News Stories Expose Romney As Pioneer of Outsourcing & Vulture Capitalist

The primary point in looking back at Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital is that his experience at Bain gave him no expertise regarding creating jobs or improving the economy as president. As Romney is avoiding talk of his brief career in government, it is inevitable that he will face further scrutiny regarding his years at Bain. Yesterday, The Washington Post (contradicting an earlier Post story critical of an Obama campaign ad) reported on how Bain Capital invested in companies exporting jobs overseas:

Mitt Romney’s financial company, Bain Capital, invested in a series of firms that specialized in relocating jobs done by American workers to new facilities in low-wage countries like China and India.

During the nearly 15 years that Romney was actively involved in running Bain, a private equity firm that he founded, it owned companies that were pioneers in the practice of shipping work from the United States to overseas call centers and factories making computer components, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It didn’t take long after this for Obama to call Romney an “outsourcing pioneer.”

Further in The Washington Post’s report:

For years, Romney’s political opponents have tried to tie him to the practice of outsourcing American jobs. These political attacks have often focused on Bain’s involvement in specific business deals that resulted in job losses.

But a Washington Post examination of securities filings shows the extent of Bain’s investment in firms that specialized in helping other companies move or expand operations overseas. While Bain was not the largest player in the outsourcing field, the private equity firm was involved early on, at a time when the departure of jobs from the United States was beginning to accelerate and new companies were emerging as handmaidens to this outflow of employment.

Bain played several roles in helping these outsourcing companies, such as investing venture capital so they could grow and providing management and strategic business advice as they navigated this rapidly developing field.

The New York Times has a report today which will add to the view of Romney as a vulture capitalist, not a creator of wealth:

The private equity firm, co-founded and run by Mitt Romney, held a majority stake in more than 40 United States-based companies from its inception in 1984 to early 1999, when Mr. Romney left Bain to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics. Of those companies, at least seven eventually filed for bankruptcy while Bain remained involved, or shortly afterward, according to a review by The New York Times. In some instances, hundreds of employees lost their jobs. In most of those cases, however, records and interviews suggest that Bain and its executives still found a way to make money.

Mr. Romney’s experience at Bain is at the heart of his case for the presidency. He has repeatedly promoted his years working in the “real economy,” arguing that his success turning around troubled companies and helping to start new ones, producing jobs in the process, has prepared him to revive the country’s economy. He has fended off attacks about job losses at companies Bain owned, saying, “Sometimes investments don’t work and you’re not successful.” But an examination of what happened when companies Bain controlled wound up in bankruptcy highlights just how different Bain and other private equity firms are from typical denizens of the real economy, from mom-and-pop stores to bootstrapping entrepreneurial ventures.

Bain structured deals so that it was difficult for the firm and its executives to ever really lose, even if practically everyone else involved with the company that Bain owned did, including its employees, creditors and even, at times, investors in Bain’s funds.

The Romney campaign’s prospects come down to convincing middle class individuals to vote for Romney despite the fact that Romney’s economic plans will increase their taxes and increase the deficit, returning to the policies of George Bush which caused the current recession. This comes down to voters developing a warm, fuzzy feeling about Mittens and closing their minds to the facts. Romney’s history at Bain, however, leaves him open to criticism which might erode his support among middle class voters who currently are contemplating voting for Romney, counter to their interests and the interests of the nation. The latest example can be seen in this new ad from PrioritiesUSA:

Barry Goldwater on Campaign Contributions

“In order to achieve the widest possible distribution of political power, financial contributions to political campaigns should be made by individuals, and individuals alone. I see no reason for labor, or corporations, to participate in politics. Let us henceforth make war on all monopolies — whether corporate or union. The enemy of freedom is unrestrained power, and the champions of freedom will fight against the concentration of power wherever they find it.” –Barry Goldwater from The Conscience of a Conservative

Conservatives And Immigration

Obama has pleased most of the country with his recent expression of humanity towards children of illegal immigrants, but he has really pissed off the right wing. Mitt Romney is being forced into a more hard line position, which will make it more difficult for Republicans to win Hispanic votes. Conservatives on the internet are becoming quite hysterical. I’ve received a few emails wondering how anyone could support Obama, between doing something they believe is unconstitutional to warning of dire consequences if all these foreigners are allowed to stay. It is hard to decide which part of the conservative argument is more comical.

