Obama criticizes Romney's economic plan in Davenport


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DAVENPORT — President Obama criticized GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Wednesday for having an economic plan in which the arithmetic doesn’t add up, but one University of Iowa expert is skeptical about where both candidates get their numbers.

“… Gov. Romney’s economic plan is a sketchy deal,” Obama said at the event. “Gov. Romney wants to spend $5 trillion on tax cuts that favor the wealthy, $2 trillion more on defense spending that our military isn’t asking for, and he wants you to believe that he can do all this without adding to the deficit or raising middle-class taxes. The problem is, you’d need to invent a new kind of math to actually make this true. The arithmetic does not work.”

Obama spoke at a grass-roots event Wednesday morning at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport. Iowa was the first stop on the president’s 48-hour, eight-state America Forward tour. His campaign stop also comes less than 48 hours after the conclusion of the final presidential debate Monday night.

Wednesday’s visit marked Obama’s 10th trip to Iowa this year. The president has appeared at 17 political events and five official events, according to information provided by Obama for America officials. Obama has traveled to Iowa a total of 16 times since assuming the presidency.

Obama maintains that the former governor’s math doesn’t add up.

“I’ve got a plan that will actually create jobs, that will actually reduce the deficit, that will actually create middle-class security,” he said. “And unlike Mitt Romney, I’m proud to talk about what’s in my plan. Because my math actually adds up.”

Romney’s five-point plan for turning around the economy and creating more jobs includes achieving energy independence by 2020, opening new trade markets, creating better access to public and higher education, cutting the national deficit, and encouraging the growth of small businesses, according to his official campaign site. This plan, Romney says, will create 12 million new jobs.

A.J. Spiker, the chairman of the Iowa GOP party, was quick to defend Romney’s economic plan.
“With creating jobs and getting people back to work, you’re going to increase revenues,” Spiker said. “That’s something the president doesn’t understand. The last person who should be lecturing anybody about budgetary numbers is the president.”

Obama’s plan, on the other hand, calls for investments in education, research, and technology to grow the economy. According to his official campaign site,

Obama has set a goal of creating one million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016 and doubling the amount of American exports over the next five years.

However, one UI expert was skeptical about the numbers each candidate has proposed.

“How would I know? How does Obama know?” Patrick Barron, a UI adjunct lecturer in economics, said when asked if the goals outlined in Obama’s economic plan were manageable. “Where are they getting these numbers? [These numbers] don’t mean anything.”

Barron said a free market determines the state of the economy, and he believes the government needs to stop regulations that are hurting businesses of every kind. He said cutting taxes and unnecessary spending, limiting government regulations on all businesses, and utilizing sound money would best aid the growth of the U.S. economy.

Barron went through each point in both Romney’s and Obama’s economic plans, dismissing most points as “a stupid policy.”

“These are just talking points,” he said. “Only entrepreneurs can know what’s going to help the economy.”

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