Arithmetic For Billionaires: Romney Is Rich, Can He Add?

September 8, 2012 | By
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Romney is a very wealthy man with a proven capacity for avoiding taxes – but can he do simple arithmetic?

In the wake of the Democratic convention, the Republican candidate again promised to “cut the deficit and get us back on track to a balanced budget.” He even hinted that his own party bears some responsibility for ballooning federal deficits and debt. “We’re going to finally have to do something that Republicans have spoken about for a long time and for a while we didn’t do it. When we had the lead, we let people down,” he said the other day, presumably referring to the last Republican president, whose name must never be mentioned, and the Congressional leadership during that administration.

And “for a while” presumably refers to the past 30 years or so.

Romney also says that he watched none of the speeches at the Democratic convention. He obviously missed the one that might have helped him figure out exactly what his party has been doing wrong. “I hear Bill Clinton spoke for like, 50 minutes?” he snarked at a public appearance on Friday. Yes, the – and he articulated a message that could enlighten Romney. Clinton’s lesson might be titled “Arithmetic for Billionaires.” He could start with an accurate assessment of the origins of the national debt level currently carried by the U.S. Treasury. As Clinton noted, the federal debt roughly quadrupled during the 12 years of the Reagan-Bush administration, from just under a trillion dollars to four trillion.

When Clinton became president, that debt was rising rapidly with annual deficits of $400 billion. His first budget raised taxes, almost entirely on the wealthiest taxpayers, by restoring a top bracket of 39.5 percent. Not a single Republican in Congress voted for that 1993 budget, with many of them predicting that raising taxes on the rich would result in economic catastrophe. They were wrong, of course.

The economy boomed, incomes rose at every level, millions began to climb out of poverty, and the rich became richer too (although many of them never forgave Clinton for demanding that they pay up for the festivities of the Reagan era). Clinton booked four balanced budgets and began to pay down the national debt. The debt would have been paid down entirely, preparing the nation far better for the crash that we ultimately faced, had that unnamed Republican not succeeded Clinton with reckless tax cuts and extremely expensive wars.

By the time President Nameless left office, the nation was deeply in debt and on the brink of a catastrophe that wasn’t merely rhetorical. Now along comes Romney, with his sidekick Paul Ryan, telling voters that they will cut the deficit and balance the budget. Yet as Clinton noted, they propose still another round of tax cuts for the wealthiest households – including their own and those of their most generous supporters – that would cost the Treasury at least $5 trillion. And they insist on increasing the defense budget by hundreds of billions, too.

Read the whole story:  The National Memo

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