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Romney vs. Obama 2012

What is the real difference?

Romney vs. Obama – What is the real difference?

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Clicking on each line item in the table of contents takes you to that section.

Table of Contents

Voting and the state of politics in the US

My Research Approach/Methodology

Romney vs. Obama – Basics

Fact Checking Organizations

Business, Healthcare, Economics and Taxes

Republican Majority

Vice Presidents and Cabinets

Video Summary – Gov. Transparency, Obamacare, Taxes, etc.

Facebook Page & MS Word and PDF Versions of this Document

Voting and the state of politics in the US

If you are an undecided voter, or not completely thrilled with either presidential candidate, I sincerely hope that you will find the following information clear, to the point and helpful in making a decision about whether to vote, or not, and for whom.

I also hope that those of you who have made up your mind, already voted, or are ineligible/unable to vote, but would like to help others decide how to vote will find this information useful and pass it along.

There is a significant percentage of voters (approximately 8-10 million) that are undecided or not thrilled with either presidential candidate. http://theweek.com/article/index/234826/electoral-college-countdown-23-days.

Many of the most important issues in this election are interconnected. I have organized this document to present the issues so that they fit together better, and hopefully give you a clearer picture.

I recommend reading the entire document first, and then going through to look at the links that interest you.

Some of the links provide important additional information while others were included more for proof.

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Why I am doing this

2 Reasons:

  1. I feel this election is very important to our future, so I wanted to make the best decision and gathered the data to do so. Now I’m sharing it.
  2. I see passing this information along as a combination between civic duty and a public service/volunteer project.

Why you should vote and consider passing this information along

I feel your pain!

Like probably many or most of you, I am very frustrated with the current state of political affairs from the local to a national level, and don’t believe one candidate or the other can solve all of our problems. However I do believe that if more of us don’t get more involved in the political process, things are going to get worse, politically and economically. This change starts with 3 steps:

1) Getting better information, with less spin when available.

2) Applying some simple (uncomplicated) logic to whatever data is available in order to filter out as much of the bias as humanly possible. Spending a little time on the 2nd step saves a lot of time on the third and final step, which is:

3) Figuring out how each of us would like to act on the information we find.

Ultimately, I believe that political change starts with choosing the better candidate during an election, and then getting involved at the issues level after the election. I will provide more information about how to get involved at an issues level in a way that’s more manageable, in terms of time and effort, in future communications via our Facebook page and Word-Press site (see Table of Contents).

Everyone has a viewpoint, or a bias. I’m biased as well, especially after doing all of this research (especially since the end goal was to make a better decision), but hopefully you will find this information informative and useful regardless of whether you reach the same conclusions I did.

(see also: Conservative vs. Liberal – breaking the stereotypes and cycle of political polarization)

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Does my vote even matter?

Do you recall George W. Bush vs. Al Gore in 2000, when votes in Florida were recounted multiple times? It was an epic mess, where the entire election hung in the balance over a few hundred votes. This event showed us that every vote can count.

Google search regarding 2000 Florida vote

https://www.google.com/search?q=counting+florida+votes+in+bush+vs.+gore&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&channel=fflb

2 of the first entries in the search above show Wikipedia results:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_election_recount , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_v._Gore

…but, I’m not in Florida or any other swing or battle ground state.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swing_state

True, but perhaps people that you know, or those people they know …and so on, live there.

I’ll see how Ohio looks, according to the polls

…or wait to see how the polls in general turn out. If it looks like it’s a close race, then I’ll go out and vote or pass this information along.

Ohio does not necessarily decide everything because historical precedence or tendency doesn’t control the future. More people are voting early during this election, and polls have been wrong and sometimes misleading, on purpose.

Assessment of how Romney can win without Ohio

http://theweek.com/article/index/234804/how-mitt-romney-can-win-without-ohio

In the end, it’s a little like recycling.

Like recycling, a single individual casting a vote and passing this information along is not going to make a real difference. However, if we all decide to do these things out of principal, because we believe they are that they are that important, it will begin to add up.

Again, if you are ineligible/unable to vote, or have already voted please still consider participating in this election by passing this information along!

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Conservative vs. Liberal – breaking the stereotypes and cycle of political polarization

Just because you’re a conservative doesn’t mean you’re rich, an angry old man, anti-everyone, and don’t have a heart or concern for anyone in need or for anyone but yourself.

Just because you’re a liberal doesn’t mean you believe nobody cheats the system, every necessity in life can be given away for free, and that too much taxation won’t hurt business or the economy.

