas as education, health care and the nation's infrastructure is the way to go.
The think tank's report claims that Romney's plan would eliminate the American Opportunity Tax Credit for college tuition, reduce the earned income tax credit for low-income families and lower their child tax credit, among other provisions. In addition, Republican-proposed tax cuts for the rich would shift a burden onto the middle class. Panelists also argued that Republicans don't even support a livable minimum wage.
Panelists argued that voters have a moral choice to make in November.
"The idea that someone with [Romney's] wealth and income would say that someone who's taking care of children, taking care of the elderly, cleaning offices should not make $10 an hour and should in fact be working and in poverty is just morally reprehensible," said Heather McGhee, director of the Washington office of Demos, a New York-based non-partisan research and advocacy organization. "And the fact that he can say that his tax rate of 13.9 percent on hundreds of millions of dollars is in fact not low enough and yet the earned income tax credit for families with children who work everyday at the wages his ideology would encourage employers to pay shouldn't deserve a tax refund once a year is really quite appalling."
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(Photo: AP/Charles Dharapak)