Mitt Romney Credit: DonkeyHotey/Flickr (Creative Commons license)
Instead of addressing policy differences, last week the Presidential candidates continued ad hominen attacks. Romney accused Obama of "demagoguing and defaming others" while "taking things to a new low." In reply Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said Romney appeared "unhinged."
The candidates' neglect of policy is both disappointing and surprising, since the policy differences between Presidential candidates have seldom been greater. In this election, voters are offered a stark choice between the failed policies of the Democrats and the failed policies of the Republicans.
Polls reveal that 47 percent of likely voters prefer failed Democratic policies while 45 percent favor failed Republican ones. Therefore undecided Independents will determine the election.
As independent voters have been denied a robust debate regarding the relative merits of failed Democratic policies and failed Republican policies, Flip Side has asked a series of experts to explain the differences:
The Deficit, by Alan Greenspan. In Obama's first 38 months the national debt has increased $4.9 trillion, exceeding the total increase in Bush's two terms. Obama seems to think he can solve the deficit problem, not by limiting entitlements, but by taxing the rich. Unfortunately his proposed millionaires' tax would yield only $30 billion a year or roughly 3 percent of this year's deficit.
Romney says he will cut government spending by eliminating waste, fraud, and duplication. That is precisely what Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush promised. This approach failed miserably as Federal spending increased by 69 percent and 104 percdent respectively during their tenures. Romney also believes that tax cuts for the rich will increase government revenue, even though this has never worked once and the Bush and Reagan tax cuts increased the deficit.
In sum, the policies of both candidates have proven to be ineffectual, inadequate, and nugatory.
The Economy, by Martin Feldstein, Harvard Professor. Obama's stimulus failed to get the economy moving. Romney calls for tax cuts and less regulation, precisely policies that created this economic disaster. However, next time around one of these hair-brained policies might succeed. You never can tell.
Foreign Policy, by Henry Kissinger. Obama's failed Afghanistan policy is marginally better than Bush's failed Afghanistan policy. Obama's feckless Middle East policy is probably less harmful than Romney hawkish pro-Israeli stance, designed to please Sheldon Adelson.
Education, by William Bennett, former Secretary of Education. Let's face it: nothing works. No Child Left Behind failed. The Race to the Top failed. In public schools, over the last three decades, we have doubled real per capital spending and reduced class sizes by a third with no improvement in learning. Experiments with vouchers and other fads show little promise. No matter who is elected, he will advocate fruitless and unproductive education policies.
Underwater Mortgages, by Robert Rubin, former Secretary of the Treasury. Obama insisted the government help only "responsible borrowers," and initially relied on mortgage companies to modify unaffordable loans rather than have the government take control by purchasing the loans. This plan failed to meet even its own modest goals. Of the 4.3 million people who applied for aid only 1 million had received government-sponsored modifications,
Romney's solution for underwater homeowners is to get rid of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Give Romney high marks for creativity and a failing grade for effective policy.
As you can see, the differences between the failed Democratic policies and the failed Republican policies are clear, vast, and momentous. Flip Side's outline should provide independent voters the information they need to determine which set of failed policies is best for America.