Why I Love Mitt Romney’s Tax Plan

Let me start by saying this: were I the supreme commander of the United States with absolute control, the Romney tax plan would not be the final product.  I have been and will always be a fan of a pure, simple flat tax where anyone can file with anyone else and the government cannot punish or reward you for how you choose to live your life.

Preface #2: I am a licensed tax professional with experience in preparing thousands of personal, corporate, state and some types of international tax returns, so I do have a little bit of street cred on this issue.

paul ryan

The Romney tax plan is something Paul Ryan can proudly run on

All that being said, I love Mitt Romney’s tax plan.  First, it is not wimpy.  It is not RINO, status quo policy.  The Romney tax plan will be easy to run against for someone like Obama, who is willfully choosing to run as dishonest a campaign as he possibly can.  It has necessary trade offs and it destroys the leverage of special interest groups.  It makes it so that billionaires can no longer zero out their tax returns.  It will be a small tax hike for people like Mitt Romney, who can sit back and collect carrying interest and dividends and live comfortably on that income.  It will be a tax break for the middle class.

The best thing about the Romney tax plan is that it ends the power of special interest groups that is built into the tax code.  Currently, people and corporations are punished and rewarded by the tax system for certain behaviors.  For example: if you go to school, you are rewarded.  If you rent your home, you are punished.  If you put all your money in interest-free muni bonds, you are rewarded.  If you sell your capital assets with less than a year holding period, you are punished.  While there is still uncertainty as to which credits, deductions and loopholes Romney would eliminate, the key is that he will be eliminating many and trading them for a 20% tax cut across the board.

That brings me to the second best thing about his plan: it means a simpler tax return.  Just when you thought it was impossible enough to do your own taxes, with Obama’s plan, now you will have to record your health insurance on your tax return, and if you make a certain amount you will have 3.8% in extra taxes on investment income and .9% extra on wages.  Have fun with those IRS schedules, and don’t screw it up or they’ll catch you two years from now plus interest and penalties.

The Romney plan will eliminate pages of schedules and forms from your tax return and trade them for a simple across the board rate reduction.

If Democrats knew enough about the tax code to understand what this plan does, they would support it too.  Instead of lobbing an extra 4.7% tax increase at taxpayers (including small business owners) who make $200,000, plus an additional 3-4.6% if Obama has his way with the Bush tax cuts, the Romney plan eliminates the tricks that the mega rich use to cut their tax rates below 15%.  It is a targeted change to the tax system, not a hatchet rate increase that harms employers.

If Romney is raising taxes on the super-rich who shelter their income, won’t that hurt growth?  No, and especially not compared to Obama’s plan.  Obama’s plan is to increase the dividend rate to the income tax rate.  That’s a tax hike of up to 19.6 percentage points.  Obama plans to hike capital gains taxes by 5 percentage points.  Romney would leave those taxes as is for the wealthy and eliminate them for people who make less than $200,000.  In other words, if you are middle class you will be able to invest money without paying 15% off the top to the government.  That will change the risk reward ratios for millions of middle class investors and shift capital ownership while encouraging saving among the middle class and not discouraging investment among the rich.

Then there are the tax cuts for businesses to make the US more competitive with other countries.  Also, by switching to a territorial tax system, Romney let’s multinational companies invest in American growth without being penalized and removes the incentive to keep investments off-shore.  This will allow companies to bring overseas profits back to the United States to build headquarters, offices, and manufacturing plants here instead of keeping it in other countries to avoid a US tax hit.  Then the income from this new American growth will contribute to American tax revenues going forward.  With the current system, we tax multinational companies if they want to invest dollars in the US, even if they have already paid foreign taxes on those dollars.

