Full Text Campaign Buzz November 5, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Op-ed in USA Today: “We Need A New Beginning”




Mitt Romney: “We Need A New Beginning”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 11-5-12
We Need A New Beginning
USA Today
Mitt Romney

November 5, 2012

This presidential campaign has allowed me to travel to every corner of the country and listen to the hopes and concerns of people of every class, race and background. It has reaffirmed to me what an extraordinarily impressive, resilient and compassionate country America is. But it has also reinforced in me the belief that America is facing serious challenges and in need of serious change.

We are at a turning point. The decision we make on Tuesday will affect not only us but also generations yet to be born. President Obama and I offer fundamentally different visions about the size, cost, reach and role of the federal government. And this election will determine our policies on job growth and debt, on whether our standard of living rises or falls, and whether we have unity at home.

We can do better

Four years ago, we were promised a new beginning — but it turned out to be false start. President Obama is a well-intentioned man whose policies have manifestly failed. Under his stewardship, we’ve seen a historically weak economic recovery, chronically high unemployment, falling household incomes, rising health care and tuition costs, a record number of Americans in poverty and on food stamps, record deficits, and a national debt that threatens to bury our future. President Obama calls this a recovery. Most Americans consider it a disaster.

Fortunately we still have time, though not much time, to change course. We need a new direction — and that requires a new president.

Based on a lifetime in the private sector, as head of the Olympics and as a governor, I know how to fix things that are broken and turn institutions around. I have a five-point plan that will put America back on the path of economic growth and fiscal responsibility.

Part one will bring us to North American energy independence by 2020. Part two will open new markets for American goods and ensure that we trade on a level playing field; the days of China’s cheating will be numbered. Part three will transform our educational system so that Americans can gain the skills required for success in the 21st century. Part four will cut the deficit, get the national debt under control and pare back our overgrown federal government. Part five will empower small business, the central engine of job creation in this country.

Real jobs, real growth

During my presidency, America will create 12 million new jobs, raise take-home pay and get the economy growing at an average rate of 4% a year, more than double this year’s rate.

Animating these policies is an unshakable commitment to help improve individual American lives — the unemployed single mother, the struggling middle-class family, the wounded veteran, the senior citizen who relies on Medicare.

But it’s the nature of our political system that we can’t achieve large and lasting change unless people in Washington put aside pettiness and bickering and work together. That is one of the largest failures of the past four years. As governor of Massachusetts, I worked with a legislature that was 85% Democratic to implement good ideas. And what I did for Massachusetts, I will do for America. I’ll work with Republicans and Democrats to advance reforms that meet the challenges of our time.

On Nov. 6, we can begin to build shared prosperity that touches every corner of our country. We can experience unity as a nation. And we can begin to write great new chapters in the American story.

I’m prepared for this moment, and I am ready to lead this nation. But I need your vote, because there is an economy to revive, and dreams to build, and great work to be done.

Campaign Buzz September 12, 2011: Rick Perry’s Op-Ed in USA Today on Social Security — “I am going to be honest with the American people” (Full Text)



Rick Perry: I am going to be honest with the American people

Gov. Rick PerryThe first step to fixing a problem is honestly admitting there is a problem. America’s goal must be to fix Social Security by making it more financially sound and sustainable for the long term. But Americans deserve a frank and honest discussion

As I said at the Reagan Library recently, Social Security benefits for current recipients and those nearing retirement must be protected. For younger workers, we must consider reforms to make Social Security financially viable.

These are the hard facts: Social Security’s unfunded liability is calculated in the trillions of dollars. Last year, annual Social Security outlays exceeded annual revenues for the first time since 1983. The Congressional Budget Office projects that outlays will be roughly 5% greater than revenues over the next five years, worsening as more and more Baby Boomers retire.

By 2037, retirees will only get roughly 76 cents back for every dollar that is put into Social Security unless reforms are implemented. Imagine how long a traditional retirement or investment plan could survive if it projected investors would lose 24% of their money?

I am going to be honest with the American people. Our elected leaders must have the strength to speak frankly about entitlement reform if we are to right our nation’s financial course and get the USA working again.

For too long, politicians have been afraid to speak honestly about Social Security. We must have the guts to talk about its financial condition if we are to fix Social Security and make it financially viable for generations to come.

Americans must come together and agree to address the problems so today’s beneficiaries and tomorrow’s retirees really can count on Social Security for the long haul.

We must have a frank, honest national conversation about fixing Social Security to protect benefits for those at or near retirement while keeping faith with younger generations, who are being asked to pay.

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas is seeking the Republican presidential nomination.