I have never met a person that wouldn’t agree with the fact that there are people that will always need our assistance, financial and otherwise, including children, the elderly and those with permanent disabilities. Nor have I met anyone that believes that someone that is able bodied may be down on his or her luck and need a hand up. However, I’m sure nearly everyone will also agree that there is a big difference between a hand up, and a never-ending hand out.

The answers to the above (example) issue and the many other problems we face in the US are in the details, while the arguments and gridlock are in the over-generalization about these issues. Many politicians have not truly and diligently pursued solutions to many of our problems otherwise we might start to see some results from them. Perhaps it’s special interests, cronyism, gridlock, inability, plain laziness or all of the above.

One thing is for sure: some politicians never seem to have a lack of time or ability when it comes to slinging mud at their opponents and attempts at galvanizing their constituents/base with often absurd, extremist and otherwise inflammatory statements. They would rather point the finger at their opponents and say “there, that’s the enemy! …, now you’re with me, right? In other words many of them polarize us against one another in order to keep us from questioning and criticizing their job performance.

The media, of course, has been all too happy to join in on the fracas. Reporters crave drama and being at the center of all of it, whipping up the frenzy, and media owners love the ad dollars that come along with this circus.*

To be honest, I have and will continue getting sucked into this whirlwind,myself. However, I’m making progress. I’m more selective about my sources of information, I scrutinize them more, and discuss the issues with both my conservative and liberal friends to get a better understanding of the issues and hopefully the solutions as well as.

This document is a result of my journey, past, present and future. If you aren’t doing so already I hope you will join me and the many others on this path.

Be the change you wish to see in the world – Gandhi

If not me, who? If not now, when? – Hillel the Elder

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Voting for an Independent Presidential Candidate

While voting for the independent presidential candidate who espouses your beliefs would be staying true to your principles, it won’t have the practical effect of changing the outcome of the election or make a real impact to change how Washington/government works. Unfortunately, it will just be throwing a vote away because none of these independent or third party presidential candidates have a chance of getting elected. Some independents have great ideas and carry important messages, but only by using the education they provide and getting involved at the issues level with elected officials will government and the broken political process ever improve. Getting involved at the issues level could take the form of voting in referendums, participating in grass roots movements (perhaps lead by independent candidates), writing emails to elected or appointed public officials, etc.

My research approach/methodology

When gathering information for this document it would have been great if I would have had more time and better luck find information to cover more issues but I had to strike a balance between some of the easier to find and more definitive information that passes the “smell test”. I would define the smell test as being the combination of simple logic with intuition.

Romney vs. Obama – Basics

Wikipedia Articles – Introduction

While there are many subject matter experts that have a high level of interest in making sure the information located on Wikipedia is accurate and fairly well balanced (the experts keep each other honest), the information will still carry some bias.

However, if we focus primarily on the big picture so that we just get a better feel for each candidate and especially a comparison between them in terms of their qualities/personality and capabilities we should be fine. After all, both are good men, we’re just voting for the one we see as the more capable of leading our nation to solve its problems.

Obama – Basic History and Net Worth

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama

Citation #307 located at the bottom of the Wikipedia entry below indicates Obama’s current net worth to be as much as about $10 million.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama#Family_and_personal_life

Following is a link to the source of citation #307.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/theoval/post/2012/05/obama-worth-as-much-as-10-million/1#.UIB214aO7p0

Other estimates as to Obama’s current net worth appear to vary widely, but was “pegged” by CNN to have been $1.3M in 2007.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/networth.asp

I drew 2 main conclusions from the info above.

1) Whether it’s $10M or only $5M, the Obama’s (like the Romney’s) are much richer than most of us.

2) Even though he’s asked Romney to put it all out on the table, Obama doesn’t exactly do so himself. If anything, the range is much wider, but that is according to Snopes.com. That fact also supports the notion that Snopes.com has a liberal bias.

Obama’s presidential salary isn’t mentioned above, but listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_of_the_United_States

Romney – Is he a moderate Republican? What does he really stand for?

Romney’s net worth is estimated at $190–250 million for 2012,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitt_Romney

Massachusetts is a “very” blue state.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_states_and_blue_states

Its Republican governors have been described as “among the more socially liberal Republican leaders in the nation”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts#Government_and_politics

NPR is indicating that he is making a shift to the middle as the campaign has progressed.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/10/18/163143180/how-conservatives-learned-to-love-mitt-romney?ft=3&f=1001&sc=nl&cc=nh-20121018

All of the information above appears to demonstrate to me that Romney learns from the complicated situations he has had to deal with, more so than being a flip-flopper.

I also see someone that is a moderate and open on complex social issues.

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Fact Checking Organizations

Some of the fact-checking organizations have started getting a reputation for introducing their own political bias.

