CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — The health of the US economy is set to dominate the second day of the Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina Wednesday, offering a rejoinder to Republican attacks over President Barack Obama’s economic management.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of Obama and Mitt Romney’s plans to reduce 8.3 percent unemployment, speed up lackluster 1.7 percent growth and tackle the $16 trillion national debt:
Obama: Has tried to convince Americans current policies are working, while admitting progress has been slower than desired and more needs to be done.
He says there is evidence that America is on the right track and points to 4.4 million private sector jobs created in the past 28 months, the survival of the auto sector and the resilience of the manufacturing recovery.
Obama has also vowed to tackle inequality “not seen since the Great Depression” and bolster the middle class by extending tax cuts.
In addition, he has emphasized the need to retrain workers, for instance putting out-of-work home builders back to work on much-needed infrastructure projects.
Romney: Has promised to sweep away Obama’s policies and put in place his own plan that he says will create 12 million jobs.
The centerpiece of this effort would be the reduction of taxes on small business, “America’s engine of job growth,” as he told delegates at the Republican convention in Tampa, Florida last week.
Romney has also vowed to simplify and modernize regulations “that hurt small business the most.”
He has also vowed to forge new trade agreements and punish countries for breaking trade rules.
Obama: Has vowed to boost growth and remodel the economy through investments in education, infrastructure, science and technology.
He has vowed to make “education a national mission” and a to launch a “world-class commitment to science and research,” with an emphasis on high-tech manufacturing and clean energy technologies.
Obama would also roll out financial sector reform already passed by Congress in an effort to prevent future crises.
Romney: Has pledged to boost and reform the economy by making the United States energy independent by 2020 — taking full advantage of oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.
Like Obama he has vowed to help give workers “the skills they need for the jobs of today and the careers of tomorrow.”
He has also promised education reform, allowing parents to choose which schools their kids go to.
Obama: Has underlined his decision to sign into law nearly $1 trillion of spending cuts and his proposal to cut trillions more, including reforms to government health care for the old and the poor and cuts to farm subsidies.
To cut the gap between government spending and revenue he has vowed to create “a tax code that makes sure everybody pays their fair share,” including tax increases for those earning over $250,000 a year.
“The wealthiest Americans are paying the lowest taxes in over half a century,” he told an audience in Osawatomie, Kansas in December.
Experts have raised doubts that Obama revenue increases and spending cuts would be substantial enough to reduce the debt in the short term.
Romney: In contrast to Obama, Romney plans to cut the gap between government spending and revenue by focusing on the spending side of the ledger.
He has vowed to cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product, down from around 24 percent today.
That includes a plan to rein in health care costs and repeal and replace the president’s health care reforms, dubbed “Obamacare” by Republican critics.
Experts are skeptical about whether the plans would reduce the debt or just cut the size of government.
The non-partisan Brookings Institution said Romney’s proposals to balance the budget would have to be paid for by the middle class.
In an August report they said his plan to lower rates and maintain tax breaks would spell “large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.”