Osama bin Laden is Dead and General Motors is Alive

“Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive!” is a catchy campaign slogan coined by Vice President Joe Biden. It also summarizes the differences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

Although most of the money for the auto bailout came through the TARP bill signed by President Bush, Chrysler and GM still were headed for bankruptcy in 2009. Obama’s team refinanced and restructured the auto companies to avert bankruptcies and save American jobs (1). Mitt Romney wrote an editorial that the government should let the auto companies go bankrupt (2).

This incident, more than any other, illustrates the difference between the two candidates, writes Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic:

Credible estimates suggested that more than a million people would lose their jobs—at the very moment when, because of the very same financial crisis, hundreds of thousands of Americans were already losing jobs every month.

What would Romney have done? It’s impossible to know for sure—in part, because he’s made inconsistent and, at times, contradictory statements. … Like other critics of the rescue, Romney opposed government loans because he doubted that officials could run the auto industry in a way that was good for the carmakers, its workers, and the country as a whole. But that is precisely what has happened. Today, Chrysler and GM are making money. They are also making good cars. …

Looking back, the key disagreement between Obama and Romney wasn’t over whether the auto industry should survive. It was over whether the government should act to make the industry's survival possible—whether, facing an instance of market breakdown, the government should intervene in order to protect hundreds of thousands, and maybe more than a million, people from losing their jobs. 

Put it all together, and it’s possible to draw from the auto industry rescue a pretty good lesson about the real differences between Obama and Romney. Obama understands that the market doesn’t always work on its own—that sometimes government must intervene in order to protect Americans from economic harm. Romney doesn’t. Obama is also willing to act in the face of political peril. Romney isn’t. (3)

Republicans like Mitt Romney say that the government should not interfere with market forces. In 2011, as the housing markets struggled to recover, Romney said, “Don't try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.” He said to the market would turn around when investors buy foreclosed homes and re-sell them (4).

While it may be true that the market will correct itself, Romney doesn’t consider the human misery of losing one’s home. Families who buy homes they can’t afford often do so because they want to live in safe neighborhoods where their children can go to good schools.

Romney doesn’t care that these families’ dreams would be shattered—as long as some investor makes money on the deal. This makes sense from the guy who says, “Corporations are people,” but that it’s not his job to worry about the poorest Americans (5).

But what about Osama bin Laden? Surely any president would have sent Navy SEALs into Pakistan after the world’s most wanted terrorist, right? Not exactly:

"And if we have Osama bin Laden in our sights and the Pakistani government is unable or unwilling to take them out, then I think that we have to act and we will take them out. We will kill bin Laden; we will crush Al Qaeda. That has to be our biggest national security priority."
-Barack Obama, 2008

"I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours... I don't think those kinds of comments help in this effort to draw more friends to our effort."
- Mitt Romney, quoted by Reuters in 2008, on the United States entering Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden.

Time and again President Obama has risked his political career in defense of American lives and American jobs. Mitt Romney has never shown the leadership or the will to do either.

(4) Video (Romney on housing): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiFslD8QYg4
(5) Video (Romney’s comments on the poor): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnB0NZzl5HA    

Obamacare Saves Lives

Opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) ignore the fact that thousands of uninsured Americans die unnecessarily from treatable conditions. A 2009 study conducted at Harvard Medical School and published in the American Journal of Public Health found that 45,000 deaths are associated with lack of health insurance in the U.S. each year (1).

The Affordable Care Act has already increased the number of insured Americans and will do more in 2014 when all its provisions are in effect (2).
The Affordable Care Act also will help states to expand Medicaid in 2014, providing health care coverage to people who cannot afford insurance. To study the impact of this expansion, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health looked at states that have already expanded Medicaid (3). The researchers found that Medicaid expansions prevented 19.6 deaths per 100,000 adults, concluding: “State Medicaid expansions to cover low-income adults were significantly associated with reduced mortality as well as improved coverage, access to care, and self-reported health.”

Politicians like Mitt Romney who threaten to overturn the Affordable Care Act put politics ahead of American lives.

Continue Obama Success vs. Return to GOP Failure: The Choice Is Yours

Mitt Romney’ entire campaign is focused on criticizing President Obama’s handling of the economy. But the latest economic indicators—including employment and home sales— show that the U.S. economy continues to improve (1).

You may recall that when Obama took office, eight years of failed Republican economic policy had our economy on the brink of disaster. As this 2009 Bloomberg article states: “The economy in the U.S. probably grew in the third quarter at the fastest pace in two years as government stimulus helped bring an end to the worst recession since the 1930s, economists said” (2).

President Obama’s foreign policy has also been successful. In fact, Mitt Romney agreed with him more often than he disagreed during the foreign policy debate. Obama has put together exit strategies to end the wars George W. Bush started, and he hunted down Osama bin Laden, which Bush failed to do. But 17 of Romney’s 24 foreign policy advisors are from George W. Bush’s administration. These are the architects of failure (3).

In a democracy, people get the government they deserve. If voters are fooled into turning away from successful policies in favor of policies that are proven to fail, we’ll get exactly what we deserve.