The claims of Obama’s act being unconstitutional is clearly absurd, but it does point out how conservatives view the Constitution. Note that most conservatives had no problem with real attempts to ignore the Constitution and increase Executive power during the Bush years. Did these conservatives complain about Dick Cheney’s unitary executive theory? They certainly show no respect for separation of church and state. I think that to conservatives, the Constitution is like Mitt Romney’s Etch-A-Sketch, having no relationship to the document actually written by the Founding Fathers. It changes to allow what they support and opposed what they disagree with.

As I was pushing the delete button on conservative email prophesying g all types of doom if we allowed these foreigners to stay, I was wondering why they are so worked up about an imaginary, overblown threat, while they ignore real problems which endanger the country, such as climate change or Republican economic policies which are destroying the middle class. Is there any explanation for this inconsistency beyond racism?

Republican Tax Plan Raises Taxes On Middle Class

Republicans have been attracting votes by selling a number of falsehoods, such as that they spend less, tax less, and raise the deficit less than Democrats. All are false. In the case of taxes, Republican policies for several years have called for lower taxes for the ultra-wealthy, but higher taxes for the middle class This is seen in an analysis of the House plan, which has been supported by Mitt Romney:

The report, prepared by Senate Democrats and reviewed by nonpartisan tax experts, marks the first attempt to quantify the trade-offs inherent in the GOP tax package, which would replace the current tax structure with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent — and cut the top rate from 35 percent.

Those changes would benefit virtually every taxpayer, but they also would reduce federal tax collections by about $4.5 trillion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. To avoid increasing the national debt by that amount, GOP leaders such as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) have pledged to get rid of all the special-interest loopholes and tax shelters that litter the code.

Republicans have declined to identify their targets. However, some of the biggest “loopholes” on the books are popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and retirement savings, which disproportionately benefit the upper middle class.

So although households earning $100,000 to $200,000 a year would save about $7,000 from the lower tax rates in the GOP plan, those savings would be swamped by eliminating major deductions, according to the report by the Democratically controlled congressional Joint Economic Committee.

The net result: Married couples in that income range would pay an additional $2,700 annually to the Internal Revenue Service, on top of the tax increases that are scheduled to hit every American household when the George W. Bush-era cuts expire at the end of the year.

Households earning more than $1 million a year, meanwhile, could see a net tax cut of about $300,000 annually.

 

Mitt Romney Was Not Out Of Touch At Wawas–He Was Just Being Dishonest Once Again

The silly story of the day came from Wawas, which I believe is a more upscale 7/11 type chain on the east coast. Mitt Romney’s defenders say that initial video clips were misleading, suggesting that Romney was out of touch by not being aware of machines which will dispense a sandwich at the simple touch of a button.  Right wing bloggers, who are only too eager to spread clips and quotes from Obama and other liberals out of context, became upset when apparently this was done to their guy. Of course this practice is wrong regardless of who does it, and everybody should stop doing it.

For the sake of discussion I will give Romney the benefit of the doubt and assume that his campaign’s explanation for what occurred at Wawa was true.  Their explanation was that Romney was comparing the ease of getting a sandwich from a machine in the free enterprise system to the difficulties  of  an optometrist who allegedly had to fill out a 33-page form to change his address for Medicaid:

“I met an optometrist this morning and … this optometrist wanted to change his billing address. He moved his office from one side of town to the other, same Zip code, same post office. But he wanted to change his address. He got a form from the federal government. This is so he could get reimbursement from the federal government for the services he provides for the poor and seniors.

“The form he gets to change address is 33 pages long — 33 pages long. He calls someone to ask how to fill it out. He calls someone in government. They tell him what to do. He sends it in. They sent it back. It wasn’t done right, got to do it again, another 33 pages. He calls another person. They tell him what to do. Doesn’t get it right the second time. The third time’s the charm, though. This takes several months during which time he’s not getting the checks for the work he’s doing for people who need his care. That’s how government works.”

There are more serious problems with this explanation than the original storyline that Romney was surprised by the sandwich machine. The original storyline presumably was intended to emphasize the idea that Romney is out of touch, but would that really hurt? Does anyone, either pro or anti Romney, really think that Mitt Romney gets sandwiches from vending machines, and would this really influence anyone’s vote?

On the other hand, the later explanation emphasizes the fact that Mitt Romney just cannot be trusted. First of all, Romney is comparing apples and oranges when comparing the ease of purchasing a sandwich with monitoring of those who provide professional services. The government is actually sending payments to the optometrist, giving them more interest in knowing for certain that the person they are sending the checks to is really the right person. Fraud is a widespread problem in health care, but not in selling sandwiches, making monitoring more important. The bureaucratic burden in health care is not limited to government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. Medical professionals are also burdened with paperwork demands of private insurance companies. The bureaucratic mindset is not limited to government.

