Maryann Tobin

President Obama and GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney laid out their differences in dueling speeches today in the battleground state of Ohio.

Obama laid out his plans for a second term in past, present and future terms.

“We were told that huge tax cuts, especially for the wealthiest Americans, would lead to faster job growth. We were told that fewer regulations, especially for big financial institutions and corporations, would bring about widespread prosperity. We were told that it was OK to put two wars on the nation’s credit card, that tax cuts would create a enough growth to pay for themselves. That’s what we were told."

"So how did this economic theory work out?" President Obama said. “For the wealthiest Americans, it worked out pretty well.”

Romney countered Obama’s remarks with, “Talk is cheap,” and defended his trickle-down economics policy, as defined by the Paul Ryan budget plan.

“Romney sometimes suggests that firing a government employee can directly lead to the hiring of one or more private-sector workers.” According to CBS News, Romney told Colorado voters last month that “President Barack Obama's stimulus program "didn't help private-sector jobs. It helped preserve government jobs."

Both Obama and Romney agree that America needs to take bolder steps to grow the economy. The difference between how each candidate would move the country is at opposite ends of the ideological spectrum.

Romney would expand trickle-down economics and expand deregulation for corporations and the banking industry. Tax increases on the poor and middle class, including the Ryan budget proposal to eliminate the Earned Income Tax Credit for low income Americans, would help fund an additional $3 trillion in tax cuts for upper income earners, in the hopes that they would spend their tax savings on job creation.

Romney would also impose austerity measures, similar to those in Europe, with deep cuts to Social Security, Medicare, education, and other government programs.

By cutting government programs and their employees, the Romney economic plan hopes that laid off government workers will get private sector jobs instead.

Obama had a different view. “Prosperity never trickled down to the middle class. From 2001 to 2008 we had the slowest job growth in half a century. The typical family saw their incomes halt.”

President Obama believes that government regulation is needed to keep the banking industry from creating another financial meltdown.

“Without strong enough regulations, families were enticed and sometimes tricked into buying homes they couldn’t afford. Banks and investors were allowed to package and sell risky mortgages. Huge reckless bets were made with other people’s money on the line. And too many, from Wall Street to Washington, simply looked the other way.”

Obama’s focus in a second term would include deficit reduction through a balanced approach of both budget cuts and tax reform that would have the wealthiest Americans “pay their fair share.”

The choice should look clear.

Obama believes that government can pay an important role in making life better for all Americans. Romney believes that the government should use the tax code to manipulate the economy and let working class Americans fend for themselves without government assistance.

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