April 23, 2014

Romney calls Obama tax plan a “job killer” (audio)

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is accusing President Obama of pushing a tax policy that will “kill jobs.” 

President Obama is due in Iowa Tuesday to tout extending the Bush era tax cuts for those who make $250,000 or less a year. Obama calls it a middle class tax cut. During a telephone interview with Radio Iowa today, Romney called it something else.

“The president’s announcement that he plans on extending (the tax cuts), just for certain classes of Americans — what he’s really saying is that those that are job-creators and small businesses are going to see a massive tax increase,” Romney said, “and that will kill jobs.”

AUDIO of Mitt Romney’s Radio Iowa interview.

Romney favors keeping the Bush tax cuts in place over what he calls a “sufficiently long period” to give policymakers time to “restructure” the entire federal tax code. Romney would reduce income tax rates for all Americans and limit some of the deductions wealthier Americans take, moves Romney said would keep the tax system progressive.

“The president’s plan is aimed at small business and job creators. It will kill jobs in this country and hurt the middle class,” Romney said.”The right answer is to extend the tax rates as they current exist indefinitely, until we put in place an entirely new and reformed system.”

Romney promises that by the end of his first term as president unemployment would be reduced to six percent. The nation’s unemployment rate for last month stood at 8.2 percent and Romney has argued that’s an indictment of the president’s economic policies.

“(Obama) said if we put in place his stimulus, we’d never go above eight percent. We’ve had 41 straight months above eight percent,” Romney told Radio Iowa. “My plan is based on key changes that will change the direction of our economy and get our unemployment rate down and our wages coming up again.”

Scaling back the size of the federal government and striking trade agreements to sell more U.S. goods overseas are key steps, according to Romney, who also has pledged to reduce the federal regulatory and tax burden as a means of stimulating the economy.

During a mid-May speech in Des Moines, Romney accused Obama of being an “old-school liberal” who had dramatically increased the country’s “prairie fire of debt.” During his interview with Radio Iowa today, Romney said “ObamaCare” would be the “easiest cut” to make in the federal government.

“The American people don’t want it. It was pushed through on a totally partisan basis. The cost is almost $100 billion a year,” Romney said. “It’s an expense we simply cannot afford, not with the nation putting together nearly trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see.”

Romney has been to Iowa four times in 2012 — and Obama’s trip to Cedar Rapids Tuesday marks the president’s fourth visit to the state this year, evidence of Iowa’s status as a “swing” state that will be crucial in the fall election. Republican Governor Terry Branstad today suggested Obama’s latest visit is proof the president “is in trouble” in Iowa.

“Iowans really feel betrayed. He ran as somebody who was going to unite the country and instead he spends all his time attacking and the latest thing is now he wants to try to divide people, one against another, based on class warfare,” Branstad said this morning during his weekly news conference. “The very people that we need to invest and create jobs are afraid to because they’re afraid their taxes are going to go up.”

The two presidential campaigns are airing a barrage of campaign ads on Iowa television stations. According to a Monday memo from Romney’s campaign, three-quarters of Obama’s ads have been negative.

“I realize that the president’s failure to actually reignite the economy makes it hard for him to discuss his own record,” Romney told Radio Iowa, “and so he’s going to try and attack me on every personal basis he can come up with.”

Romney’s personal finances have become a target of the Obama campaign. Romney told Radio Iowa his investments are managed by a blind trust.

“I don’t manage them. I don’t even know where they are. That trustee follows all U.S. laws. All the taxes are paid, as appropriate. All of them have been reported to the government. There’s nothing hidden there. If, for instance, you own shares in Renault or Fiat, you still have to disclose that in the United States,” Romney said. “So, you know, I understand the president’s going to try to do anything he can to divert attention from the fact that his jobs record is weak and he has no plan to make things better.”

According to a news release from the Obama campaign, the president’s remarks early Tuesday afternoon in Cedar Rapids will focus on building the economy “from the middle out, not the top down.” Before the rally at Kirkwood Community College, Obama will meet with a family from Cedar Rapids who would see their taxes go up about $2200 a year if the Bush tax cuts aren’t extended.

On Tuesday morning Romney will campaign in Colorado, one of the other dozen or so “swing” states that will decide the fall election.

Rick Santorum, the winner of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses, is due in eastern Iowa Tuesday for a series of events in what Santorum has dubbed a “thank you” tour.