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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/22/12

Welcome to the RomneyZone: Foreign Policy's Economic Home Front

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In tonight's foreign policy debate, Mitt Romney will say that the way to get jobs back from China is with more free trade and lower taxes. But China's Communist. It already has tougher trade restrictions and higher taxes than we do. How, exactly, will more tax cuts help us compete?

He'll also push for an even more extreme version of "free trade" -- one without workers' rights requirements or any other guiding principles. But unrestrained free trade is a recipe for global slavery. It gives the world's corporations the motive and the opportunity to locate their jobs wherever they can most easily exploit and abuse the workforce.

How can the loss of workers' rights in China or anywhere else create good jobs in the United States? Short answer: It can't. Throw in some even more exorbitant military spending, and you're headed for ... the RomneyZone.

The Definition of Insanity

Romney would slash individual tax rates for millionaires and billionaires to well below their already historically low levels. If that's a recipe for job creation, why aren't there any jobs right now? The individual tax rate for high earners is already much lower than it was the boom days of the 1950s and 1960s, when the top rate was 80 to 91 percent. Now it's 35 percent or less, yet unemployment's much higher.

Romney says we bring jobs back to this country from countries like China and India take by taking our tax rates for millionaires and billionaires, which are already lower than theirs, and making them even lower.

Insanity, according to one popular definition, is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. If tax cuts for the wealthy haven't created any jobs yet, how will even bigger tax cuts create them? That doesn't make sense.

What would make sense is to tax wealthy people more reasonably -- which is to say, at higher rates -- and use the money to create jobs for teachers, firefighters, construction workers, and other people whose contributions are vital to our society.

Romney's so-called "jobs plan" would even eliminate inheritance taxes -- which Republicans call the "death tax," even though the individual who dies is not taxed. He wouldn't lower them, mind you, he'd eliminate them -- supposedly in the name of job creation.

Ask yourself: How many machinists has Paris Hilton hired lately?

Corporate Welfare

Romney has another illogical idea: cut the corporate tax rate. The President has a similar idea. It's part of the right-wing "Simpson Bowles" proposal, based on the same austerity economics thinking currently devastating Europe, which centrist Dems keep pushing.

It's true that the official top corporate tax rate in the United States is 35 percent, above that of most other developed countries. But the thousands of loopholes lobbyists have inserted into our laws make our country's effective corporate tax rate -- the amount companies actually pay -- one of the lowest.

As the Congressional Budget Office noted recently, taxes on corporate earnings in this country fell to their lowest rate in 40 years in 2011. Corporations only paid 12.1 percent on average for earnings inside the United States, down from approximately 25 percent in the years leading up to the 2008 (corporation-created) crisis. And this tax leniency was offered while they were taking in higher profits than ever before.

We've seen it before: High profits. Low taxes. And  no jobs. Tell us again: Why will it work this time, Mr. Romney?

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Host of 'The Breakdown,' Writer, and Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

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