Of course even with these differences a 33-page form to change an address sounds ridiculous–and is not an accurate claim. Mitt Romney is so eager to make government look bad while campaigning that he has no regard for whether what he says is true. Some blogs have linked to an example of a two page form (with two pages of instructions) for a change of address. Many state Medicaid programs, as well as Medicare, now use a totally computerized system to change information. When I sign on to these systems they are already populated with information on file, making it a simple matter to update any changes, and then sign and fax in an attestation form that the changes are accurate. Possibly the entire system has 33 pages on a medical professional, but it is only necessary to update the pertinent section.

I also wonder about the intelligence of the optometrist who Romney quoted if he had this much difficulty with a form and the process took months. I guess if he was brighter he wouldn’t be supporting Mitt Romney, and the idiocy of Joe the Plumber extends to other professions.

Obama Campaign Picks John Kerry As Debate Surrogate

In 2006 John Kerry trailed George Bush badly in the polls but he made the race quite close after demolishing Bush in the debates. A few more voting machines in urban areas of Ohio could have changed the outcome. In 2012 John Kerry gets to debate in a presidential contest again–this time playing Mitt Romney in Barrack Obama’s debate preparation. Kerry might have some valuable insight into how Romney might debate:

Kerry has long been considered one of the Democratic Party’s most skilled debaters, and his performances in more than 25 debates in the 2004 race earned plaudits. Some credited his strong debates against President George W. Bush with tightening the race in the closing weeks of the 2004 campaign.

It is his perspective on Romney, though, that could be especially valuable for Obama. Kerry was a key surrogate on behalf of the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) when he defeated Romney in 1994. And Kerry closely observe Romney’s successful 2002 gubernatorial campaign, where his performance in debates against Democrat Shannon O’Brien were believed to have helped him win.

“There is no one that has more experience or understanding of the presidential debate process than John Kerry,” said David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist. “He’s an expert debater who has a fundamental mastery of a wide range of issues, including Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts. He’s the obvious choice.”

There’s an added irony here. In 2008 Republicans falsely called Kerry a flip-flopper when Kerry’s actual views did not match the views the Republicans attributed to him. Mitt Romney, on the other hand, is a true flip-flopper, who will say anything at any time to attract votes.

Mitt Romney has spent much of his campaign outright lying about Barack Obama’s views and record. It will be interesting to see what happens during a debate when Obama is present to counter with his actual views and record.

SciFi Weekend: Doctor Who; Star Trek; Bush’s Decapitated Head (Game of Thrones); Sane Republicans Only Found In Science Fiction; Mad Men Finale

Steven Moffat give some hints (or perhaps misleads) about Jenna-Louise Coleman’s role as the new companion on Doctor Who during a recent radio interview:

The new companion will, again, be a human from contemporary earth. This is necessary for audience identification and a ‘jumping on’ point for new viewers

How the companion gets where she is and what that means for the character is what will make her utterly different and fascinating

The new companion will not have any links to any previous characters

Her ‘journey’ will be shocking and intriguing. The Doctor has never met anyone quite like her before

Her very presence in the TARDIS will change the Doctor and there’s something different about her that will have a knock-on effect for the Doctor/companion dynamic

Or how about Jean-Luc Picard as a companion? Above is from the comic miniseries  Star Trek: The Next Generation and Doctor Who: Assimilation².

The two greatest science-fiction properties of all time cross over for the first time in history, in STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION/DOCTOR WHO: ASSIMILATION²! Captain Jean-Luc Picard faces one of the most difficult decisions of his life, but the fate of the galaxy may depend on it! Can the Doctor convince him to make the correct choice?

Another example of cover art from the miniseries can be seen here.

There was controversy this week when it was revealed on the DVD extras that one of the heads used on Game of Thrones during the first season was that of George Bush. It sounds like it was just a matter of using  materials which were handy and nobody would have noticed if this was not mentioned during the commentary. From the DVD commentary:

“The last head on the left is George Bush. George Bush’s head appears in a couple of beheading scenes. It’s not a choice, it’s not a political statement. We just had to use whatever head we had around.”

The full scene is above.

