ELECTION 2012: Obama and Romney's views on taxes, economy, education

Sunday, October 21, 2012 | 3:48 p.m. CDT

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have opposing viewpoints on topics some find most important to our nation. With the election approaching, here is a guide with video from The Associated Press and links to the candidates' websites on their views on taxes and the debt, jobs and the economy and education.

Taxes and the debt

There is a huge conflict between Democrats and Republicans over extending the Bush tax cuts as they come to an end at the end of 2012, increasing taxes for just about every U.S. taxpayer. In this video, Stephen Ohlemacher of the AP explains that the core issue for the two parties is to decide how much revenue the government should raise and how much it should spend.   

President Obama and his Republican opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, both argue that their tax plans will help middle-class families and create jobs. However, both say their opponent's plan will not work. Obama accuses Romney of not fully explaining how he is going to cut taxes, while Romney argues that the U.S. has doubled its national debt since Obama has been in office. The two aired their differences about the issue in this AP video from last week's presidential debate.

There are several differences between the Obama and Romney tax plans.  The president intends to use tax reform to raise additional revenue while specifically focusing on cutting taxes for middle-class families. Romney intends to lower tax rates for Americans of every income level and be revenue neutral.

According to Obama's campaign website, the president claims he will do the following:

  • Ask millionaires to pay their fair share.
  • Invest in the middle class.
  • Reduce the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade.

According to Romney's campaign website, the Republican challenger claims he will do the following:

  • Make a permanent, across-the-board 20 percent cut in marginal income tax rates.
  • Maintain current tax rates on interest, dividends and capital gains.
  • Eliminate the estate tax and taxes for those with adjusted gross income below $200,000 on interest, dividends and capital gains.
  • Repeal the alternative minimum tax.

Jobs and the economy

In the second presidential debate, Obama and Romney both agreed that young Americans should be able to afford college and get well-paying jobs once they graduate. Romney says he is confident that he knows what it takes to create jobs and get the economy going. Obama, on the other hand, argues that he will bring back manufacturing jobs, help Americans control their own energy sources and increase taxes for wealthy Americans so that everyone can afford the best education.

Obama’s plan for boosting the economy and creating jobs focuses on rescuing the auto industry, reviving U.S. manufacturing, bringing jobs back to the U.S. by eliminating tax breaks for companies and making sure that everyone will play by the same rules, according to his website. In his economic and jobs plan, Romney advocates reducing taxes, spending, regulation and government programs while increasing trade, energy production, human capital and labor flexibility.


Although there is widespread agreement that a college degree has become even more important to get a decent job, a degree no longer ensures job security in today's economy. As the cost of higher education rises, students and parents are acquiring more debt. In this video, the AP reviews the issue.

On his campaign website, Obama says he plans to make higher education more attainable by doubling funding for Pell grants and establishing a college tax credit. He said he prevented federal student loan rates from doubling for more than 7 million students. He plans to implement incentives to keep teachers motivated in the classroom, such as the Race to the Top initiative designed to reward innovation in local schools.

On his campaign website, Romney emphasizes promoting choice and innovation in education. He supports allowing low-income families and special-needs students to choose which school they attend by making Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funds portable, as well as providing incentives for states to increase choices for parents. He says he will reform No Child Left Behind by emphasizing transparency and responsibility for results. Romney says he will improve higher education by strengthening and simplifying the financial aid system.

This article was written and researched by Heesu Lee and Taylor Vortherms. Supervising editor is Frank Russell.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.