President Barack Obama’s USA Today Op-ed: Go ‘big’ on debt deal


President Obama: Go ‘big’ on debt deal

By President Obama

Source: USA Today, 7-21-11

For years now, America has been spending more money than we take in. The result is that we have too much debt on our nation’s credit card — debt that will ultimately weaken our economy, lead to higher interest rates for all Americans, and leave us unable to invest in things like education, or protect vital programs like Medicare.

  • By Win McNamee, Getty Images

By Win McNamee, Getty Images

Neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this debt, but both parties have a responsibility to come together and solve the problem. That’s what the American people expect of us. Every day, families are figuring out how to stretch their paychecks a little further, sacrifice what they can’t afford, and budget only for what’s truly important. It’s time for Washington to do the same.

Why cuts are necessary

In the short term, my No. 1 focus is getting our economy back to a place where businesses can grow and hire. That’s why I want to take a number of steps right away, like extending tax relief for middle-class families and putting construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads and highways.

But over the last few months, I’ve also said that I’m willing to cut historic amounts of spending in order to reduce our long-term deficits. I’m willing to cut spending on domestic programs to the lowest level in half a century. I’m willing to cut defense spending by hundreds of billions of dollars. I’m willing to take on the rising costs of health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, so we can meet our obligations to an aging population.

Some of these cuts would eliminate wasteful spending, weapons we don’t need, or fraud and abuse in our health care system. Still, some of the cuts would target worthwhile programs that do a lot of good for our country. They’re cuts that some people in my own party aren’t too happy about, and frankly, I wouldn’t make them if we didn’t have so much debt.

But the American people deserve the truth from their leaders. And the truth is, you can’t get rid of the deficit by simply eliminating waste and fraud, or getting rid of pet projects and foreign aid, like some have suggested. Those things represent only a tiny fraction of what we spend our money on.

At the same time, it’s also true that if we tackle our deficit with spending cuts alone, it will likely end up costing seniors and middle-class families a great deal. Retired Americans will have to pay a lot more for their health care. Students will have to pay a lot more for college. A worker who gets laid off might not have any temporary help or job training to fall back on. At a time of high gas prices, we’ll have to stop much of the clean energy research that will help free us from our dependence on oil.

That’s why people in both parties have suggested that the best way to take on our deficit is with a more balanced approach. Yes, we should make serious spending cuts. But we should also ask the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations to pay their fair share through fundamental tax reform. Before we stop funding clean energy research, we should ask oil companies and corporate jet owners to give up the tax breaks that other companies don’t get. Before we ask college students to pay more, we should ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries. Before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, we should ask people like me to give up tax breaks they don’t need and never asked for.

The middle class hasn’t just borne the brunt of this recession; they’ve been dealing with higher costs and stagnant wages for more than a decade now. It’s just not right to ask them to pay the whole tab — especially when they’re not the ones who caused this mess in the first place.

Raising revenues: a bipartisan position

A balanced deficit deal that includes some new revenues isn’t just a Democratic position. It’s a position that has been taken by everyone from Warren Buffett to Bill O’Reilly. It’s a position that was taken this week by Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, who worked together on a promising plan of their own. And it’s been the position of every Democratic and Republican leader who has worked to reduce the deficit in their time, from Ronald Reagan to Bill Clinton.

There will be plenty of haggling over the details of all these plans in the days ahead. But right now, we have the opportunity to do something big and meaningful. This debate shouldn’t just be about avoiding the catastrophe of not paying our bills and defaulting on our debt. That’s the least we should do. This debate offers the chance to put our economy on stronger footing, restore a sense of fairness in our country, and secure a better future for our children. I want to seize that opportunity, and ask Americans of both parties and no party to join me in that effort.

President Obama wrote this column exclusively for USA TODAY.

Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown, July 16, 2011: President Obama & Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Speak Out in Weekly Address & Op-ed on Debt Ceiling Crisis


President Obama’s Weekly Address: Securing Our Fiscal Future

Source: WH, 7-16-11

President Barack Obama tapes his Weekly Address

President Obama emphasizes the importance of compromise and shared sacrifice so that we can overcome our fiscal challenges and get our economy on a stronger footing going forward.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

WEEKLY ADDRESS: A Unique Opportunity to Secure our Fiscal Future

In this week’s address, President Obama called on both parties to work together to find a balanced approach to solving our nation’s deficit problem.  The President emphasized the importance of compromise and shared sacrifice so that we can overcome our fiscal challenges and move our country forward.  To get our fiscal house in order, we must cut spending, but we must also close tax loopholes for special interests and ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.  Through cooperation and a bipartisan approach, we can get our economy on firmer ground and give our businesses the confidence they need to create more jobs across the United States.

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House July 16, 2011

Here’s the president’s full address:

Today, there’s a debate going on in Washington over the best way to get America’s fiscal house in order and get our economy on a stronger footing going forward.

