President Barack Obama went on the offensive on tax cuts and education when speaking at a rally in Las Vegas, NV on Wednesday evening. Mr. Romney had campaigned in Reno the day before, as the two battle for leverage in what is shaping to be an important swing state in the mountain West.
“What they said was, ‘We want to give you more tax cuts especially tilted toward the wealthy, and everything will be okay,’ ” President Obama said, summarizing Republican proposals at the RNC in August. “And this is their prescription for everything; tax cuts in good times, tax cuts in bad times, tax cuts when we’re at peace, tax cuts when we’re at war, tax cuts to lose those few extra pounds; tax cuts to give your love life that extra kick.”
Mr. Obama also stated that under his administration students are paying lower college costs nationwide. According to the White House, the maximum Pell Grant award was increased to $5,550 since 2008. Nine and a half million students were awarded Pell Grants in the 2012-13 school year. Mr. Obama secured Congressional approval for a $10,000 college tax credit.
“So now you’ve got a choice, we could take my opponent’s advice, which results in gutting education,” Mr. Obama said, right before the crowd began a chorus of boos. Quoting DNC speaker and former Spanish-language talk show host Cristina Saralegui, Obama responded soundly with: “Don’t boo now, vote! Don’t boo, vote!”
This comes at a time when Romney has sent mixed messages concerning his education platform. Mr. Romney once supported the No Child Left Behind law, only to later admit that the law needs to be revised.
Mr. Obama said that school classrooms shouldn’t be overcrowded and education materials like books should be in better condition.
Mr. Obama then dove in on the deficit. Mr. Obama argued that he would work to reduce the deficit without putting the middle class at a disadvantage, a sentiment he has repeated over and over again since his hitting the message hard during his speech at the DNC.
“Independent analysis shows my plan for cutting the deficit would cut it by $4 trillion,” Mr. Obama said. “I’ve already worked with Republicans in congress to cut a trillion dollars worth of spending.”
Marketwatch found that under the Obama administration, government spending has risen at the slowest pace since President Dwight Eisenhower’s term. The second fastest increase in government spending was documented under President George W. Bush’s term. Mr. Obama argued that his plan was to increase the tax burden on the wealthiest families.
“I also want to ask the wealthiest households, including my own, to pay a little bit more on incomes over $250,000; the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president,” Mr. Obama said. “The same rate we had when we created 23 million new jobs, went from deficit to surplus, created a whole lot of millionaires to boot. That’s the way we have to move forward.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. has had an increase of 3.8 million non farm jobs since October of 2009 when the first federal fiscal year during the Obama Administration began and when the first federal budget under his administration took effect.
Mr. Obama reiterated the notion expressed by President Bill Clinton during his speech at the Democratic National Convention that the Republican plan for cutting the deficit didn’t mathematically add up.
“If you think that we could somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthy; when you try to pay for $5 trillion in new tax cuts without raising taxes on middle class families; or add $2 trillion in military spending that are joint chiefs don’t say is going to make us safer without increasing the deficit,” Mr. Obama said. “Well you’ve got; you get that error message on your calculator. No amount of extra credit is going to make that math work.
Mr. Obama contended that he refused to increase taxes for middle-class families, or allow students to pay more for college. He also touched on the millions of people that have been able to refinance their homes during his presidential term, and, trying to avoid politicizing on today’s attacks, he briefly spoke on today’s attack on the Libyan embassy.
“We still face threats in this world, and we’ve got to remain vigilant,” Mr. Obama said. “And that’s why we will be relentless in our pursuit of those who attacked us yesterday.”
He also discussed his record on war.
“Four years ago, I promised to end the war on Iraq and we did,” Mr. Obama said. “I said I’d wind down the war in Afghanistan and we are.”
Mr. Obama argued that Al Qaeda is on the path of defeat and Bin Laden was dead. Mr. Obama then justified his proposed defense budget cuts by citing the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“And as we’re winding down these wars, we could use some of the money that we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and to put more people back to work, rebuilding roads and bridges and runways and schools,” Mr. Obama said. “Because after a decade of war, it’s time to do some nation building right here in the United States.”
Mr. Obama also told the crowd how their support for him allowed him to work for popular initiatives like the Dream Act.
“You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever known,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Obama said that if voters don’t cast their ballots that parties who are controlling values against which the Democratic platform stands will win power.
“The politicians who want to decide who you could marry,” Mr. Obama said. “Who want to decide for women, what their health care choices should be, when women are perfectly capable of making those decisions themselves.”
Mr. Obama closed his speech by contending that if people just went out and voted that he would win this election.