Hope and Change 2.0

Obama and Romney present competing plans for the future. But which one adds up?

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Even the conservative Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote, "Mr. Romney's pre-existing political calculation seems to be that he can win the election without having to explain the economic moment or even his own policies."

Romney's tepid, vague statements about closing some tax loopholes reveal that he's either completely uninformed or deliberately misleading voters. The truth? There aren't enough savings in tax loopholes -- even if all were eliminated -- to make up for the revenue that would be lost through Romney's intended tax breaks.

And herein lies the key distinction in the competing visions for America's future. Romney keeps repeating the need to assist "job creators" by slashing taxes and eliminating levies on capital gains. That message is directed at a small portion of the population: people who actually have enough money to live off interest and investments. The latest census shows that 50 percent of Americans are either poor or surviving on low incomes. What's Romney's plan for them?

By contrast, President Obama wants to return to a Clinton-era tax structure for those earning more than $250,000, raise $2.1 trillion in revenues over the next decade and help pay down the deficit. The president has begun to offer incentives to corporations that bring jobs back to America, and the American Jobs Act, which Obama announced last year -- but was blocked by Republicans in Congress -- would add nearly 2 million American jobs alone.

This, of course, comes from a president whose jobs record so far includes 2.5 million new manufacturing jobs and 5 million jobs added overall. Obama has already cut taxes for the middle class 19 times and fought for unemployment-insurance benefits to help support struggling families. This is the kind of platform that resonates with the 99 percent.

Romney has relied so heavily on empty attack lines, he now fails in the face of facts. The latest CNN-ORC poll, which shows Obama leading Romney by 6 points, is the latest indication that a vision of hope and change keeps its staying power -- despite predictions that doubt and fear had won.

Romney and Ryan are finally being exposed for having little more to offer than rhetoric. Campaign slogans like "We built this" are insufficient when Americans want a blueprint for how to build.

Edward Wyckoff Williams is contributing editor at The Root. He is a columnist and political analyst, appearing on MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, CBS Washington and national syndicated radio. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

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