To the editor:
I believe this could be the most important presidential election in our lifetime. As a nation, we are at a crossroad: In one direction, we can choose a leader that will strengthen the social contract that we as a people have stitched together over the generations in this democracy, or we can chose a leader who will perhaps irreparably shred it.
We have not seen inequality like this since the eve of the Great Depression. According to Hacker and Pierson in their book "Winner-Take-All," between 1970 and 2007 nearly 88 percent of the entire economy's income gain went to the top 1 percent. Mitt Romney, a member of that exclusive 1 percent club, will push for policies that will widen even further the income gap. He will increase defense spending (please not a war in Iran), ask for more tax cuts for the wealthy, and push for more cuts in programs that benefit the middle and working class. It is these ideas along with deregulation of Wall Street that led in 2008 to the greatest financial disaster since the Great Depression. It is Barack Obama who kept us from falling off the ledge into the economic abyss.
According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center (TPC) staffed by both Republicans and Democrats, Romney's tax plan will result in "large tax cuts to high-income households and increase the tax burden on middle and/or lower income tax payers."
Romney has also endorsed Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan also analyzed by the TPC. As an example, the TPC has found that in 2015 those making $1 million would enjoy a tax cut of $265,000 and see their after tax income rise by 12.5 percent. By contrast, half of those making between $20,000 and $30,000 would get no tax cut at all. On average, people in that income group would get a tax reduction of $129. Romney/Ryan would raise their after-tax income 0.5 percent.
In order to pay for these huge tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, The Romney endorsed plan proposes $3.3 trillion in cuts to programs for people with low or moderate income and $2 trillion in cuts to other programs. These will be draconian cuts in Medicaid, Medicare, Pell grants, food stamps, etc. The Romney-Ryan Plan also replaces Medicare with a voucher program that will raise eligibility age to 67 and increase an individual's cost to $6,400.
How does widening the income gap and weakening the middle and working class makes the U.S. stronger?
I agree with Louis Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, who said, "We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both."
I will vote to re-elect President Barack Obama, a leader who will continue the fight to strengthen the middle and working class.