Romney will have some difficulty with certain groups.  For example, if he takes away the $250 deduction for teachers buying teaching supplies in exchange for a 20% tax cut, you can bet there will be ads run with poor children holding out their empty backpacks and a subtext about how they used to have school books but Romney took them away.  If Romney touches the mortgage interest deduction in exchange for a 20% tax break, you can bet the National Association of Realtors will be running ads with homeless people talking about how Romney took their opportunity at home ownership away.  Those special interest groups will hang on tough.  Democrat city mayors who would normally decry the rich for sheltering their income will suddenly discover that tax free interest on municipal bonds is the only thing keeping society from turning into some sort of post-apocalyptic jungle.  Never mind that middle class families will pay less in taxes under the Romney plan; threaten to take away their mortgage interest deduction and most do not know enough to be OK with that.

Then there is the valid argument that the rich already pay their fair share of taxes.  But the Romney tax plan doesn’t target the rich who invest their money in American businesses like Obama’s plan does; it targets the rich who get high life insurance payouts tax-free, who shelter their money in tax-free municipal bond interest, who invest in oil and gas wells to shelter income through high amortization expenses, and so on.  Won’t that hurt investment in oil and gas, you may ask?  Not with Romney as President instead of Obama, because he will open up the avenues for exploration to the point where major companies can hire and get involved.  Then average citizens like you and I will have more opportunity to invest in companies that buy and develop oil fields.  And on top of that, we won’t have to pay taxes on our dividends and capital gains from those investments.

I’ll be honest: I liked the Bush tax cuts, but I didn’t love them.  They made some things more complex and left much of the rest of it at the same complexity.  Meanwhile, they cut taxes across the board.  I applauded their passage and re-passage under Obama, but they didn’t fundamentally change our tax code from the garbled, complicated special interest buffet that it is right now.  I hated Herman Cain’s plan; it would have been a more complicated mess than what we have now, and would have been a huge tax hike on the poor and middle class.  I’ve written extensively about it here at Whitehouse12.com.

I love Mitt Romney’s tax plan, and I never imagined that I would.  Additionally, he hired the right guy, Paul Ryan, to explain it, because it will be much easier to distort his plan for political gain than to spell it out in a way that people can understand.  To be sure, it is an over-all tax cut.  There is no denying that.  However, if it inspires growth as it is designed to, the revenue increase will make up the difference and keep it revenue neutral as promised.  Even the Tax Policy Center, which originally claimed Romney would hike taxes on 95% of Americans, has come clean and admitted his plan is viable.

In my mind, no tax plan will be perfect until it is flat and cuts spending by at least $2 trillion.  But this is the next best thing.

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Romney needs to call Obama’s Bluffet….

 

We know that the Bluffet, sorry Buffet, rule is a motif for President’s class warfare, and more warning shots will be fired when Congress returns today from a two-week recess to a test vote on the rule, which would impose a minimum 30 percent tax rate on income over $1 million. The Bluffett tax targets wealthier Americans’ investments rather than salaries.

Today is the day when this issue of class warfare kicks off for November in earnest, now that we know it will be Romney for the GOP and Congress gets to have a say on the matter.

President Obama, who pays less tax than HIS secretary (he filed tax returns showing he paid an effective tax rate of 20.5 percent on income of about $800,000 in 2011) says the government needs the revenue from the Bluffett rule, estimated at $47 billion over 10 years, to cover “a broad range of goals.” He also says “This is not just about fairness.” Well, he got that right, it is very unfair, but not in the simplistic moralistic way he is peddling.

He says “This is also about growth. It’s about being able to make the investments we need to strengthen our economy and create jobs. And it’s about whether we as a country are willing to pay for those investments.” In other words, robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Fact is, do we really need government to do the investing, and where does the investment go? Into government black holes and deep pockets, rather than into businesses which create wealth. The Bluffet tax would not create wealth, it would merely enhance dependency. We would see a better rate of return on the $47 billion in business investment by the wealthy than we would from government. That is an awful lot of liquidity to take out of the markets, and I don’t see too many secretaries taking up the slack.