This was an interesting bit of trivia about the show which apparently nobody noticed when it aired,  but once revealed HBO really had no choice but to have this edited out. In a nation split near 50:50 it is understandable that a media company would not want to alienate a large percentage of the country in such a manner. The season finale was taken down and DVD sales stopped to allow for digital removal of Bush’s head–which would create a problem for those desiring to watch the first season. I just checked HBO GO and found that the episode is back up. The scene with Bush’s head is unchanged except that there is now hair digitally inserted over much of the face making it unrecognizable.

One of the biggest puzzles about the first season of Once Upon A Time is why they didn’t use Meghan Ory more often. The producers apparently agreed and are making her a regular for the second season, along with adding new characters.

The two top writers of rapid-paced dialogue are back on the air this summer–Aaron Sorkin with The Newsroom and Amy Sherman-Paladino with Bunheads. Sorkin discussed his work in an interview here–but I would give higher grades to Sorkin’s previous shows than he gives himself. Another interview with Sorkin  touches on science fiction as well as politics:

In one episode of Newsroom, we hear Will say, “I’m a registered Republican—I only seem liberal because I believe that hurricanes are caused by high ­barometric pressure and not by gay marriage.” So—

Your question is “Are hurricanes caused by high barometric pressure or low barometric pressure?” The answer is both. Hurricanes are caused when a high-pressure system surrounds a low-pressure system. That wasn’t your question, though. Your question is, why is Will a Republican?

No. My question is, if he really is a ­Republican with moderate-to-liberal beliefs, when did you become interested in science fiction?

You’ve answered the question I thought you were asking, which is, why is he a Republican? There are several reasons, but the biggest is: I haven’t seen this guy on TV.

Or anywhere, lately.

For the last year or so, but really since Obama got elected, I’ve found the most interesting op-ed political writing to be from Republicans who are looking at the extreme right and saying, “Those guys aren’t with us. I don’t know what happened here, but they’ve kind of co-opted our brand name. But these aren’t Republican values.” Guys like David Frum, Mark McKinnon, Andrew Sullivan. Even George Will. I hadn’t seen that guy on television. There’s CNN, which tries very, very hard either to not be anything or to be both things. And then, of course, there’s Fox and there’s MSNBC, on either side.

Amy Sherman-Paladino’s new show Bunheads premiered last week, with many similarities to Gilmore Girls. Inevitably interviews about the new show led to questions about Gilmore Girls, including the mysterious four words which she had intended to conclude the series with:

You always said you knew the four words that were going to end the last Gilmore Girls episode, and you obviously never got to have them said. Any chance you’d share them now?
To me, because I didn’t have control of that last year and [whispers] I still haven’t seen the last year … Here’s the deal. All the people who ran the last year, David Rosenthal, I hired him, he’s good people, he’s a good writer, I really like him. I don’t think he thought Dan and I were going to leave. We didn’t think we were going to leave. Everyone was caught unaware. It was literally a situation of bad negotiating. Our interests were in staying and keeping the show going. Once the CW bought it, we called Warner Bros. and said the CW is going to need this show to launch new product for the next couple of years. You don’t want the show to go down this year. We instigated that. When the negotiations got so crazy we thought, Maybe we’re high? Maybe they don’t want it for the next couple of years. But by not having control of that, it shifts the focus of what my last words would have been. I was also holding on to it for a long time because I was thinking if we did do a movie, I would be able to use it there. I don’t think that’s ever going to happen so, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll eventually say the four words. I feel like now I’ll let people down because it’s been so built up. “Really? That’s what we waited all these twelve years for? Well, thanks so much.”

Maybe the four final words were, “Rory, you were adopted.”  Doubtful, but amusing speculation.

Alexis Bledel’s appearance on Mad Men this season also came up:

I’m sure you know a very grown-up Alexis Bledel was on Mad Men a few weeks ago.
We have a place in Brooklyn and she lives right around the corner from us. I have to say she is taking a very thoughtful, interesting approach to her career post-Gilmore. She’s being very particular. I think it’s very smart. She’s not rushing. I applaud it. She did have her shirt open, however, and her boobs hanging out. I was behind. I’m behind on everything that’s not Game of Thrones. And then I read some headline that said, “Most Boring Mad Men Ever Except for Rory Gilmore Getting Naked!” I thought, Holy shit, is she naked? She wasn’t. She had a fur and some underwear. When you’re young and your boobs look like that? Why not?

Speaking of Mad Men, I noticed that critics were generally dissatisfied with the season finale last week. I disagree. Certainly there was more drama in the previous episode in which Lane committed suicide, but the finale did an excellent job of tying up some loose ends and presumably setting the stage for next season. They might have saved the suicide for the finale, but handling it this way allowed viewers to see the aftermath of the act.

