The president accused Romney of wanting to give tax breaks to the wealthy instead of helping the middle class, which he said would create jobs and boost the economy.
“Gov. Romney has a perspective that says if we cut taxes skewed toward the wealthy and cut regulations, we’ll be better off. I have a different view,” he said.
Obama said he supports a “balanced approach” of tax cuts and increased spending. He said he would stress education and training, calling for a “new economic patriotism” that says “America does best when the middle class does best.”
Romney repeatedly said descriptions of his tax plan were not true, and he accused the president of distorting his proposals. He wants to extend George W. Bush-era tax cuts that lowered the tax rate paid by Americans at all income levels and enact additional cuts.
“Virtually everything he said about my tax plan is inaccurate. . . . My plan is not like anything that has been tried before,” Romney said. “Going forward with the status quo is not going to cut it anymore.”
Obama suggested that corporate tax rates should go down, but he also wants to close loopholes for companies shipping jobs overseas. On energy, Obama said, he and Romney agree domestic energy production needs to be boosted. But Obama also wants to promote “energy sources of the future,” like wind and biofuels.
Romney countered that “I’m not looking to cut massive taxes,” and he pledged “no tax cut that adds to the deficit,” though he would not provide specifics. Romney would retain Bush-era tax cuts and slice income tax rates 20 percent across the board. Obama would retain the Bush rates only for families earning less than $250,000 and individuals making less than $200,000.
Taxes and the deficit dominated the first part of the 90-minute showdown between the two presidential candidates, the first of three nationally televised face-offs with an audience expected to total in the tens of millions. But also on the list was health care, the role of government and Social Security and Medicare.
Both Obama and Romney insisted they know how important it is to cut the nation’s debt. Obama said he has tried to cut the debt that has ballooned because of the cost of two wars, tax cuts and government programs that were not paid for. He insisted that he worked with Democrats and Republicans to cut a trillion dollars and is working to convince a divided Congress to cut $4 trillion from the projected deficit.
“It’s on a website. You can look at all the numbers, what cuts we make and what revenue we raise,” he said.
But Romney said Obama had time to reduce the deficit and failed. The nation faces devastating cuts are the result of a bipartisan deal struck last year to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Congress agreed that if a 12-member committee failed to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next decade, the cuts would come from government spending. The first round is set to start in January.
“I mean, you have said before you’d cut the deficit in half. And this – I love this idea of $4 trillion in cuts. You found $4 trillion of ways to reduce or to get closer to a balanced budget, except we still show trillion-dollar deficits every year. That doesn’t get the job done,” Romney said