Diane Alter: While Mitt Romney’s political plans are a stark difference from opponent President Barack Obama, they agree on one thing: When it comes to this year’s election, “this is a very clear choice for the American people as to what America’s future will look like.”
They disagree, however, on what that “clear choice” is.
That’s what Romney said in a “60 Minutes” interview with Scott Pelley that aired yesterday (Sunday), where he detailed his plans to restore America to fiscal health.
Romney explained he would shrink the size of the government, overhaul entitlement programs and implement individual and corporate tax breaks-all with the help of Congress.
“I’m going to win this thing,” said Romney when asked if he could win the November presidential election. “Washington is broken and I think that flows from the President. I think ultimately that the buck stops with the President.”
If Mitt Romney wins Election 2012, here’s what he has planned for you.
Romney on Government Role
Romney focused on separating his idea of smaller government from the one President Obama has created.
“The President’s vision is one of a larger and larger government with trillion-dollar deficits that promise everything to everyone. His policy for the economy is more stimulus, more government spending. My course of different,” said Romney.
Romney claimed his plan as president would include cutting the magnitude of the government, reducing massive deficits and “rebuilding the foundation of America’s strength with great homes, great schools, with entrepreneurship and innovation.”
The path he has charted for reducing the deficit and cutting spending would be executed in a way that would stimulate growth and create jobs. He said by moving federal programs back to the states, and growing them only around the rate of inflation, he would save the country about $100 billion per year.
Romney said his plan to cut spending was “metered out in a very careful way,” so that federal workers would be scaled back over time to not cause sudden shifts in the economy or unemployment.
Romney On Taxes
Romney’s tax plan would cut all rates because exemptions and deductions would be limited, so essentially everyone will be paying Uncle Sam the same in taxes.
“I will not raise taxes on middle-income folks. I will not lower the share of taxes paid by high-income individuals. And I will make sure that we bring down rates, we limit deductions and exemptions so we can keep the progressivity on the code, and we encourage growth in jobs,” Romney relayed.
The top-tier level would be reduced from 35% to 28% and middle rates would come down by 20%.
“All the rates come down. But unless people think there’s going to be a huge reduction in the taxes they owe, that’s really not the case because we’re also going to limit deductions and exemptions, particularly at the high end. Because I want to keep the current progressivity in the code. There should be no tax reduction for high income people. What I would like to do is to get a tax deduction for middle-income families by eliminating the tax for middle-income families on interest, dividends and capital gains,” Romney explained.
The middle class, clarified Romney, will see a small break because they will not be taxed on their savings.
Corporate tax rates would also be reduced. Romney said he would eliminate some of the “loopholes, deductions, and special deals” so that they government could afford to pay for the reduction.
Romney On Obamacare, Medicaid and Social Security
Romney has been vehemently vowing throughout his campaign to dismantle Obamacare on Day One if elected. He reiterated that stance promising to repeal the controversial health care bill that Romney says costs “about a hundred billion dollars a year.”
Romney also plans to turn over major government programs currently at the federal level, back to the states where they “will grow at the rate of inflation, not at a multiple of that rate.”
“Medicare is a program that’s designed to help the poor. Likewise, we have housing vouchers and food stamps, and these help the poor. I’d take the dollars for those programs, send them back to the states and say, “You craft your programs at your state level and the way you think best to deal with those that need that kind of help in your state,'” said Romney.
As for Social Security, Romney would not change anything for those that are in or near retirement, but said that people with higher incomes would “receive a little less in the future. People with higher incomes won’t get the same high growth rate in their benefits as people of lower income.”
On Changing His Mind
Pelley questioned Romney about his changing beliefs, including a reversal on his pro-abortion position except in cases of rape, insect or when a mother’s health is in danger, and for his about-face on his “no new taxes” pledge after signing a new tax plan.
Romney defended his mind-changing by pointing a finger at President Obama.
“I understand that my opposition will do its very best to try and change any way they can, the narrative to fit their objectives. The President has certainly changed his view on a whole host of things. He was going to close Guantanamo. It’s open. Military tribunals were going to be ended. Now military tribunals continue. The President was opposed to same sex marriage, now he’s in favor of same sex marriage,” said Romney.
As for his own convictions, Romney stressed that he maintains the same political principles that he has always had and added that when the situation changes, his views change.
“If you don’t learn from experience, you don’t learn from your mistakes,” he said. “Why, you know, you ought to be fired.”
Getting the Economy Going
Romney touted his business background as a major asset in dealing with the U.S. fiscal problems.
“If you’re looking for a leader to guide an economy, you hope that you have someone who didn’t just study it in school, but someone who actually lived in the economy,” said Romney.
As Election Day moves closer, Romney plans to spend the next couple of weeks crossing the country, describing his plan to get the economy moving, repeating his assurance of creating more jobs, and how the Republican Party will “restore the economic freedom that this country built in the first place.”
Romney says he wants to reinstate trust Americans have towards their leader. He wants to be remembered as the president who restored “the kind of freedom that has always driven America’s economy” and that “allows America to lead the world.”
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