The finale included Pete Campbell getting punched, not once but twice, making this twice as good as the previous episode in which this occurred. Pete seemed to becoming too successful at SCDP, but we learned of his dissatisfaction with his life during his visit to the hospital. Perhaps he was demonstrating even more self-understanding when he told the conductor, “I’m president of the Howdy Doody Circus Army.” There was an Eternal Sunshine Of Spotless Mind conclusion to the Rory Gilmore storyline. We saw that SCDP has become a successful firm, suggesting an end to the new company struggling to survive story lines which can become tedious. Most importantly, we may have seen the beginning of the end of Don and Megan. The episode contained clues, such as Don telling Peggy, “That’s what happens when you help someone. They succeed and move on.”  Don warned Megan against taking  help from him, telling her she would be better off being “someone’s discovery than someone’s wife.” Don might now believe that Megan will move on as Peggy did. Now that Don has helped Megan get the role in the ad, she has become too much like Betty when they met, and might ultimately suffer the same fate.  The episode ended with what might be the old Don Draper going into the bar to order a highball. We don’t know how he answered the question, “are you alone” but things will never be the same between Don and Megan.

The Avengers ended with the heroes going out to a shawarma restaurant after saving New York. When watching this scene (at the end of the credits) did you wonder where Loki was? The answer is above.

Group of Republican Delegates Suing For Right To Vote As They Choose On First Ballot

It was pretty obvious even before the primaries began that Mitt Romney would be the Republican nominee. There were moments when perhaps there might have been a possibility of challenging him, but that ended when Rick Santorum failed to win in states such as Michigan and Ohio. Therefore I was curious when I saw a story that delegates to the Republican convention were suing to be able to vote for the candidate of their choice on the first ballot. Certainly releasing some Romney delegates would not change the outcome. Sure, some might vote for Sarah Palin or someone else preferred by the far right of the party, but Mitt Romney would still be the nominee.

This begins to make sense if Ron Paul supporters are behind this. Ron Paul’s campaign has been fighting hard for delegates, and in some states Paul supporters are going to the convention pledged to vote for Mitt Romney on the first (and almost certainly only) ballot. I was already wondering if they would create any havoc at the convention as, while pledged to vote for Romney, they would still be free to vote as they choose on any other matters. If delegates become free to vote for the candidate of their choice Paul will have more votes than he should based upon the actual votes in some states. This still won’t change the outcome, and I still wouldn’t put it past the GOP to manage to totally shut them out of the convention, but it will be interesting to see if the Paul supporters manage to find a way to have an impact.

 

Posted in Mitt Romney, Ron Paul. 1 Comment »

Quote of the Day

“Ron Paul’s son is a senator from Kentucky, and he’s now endorsing Mitt Romney. I know how that feels. My son watches Jay.” –David Letterman

Highlights of Obama’s Economic Speech

Barack Obama made several important points in his economic address today (full transcript here). He began with an essential point for his campaign. This is not just a vote as to whether people are satisfied with the economy at present, as Romney would like, but a vote between two different paths to follow:

And in the coming weeks, Governor Romney and I will spend time debating our records and our experience, as we should. But though we will have many differences over the course of this campaign, there is one place where I stand in complete agreement with my opponent: This election is about our economic future.

(APPLAUSE)

Yes, foreign policy matters, social issues matter. But more than anything else, this election presents a choice between two fundamentally different visions of how to create strong, sustained growth; how to pay down our long-term debt; and most of all, how to generate good, middle-class jobs so people can have confidence that if they work hard, they can get ahead.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, this isn’t some abstract debate. This is not another trivial Washington argument. I have said that this is the defining issue of our time and I mean it. I said that this is a make-or-break moment for America’s middle class, and I believe it.

OBAMA: The decisions we make in the next few years, on everything from debt to taxes to energy and education, will have an enormous impact on this country, and on the country we pass on to our children.

Now, these challenges are not new. We’ve been wrestling with these issues for a long time. The problems we’re facing right now have been more than a decade in the making.

And what is holding us back is not a lack of big ideas. It isn’t a matter of finding the right technical solution. Both parties have laid out their policies on the table for all to see.

What’s holding us back is a stalemate in Washington between two fundamentally different views of which direction America should take. And this election is your chance to break that stalemate.

