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Romney on energy "dishonest and misleading:" Obama campaign memo

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CHICAGO--Mitt Romney delivers a speech on the economy Monday--the day before the Illinois primary--and hours before his address James Kvaal, the Obama campaign policy chief, said in a memo, "despite all the speeches, Americans still have serious questions about Romney's economic policies."

The Democratic National Committee, to underscore the message from the Chicago based campaign, arranged for Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Rep. Luis Gutierrez, both Illinois Democrats, to hold a press conference this morning outside the U. of C. International House at 59th and Dorchester, to blast Romney's economic policies before he speaks.

Romney is expected on Monday to continue the call--first made Sunday--for Obama to fire his "gas hike trio," the secretaries of Energy, Interior and the EPA administrator.

Romney's campaign chose the U. of C. location because it is closely associated with Obama--who taught at the law school. First Lady Michelle was an executive at the university medical center, their daughters attended the Lab School and many present and former administration officials such as Valerie Jarrett, Arne Duncan, David Axelrod, Susan Sher, Austan Goolsbee and Sam Kass have deep ties to the school.

Moreover, the Romney campaign said, the site was selected because the U.of C. is or has been the home of some of the nation' leading conservative economists.

Romney over the weekend stepped up attacks on Obama for rising gas prices--going so far to suggest--incorrectly--that Obama somehow favored more costs at the pump, which is not true.

Kvaal, in the memo, writes Romney's "rhetoric on energy is dishonest and misleading. He says that if he were President gas prices would go down because we'd be drilling in the Gulf. Since implementing new safety guidelines following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, this administration has issued 400 permits for oil and gas activity in the Gulf. We've also offered millions of acres for oil and gas and opened up exploration in the Arctic. And under President Obama, domestic oil and natural gas production have gone up every year. Last year, oil production reached an 8-year high, natural gas production reached an all-time high, and both are projected to continue to rise.

"But drilling alone won't make gas prices go down. The President has pursued an all of the above energy strategy that is decreasing our dependence on foreign oil so that we will become less vulnerable to price spikes on the international oil market. Our dependence on foreign oil is at a 16-year low. His historic new fuel-economy standards will save consumers about $8,000 during the life of their vehicle.

"Mitt Romney opposed raising fuel economy standards, and he wants to continue charging taxpayers $4 billion a year to subsidize oil and gas companies that are making record profits. And in Massachusetts, he increased a tax on gasoline by 400 percent, hurting every motorist in the state.

"With only 2 percent of the world's reserves, the United States cannot meaningfully impact the worldwide price of oil. Instead of laughing off clean energy, Mitt Romney should support investments in it so the United States doesn't cede to China the market and the jobs that come with it."

CLICK BELOW FOR FULL KVAAL MEMO

Date: March 19, 2012

To: Interested Parties

From: James Kvaal

Policy Director, Obama for America

Re: Mitt Romney Brings the Massachusetts Myth to Chicago

Today in Chicago, Mitt Romney will give another economic policy speech, six months after releasing a 59-point plan and only three weeks after his last major economic speech at Ford Field. And no wonder: despite all the speeches, Americans still have serious questions about Romney's economic policies. Maybe today we will finally hear answers to questions like:

· If Romney is an expert in job creation, why did Massachusetts fall to 47thin job creation on his watch, and see manufacturing jobs decline by twice the national average while debt and taxes increased?

· How will Romney pay for his $5 trillion tax cut without increasing the deficit? And how will he ensure that corporation, billionaires and millionaires pay their fair share and middle-class families do not pay more than their fair share of federal taxes?

· Why does Romney oppose reducing tax incentives for companies to move American jobs offshore and oppose lower tax rates for manufacturers?

· And how will keeping us hooked on foreign oil protect us from spikes in gas prices at home every time there's an increase in the global oil market?

THE MASSACHUSETTS MYTH

Governor Romney will repeat what he has been saying on the campaign trail: that he created jobs, cut debt and made the Massachusetts government smaller.

But the reality is much different. Romney took job creation in the wrong direction. Under Romney, Massachusetts ranked just 47th in the nation in job creation, down from 35th in the nation in the four years prior. Wages for Bay Staters dropped by 2 percent.

Forty thousand manufacturing jobs were lost when Romney was in the corner office, despite a strong economy. And he repeatedly cut funding for a manufacturing training program to help small manufacturing businesses grow and compete.

With Romney at the helm, state spending in Massachusetts grew by an average of 6.6 percent per year. He pledged to reduce debt, but the state's long-term debt increased by $2.6 billion, or more than 16 percent. And Romney left his successor with a billion-dollar deficit.

In Romney's Massachusetts, government employment grew by more than 5,000 jobs. In fact, government employment grew at six times the rate of private-sector employment during Romney's four years as governor of the commonwealth.

