Is Romney/Ryan the Golden Ticket?

By Josh Steinberg

Flickr/James B. Currie

There are a lot of half-witted assumptions being tossed around as this election draws closer. There appears to be a lot of people who are ‘die-hard Democrats’ with no clue as to why, other than that’s what their mother told them to do.

Here are a few things to consider over the next month and a half before you cast your vote in November.

President Barack Obama is a rock star, there’s no doubt about that.

He gave millions of people hope that ‘change’ is possible in many of the facets of American society, particularly on issues where American’s values polarize their viewpoints. He overhauled the former healthcare system; especially when the Rrepublican majority of the House of Representatives did everything it could to stop it. He is an advocate for same-sex marriage, pro-choice and increasing social assistance programs. He ended the war in Iraq, and plans to increase taxes on those who make over $250,000 a year. He plans to invest in new forms of sustainable energy, and wean us off of our dependency on foreign oil.

But is he the best bet for our country’s future?

Here’s his opponent: Mitt Romney is “a Baker Scholar (top 5 percent of his class) at Harvard Business School, a feat he pulled off while simultaneously earning a Harvard law degree,” according to a recent article in Fortune Magazine titled “Romney’s 5-Point Plan for the Economy.”

The article continues to add that Romney, “went to Boston Consulting Group because that’s where the top guns went in his day, then to Bain & Co., a consultancy, and finally to Bain Capital in 1984, where he became one of the founding fathers of private equity, made lots of people rich, and amassed a fortune of between $190 million and $220 million.”

In addition to his own extremely savvy economic and business background, his recently assembled ‘Economic Steering Group’ is comprised of five former-presidential economic advisers, a former president of the World Bank, the chairwoman of the National Bureau of Economic Research, two hedge-fund managers, a Stanford professor and the former CEO of Merrill Lynch, among a few others, according to the same article in Fortune. Talk to any successful businessman, and he or she will tell you that surrounding yourself with the right people goes a long way in business.

It is easy to laugh at Romney’s stance on certain social issues. However, it’s less easy to scoff at his business and economic expertise. In a time when our country’s most pressing issue is a near stagnant GDP growth and an overwhelming debt, it would make sense to elect the man who is most qualified to fix those problems, correct?

Instead, the media highlights the things that should not even be on the table until our economy gets rolling again. Just because Romney has a conservative stance on certain social issues does not necessarily make them his priority. There are bigger fish to fry, and I believe it is safe to say a Baker Scholar understands that.

Romney has gone on record saying that he is against same-sex marriage. While it seems like an outdated perspective to have in our progressive society, Romney is entitled to his beliefs, just as you are. To stand firm on your own personal beliefs is to show you have character, and that you are not ashamed of your own opinions. It seems like one of the only clear things he stands for, but whose fault is that? The press is obsessed with bringing up his stance on social issues and fails to inquire about the things that really matter in his campaign.

Citing the same article in September’s election issue of Fortune, Romney’s plan for economic recovery could be broken down into five categories. He plans to “aggressively promote domestic energy development, primarily fossil fuels.” This may lead to tapping into Alaska’s precious black ocean, but it is about time we shifted our focus away from the Middle East’s. It may not sound as pretty and enticing as green energy but let us be serious for a second. As much as we hate our country’s dependency on oil, that’s exactly what it is: a dependency. Hopefully he realizes, if elected, that eventually oil will run out regardless of where it is coming from, and that this should only be a temporary plug on our foreign dependency while developing a more sustainable alternative.

Second, he plans to “expand the market for U.S. goods overseas by negotiating new trade agreements and standing up to China on intellectual-property and currency issues.” It is time to stop fretting around and confront the competition. If America is to make it back to the top, it is going to start with slowing the opponent.

To “improve workforce skills by transferring job-training programs to the states and going after teachers’ unions, which, he says, stand in the way of school choice and better instruction,” he said is his next fundamental tactic. There is no shortage of jobs in America. There is a shortage of the skills to find opportunity and match oneself with the right career. Granted, the first thing we all want to hear is that he plans on lowering tuition costs, but it does not seem to feasibly fit into his recovery plan.

Fourth, he said he “plans to attack the deficit through budget cuts, not tax increases.” Under Obama’s plan, taxes on everybody, especially the wealthy and prospering businesses, will increase as of Jan. 1,, 2013. This would provide an incentive for businesses to earn less; hence they would have to pay less in taxes.

In a recent press release, Paul Ryan stated, These special interest (loopholes) not only disproportionately benefit the well off, but they also narrow the tax base and lead to higher marginal tax rates to make up the lost revenue.” The Romney/Ryan plan is to simplify the tax code to close these loopholes, but abstain from any increases, which they believe will stifle spending and investment amongst Americans.

The fifth component of the “Five-Point Plan” focuses on reshaping regulations on businesses to “encourage and promote small business rather than swamp it.” This would include reshaping Obamacare in a way that Romney claims will bring down the cost of healthcare. Obamacare will ultimately lead to an increase of the cost of healthcare, Romney claims.

There are people who claim that Romney will be partial to the top percentage of earners and continue to skew the odds in their favor. Why not envision yourself as part of the top percent one day and see how you would feel about giving up a disproportional chunk of your paycheck, because you earned more, the keyword there being ‘earned’. If you earn it, what is fair about giving more back?

I have little faith in socialism to ever catch on in America, let alone prosper. Of course there are certain elements of society I feel deserve more government funding, namely higher-education and public media, but where will the funding come from in a country that doesn’t have any money to begin with?

Josh Steinberg is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected].