Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a new stump speech, which—as is increasingly the case—peddles outright lies about President Obama and his agenda. You should read it for yourself:
Just a couple of weeks ago in Kansas, President Obama lectured us about Teddy Roosevelt’s philosophy of government. But he failed to mention the important difference between Teddy Roosevelt and Barack Obama. Roosevelt believed that government should level the playing field to create equal opportunities. President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes.
In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people who truly enjoy any real rewards are those who do the redistributing—the government.
The truth is that everyone may get the same rewards, but virtually everyone will be worse off.
This lie about Obama will likely find traction among Republican voters who are eager to throw doubt on the president’s authenticity as an American. For the rest of us, the evidence is clear: Obama, like all mainstream Democrats, is a firm believer in equal opportunity. To wit, here is a passage from the same speech that Romney cites as evidence of Obama’s belief in “equal outcomes”:
It’s heartbreaking enough that there are millions of working families in this country who are now forced to take their children to food banks for a decent meal. But the idea that those children might not have a chance to climb out of that situation and back into the middle class, no matter how hard they work? That’s inexcusable. It is wrong. It flies in the face of everything that we stand for. [Emphasis mine]
In other words, Obama is worried that the United States has become a country where income mobility is limited and equality of opportunity is a myth for millions of working Americans; his record—the Affordable Care Act, more robust social services, increased funding for Pell Grants—reflects this basic concern.
In contrast, Romney has no plan for creating equal opportunity. His is an agenda of upwards redistribution, with massive tax cuts for the wealthy and budget cuts for everyone else. Of course, given the extent to which the political press is already willing to look past Romney’s lying, none of this should be an issue for the former Massachusetts governor.