Of course, keeper of the Treasury keys Tim Geithner was out pushing the rule on Sunday, “Just because Republicans oppose this does not mean it’s not the right thing to do and not the right thing to push for,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. Double negatives aside, we can say that just because Democrats think it is the right thing to do doesn’t mean it even begins to make sense.

If we look at the paying side of this, we see the rich targeted for this end up paying more. Simple. But for what are they paying? Increased revenue means increased expenditure, and so the things for government to spend on expands to meet the expanded revenue. More programs, more dependency and less reward for effort. What does the payer get in return? They get little benefit, and the wealthier they are the less they need what they are paying for.

Which means the sole purpose of the Bluffet rule is twofold, increased state powers and redistribution of wealth. Conservatives who attack Romney or the rich for their wealth are playing with the same deck as Obama.

Obama says, “If you make more than $1 million every year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do… Most Americans support this idea. We just need some Republican politicians to get on board with where the country is.” Of course, Obama doesn’t have to worry too much about his investments, because after leaving office, which cannot come soon enough, he will make a ton of cash for the remainder of his days. He doesn’t have too much to worry about…The rest of us do.

Republicans Should Capitalize on Obama Budget to Nowhere

Class warfare has become a central theme of the Obama campaign.  In his 2013 budget released earlier this week, President Obama proposed major tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans – those making $200,000 per year or families making over $250,000.  Indeed, the “debt reduction” that the president claims is dependent largely on these tax increases alone. Class warfare and raising taxes on the rich may be beneficial to his political campaign, but it is bad for the economy as it merely redistributes wealth, not create it.  The Republican nominee needs to be committed to capitalism and battle the President’s class warfare, big government, Keynesian economic rhetoric using free-market principles, stressing economic growth, job creation, and wealth creation through lower taxes, less regulation, and smaller government.  Despite what the President claims, his budget does not promote growth and has the potential to be a weak spot that Republicans can capitalize on.

Included in the President’s proposal is around $1.5 trillion in new revenue coming from tax hikes on the wealthy and corporations.  These tax raises take various forms; a 9% raise in capital gains tax rates, the dividends rate jumps 25% from 15-40%, the carried interest tax on investment partnerships rise from 15 to 39.6%, and the estate tax rises to 40%.  In addition, the budget calls for allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire, raising the top-level income tax rates to 39.6%.  Then there’s the new “Warren Buffet Rule“, which requires all those making more than $1 million per year pay at least 30% of their gross income in taxes.

English: President Barack Obama signs the Tax ...

Obama signing The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010

Perhaps the most damning, however, is the tax hike on businesses; Obama has yet to announce his new corporate tax rates, but included in the budget is a “financial crisis responsibility fee” on large banks that amounts to $61 billion, taxing energy companies $30 billion over a decade by ending tax cuts, $148 billion in new taxes on multinational corporations, and another $87 billion by changing how businesses value their inventory. Continue reading

Obama the tax cutter…until 2013

I predicted a couple years ago that Barack Obama was going to run as a tax cutter in 2012.  When Obama extended the Bush tax cuts through 2012, my fears were confirmed.  Obama has cut taxes.  Consider this:

In 2010, Obama extended the Bush tax cuts.

In 2009, Obama turned the $7,500 interest free loan on first time homes into an $8,000 freebie.

In 2009 and 2010, Obama passed the $800 a year making work pay tax credit.

In 2011 Obama passed the Social Security tax cut of 2%.

In 2010, a tiny percentage of businesses were eligible for the healthcare tax credit.

Now, watch this:

In 2013, taxes will go up between 5% for the poor to 4.6% for the rich with the end of the Bush tax cuts.

In 2013, even if the extension is passed in 2012, Social Security taxes will be back to 6.2%.

In 2013, individuals with $200,000 or more of income ($250,000 for married) will get an additional .9% in Medicare taxes

In 2013, individuals with income over $200,000 ($250,000 for married) will get another 3.8% in taxes.

In 2013, taxes on dividends and capital gains will jump up to a maximum rate of 39.6%. Even if Obama keeps his promises, it will still jump 5% for everyone.

