- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 29, 2012

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Vice President Joseph R. Biden has begun attacking former Gov. Mitt Romney’s credentials on the economy - the issue for which President Obama gets his worst marks in his job-disapproval polls.

Talk about chutzpah. Here’s a guy who was sent out by the White House to brazenly declare in 2010 that the U.S. economy was entering “the summer of recovery,” that the unemployment rate soon would be falling below 8 percent and that jobs once again would be plentiful.

“We’ve gone from hemorrhaging over 700,000 jobs a month the first several months … to adding several hundred thousand jobs a month in the last several months, he said.

The White House predicted unemployment would drop to 7.5 percent, but it never happened. It was never going to happen.

The unemployment rate was running above 9.5 percent that year, and Mr. Biden was given the task of selling skeptical Americans the political equivalent of the Brooklyn Bridge. They weren’t buying it.

Mr. Obama’s nearly $1 trillion economic stimulus didn’t deliver the goods, and that initiative has gone down in the economic history books as one of the most colossal policy failures of the modern presidential era.

So now Mr. Biden is being sent out yet again, this time to attack Mitt Romney’s tax-cut proposals, economic record and, by implication, his ability to get the lackluster Obama economy moving again.

“Now, as a presidential candidate, [Mr. Romney] has proposed a new international tax system that zeroes out taxes for companies that create jobs outside the United States of America,” Mr. Biden said in a campaign appearance in Davenport, Iowa, on Wednesday.

Mr. Biden went on to say, “We are talking about taxes and the burden on manufacturers. But there’s a big difference. Our tax cuts go to companies that create jobs over here. The Romney tax cut goes to companies that create jobs overseas. It’s a fundamentally different philosophy from ours.”

Then came the predictable class-warfare attack line that the former governor’s tax policies would favor the rich at the expense of the middle class.

But Mr. Romney’s tax plan is much more complex than Mr. Biden portrayed it. It is aimed at strengthening and expanding corporations here and the business they do overseas, so they can bring more of those dollars back to expand their operations and create more jobs.

In the economically remedial world Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden inhabit, building factories abroad weakens our economy and is a zero-sum game. In fact, building plants abroad is critically important to competing in the global economy and selling our products in overseas markets.

It’s cheaper to make and sell our products abroad than to ship them from here, just as it is far less expensive for Toyota and Honda, which manufacturer their cars here with American workers, instead of exporting them here from Japan.

The earnings that come from overseas markets boost the bottom line of U.S. businesses, providing them with increased capital to expand their operations both here and abroad.

No sooner was Joe “Summer of Recovery” Biden launching his attack on the Republican presidential front-runner than the Romney camp struck back where it hurts.

“Vice President Biden is part of an administration that has done more to devastate the middle class than any in modern history,” said Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg.

“Under President Obama’s leadership, over 800,000 fewer Americans have a job, home prices have plummeted, and gas prices have hit record highs. With that kind of record, it’s no surprise that the Obama White House has taken to attacking a proven job creator like Mitt Romney,” she said.

Obviously, the president’s campaign is trying to shift the focus away from Mr. Obama’s incompetent handling of the economy.

In the first three years of his presidency, the jobless rate was nearly at or above 9 percent most of the time. It has come down to 8.3 percent, but that doesn’t include millions of discouraged workers who stopped looking for a job, were forced to take temporary work or work fewer hours.

“That makes nearly 24 million Americans unemployed or underemployed. The unemployment rate in January, counting them, is … 15.1 percent,” wrote economist Peter Ferrara in Forbes magazine last month.

The question Mr. Romney will be asking in this campaign will be, “Are you better off today under President Obama than you were before?”

The national poverty rate stood at 15.1 percent, up from 14.3 percent in 2009.

There were 46.2 million Americans living in poverty in the United States, according to the U.S. Census, up from 43.6 million in 2009.

The real median household income in the U.S. was at $49,445, a 2.3 percent decline from 2009.

One million Americans lost their homes in 2010, and an estimated 1.2 million lost them in 2011. Five million were at least two months behind in their mortgage payments.

Mr. Obama is rolling up his fourth consecutive trillion-dollar-plus budget deficit this year ($1.2 trillion), plunging the country deeper into a $15.6 trillion debt.

Mr. Romney thinks the U.S. economy is suffocating from too much taxation, regulation and unending debt. He proposes that the top 35 percent tax rate on business (the highest in the world) be cut to make us more competitive and that capital gains taxes be lowered to open up job-creating investment.

We’ve tried Mr. Obama’s big-spending bromides, and they haven’t worked. Unemployment is still well over 8 percent, the economy is crawling along in the 2 percent range this year, and millions of Americans are still suffering.

Joe Biden never mentions any of this. I wonder why?

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.

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