For a decade, America has been spending more money than we’ve taken in. For several decades, our debt has been rising. And let’s be honest — neither party in this town is blameless. Both have talked this problem to death without doing enough about it. That’s what drives people nuts about Washington. Too often, it’s a place more concerned with playing politics and serving special interests than resolving real problems or focusing on what you’re facing in your own lives.

But right now, we have a responsibility — and an opportunity — to reduce our deficit as much as possible and solve this problem in a real and comprehensive way.

Simply put, it will take a balanced approach, shared sacrifice, and a willingness to make unpopular choices on all our parts. That means spending less on domestic programs. It means spending less on defense programs. It means reforming programs like Medicare to reduce costs and strengthen the program for future generations. And it means taking on the tax code, and cutting out certain tax breaks and deductions for the wealthiest Americans.

Now, some of these things don’t make folks in my party too happy. And I wouldn’t agree to some of these cuts if we were in a better fiscal situation, but we’re not. That’s why I’m willing to compromise. I’m willing to do what it takes to solve this problem, even if it’s not politically popular. And I expect leaders in Congress to show that same willingness to compromise.

The truth is, you can’t solve our deficit without cutting spending. But you also can’t solve it without asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share — or without taking on loopholes that give special interests and big corporations tax breaks that middle-class Americans don’t get.

It’s pretty simple. I don’t think oil companies should keep getting special tax breaks when they’re making tens of billions in profits. I don’t think hedge fund managers should pay taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries. I don’t think it’s fair to ask nothing of someone like me when the average family has seen their income decline over the past decade — and when many of you are just trying to stretch every dollar as far as it’ll go.

We shouldn’t put the burden of deficit reduction on the backs of folks who’ve already borne the brunt of the recession. It’s not reasonable and it’s not right. If we’re going to ask seniors, or students, or middle-class Americans to sacrifice, then we have to ask corporations and the wealthiest Americans to share in that sacrifice. We have to ask everyone to play their part. Because we are all part of the same country. We are all in this together.

So I’ve put things on the table that are important to me and to Democrats, and I expect Republican leaders to do the same. After all, we’ve worked together like that before. Ronald Reagan worked with Tip O’Neill and Democrats to cut spending, raise revenues, and reform Social Security. Bill Clinton worked with Newt Gingrich and Republicans to balance the budget and create surpluses. Nobody ever got everything they wanted. But they worked together. And they moved this country forward.

That kind of cooperation should be the least you expect from us — not the most you expect from us. You work hard, you do what’s right, and you expect leaders who do the same. You sent us to Washington to do the tough things. The right things. Not just for some of us, but for all of us. Not just what’s enough to get through the next election — but what’s right for the next generation.

You expect us to get this right. To put America back on firm economic ground. To forge a healthy, growing economy. To create new jobs and rebuild the lives of the middle class. And that’s what I’m committed to doing.

Thank you.

Mitch McConnell: If Obama stiff-arms us, we’ll go to the people

In a column for USA TODAY, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., offered a Republican assessment of the talks:

By Charles Dharapak, AP

President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House on Wednesday.

With the government expected to spend $1.4 trillion more than it takes in this year alone, the White House presented us with two bad options: a so-called “big deal” that, even if you accept its numbers, would have only lowered our debt from $26 trillion to about $22 trillion over the next 10 years; and a smaller deal that would cut $2 billion next year out of a $3.7 trillion budget.

Another catch: Both offers came with massive tax hikes — which we know, and the president has acknowledged, will hurt job growth.

When Republicans refused both proposals, the president responded that he only wants to tax “the rich,” but, again, the facts are clear. Raising taxes on the “top 2%” would not only create yet another roadblock for small businesses to create jobs, it would come up about $10 trillion short on our bills.

So the president can claim he only wants to tax jet owners, but Washington’s deficits and debt are so big that pretty soon he’ll have no choice but to sock it to families flying in coach as well.

In his White House e-mail, David Plouffe wrote of the GOP:

White House senior adviser David Plouffe
By Scott Olson, Getty Images

The President tried to make it easy for them by suggesting closing some of the most egregious loopholes for the very wealthiest Americans and special interests — so that hedge fund managers don’t pay lower taxes than firefighters and teachers, corporate jet owners don’t pay lower taxes than commercial airlines, and oil companies don’t get tax cuts at a time they are making record profits.

Congressional Republicans have not yet given an inch even though the American people, regardless of which political party they belong to, overwhelmingly approve of this common sense, balanced approach.

Our nation is climbing out of the worst recession since the Great Depression, and one of the most important things we can do to help the economy is to get our fiscal house in order and reduce our Nation’s deficit. We can’t let this moment pass us by.

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