Democrats are pushing for a 5% surtax on millionaires, which would would mean that in 2013 taxes on people who make a million dollars a year would be 16.3 percentage points higher than they are today to effectively be nearly 50 cents out of every dollar of income.

And Obama has no future election to cause him to prevent any one of these 2013 tax hikes.  In fact, half of these will have been specifically passed by him with a 2013 due date.  At the end of 8 years, Obama’s tax hikes will have vastly outweighed any piddly cuts and politically expedient extensions he has signed in the first four years.

Don’t be fooled. Obama isn’t a tax cutter, he’s just a politically smart tax and spend liberal.

CNBC versus the GOP

Last night the GOP candidates went into hostile Michigan to face a hostile set of moderators who were booed into sticking to economic issues by the crowd after an unfair detour against Herman Cain.  In all, the night turned into somewhat of a circus.  Hopefully, the GOP will shun CNBC in the future, as this was the worst and most unprofessional case of moderation we have seen.    But aside from that, let’s get to the winners and losers.  First up…

It floored me when they tried to ask if companies should be making a profit or growing jobs.  Excuse me, but how the heck do you create jobs if you aren’t making a profit?? Gingrich’s response was beautiful. Watching the moderator rolling her eyes when Gingrich said a 30 second answer on healthcare was ridiculous was fun to watch.  But my favorite answer of Gingrich’s was on education, where he offered a real life example of a real life solution that addresses the issue of education that is getting exponentially expensive with much cheaper results.  As someone who works full-time, is a full-time grad student and has been in college for a decade following various business and religious pursuits, I connected with Gingrich’s answer and could not agree more.  This morning Neil Boortz in a morning phonecall to WOKV implied that Republicans needed to worry about who could beat Obama, not who would be the best President speaking of Newt Gingrich.  Bull.  Gingrich keeps winning debates because he is the smartest man on that stage.  And he made a joke out of those bombastic, rude moderators.

Rick Santorum did well.  This doesn’t mean anything, he still can’t win.  But he did highlight his leadership on things like medical savings accounts and gave viewers no reason to mark him down.  He has struggled in debates, but performed well last night.  Ron Paul also did a good job.  He avoided saying anything outlandish and produced a solid, constitutionalist approach.  Bachmann did well, but was once again forgettable.  Huntsman also did pretty well, though his attempt at “answer this in 30 seconds?” humor sounded like a lame, screwed up retelling of a good joke.

Mitt Romney needs to understand his precarious position.  He is stuck at 30%.  The rest of the GOP voters are looking for not-Mitt-Romney as their candidate.  His smoothness, economic savvy, and gaffe free debate performances have gotten him this far (along with a great deal of establishment money).  He needs to figure out how to get himself the rest of the way.  He has to find a way to make Social Conservatives trust him. Mitt, if you are listening, make a major statement in favor of state personhood amendments.  Consider that step one to breaking into the 40s in the polls.

Herman Cain also has hit a roadblock, but it is a policy roadblock.  I think many viewers were left with the feeling that if nuclear missiles were airborne from China heading for the US, President Cain would be on the phone with the Chinese President telling him how his bold plan, the 9-9-9 plan, could solve their problems by growing China’s economy.  9-9-9 is to Herman Cain what Windex was to Tula’s family in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.  This one dimensionalism will leave him open to a Gingrich rise.  On the other hand, Cain did very well defending himself against accusations which are more and more looking like racist smears from the Axelrod/Democrat machine.

Rick, Rick, Rick.  By the way, if you want to see the sexism of the left, just watch how long Perry’s crash and burn stays in the media cycle and blogosphere compared to a Palin or Bachmann gaffe.  Talk about not being ready for primetime.  I think Perry likes to start talking and get rolling, and that’s why he sometimes forgets what he was talking about mid-sentence.  No excuses.  You are running for President of the United States.  Running before you secure the ball is how you lose games.  Running your mouth before you have your answer and grasp on the issues is what makes Presidents say stupid things.  E.g. Barack Obama talking about police officers who arrested his professor friend.

