A Small Sampling of RomneyLies™ From the First Debate, Debunked

After watching the debate, I understood what the Associated Press meant when they said they had to put a quota on correcting Michele Bachmann’s lies during the primary debates. Thank God this one was limited to the economy and health care, or who knows if Romney could have broken Bachmann’s record. I counted 23 lies, but I've seen counts as high as 27. Assuming that they each split the 90 minutes evenly, that's a lie every two minutes. My son didn't have that problem when he was a toddler.

Here are some key lies Romney told:

Either Romney’s plan doesn’t include $5 Trillion in tax cuts, or he’s lying about cutting taxes. Either way, he's lying.

ROMNEY: First of all, I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut. I don't have a tax cut of a scale that you're talking about. My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I'm not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people.

Well,  let’s see. According to Romney’s campaign website, he plans to:

  • Make permanent, across-the-board 20 percent cut in marginal rates
  • Maintain current tax rates on interest, dividends, and capital gains
  • Eliminate taxes for taxpayers with AGI below $200,000 on interest, dividends, and capital gains
  • Eliminate the Death Tax
  • Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)
  • Cut the corporate rate to 25 percent
  • Strengthen and make permanent the R&D tax credit
  • Switch to a territorial tax system
  • Repeal the corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

Okay. so he’s going to reduce and/or eliminate all of those taxes, but it’s not going to reduce revenues by a significant amount? Where have we heard that before? Reagan was forced to raise taxes a couple of years after his tax cuts, and the beginning rates were significantly higher than they are now. And the Bush tax cuts, coupled with wars that weren’t paid for and an economic crash, are about 90% responsible for the massive debt the GOP complains about today. 

The fact of the matter is, all of the above cuts amounts to a $5 trillion reduction in taxes over 10 years, according to a number of sources. Yet, minutes later, Romney says,

ROMNEY: In order for us not to lose revenue, have the government run out of money, I also lower deductions and credits and exemptions, so that we keep taking in the same money when you also account for growth.”

And later still…

ROMNEY: So if the tax plan he described were a tax plan I was asked to support, I'd say absolutely not. I'm not looking for a $5 trillion tax cut. What I've said is I won't put in place a tax cut that adds to the deficit. That's part one. So there's no economist that can say Mitt Romney's tax plan adds $5 trillion if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan.

There’s just one problem with that concept. It's not possible without gutting and/or eliminating deductions seen as crucial to economic growth. And that, of course, could mean a major hit to a number of industries.  Consider how many fewer people would be able to buy homes without the mortgage interest deduction, for example. That, in turn, would cause another drop in home sales, a drop in home values, an increase in foreclosures and a decrease in construction and other jobs. Needless to say, that won’t result in an increase in taxpayers and revenue to the government.

Either his huge across the board tax cuts will cost $5 trillion, or he’ll see that he can’t offset the cost, and the cuts won’t happen.  Either way, Romney’s lying.

54% of Small Businesses Pay Individual Tax Rate, so lower rate would allow them to hire more.

Assuming he’s not lying about cutting taxes, and is instead lying about not exploding the deficit, consider what he said:

ROMNEY: And the reason is because small business pays that individual rate; 54 percent of America's workers work in businesses that are taxed not at the corporate tax rate, but at the individual tax rate. And if we lower that rate, they will be able to hire more people. For me, this is about jobs. This is about getting jobs for the American people.

And later on, he said roughly the same thing:

ROMNEY: You bet. Well, President, you're — Mr. President, you're absolutely right, which is that, with regards to 97 percent of the businesses are not — not taxed at the 35 percent tax rate, they're taxed at a lower rate. But those businesses that are in the last 3 percent of businesses happen to employ half — half of all the people who work in small business. Those are the businesses that employ one-quarter of all the workers in America. And your plan is to take their tax rate from 35 percent to 40 percent.

