In Leesburg, Obama contrasts economic visions
If President Barack Obama wins Loudoun County in November’s election, he’ll take the Commonwealth of Virginia. And if Obama takes Virginia, he’ll win a second term in the White House.
President Obama spoke these words Thursday night to a crowd of 3,200 in Leesburg. With the classic architecture of Loudoun County High School and an American flag as the backdrop, Obama focused on the contrast between his plan for an economic recovery—and taxes—and that of his challenger, Republican Mitt Romney.
“The choice that we face in November could not be bigger,” Obama said. “It’s not just a choice between two candidates. It’s not a choice between two parties. More than any election in recent memory, this is a choice between two fundamentally different paths for our country … two fundamentally different visions of where we need to go.
Obama referenced a recently released nonpartisan study from the Tax Policy Center that concluded Romney’s $5 trillion tax cut proposal would force a tax hike on the middle class, those families making less than $200,000, an estimated 3.6 million in Virginia.
The president recalled with distaste President George W. Bush’s terms, which saw a federal surplus turn into a then record deficit. A Romney administration would be much of the same, Obama said.
“We saw how well that worked the last time we tried it. We know better than this. [Republicans] have been trying to sell us this trickle-down, tax cut fairy dust before.”
Harping on the Bush years, Obama said the country can’t afford to revert to Republican economic policies.
“Families were working harder and harder, but their incomes were actually stagnated, while the costs of everything from health care to college were going up. We went from a surplus to a record deficit because of tax cuts we didn’t pay for, and because of two wars we put on a credit card.
“And it all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression,” he said.
Obama pressed for a small tax increase on those families in the top 2 percent of the income bracket, his included.
“I fall in that category, some of you do, too,” he said. “All we’re asking is that we contribute a little bit more so we can pay down this deficit and invest in things like education that will help us grow.”
Currently, the federal debt sits at more than $15.5 trillion. It was approximately $10 trillion when Obama entered office.
Viewed as a pivotal swing state in the contest between Obama and Romney, Virginia went blue in 2008 for the first time since 1964. Northern Virginia specifically is seen as a hotly-contested region that could go Republican or Democrat.
Of his first term, the president highlighted the creation 4.5 million jobs, the resurrection of the American auto industry and a growing private sector. While there’s more work to do, the country is moving forward, he said.
According to information from the Obama campaign, the Virginia auto industry gained more than 4,000 jobs between June 2009 and December 2011.
If America’s economy – one which features just more than 8 percent unemployment – is going to recover, it must start with the middle class, Obama said.
“If you look at the history, if you look at the facts, every time we’ve grown it hasn’t been by the top down, it’s been from the middle up … it’s from the bottom up.”