Fact-Check: Romney’s USA Today Op-ed Vs. Reality

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"Fact-Check: Romney’s USA Today Op-ed Vs. Reality"

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney today is unveiling a jobs plan in Nevada, which he previewed in a USA Today op-ed. “We must once again unleash the tremendous economic potential of the American people. The contrast between what the Obama administration has done and what I would do as president could not be starker,” Romney claims.

For the most part, the op-ed revives Romney’s stump speech, which focuses on his career at Bain Capital (a buyout firm) and a critique of the Obama administration’s tax and budget policies. But he also levels several factually challenged charges, while promoting many of the tired supply-side policy ideas that have been a staple of Republican policy for years. Here is a fact-check of Romney’s piece:

ROMNEY: “Marginal income tax rates and tax rates on savings and investment must be kept low. Further, taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for middle-income taxpayers should be eliminated.”

REALITY: Taxes are the lowest they’ve been in 60 years, far lower than under several Republican presidents. Taxes on dividends and capital gains are far below the level at which they were under President Reagan. Furthermore, 68.3 percent of the capital gains tax is paid by the richest 1 percent of Americans, while the bottom 95 percent of Americans pay just 10 percent of them, so it is unclear how Romney thinks a capital gains tax cut can be fashioned as a middle class tax break.

ROMNEY: “Our corporate tax rate is among the world’s highest. It leaves U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage and induces them to park their profits abroad, benefiting the rest of the world at our expense.”

REALITY: While the U.S. corporate tax rate is high on paper, once all the credits, deductions, and loopholes are accounted for, the U.S. has the second-lowest corporate taxes in the developed world.

ROMNEY: “President Obama has vastly expanded the regulatory reach of government. The federal government has estimated the price tag for its regulations at $1.75 trillion.”

REALITY: This is a bogus number favored by the big business lobby, and widely cited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It comes from a study that, according to John Irons of the Economic Policy Institute, “contains basic conceptual mistakes and relies on extraordinarily poor data.” “Its results should neither be used as a valid measure of the economic costs of regulation nor as a guide for policy,” he said.

ROMNEY: “I will not tolerate federal intrusions of the kind that the National Labor Relations Board initiated when it filed suit against Boeing for opening a plant in a right-to-work state.”

REALITY: The NLRB suit against Boeing has nothing to do with the company opening a plant in a so-called “right-to-work” state, but that the company, by its own admission, shifted production from Washington state to South Carolina in retaliation against workers for striking, which is a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

ROMNEY: “Tellingly, while the private sector shed 1.8 million jobs since Barack Obama took office, the federal workforce grew by 142,500, or almost 7%. A rollback is urgently required.”

REALITY: This is a favorite stat for conservatives, but it isn’t true. The GOP engineers the stat by leaving out all of the jobs lost by the U.S. Postal Service. As Politifact noted, “If the postal workers cuts were included, the overall increase in employees under Obama would be about 40,000, or a modest 1.4 percent increase in the workforce.” The federal workforce is also smaller than it was 20 years ago. Overall, the public sector has lost 600,000 during the Great Recession.

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