Education & Deficit; Presidential Debate Topics


Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, discussed the importance of education in boosting the economy, mentioning the federal government is mismanaging job training programs. “We’ve got 47 of them housed in the federal government reporting to 8 different agencies,” he said. “Overhead is overwhelming.’’

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney is correct about the 47 different programs, according to a Government Accounting Office report last year that identified areas to avoid duplication and overlap. The agencies spent about $18 billion in 2009.

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney hits his core message: “But you’ve been president for four years, you’ve been president for four years.”

President Obama is correct that Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney indicated earlier at a Republican debate that he would reject a deficit-reduction plan that included $10 in spending cuts for every $1 of revenue increases.

At a debate in Ames, Iowa, in August 2011, Bret Baier, the Fox News moderator, asked all of the Republican candidates to raise their hands if they would refuse to sign on to a legislative package that included $10 of spending cuts for every $1 of revenue increases.

They all raised their hands; including Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney.

Romney’s strongest moment so far – direct challenge to Obama on deficits for “not getting job done”

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney suggested that President Obama is doubling the deficit during his time in office, a broken promise from his last campaign. “The president said he’d cut the deficit in half. Unfortunately, he doubled it,” Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney said.

That led to a back-and-forth over taxes and the deficit, with both men offering the same arguments that have divided Washington for years.

President Obama said that he had proposed a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, but said it would require a “balanced” plan that includes some new revenues from wealthy individuals.

“When Governor Romney stood on a stage with other Republican candidates, he was asked, ‘Would you take $10 of spending cuts for just $1 of revenue?’ And he said no,” President Obama said. “If you take such an unbalanced approach, that means you will be gutting our investments in schools and education.”

“If we are serious, we have to take a balanced, responsible approach,” President Obama said.

“When the economy is growing slow like this, you shouldn’t raise taxes on anyone,” Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney said.

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney argued that Dodd-Frank, President Obama’s financial regulatory reform law, designated certain financial firms as “too big to fail,” giving them a “blank check” and implicit government backing.

The law does designate some financial institutions as “systemically important.” But it also puts them under significant additional regulatory scrutiny, and requires them to write “living wills,” telling the government how to unwind them.

That said, Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s criticism of the law is a common one, and many liberals and conservatives share his belief that it would not prevent future bailouts of systemically important firms.

For his part, Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has promised to repeal the Dodd-Frank and to implement a smarter new system of rules and regulations. He has thus far been light on detail. But he has offered support for some of Dodd-Frank¹s main goals — like bolstering capital requirements.

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney said repeatedly tonight that Massachusetts has the top-ranked schools in the country.

Using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a large national standardized test, The Daily Beast ranked Massachusetts at the top. The American Legislative Exchange Council likewise gave Massachusetts the top spot. Not all rankings agree, however. Education Week ranked Massachusetts at No. 2, behind Maryland.

In Massachusetts, by the way, 83.3 percent of high school students graduate on time. Wisconsin, Vermont, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, New Jersey and New Hampshire had better records on that front as of the 2008-2009 school year, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

The candidates traded a series of charges on education, including whether Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s tax cuts would lead to lower government support for public education. President Obama said the House budget authored by Mr. Romney’s running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, would cut “the education budget up to 20 percent.”

Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney rejected the charge. “I’m not going to cut education funding,” he said. “I don’t have a plan to cut education funding.”

But in the past Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has said he would do just that.

In a speech to donors in Florida in the spring overheard by reporters, Mr. Romney said he would either merge the federal Education Department with another agency “or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller.”

The House budget that Vice President Candidate Ryan authored and Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has said he largely supports includes large cuts to federal programs, but does not specify how they would be distributed across the federal government. The White House, which vehemently opposed the budget, calculated that if the cuts were distributed evenly across departments and programs, it would mean eliminating 38,000 teachers and aides for poor children in 2014 and 27,000 special education teachers and support staff. In addition, 200,000 children would be dropped from Head Start and other early education programs.

President Obama said of his opponent that “when he tells a student you should borrow money from your parents to go to college,” it calls into question whether Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney realizes that some people “don’t have that option.”

President Obama’s statement, to which Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney did not reply directly, is based on an interpretation of a less-than-clear statement by Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney last April. Mr. Romney exhorted students: “Take a risk. Get the education. Borrow money if you have to from your parents. Start a business.”

The syntax left his meaning unclear; the Romney campaign later said the governor’s reference to borrowing from parents referred to starting a business, not paying for college.

But an President Obama ad using video of that speech omitted the reference to starting a business, making it seem as if Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney was talking about college.

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