Do Obama and Romney Both Suck?

CoverBy Julie Borowski

NB: This is an extended version of the article presented in the tenth issue of Young American Revolution.

Are you ready to vote this fall?  No matter what your answer is, YAR is here to help with this guide to the positions President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney take on 12 major issues in this election.  Of course, in Mitt’s case, all of this could change tomorrow—so take his statements with a grain of salt.

As you read, you may notice that the two contenders have far more in common than many voters realize. In fact, it gets a little weird sometimes—from health care to bank bailouts, Obama and Romney agree on quite a lot.  Maybe these guys have more in common than a desire to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom…

 

Obama

Romney

Health Care

Obama signed a massive health care overhaul law in March 2010 known as the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare.

“Everyone in, nobody out. Universal health care coverage. That’s what I’d like to see.”

“It would be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage because of a pre-existing condition.”  

Obama said Romney inspired his law: “Yes, we passed health care with an assist from a former Massachusetts Governor… Great idea.”

Romney promises to repeal ObamaCare but he implemented a virtually identical law on the state level, often referred to as RomneyCare.

In 1994: “I want universal coverage. I want everyone in Massachusetts and this country to have insurance.” 

In 1994:We’re also going to make sure people can’t be denied on the basis of pre-existing illness. We need to have a subsidy…for those people who are low-income and can’t afford insurance.”


Taxes

Obama supports raising taxes on the wealthy, but his policies will raise taxes on low incomes as well.

Obama has pledged to not reauthorize the Bush-era tax cuts for individuals making over $250,000 a year.

There are 20 new taxes in ObamaCare, seven of which will disproportionally fall on the poor and middle-class.

Romney claims that he will reduce taxes, but he has a record of raising taxes and opposing tax cuts.

Romney refused to support the Bush tax cuts in 2003.

Romney enacted $432 million in fee hikes and $300 million in higher taxes as governor of Massachusetts.

Foreign Policy

Obama will continue the war in Afghanistan and does not support a complete end to the occupation of Iraq.

From the Obama campaign website: “Obama and Biden will refocus American resources on the greatest threat to our security -- the resurgence of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They will increase our troop levels in Afghanistan, press our allies in NATO to do the same, and dedicate more resources to revitalize Afghanistan's economic development.”

Though he is often credited with “ending” the war in Iraq, Obama wanted to keep U.S. troops in Iraq for longer—however, he had no choice but to follow the George W. Bush timetable of withdrawal.

Romney will continue the war in Afghanistan and does not support a complete end to the occupation of Iraq.

In a November 2011 GOP presidential debate: “Our effort there is to keep Afghanistan from becoming a launching point for terror against the United States. We can't just write off a major part of the world.”

In a January 2008 GOP presidential debate: “It was the right decision to go into Iraq. I supported it at the time; I support it now.”

In a January 2008 GOP presidential debate:Unequivocally, absolutely no. I have never, ever supported a specific timetable for exit from Iraq.”

Gun Rights

Obama supports gun control legislation.

Supports background checks: “I'm willing to bet they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas—that we should check someone's criminal record before he can check out at a gun seller; that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to buy a gun so easily; that there's room for us to have reasonable laws that uphold liberty, ensure citizen safety and are fully compatible with a robust Second Amendment.”

Obama reinstituted the ban on the sale of assault weapons.

Romney claims to be pro-gun, but he has supported gun control legislation in the past.

“I support background checks for people who are going into the store, or whatever, to buy a weapon. I want them to have a background check to make sure that the crazies don’t buy guns.”

“We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts — I support them. I won’t chip away at them. I believe they help protect us, and provide for our safety.”

As governor in 2005, he signed into law a permanent ban on assault rifles.

National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

Obama supports indefinite detention.

Obama signed the NDAA into law which grants the federal government the power to indefinite detain U.S. citizens without due process.

Romney supports indefinite detention.

During a 2012 GOP presidential debate, Romney said that he would have signed the NDAA.

PATRIOT Act

Obama supports the PATRIOT Act.

Despite campaigning on ending the PATRIOT Act IN 2008, Obama has reauthorized the PATRIOT Act without any reforms.

Romney supports the PATRIOT Act.

In 2007: “Our president […] has kept America safe these last six years, and he has done it by [pursuing] the PATRIOT Act.”

Abortion

Obama is pro-choice.

“Abortions should be legally available in accordance with Roe v. Wade.”

Romney claims to now be pro-life, but historically he has been pro-choice.

In 2002: “I will preserve and protect a woman’s right to choose and I am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word in that regard.”

Energy

Obama supports a Cap and Trade plan on the federal level similar to one implemented in Massachusetts.

“Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

“We're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way.”

The Obama administration has announced stringent rules to limit carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants.

Romney now opposes Obama’s carbon dioxide restrictions, but he has a record of implementing Cap and Trade schemes.

Romney won praise from Al Gore for saying, “I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and global warming that you’re seeing.”

As Governor, Romney introduced a Cap and Trade program to reduce greenhouse gases.

Education

Obama wants to increase the federal government’s role in education.

Obama has offered $900 million in federal grants to states and school districts.

Obama wants to “fix” No Child Left Behind:  “The goals of No Child Left Behind were the right ones. Standards and accountability, those are the right goals.”

Romney has stated in the debates that he wants to localize education, but he supports the No Child Left Behind Law and the Department of Education.

“The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I’m not going to get rid of it entirely.”

In a 2008 debate, Romney stated, “I supported No Child Left Behind, still do.”

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (the “Stimulus”)

Obama signed the 2009 $814 billion “Stimulus” plan.

“We need to create jobs and get money into people’s pockets right now. We passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

“The stimulus package is working exactly as we had anticipated.”

Romney supported the 2009 $814 billion “Stimulus” plan.

“I think there is need for economic stimulus. And government can help make that up in a very difficult time. And that’s one of the reasons why I think that the stimulus plan is needed.”

“I think it was the right action to take. […] I don’t call it a bailout. I call it a rescue plan.”

Federal Reserve

Obama largely ignores the Federal Reserve.

Reappointed Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.

“I don’t think it is good policy for the president -elect to second guess the Fed which is an independent body.”

Romney largely ignores the Federal Reserve.

Romney supported the reappointment of Ben Bernanke to chairman of the Federal Reserve.

In 2011: “I’m not going to spend my time going after Ben Bernanke, I’m not going to take my effort and focus on the Federal Reserve.”

Bank Bailouts

Obama Supported the Wall Street Bailout/TARP.

Obama voted for TARP as a senator.

President-elect Obama asked George W. Bush to seek TARP funds from Congress.

Obama in 2008 on TARP: “To Democrats and Republicans who have opposed this plan, I say step up to the plate and do what’s right for the country at this time.

Romney supported the Wall Street Bailout/TARP.

In his book, No Apology, he says: “Secretary [Hank] Paulson’s TARP prevented a systemic collapse of the national financial system…Had we not taken action, you could have seen a real devastation.”

Romney reaffirmed this position in 2009: “I believe that it was necessary to prevent a cascade of bank collapses.”

Julie Borowski is a Policy Analyst at FreedomWorks and on the Board of Advisors for the Coalition to Reduce Spending. Her writings on economic policy have appeared in numerous newspapers and online outlets, and she launched an independent YouTube channel called TokenLibertarianGirl in 2011.