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First debate: Let's look at those facts again

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 4th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In the first presidential debate, both President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney loaded their responses with accusations about each other's policies, as well as defending their own. A deeper analysis of the claims made by both Obama and Romney has revealed some discrepancies. A partial list follows below as reported by USA Today.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Private-sector job gains. President Obama said the U.S. economy has created 5 million private-sector jobs the past 30 months. Facts: The U.S. has gained 4.6 million private-sector jobs since the labor market bottomed in February 2010, or 5.1 million under preliminary revisions released last week.

Tax cuts. Obama says Romney's tax plan would cut taxes by $5 trillion over 10 years, inflating the deficit. Facts: Romney has proposed cutting tax rates by 20 percent in each bracket, which, the liberal Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says would cost $4.9 trillion over 10 years. Romney said he would not raise taxes and would not approve any tax cut that would expand the deficit. He argued that tax cuts will increase investment, putting more people to work and increasing the taxpaying population.

The middle class. Romney said middle-class families' income is down $4,300 since Obama took office. Facts: According to a March 2012 analysis by consulting firm Sentier Research, Romney was correct. What Romney didn't say is that the decline in real median household income has been occurring over the course of the past decade, well before Obama took office. The trend has continued under the Obama administration, but it did not originate there.

Taxes for the wealthy. Romney says he wouldn't cut taxes on the wealthy. Romney wants to cut personal taxes by 20 percent for everyone, including the wealthy. Obama, however, wants to return taxes to Clinton-era rates for individuals who make more than $200,000 in annual taxable income. In other words, Romney wants to maintain tax cuts for the wealthy that Obama would eliminate.

Energy independence. North America will reportedly become energy independent under Romney's plan, creating four million jobs. Fact: This is likely to happen anyway, possibly as soon as the end of the decade.

Changes in drilling technology that have let America increase oil production faster than any other nation in the world in the past four years.

Medicare cuts. Romney said Obama's health care law cuts $716 billion from Medicare which will hurt current beneficiaries. Fact: Romney's claim that Obama's health care law cuts $716 billion in benefits for current Medicare beneficiaries is not true. The health care law will limit payments to health care providers and insurers - not senior citizens' benefits - as part of an effort to rein in costs over the course of the next decade. The law has not yet been fully implemented, so the cuts' effects on beneficiaries are uncertain. But the law as written does not cut benefits for senior citizens.

Clean energy. Romney said clean energy interests got $90 billion in tax breaks under Obama, and that half of those companies receiving breaks went out of business. Fact: The president's 2009 stimulus bill included a combination of over $90 billion in spending, financing and tax breaks for clean energy investments. It is incorrect that half of those companies went bankrupt. Some of the Energy Department's loans went to firms that failed, most notably the solar energy company Solyndra, which cost taxpayers $535 million. In a 2011 story, USA TODAY reported that the stocks of many of 45 publicly traded companies receiving stimulus funds had outperformed the stock market, despite Solyndra and other, smaller failures.

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