MORE TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHIEST DRIVE UP THE DEFICIT

Governor Romney has proposed $5 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, over and above the cost of extending the Bush tax cuts. And he has said that his plan cannot be scored and that he would have to work out how to pay for it with Congress. If he has a secret plan to end tax deductions and exemptions to pay for his tax cut, he should tell us whose taxes will go up.

At the same time he'd give 800 times the rate of tax cuts to the wealthy compared to the middle class Governor Romney has opposed reforms like the Buffett Rule that would make our tax code fairer and ensure that middle-class Americans don't pay a higher rate on their income than the wealthiest.

Romney has additionally proposed a $2 trillion arbitrary increase in defense spending over 10 years, without any rationale other than to please certain factions of the Republican primary electorate or any plan to pay for it. And he would repeal health insurance reform and its cost savers, adding about $500 billion to the deficit.

The cuts he has proposed cost $2.5 trillion. These cuts are very deep. They could pay for his proposed spending increases but that leaves no way to pay for the tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.

Romney's Social Security and Medicare cuts would erode retirement security. Workers now in their twenties would pay the same Social Security taxes they pay now, but could see benefit cuts of up to 40 percent. Romney would accelerate to 2016 the demise of the Medicare trust fund by repealing health reform, and his plan to partially privatize Medicare would raise medical costs for seniors. Similar plans force seniors to pay $6,350 more out of pocket each year in medical expenses.

INSTEAD OF REVITALIZING AMERICAN MANUFACTURING, ROMNEY WOULD JOIN RACE TO THE BOTTOM AND SEND JOBS OVERSEAS

In June, Governor Romney attacked the President for encouraging young people to go into manufacturing. That may be because Governor Romney doesn't believe America has a future in manufacturing. He cut key manufacturing programs in Massachusetts and manufacturing jobs declined by twice the national average, the third worst record in the country. He outsourced American jobs as governor and as a corporate buyout specialist at Bain. The President has proposed reforming business taxes to make American manufacturers more competitive in the world, while Romney would take the opposite approach.

To know where Mitt Romney stands when the chips are down, look no further than the moment of peril for the American automobile industry. Romney said we should "let Detroit go bankrupt," and was willing to surrender the auto industry and more than one million jobs up and down the supply chain, as well as the countless communities that count on carmakers to fuel their economies. Despite Romney's Monday-morning quarterbacking, the fact is there were no sources of private financing available and Romney opposed the rescue loans that were necessary to save the industry and the jobs linked to it.

The success of the manufacturing sector is dependent on America maintaining its competitive edge. President Obama will help manufacturers with an economy that is built to last: investing in community colleges to produce skilled workers; building American roads, railways and ports to move American products; and producing secure, affordable energy with an all-of-the-above approach. Romney would join the global race to the bottom, slashing wherever he can. He'll continue telling students to shop around for cheaper tuition, make deep budget cuts in infrastructure and research and development while rejecting efforts to capitalize on the clean energy market.

President Obama has also proposed a business tax reform plan that would reduce tax incentives to move jobs overseas. Romney would take the tax code in the other direction, completely eliminating U.S. taxes on companies' overseas plants and facilities.

ROMNEY'S ENERGY POLICY LEAVES CONSUMERS VULNERABLE TO PRICE SPIKES

Governor Romney's rhetoric on energy is dishonest and misleading. He says that if he were President gas prices would go down because we'd be drilling in the Gulf. Since implementing new safety guidelines following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, this administration has issued 400 permits for oil and gas activity in the Gulf. We've also offered millions of acres for oil and gas and opened up exploration in the Arctic. And under President Obama, domestic oil and natural gas production have gone up every year. Last year, oil production reached an 8-year high, natural gas production reached an all-time high, and both are projected to continue to rise.

But drilling alone won't make gas prices go down. The President has pursued an all of the above energy strategy that is decreasing our dependence on foreign oil so that we will become less vulnerable to price spikes on the international oil market. Our dependence on foreign oil is at a 16-year low. His historic new fuel-economy standards will save consumers about $8,000 during the life of their vehicle.

Mitt Romney opposed raising fuel economy standards, and he wants to continue charging taxpayers $4 billion a year to subsidize oil and gas companies that are making record profits. And in Massachusetts, he increased a tax on gasoline by 400 percent, hurting every motorist in the state.

With only 2 percent of the world's reserves, the United States cannot meaningfully impact the worldwide price of oil. Instead of laughing off clean energy, Mitt Romney should support investments in it so the United States doesn't cede to China the market and the jobs that come with it.

CONCLUSION

Mitt Romney can give yet another economic speech today. But his rhetoric can't hide his record, and his record of losing jobs and leaving the middle-class behind is turning off the very voters he'd need in November if he becomes the Republican nominee.


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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on March 19, 2012 6:38 AM.

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