FactCheck.org for example recently ran fact checks on the Biden vs. Ryan debate.

http://factcheck.org/2012/10/veep-debate-violations/

Below is the first item from that list.

Ryan said Obama’s proposal to let tax rates rise for high-income individuals would “tax about 53 percent of small-business income.” Wrong. Ryan is counting giant hedge funds and thousands of other multimillion-dollar enterprises as “small” businesses.

The person that wrote this doesn’t mention how much large, in terms of money, these giant hedge funds or multi-million dollar ($3M, $4M…) enterprises are. They also don’t mention how many small business there are, or how each of these categories would be treated by Obama or Romney.

Most importantly however is that the language used towards Ryan, like the …Wrong. …, is far less respectful than the language directed at Biden throughout the rest of the items in this article, which also tells me there is a liberal bias here.

I then decided to pull up the “About us” page on FactCheck.org, and it looks like most of the top management and staff has a pretty liberal resume.

http://factcheck.org/about/

Finally, most of the results from a Google search complain about a liberal rather than conservative bias.

http://www.google.com/search?q=is+factcheck.org+biased&aq=0&oq=is+factcheck.org+biased&sugexp=chrome,mod=0&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Fact Check doesn’t deny that Obama intends to let the tax rates rise (Bush cuts expire)

Romney indicated he wants a reduction of class for middle income families and that the top 5% of earners will not get a reduction.

http://www.liveandlocalenc.com/romney-plan-increases-employment-taxes/

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Business, Healthcare, Economics and Taxes

Nearly 70 percent of the 800 business owners and executives surveyed say President Barack Obama’s policies are hurting small businesses and small manufacturers.

http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/washingtonbureau/2012/09/25/most-small-businesses-think-economy-is.html?page=all

The “…you didn’t build that…” sound bite. Obviously sound bites can very easily be taken out of context, so I decided to listen to President Obama’s entire speech on YouTube.

The video definitely gave me the overall impression that he believes that the government is a larger driving force in creating jobs than businesses. The President’s body language, the tone of his voice, and other nuances about how he communicated his message also demonstrated a lack of appreciation for businesses and when he got to the “you didn’t build that segment” in particular he came across as very dismissive and disdainful.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=192oEC5TX_Q

The following article also reinforces the point that Obama will likely continue focusing on institutions and government solutions over businesses solutions for the economy.

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2012/10/05/wells-fargo-tackles-big-question.html?ana=e_du_pap&s=article_du&ed=2012-10-05

About 29 percent of metro Atlanta owners of small and midsize companies believe that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will negatively affect their hiring plans for the coming year.

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2012/10/04/atlanta-businesses-say-they-are-worse.html?ana=e_du_pap&s=article_du&ed=2012-10-04

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Health Care Reform

While just about everyone agrees that healthcare reform is needed, most articles advocate repealing Obama care and starting over while a few others discuss fixing it. The article below mentions that it will cost $1 billion a year and talks about a petition to repealing it made by 200 economists.

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/200-economists-ask-lawmakers-repeal-obamacare

The next article indicates that eliminating waste and fraud from healthcare could save $750 million a year.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2012/09/07/study-u-s-healthcare-wastes-750b.html?utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=cheatsheet_morning&cid=newsletter%3Bemail%3Bcheatsheet_morning&utm_term=Cheat%20Sheet

AARP asks President Obama not to cite them when pitching Obamacare…

http://michellemalkin.com/2012/10/05/aarp-obama/

…even though their support was instrumental in getting it passed in the first place.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/legal-challenges/235545-winners-and-losers-of-the-healthcare-ruling

The health care reform penalty against the uninsured is expected to hit 6 million people

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2012/09/20/health-care-reform-penalty-on.html?ana=e_du_pap&s=article_du&ed=2012-09-20

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Economics and Taxes

A new CNN Money survey finds that 9 out of 17 economists (53%) think Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney would be better for the economy than President Obama. 5 (29%) said neither would help the economy, which leaves 3 or (18%) believing Obama would do a better job. 53/18 = 2.9 or approximately 3 times as many economists. Considering CNN is liberal this is pretty significant.

http://c.bizjournals.com/ct/c/51468141/MzYyOTY1MDE6OjQwNDQwNTM

The CNN article goes on to state:

But those who picked Obama are hoping things will be different if the president wins a second term. Obama could be in a better position to enact reforms on entitlement spending and reach a deal on deficit reduction than Romney, according to one economist.

Not a very strong endorsement from the 3 economists that feel Obama would do better, and with only 1 making a very tentative statement.

http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/30/news/economy/romney-obama-economists/

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Fiscal Cliff!