Time to thin the herd

All is not lost!  Yes, it was an ugly night for several GOP candidates.  Newt’s frustration with the format is certainly understandable.  It made for great television, but it was a bad debate.  However, there were some glimmers of hope, starting with the Vegas Champ…

Newt Gingrich.  I didn’t give Newt the win last time because I didn’t think his campaign would see a boost.  After this debate, I think it will.  Newt once again is the adult in the room.  He puts himself above the fray and really acts as a second moderator.  Voters should give Newt a second look.  Give Newt seven debates with Barack Obama and Obama might even drop out of the race before November.  I would love to see these debates as more candidates drop out and more time is given.  Newt has been so supportive of other candidates that his questions of other candidates carried a great deal of weight and were therefore more devastating.  Cain will not survive the 999 barrage, look for Newt to pick up steam.  Newt’s statement on faith put him squarely in the majority of conservative thought.  Newt’s biggest slip up was on appearing weak on states rights.  Another candidate who performed well, but likely won’t see much change because of it was…

Mitt Romney.  Romney was once again the big punching bag, and once again hit back.  He continued to defend his healthcare program as a state program and did pretty well.  But here Newt hit him hard on the big government aspect of it.    Romney kept his cool when being shouted down by Rick Santorum and talked over by Rick Perry.  Romney screwed up on Cain’s 999 plan trying to argue that Cain’s plan would add federal taxes to state taxes.  Excuse me, Mr. Romney, but you already pay bushels of apples and oranges.  Don’t feel bad, every candidate but Cain and Newt seemed to forget that 999 would eliminate our current tax code.  In the end, especially with no Huntsman, Romney’s got his support base solidified and did nothing to hurt that. Unfortunately, this is the last good report on a candidate performance in this review.  Although, it wasn’t terrible for everyone, especially…

Michele Bachmann.  Michele, Michele, Michele.  First, Obama took us to Libya, THEN, he took us into Africa!  Oops, Libya is in Africa.  But again, if Joe Biden can be VP, we shouldn’t be too hard on Bachmann for her frequent misspeaks.  Aside from that, she did well in another forgettable performance/turned stump speech.   As a tax litigation attorney though, I am disappointed in her evaluation of Cain’s 999 plan.  A VAT because every corporation in the manufacturing process pays 9%?  What does our current corporate tax do?  Same thing.  Shame on you Michele.  But most people won’t figure that out, so you’re good.  We will see if the media picks up on Bachmann’s idea of a $1 poor tax.  Bachmann won’t see any uptick from this debate.  Another candidate with no uptick or downtick…

Ron Paul. Paul is good on state’s rights.  The other candidates would do well to learn some things from him.  On the other hand, we heard a lot of the same platitudes and fuzzy one liners that leave us scratching our heads about if Paul actually has a viable plan.  Get rid of the income tax?  Oh, ok.  Is that like repealing Medicare part D?  Would be nice, but not a priority?  Paul came out with a new economic plan that cuts a trillion in spending.  Worth taking a look at, but didn’t get much play last night.  He will maintain his small support base, but with his vagueness and legend over substance approach this debate won’t give him a bump.  But at least he won’t lose support, like…

Herman Cain.  Cain gave the media some pretty good quotes last night.  Would he shut down Guantanamo to negotiate with terrorists?  Kinda sounded like it.  Apples and Oranges?  Cain, that is simply not Washington speak.  Cain looked amateurish.    He is an amateur though, so he may get a pass for the inability to articulate his 999 plan in a way that Americans can understand and latch on to.  Fortunately, his opponents weren’t much better.  In fact, only Newt seemed to have a clue how 999 works, but he wasn’t about to throw Cain a bone.  Cain right now is riding on populism, but poor debate performances can sink that ship (Bachmann, Perry).  In fact, I think it did sink two ships last night, starting with…