This one is ridiculous. As a result of the debate on letting the Bush tax cuts expire, only 3% of small businesses make more than $250,000 per year, anyway. (Source) Therefore, 97% of small businesses don’t make enough to be able to save enough in taxes to pay another employee.  So, basically, Romney’s contention depends on a constant redefinition of “small business” and the ridiculous notion that 3% of small businesses making more than $250,000 continue to operate unincorporated and still paying the individual tax rate, and that they employ more than half of all workers in small businesses.  And one quarter of all workers in the United States. That’s quite a tricky use of pretend math. I mean, think about it; that means one out of every four of your friends works not just for a small business, but for a small business that runs as a sole proprietorship. I’d like to see the data proving that one, because that doesn’t exactly sound minty-fresh.

Romney illustrated his point above with the following story:

ROMNEY: Now, and — and I've talked to a guy who has a very small business. He's in the electronics business in — in St. Louis. He has four employees. He said he and his son calculated how much they pay in taxes, federal income tax, federal payroll tax, state income tax, state sales tax, state property tax, gasoline tax. It added up to well over 50 percent of what they earned. And your plan is to take the tax rate on successful small businesses from 35 percent to 40 percent.

The most obvious thing you can see in the above is that Romney changes the definition of “tax” to suit his purposes. Funny how he NOW mentions Payroll taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, gas taxes and the like, but when it suits him, he tries to make an issue out of the fact that 47% of earners don’t pay INCOME taxes.

The first thing anyone with a brain would tell the business owner above to do is to incorporate. If he has a payroll, he should do it anyway, because without doing so, certain events could cause him to lose everything. It would also reduce his tax rate. Problem solved.

If your small business has $250,000 in revenue, you don’t pay tax on that. You deduct all of your costs, including the amount you pay employees and contractors and for expenses such as rent for the storefront, utilities and other associated costs.  In other words, if we wanted to continue down this ridiculous road,  a greater case could be made that the lower tax rate would make it more likely that such a small businessman would fire an employee than hire an extra one. But that’s silly, too, because it assumes small businesses tend to hire more people than they need.  And that’s a bad assumption.

“In fact, I do have a plan that deals with people with pre-existing conditions. That's part of my health care plan.”

That would actually not be a “fact,” but rather the opposite of that. The first thing he’ll do is repeal Obamacare. Then, he’ll replace it with block grants to states, on the hope that states will take up the mantle to create a health care plan.  There is nothing in his plan (find it here) that would even suggest to states what insurance companies should cover. And if you think private insurance won’t minimize their risk, think again.

There is nothing in the Romney plan that even addresses “pre-existing conditions.” He’s lying.

Two other Romney lies about Obamacare;

“…it cuts $716 billion from Medicare to pay for it. I want to put that money back in Medicare for our seniors.”

I’ve discussed this before, but Obamacare doesn’t take $716 billion from Medicare. Through cost controls and quality care mechanisms, it SAVES Medicare that much in costs over ten years. Basically, by saving Medicare that much money, it makes the current program solvent for eight extra years.

"… it puts in place an unelected board that's going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have.”

The unelected board consists of doctors, insurance company experts and others, who will look over and determine best practices for reducing costs system wide.  The concept that a smallish board will actually sit at a table and approve of each individual patient’s treatment is absurd; why would anyone believe that? But besides that the Affordable Care Act actually mandates that all medical decisions are between doctor and patient. If the hospital board approves it, then your insurance company will have to pay for it.

Of course, under Romney’s rollback to the old system of insurance, thousands of low-level clerks at insurance companies can once again make medical decisions in place of you and your doctor, as they did before. Yeah, that’ll be better.

“Dodd-Frank … designates a number of banks as too big to fail, and they're effectively guaranteed by the federal government.”

This is a complete falsehood. Yes, the law does label some banks “too big to fail.” But contrary to what Romney says, these banks actually have ADDITIONAL REGULATIONS governing their conduct of business. They’re not actually guaranteed at all. In fact, the only guarantee is that taxpayers will no longer be required to bail them out. These banks must now pay into the fund that will be used to pay for a process to distribute their assets and liquidate them, in order to prevent a bailout.  Just FYI, this is the main reason the GOP hates Dodd-Frank.

“We've got 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work in this country.”

The job situation isn’t as great as we’d like, but do we really need a president who exaggerates everything again? Didn’t we just have one of those? His name was Bush.

Right now, about 12.5 million people are out of work, and about 2 million have stopped looking, by most estimates.

That's just some of the lies. Hard to believe, but there are actually lots more… 

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