M. Spencer Green/AP
Romney delivered a speech at the University of Chicago on March 19 accusing Obama of attacking freedom by shackling the economy with higher debt, taxes, and regulation.
“Let’s start with taxes,” Romney said. “By their very nature, they reduce our freedom. Their only role in a free economy should be to fund services that are absolutely essential, such as national security, education, and the care of those who cannot care for themselves.”
“And yet,” Romney continued, “President Obama has proposed raising the marginal tax rate from 35 percent to 40 percent.”
Indeed, Obama proposes allowing the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 to lapse – which would restore the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6 percent, up from 35 percent.
Romney also takes on government regulation, including the newly enacted Dodd-Frank law, which seeks to prevent another meltdown of the financial industry.
“Regulations are necessary,” Romney says. “But burdensome regulations serve only to restrict freedom and imperil enterprise. The victims of those regulations are not nameless, faceless banks. They’re the employees, the business owners, and the customers who rely on those financial institutions.”
Romney also accuses the Obama administration of intruding upon the free marketplace itself, citing several examples, including the controversial government loan guarantee to the Solyndra solar energy company, which filed for bankruptcy.
“When the heavy hand of government replaces the invisible hand of the market, economic freedom is the inevitable victim,” Romney said.
Obama, of course, does not see his policies as harming American freedom. But his more hands-on approach to the economy does mark one of the biggest distinctions between Democrats and Republicans. A new Obama campaign documentary, released March 15, portrays the president taking office as the economy teetered on the edge of collapse and then steering it back from the brink with a $787 billion stimulus package. Romney says the weak recovery proves that Obama’s approach was wrong.
“This administration thinks our economy is struggling because the stimulus was too small,” Romney said in Chicago. “The truth is we’re struggling because our government is too big.”