President Obama and Mitt Romney are set to meet for the next presidential debate. Americans with diverse backgrounds will ask the candidates simple questions about how their plans would impact our lives. As always, the President will speak directly with voters about how we can move this country forward together. But will Mitt Romney stand by his “severely conservative” positions or dishonestly hide them in order to bolster his chances of winning? After all, as a longtime aide to his father, George Romney, noted, “It seems that Mitt would say and do anything to close a deal—or an election.”
But what Romney now espouses is starkly different from what Romney would actually do as president. Here’s a guide to what you may hear Romney say—and what he really means.
What’s your tax plan and what will it mean for middle-class families?
What he says: “I will not, under any circumstances, raise taxes on middle-income families.”
Translation: Romney is proposing $5 trillion in tax cuts weighted to millionaires, and promises he’ll pay for his plan by cutting deductions—but he’s proposing $1 trillion more in tax cuts to the wealthy than there are tax benefits to close. That means multimillionaires would still get average tax cuts of $250,000 even if their deductions were taken away—and the middle class would be left paying more. There’s no avoiding the math: Paying for Romney’s tax cuts for the wealthy would mean an average tax increase of $2,000 a year for middle-class families with children.
How does your Medicare plan affect the guaranteed benefits that seniors have earned and deserve?
What he says: “What I support is no change for current retirees and near-retirees to Medicare, and the President supports taking $716 billion out of that program.”
Translation: The Romney-Ryan plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system would end the program as we know it for future retirees. In fact, a recent nonpartisan report found that, if Romney’s plan had been in place already for seniors, nearly 60% would have paid more to get the same coverage they receive today. And as another recent study confirmed, seniors that retire in 2030 would have to pay an average of $6000 more a year—based on an analysis of Romney’s current proposal.
To avoid talking about the consequences of his plan, he continually offers the well-debunked, $716 billion falsehood. As numerous fact-checkers and the AARP have noted, Obamacare actually strengthens Medicare for seniors by adding new preventive and prescription drug benefits, and the $716 billion in future savings helped extend Medicare’s solvency an additional 8 years.
How do we know that your tax plan will help the middle class and spur economic growth?
What he says: “As governor, I cut taxes 19 times and didn’t raise taxes.”
Translation: What Gov. Romney actually did was raise more than 1,000 taxes and fees, more fees than any other state in his first year alone. From raising fees on hospitals, nursing homes, and mortgage filings to creating a fee on the blind, Romney cost Massachusetts taxpayers $750 million a year.
Will you stand up to China and its unfair trade practices that are hurting us?
What he says: “It’s time for us to stand up to China for their cheating.”
Translation: Romney has no intention of standing up to China—not when he’s invested in the success of Chinese companies. As the head of Bain Capital, Romney invested in a “low-wage, low-tax” Chinese firm after it told investors it “would not be subject to taxes in the United States.” And when President Obama moved to protect American tire workers from China’s unfair trade practices, Romney said his actions were “bad for the nation and our workers.”
How will you bridge the deep partisan divide in Washington?
What he says: “We need to have leadership—leadership in Washington that will actually bring people together and get the job done…I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again.”
Translation: Gov. Romney watched Massachusetts fall to 47th out of 50 states in job creation under his leadership—leadership that Massachusetts legislators rated decidedly ineffective. Not only did he close his doors to legislators hoping to meet with him—but his aides actually erected velvet ropes around his office and wore “Secret Service-style earpieces” to keep legislators at bay.
To get more translations of Romney’s rhetoric, take a look at this memo from Campaign Manager Jim Messina—then make sure to share the facts about the real Romney so they know what to look out for at the presidential debates.