01.13.2012 0

The Front Runners: Ron Paul vs. Mitt Romney

Ron Paul and Mitt Romney

Photo Courtesy of IowaPolitics.com

By Adam Bitely — Rep. Ron Paul and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are the front-runners of the GOP nomination contest for the presidential nomination. No other candidates in the field thus far enjoy the number of votes or support that these two candidates have received.

Of course, that can all change as the race continues to unfold, but for the time being, these are the front-runners.

So how do they compare on the most important fiscal and economic issues?

Taxes

Romney and Paul have different records and views on taxes. As Governor, Romney had a mixed record as a tax cutter. According to the Club for Growth’s white paper on Mitt Romney’s record, as Governor, Romney supported $259 million worth of fee hikes in FY 2004 as well as smaller fee hikes in FY’s 2003 and 2005. Romney also refused to endorse the Bush tax cuts and opposes a flat tax.

Ron Paul, on the other hand voted, has a consistent record of opposing tax increases, and taxes of any sort, as the Club for Growth’s white paper on Paul’s record shows.  Paul supported the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, in contrast to Romney. He also supported the extension of those tax cuts. Further, Paul supported a constitutional amendment that would have required a two-thirds majority in both chambers to raise taxes. Paul has supported repealing the tax on Social Security benefits and permanently repealing the Death Tax.

Bailouts and Stimulus

Mitt Romney has a mixed record on bailouts and stimulus. When it comes to the bailouts, also known as TARP, Romney stated, “I believe that it was necessary to prevent a cascade of bank collapses.” When it comes to the “stimulus” plan proposed by Obama in the winter of 2009, he opposed it but also made some odd comments about it that makes one question just how much he really opposed it.

In his book No Apology he wrote of the Democrats’ stimulus plan, “The ‘all-Democrat’ stimulus that was passed in early 2009 will accelerate the timing of the start of the recovery, but not as much as it could have had it included genuine tax- and job-generating incentives.” As the Club for Growth stated, “Such a comment suggests that Romney, on some level, supports discredited Keynesian economics.”

Ron Paul has a vastly different record on these issues. Paul voted against TARP and the “stimulus.” Paul also voted against the auto bailout. Romney also opposed the auto bailouts but raised questions when he wrote in the New York Times that he wasn’t completely opposed to government intervention when it came to fixing the automakers’ problems.

Big Government and ObamaCare

Many have questioned the health care program that Mitt Romney enacted in Massachusetts during his time as Governor. The program indeed does resemble ObamaCare in several key ways.  Both ObamaCare and RomneyCare mandate the purchase of individual health care plans and fine those who do not purchase health care — a current hot-button issue that conservatives are wildly opposed to.

Ron Paul voted against ObamaCare and has also voted against other expansions of the government’s role in the health care industry. Paul opposed the expansion of Medicare under George W. Bush when the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill came up for a vote in the House. He also voted against SCHIP.

Romney and Paul are more closely aligned to the cause of limited government than Barack Obama. And hopefully, as the GOP nomination contest continues to progress, the GOP can have a public debate on the issues where voters can see the contrasts that exist between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @AdamBitely.

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