The fiscal cliff scenario discussed in the article below mentions expiration of the Bush tax cuts, and states:

Economists are unanimous in saying that unless the looming changes are stopped, softened or at least phased in, the U.S. economy could plunge — as if falling off an economic cliff.

http://www.npr.org/2012/09/20/161442506/fiscal-cliff-scenarios-leave-economists-on-edge?ft=3&f=1001&sc=nl&cc=nh-20120921

Obama wants to let the Bush tax cuts for the top 5% of income earners expire, and thus increasing their taxes. See article below and FactCheck.org above. Since they constitute about 60% of the taxes they constitute about 10% of the “cliff”. That expiration will of course be effective immediately and not phased in.

The Bush tax cuts Obama would allow to expire

http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/09/politics/obama-bush-tax-cuts/index.html

Fiscal Cliff in 3.5 graphics

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/09/19/161427078/the-fiscal-cliff-in-three-and-a-half-graphics

Fiscal cliff report by the tax policy center

http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/412666-toppling-off-the-fiscal-cliff.pdf

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Republican Majority

House = almost guaranteed, Senate = more than 50% likely

Republicans maintaining control in Congress is almost guaranteed.

Republicans gaining control of the Senate is over 50% more likely, than them staying in the minority. Even if Republicans don’t gain the majority, they are very likely going to gain seats.

Either being the case, reaching agreements is going to get slightly worse to much worse for Obama, if he’s re-elected. In particular, this could negatively affect the Fiscal Cliff mentioned in the Economics and Taxes section above.

Congress

Basic possibilities map

http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/ratings/house

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/house/2012_elections_house_map.html

Senate

Basic possibilities map

http://elections.nytimes.com/2012/ratings/senate

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/senate/2012_elections_senate_map.html

Democrats have only a 40% chance of keeping the Senate.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/signal/republicans-senate-odds-favor-141907645.html

Republicans gaining control of the Senate heavily tilted in their favor

http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2012/0/17/will_republicans_win_back_the_senate

Democrats uphill climb to keep the Senate

http://usconservatives.about.com/od/campaignselections/a/How-Conservatives-Can-Win-Control-Of-The-Us-Senate-In-2012.htm

Democrats Could Keep the Senate

http://www.govexec.com/oversight/on-politics/2012/09/it-turns-out-democrats-could-keep-senate/57976/

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Vice Presidents and Cabinets

The old adage that you can judge a person by the company they keep is very applicable when it comes to running the country.

So often, especially in recent history, it seems that the VP picks have not been very impressive from pretty much all angles. Is it that the individuals running for President don’t want to be upstaged in any regard? Again, this tells me a lot.

Biden appears capable, but is not known for much of anything other than gaffes and his much criticized behavior during the VP debate.

Ryan on the other hand has been described by many as upstaging Romney, and Romney himself frequently turns the spotlight from himself over to Ryan.

The following article states that 10 out of 15 members of President Obama’s cabinet have business experience, but in reading it I see a lot more career politicians than anything else.

http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/article/20121011/ELECTIONS01/310110049/Campaign-fact-check-Private-sector-experience-Obama-s-Cabinet

John Bryson, the individual at the top of the list, appears to be a “captain of industry” but the rest don’t fall into the same category of business leadership.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Bryson

Hillary Clinton, one of Obama’s most respected advisers, will not stay on board if he’s reelected.

http://www.npr.org/2012/06/24/155673447/the-many-roles-of-hillary-clinton

Romney mentions staffing his cabinet with a lot more individuals from business backgrounds.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57468978-503544/romney-all-business-about-picking-cabinet/

Video followed by article from one of the women in Romney’s cabinet in Massachusetts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcqPVEYKQEk

Written statement from the same woman.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/23/opinion/edmonds-romney-women/index.html

This article doesn’t deny that Romney had a higher % of women in key staff jobs than any other state, but argues that “the binder” was presented to him by an outside group as a recommendation. It does however acknowledge that he accepted that recommendation, and that it wasn’t something he had to do.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/17/mitt-romney-video-women-cabinet_n_1975330.html

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Video Summary – Gov. Transparency, Obamacare, Taxes, etc.

From conservative web sites, but most of the sources within it are liberal. John Stewart’s expose on government transparency in the first 30 seconds is revealing the last couple of minutes have a lot of unnecessary editorial commentary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8R5GvwUFU8

Backup source of the same video in case the above gets pulled due to copyright infringements.

http://www.ijreview.com/2012/09/15290-case-closed-if-moderate-voters-see-this-video-its-over-for-obama.

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