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USA Today - Mitt Romney: We Don't Need Higher Taxes

Op-Ed

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By Mitt Romney

Our federal government must balance its budget. During his three years in office, President Obama has led America in the opposite direction. He's shunned fiscal responsibility for exploding deficits and placed our country on the treacherous path down which nations like Greece and Italy are traveling today.

The President has allowed spending to explode on his watch, from a historical average of about 19% of GDP up to 25% of GDP. While no other president had ever run a $1 trillion deficit, he will run one every year of his administration. By the end of his first term, President Obama will have added nearly as much publicly held debt as all forty-three prior presidents combined.

When Republicans forced him to face facts last summer in negotiations over raising the debt ceiling, his response was to propose tax increases. But higher taxes are the last thing our struggling economy needs, and would only be an invitation to spend more. If we can restore our government to its pre-Obama size, existing tax revenues are roughly capable of funding it. In short, the government does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.

As President, I will firmly oppose tax increases. I will make today's low individual tax rates permanent, cut business taxes, and make the tough calls necessary to bring spending back in line with what we can afford. I will cap spending at 20% of GDP by 2016, which will require between $400 billion and $500 billion in cuts. And I have a specific plan that identifies the majority of those cuts, from repealing Obamacare to privatizing Amtrak to reducing the federal workforce through attrition. Unlike the President, I have also proposed serious reforms to strengthen Medicare and Social Security while controlling their costs. And unlike the President, I will pursue fundamental tax reform that makes our system simpler, flatter, and fairer.

As governor of Massachusetts, I worked with Democrats and Republicans to close an enormous deficit and balance our budget four straight years, all while cutting taxes nineteen times. When the American people compare my record and plan to President Obama's, I am confident they will choose the smaller, simpler, and smarter vision of government I offer.


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