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Romney is not qualified to take over Obama’s job

INCUMBENT: Barack Obama

RECENT POLLS showing that President Barack Obama and Republican hopeful Mitt Romney are in a close race defy logic. Given Obama’s economic record against Romney’s policies, record in government, history and his character, the incumbent Obama should be miles ahead.

Obama’s record on the economy has been quite impressive with positive economic growth for the last three years and equally impressive job growth for much of that period. This compares very favourably to other major mature economies.

A recent report by Eurostat shows that the American growth rate (.4%) was higher, in the second quarter of 2012, than that of all other major mature economies, higher than that of Germany (.3%), Japan (.3%), France (0%), UK (-.7%), Italy (-.7%) and the Eurozone (-.2%).

This has been the case for most of the last three years, with significant growth in manufacturing and exports, as many of these countries have adopted policies that the Republicans are proposing, resulting in recession, stagnation or minimal economic growth. Ironically, businesses - many of whose leaders are rallying behind Romney-have done very well under Obama’s watch. In addition to saving the car and banking sectors from meltdown, there have been major gains in the stock market, which has doubled in value and is now at a higher level than when Obama came into office.

The rallying cry among Republicans for wanting to get rid of Obama is that he has saddled them with debt and failed to deal with the deficit problem. Firstly, it must be noted that over half of America’s debt was run up while a Republican (George Bush) was president, after inheriting a surplus when Democrat President Bill Clinton was in office.

Most of Bush’s debt was by choice, embarking on two wars, reducing taxes which disproportionately benefited his rich backers and, the first bail out for a recession that was largely his fault. As we now know, there was no need for the Iraq war because Saddam never had weapons of mass destruction and the war in Afghanistan was prolonged because US troops cornered Osama Bin Laden in a cave and then let him escape.

The tax reduction increased the deficit without any significant increase in economic growth, which is a worse record than Clinton’s when taxes were higher. Obama in contrast, was forced to increase the deficit to save the banking and auto sectors, prevent a much deeper recession and protect the most vulnerable. His efforts were largely the reason why America has had three years of economic growth, whereas much of Europe has languished largely because of the latter’s preoccupation with deficit reduction. Obama has put forward a plan that is realistic and equitable, ensuring that people contribute depending on their capacity to do so.

Romney’s policies, particularly now that he has embraced his vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan’s plan, will result in recession and transfer income from low and middle class to high income households. It will gut social programmes, while failing to reduce the deficit or stimulate economic growth as many economists, including The Tax Policy Center, have noted. It is totally absurd that the press has referred to Paul Ryan as the “intellectual” force. Ryan’s sums do not add up and they are based on bogus economics as many eminent economists, such as Paul Krugman, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, who are far more knowledgeable about the subject than Ryan, have stated.

An indication of why the polls defy logic relates to President Obama’s position among white working class voters, in particular, white blue collar males, who overwhelmingly prefer Romney. These are the people who have borne the brunt of the pain when Romney’s Bain Capital took a leading role in outsourcing jobs overseas.

They are likely to lose out in a big way if Romney wins and implements his tax reform, which would result in gains for top income people like Romney, but significant losses for low and middle income people. They are likely to be killed in wars that Romney may start going by his sabre rattling and blank cheque to Israel, if that country decides to cash that cheque and America is drawn into war with Iran.

It is the same low and middle income people who are likely to benefit from Obama’s health care reform that Romney has vowed to dismantle. They are likely to benefit greatly from investment in the infrastructure and education that Obama has proposed. Why then do they support a man whose policies are very much against their interests?

Logic seems to play no part in this situation and the answer may lie in the racial dynamics which Republicans have exploited. Newt Gingrich used it when he referred to Obama as the food stamp President. Lately, Romney has been stocking the racial bonfire with lies, claiming that Obama has changed welfare rules to make it easier for the unemployed to get benefits. In the last few days he has been using the “birther” rubbish, trying to portray himself and his wife as being the wholesome, born in the USA types, while Obama is cast as the foreigner.

It is just mind boggling that America wants to ditch a man whose record on the economy is very good, with three years of economic and job growth, much better than any of the other mature economies. Why do they want to take on somebody who is not qualified for the job, has no credible plan and has taken on a vice presidential nominee who is touting voodoo economics?

According to the latest computer model, America may elect Romney, this joke of a candidate, whose (and particularly Ryan’s) economic plan will send the US economy back into recession, increase the budget deficit, plunge America into another war and ensure that the poor and middle class continue to lose out to the rich.

J Boima Rogers is a freelance journalist and media consultant. He has written for various publications on a diverse range of issues. 

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