Rick Santorum.  Rick continues to be an advocate for the family.  He continues to present strong conservatism.  But his discussion with Romney early on just set a bad tone.  He reminded me of an angry teenager.  It was unprofessional and amateurish.  It’s been good to have Santorum in these debates for the most part, but after last night he needs to drop out and endorse a social conservative who can still beat Romney.  You’re not going to win, Rick Santorum.  At this point you are hurting more than helping.  But at least Santorum did better than…

Rick Perry.  Geez.  I don’t want to sound politically incorrect, but Perry seemed…slow.  Can we still use that term?  When Romney was answering and Perry was slowly drawling over him and droning on, I couldn’t help but laugh.  But it got worse as the night went on.  Perry, who gave instate tuition to illegals and opposes a full border fence, went after Romney for hiring a landscaping company that hired illegal aliens.  And that wasn’t the only 2008 unfair attack that Perry dug up.  Even when Perry made a good point (We need to uh, look at, uh the…darn, which amendment was it again?  Oh yeah, tenth amendment for uh…issues) it was lost in translation.  Perry was put in his place over and over.  It was a complete dud.  Even his distancing from Pastor Jeffers was not believable.  The best we got from Perry was a promise that next week he will have a tax plan. The good news is that even Rick Perry had a better week than…

Barack Obama.  Rumor has it, after a bunch of his tour supplies were stolen, that his teleprompter is currently being interrogated by Iranian sponsored Al Qaida terrorists in Mexico.  Although, there have also been alleged sightings of his teleprompter in Zuccoti park, smoking a joint and displaying a message about being overworked and underpaid.

Welcome to the top, Herman Cain

The most recent debate is over, and Herman Cain is discovering what Rick Perry felt like when he was the front runner.  The way the debate went, there was clear recognition of Cain, Romney and Perry as front runners.  The other candidates almost seemed to be helping in the vetting process as though they were seeking to help Americans choose from one of those top three.   So here goes, the latest debate in retrospect.  And the winner is…

Romney back in the driver seat

Mitt Romney.  Mitt Romney had some good news today.  He picked up an endorsement from Chris Christie, which is huge.  He also had some bad news.  Rush Limbaugh questioned Romney’s conservatism compared to other candidates and gave the death knell that took down Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty and Jon Huntsman.  Rush called him the Republican establishment candidate.  Still, Romney was his usual comfortable self.  His adopting the Trump doctrine on China will help build that portion of his base.  Cain did Romney a huge favor by asking him about his 59 point plan and giving him the chance to explain it and expound on it.  In fact, the questioning session turned into an opportunity for the other candidates to seem to vet the apparent front runner candidate.  Romney’s own question to Michele Bachmann was very gracious and showed the kind of class that simply makes Romney likeable.  Romney’s answer on Dodd Frank was pure gold.  He was polished and Presidential.  Romney still has to get a little bit stronger on his conservative stances and lose a bit of that obvious shine in order to pick up more of the anti-politician minded rightwing, especially the TEA party.  But for this debate, Romney managed to edge out…

Newt Gingrich.  Newt Gingrich is the best debater.  As the best debater, Newt spewed pure common sense.  His best was when he bluntly spoke about how absolutely stupid the debt commission is.  His answers put him above the fray and he maintained his mantra that any candidate on that stage would be better than Obama.  However, Newt did not get enough face time.  He took no arrows, shot no arrows at the other candidates, but simply did not have enough chances to speak to make a difference.  Newt has won several of these debates, but winning these debates is not enough for him at this point.  He must so completely knock each debate out of the park that everytime a front runner falls he is there to pick up the pieces.  In this case, he did not even mention his campaign’s new contract with America.  It was a lost opportunity.   So far he has not accomplished what he needs to do in these debates.  I can’t give him first, no matter how well deserved.  But as a representative of the Social Conservative flavor of this party, he did outperform…

