The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Election 2012

October 13, 2012

READ THE TRANSCRIPT: On paper, a different debate emerges

(Continued)

ROMNEY’S ARGUMENT AGAINST TAXES

Note how Romney explains his opposition to higher taxes:

“Let me come back and say, why is it that I don’t want to raise taxes? Why don’t I want to raise taxes on people? And actually, you said it back in 2010. You said, ‘Look, I’m going to extend the tax policies that we have now; I’m not going to raise taxes on anyone, because when the economy is growing slow like this, when we’re in recession, you shouldn’t raise taxes on anyone.’ Well, the economy is still growing slow.”

First, Romney is right. Raising taxes in a weak economy is a bad move. Of course, so is cutting spending in a weak economy, and Romney seems more willing to do that. But second, note that this answer implies that Romney would be willing to raise taxes when the economy speeds up again. Let me be clear: I don’t think that’s Romney’s intended message, and I don’t think Romney would raise taxes. But the logic of the case Romney lays out in his comments — his first priority is no new tax cuts that increase the deficit, and his opposition to higher taxes is driven by slower growth — does, on its own, argue for deficit-reducing tax increases down the road.

A EUROPEAN NON SEQUITUR

Take it away, Gov. Romney:

“Spain spends 42 percent of their total economy on government. We’re now spending 42 percent of our economy on government. I don’t want to go down the path to Spain.”

Germany spends 43.7 percent of GDP “on government,” and its finances and future look rather different from Spain’s.

OBAMA NEEDS TO GET OUT MORE

By my count, Obama doesn’t mention a real person until we’re about 6,400 words into the debate. Romney mentions a real person in his first answer of the night.

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