Walt Laws−MacDonald | Show Me The Money!
The election special
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 00:10
Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Obama−Biden, Romney−Ryan. (Trump−”You’re Fired”?) I usually try not to dip too far into politics, but when discussing economics it can sometimes be unavoidable. The 2012 presidential election is one of those cases.
The United States is slowly recovering from the worst recession since the Great Depression. Yes, the election has a lot more background than just that sentence and the candidates’ campaigns are built on a plethora of other issues, but I’m only going to talk about this one, because it’s really freakin’ important. I cannot emphasize that enough.
To horribly oversimplify the economic platforms of the two tickets, Mitt Romney says Obama has done a terrible job and Obama says he’s done a great job given the terrible circumstances.
The Obama administration’s economic platform focuses on its successes over the past four years: the bailout and recovery of the automotive industry, 30 consecutive months of job creation, the passage of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and Obamacare.
Romney claims that few of these should be seen as successes. Though Obama has righted the ship, economic growth is sluggish, and the U.S. hasn’t seen the kind of surge that typically pulls a country out of recession. Obama’s goals for the next four years — aside from the standards of deficit reduction and job creation — focus on increasing exports, reducing our dependency on foreign oil and training a new generation of skilled workers.
Romney’s plan looks more at streamlining the economy, cutting both taxes and spending. As the former head of private equity giant Bain Capital, Romney has experience reorganizing business to make them more profitable. He doesn’t want to put any major regulations on Wall Street, and he wants to cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from the current 35 percent. None of these are drastic changes; to quote BusinessInsider’s Henry Blodget, Romney’s plan is “about as far right−of−center as Obama’s economic policy is left−of−center — which is to say, ‘not much.’”
Romney’s plan is pro−business, whereas Obama’s plan is pro−individual. That’s not to say you can’t have one without the other; Romney is simply taking a top−down approach and Obama is taking a bottom−up one. In a much−publicized sound bite, Obama said “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The point is, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”
The Romney−Ryan campaign has used this statement to highlight a key point: Obama believes that the government should do as much as possible to aid the creation of businesses. Romney believes it should do as little as possible to hinder their creation.
Paul Ryan and Barack Obama are the only people on Capitol Hill to put out full−fledged budget plans in the past four years. Neither was particularly well−liked, nor did they address all the issues the economy faces, but they were plans nonetheless. I may disagree with aspects of both economic platforms, but I have to give credit to the two candidates for having not only the knowledge, but also the courage to create a budget with their name on it.
Both tickets have the vision to pull the economy into a period of real economic growth. As a voter, you should ask yourself if you believe they have the power to pull Congress — and the country — together and turn that vision into a reality. But, if all else fails, we can always just call the Donald. Welcome to the Trump House, Mr. President!
Walt Laws-MacDonald is a sophomore majoring in quantitative economics. He can be reached at Walt.Laws_MacDonald@tufts.edu.