Cain has his work cut out for him

Herman Cain.  Cain’s 9 9 9 plan finally got the inspection it deserved.  A striking moment was when Rick Santorum polled the audience on who wanted a new 9% sales tax, and who thought a 9% flat income tax would stay at 9%.  Not a single hand in the audience was visible.  Santorum hit the nail on the head.  The result is Cain will be in trouble after this debate.  He must now find a way to explain his plan in a way that resonates with Americans.  He made a good start when he talked about how the 9% sales tax would replace a 15% payroll tax, which of course we all pay.  If he can hit that point and solve the question of how to prevent future Presidents from turning his 9 9 9 plan into a 35 35 35 plan, he can salvage his front runner (by my calculations) status.  Cain took a huge hit on the federal reserve when Paul questioned him too.  Later when he spoke about fixing the Fed, Paul made easy work out of Cain.  Still, his likeability level and pure down home realness will keep him afloat for at least one more round.  At this point, if Cain falters I predict voters will finally give Newt Gingrich a second look.  Another candidate they might be looking at is…

Rick Santorum.  Rick Santorum did very well.  He made a key point when he said he did not support the bailout.  He called out Cain’s 9 9 9 plan and struck a very strong blow on it.  He exposed Cain’s naivete beautifully.  But that was the extent of Santorum’s stunning performance.  Like Gingrich, he simply did not get enough other face time to make a huge difference.  No one is afraid of him becoming the front runner any time soon, so there wasn’t much interest in him among the debate moderators.  While Santorum did not make a strong case for himself as President, he certainly gave voters a lot to think about with the latest rising star in Herman Cain.  That may be his purpose at this point.  There is very little chance of his campaign being successful.  Almost as little chance as…

Jon Huntsman.  Jon Huntsman did not do bad for the most part.  His answer on China will not connect with Americans and for a good reason.  Being nice to China does not sell when as Romney pointed out we are already losing to them because they are cheating.  Two debates ago I said Huntsman’s campaign is over.  Nothing changed with the debate tonight.  Feeling our pain because he helped run the family business and was a good governor is so cliche at this point, it’s really forgettable.  But not as forgettable as…

Michele Bachmann.  Michele Bachmann did well.  She spoke on Obama’s failures and conservatism.  But mostly she was forgettable.  At one point, it sounded like she said she raised 28 children, 22 foster and 5 biological.  I could understand, with that many kids, how easy it would be to get the math wrong.  But it’s not good when that’s what sticks out in my mind.  No highlights, no major gaffes, and in fact her role in Congress became even more forgettable when Gingrich asked why the House has not made any move to repeal Dodd Frank or Sarbanes Oxley.  I was left wondering where her actual leadership has manifested itself.  The exchange with Romney was her one saving grace, proving that at least she is not one dimensional unlike…

Popularity off the debate stage won't save these candidates from earning low marks in this debate.

Ron Paul.  Ron Paul did ok.  He made it pretty clear he isn’t a fan of the fed.  But on the fed, especially Bernanke, Newt stole his thunder.  What else did Paul speak about?  Again, another forgettable candidate.  Paul fans, don’t hate me for saying that.  Step outside of the movement for a minute and ask yourself if he truly made a splash.  Did we hear anything new about Ron Paul that would make us want to make him in charge of everything the President of the United States is responsible for?  No, but I’d be happy to see him head up the Fed audit once we get a President who has that as a priority (which apparently is not Herman Cain).  But even Ron Paul did better than…

Rick Perry.  Rick Perry came across as a something between a walking cliche and a deer in the headlights.  He simply does not debate well.  He again was slow in his responses and his wording did not connect.  He came across as very unprepared once again.  His good answers were copies of other candidates, and his bad answers seemed to drag on with his drawl.  I’ve said before that I would love to see Newt Gingrich debate Obama.  I would not love to see Perry debate Obama.  I’m not sure I would be able to watch.  Can Perry turn things around?  Possibly.  I’m not ready to give him the Dead Candidate Walking title along with Huntsman just yet.

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