If the recent presidential debate was an audition for a theatrical role there's no doubt in my mind that Mitt Romney won hands down. But it wasn't. It was an audition for the next president of the United States.
Call me crazy but I was looking for substance. And by substance I mean substantive truth. Let's see how Mitt Romney stacks up on the truth meter. There are too many falsehoods to cover so let's just look at some major ones.
On Obamacare: Romney claimed that in Obamacare the government will dictate what treatment you can and can't have. According to the National Journal, "... this was one of the biggest whoppers of the night. It's a line that Republicans used during debate on the health reform law, when they regularly and inaccurately called the Medicare spending board a "death panel."
On Romney health plan: "Number one, pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan." No it's not. Romney's plan does not 'unconditionally' cover anyone with a preexisting condition. There are 50 million to 129 million people with pre-existing conditions. And 29 million of them are uninsured.
On the $5 trillion tax cut: "First of all, I don't have a $5 trillion tax cut." This is deception at its best. Romney says it's not $5 trillion because he will eliminate tax loopholes to pay for it. Okay, if that's the game he wants to play, tell us how much the elimination in tax loopholes will save.
Guess what, that number tells you exactly the size of his tax cut. Like his tax returns, he won't tell you what loopholes will be axed. Like Paul Ryan's budget which attacks Medicare and Social Security, if he gave you the details, you might find it would involve something distasteful, like reducing mortgage interest deduction on your home.
It's a matter of trust. Before the Republican primary, Romney was a moderate conservative. He was accused by Republicans of not being a true conservative. He morphed as needed during the primaries to not only be a true conservative, but to be more palatable to Tea Party conservatives. In doing so, he's changed his positions on women's right to choose, healthcare mandates, women's equal pay rights, minimum wage, stem-cell research ... you name it, he's changed it.
He's even changed his tune on his disdain for the 47%, saying he now cares about 100% of the people. This earned him titles of "etch a sketch" and "a perfectly lubricated weather-vane" not by Democrats but by fellow Republicans.
In the general election, his campaign ads repeated blatant falsehoods despite being called out by fact-checkers. The same mendacity was the platform at the Republican National Convention. In the face of this criticism, Romney pollster, Neil Newhouse said, "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." True to that resolve, the factually-challenged tactic spilled over to the first debate. Don't expect it to be different between now and election day.
Again, it's a matter of trust and values. Romney has put on so many layers of paint its hard to tell what color will appear if he is elected.
Obama on the other hand has been consistent. That is, he has been consistently accused of being a socialist. Which is puzzling since he presided over a 100% increase of the stock market; bailing out AIG, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Bank of America and the entire financial industry dodging an economic meltdown -- loaning money to banks at virtually zero interest; extending the Bush tax cuts for another two years; applying over 30% of the stimulus to more tax cuts; cutting even more taxes in your payroll tax deduction; saving the American automobile industry; turning around an economy losing 800,000 jobs per month when he took office to an average private sector job gain of 150,000 per month for the last 32 months. Name one socialist who would do that.
We have turned the corner. A finance blog says, "Wall Street Analysis Shows Investor Leaning toward Obama." CNN Money says "Consumer confidence rises, boosted by jobs optimism."
Unemployment has dropped below 8% to 7.8%.
I've observed, and perhaps you have also, that Raley's and Vons parking lots are fuller than in the past and there is a pick-up in restaurant activity. That is also noticeable in Fresno. Retailers are expecting a very busy holiday season.
Yes, the economy needs more improvement and this trend is heading in that direction.