(APPLAUSE)

At stake is not simply a choice between two candidates or two political parties, but between two paths for our country. And while there are many things to discuss in this campaign, nothing is more important than an honest debate about where these two paths would lead us.

Obama challenged the failed  economic philosophy of George Bush and Mitt Romney:

We were told that huge tax cuts, especially for the wealthiest Americans, would lead to faster job growth. We were told that fewer regulations, especially for big financial institutions and corporations, would bring about widespread prosperity. We were told that it was OK to put two wars on the nation’s credit card; that tax cuts would create a enough growth to pay for themselves.

That’s what we were told.

So how did this economic theory work out?

(CROSSTALK)

OBAMA: For the wealthiest Americans it worked out pretty well.

Over the last few decades the income of the top 1 percent grew by more than 275 percent, to an average of $1.3 million a year. Big financial institutions, corporations saw their profits soar.

But prosperity never trickled down to the middle class. From 2001 to 2008 we had the slowest job growth in half a century. The typical family saw their incomes halt.

Obama continued to show the differences between his views and those of his opponent:

OBAMA: Now, Governor Romney and his allies in Congress believe deeply in the theory we tried during the last decade, the theory that the best way to grow the economy is from the top down.

OBAMA: So they maintain that if we eliminate most regulations, we cut taxes by trillions of dollars, if we strip down government to national security and few other basic functions, then the power of businesses to create jobs and prosperity will be unleashed and that will automatically benefit us all.

That’s what they believe. This — this is their economic plan. It has been placed before Congress. Governor Romney has given speeches about it, and it’s on his website.

So if they win the election their agenda will be simple and straightforward; they have spelled it out. They promise to roll back regulations on banks and polluters, on insurance companies and oil companies. They’ll roll back regulations designed to protect consumers and workers.

They promise to not only keep all of the Bush tax cuts in place, but add another $5 trillion in tax cuts on top of that.

Now, an independent study said that about 70 percent of this new $5 trillion tax cut would go to folks making over $200,000 a year. And folks making over a million dollars a year would get an average tax cut of about 25 percent.

Now, this is not my opinion. This is not political spin. This is precisely what they have proposed.

Now, your next question may be: How do you spend $5 trillion on a tax cut and still bring down the deficit?

Well, they tell us they’ll start by cutting nearly a trillion dollars from the part of our budget that includes everything from education and job training, to medical research and clean energy.

He brought up health care:

Not only does their plan eliminate health insurance for 33 million Americans by repealing the Affordable Care Act, according to the independent Kaiser Family Foundation, it would also take away coverage from another 19 million Americans who rely on Medicaid, including millions of nursing home patients and families who have children with autism and other disabilities.

OBAMA: And they propose turning Medicare into a voucher program, which will shift more costs to seniors and eventually end the program as we know it.

With people overly obsessed with tiny differences in tax rates these days, it is important to point out that  out of pocket health care costs will be higher not only  for seniors, but also for those in private insurance plans, if we follow Romney’s policies.Obama should be able to increase his share of votes from seniors as he explains what the Republicans plan to do to Medicare and Social Security.

Obama brought up the lack of a meaningful mechanism to reduce the deficit under Romney’s policies and the failure of Congress to act on his economic plan:

I see a future where we pay down our deficit in a way that is balanced — not by placing the entire burden on the middle class and the poor, but by cutting out programs we can’t afford and asking the wealthiest Americans to contribute their fair share.

(APPLAUSE)

That’s my vision for America: education, energy, innovation, infrastructure, and a tax code focused on American job creation and balanced deficit reduction.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: This is the vision behind the jobs plan I sent Congress back in September, a bill filled with bipartisan ideas that, according to independent economists, would create up to 1 million additional jobs if passed today.

This is the vision behind the deficit plan I sent to Congress back in September, a detailed proposal that would reduce our deficit by $4 trillion through shared sacrifice and shared responsibility.

This is the vision I intend to pursue in my second term as president because I believe…

(APPLAUSE)

… because — because I believe if we do these things — if we do these things more companies will start here and stay here and hire here, and more Americans will be able to find jobs that support a middle class lifestyle.

Understand, despite what you hear from my opponent, this has never been a vision about how government creates jobs or has the answers to all our problems.

Over the last three years I’ve cut taxes for the typical working family by $3,600.

(APPLAUSE)

I’ve cut taxes for small businesses 18 times.

(APPLAUSE)

I have approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his.

OBAMA: And I’m implementing over 500 reforms to fix regulations that were costing folks too much for no reason.