mitt romney & barack obama*The most contentious moment in this week’s Presidential debate came when President Obama and Gov. Romney sparred over Romney’s 2008 plan to let the auto industry go bankrupt.

Mr. Obama challenged Mr. Romney for rejecting the idea of federal aid to automakers.  Mr. Romney argued that car companies could apply for government guarantees after going through bankruptcy.  But lost in the confrontational sauce was the fact that Mitt Romney’s “managed bankruptcy” scheme depended on slashing the benefits and wages of auto workers

In his infamous New York Times opinion piece, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” (Nov. 18, 2008) Romney, the self-proclaimed “Son of Detroit” urged US automakers to “align pay and benefits to match those of workers at competitors like BMW, Honda, Nissan and Toyota.”  Those are, of course, foreign companies who pay their personnel less than American employees.  Romney went on to write:  “retiree benefits must be reduced so that the total burden per auto for domestic makers is not higher than that of foreign producers.”

Of course, balancing the car companies’ books on the backs of wage-earners is consistent with Mitt Romney’s anti-worker philosophy.  From last year’s Republican primaries through this week’s final debate, Romney has repeatedly criticized President Obama for wanting to hire teachers and other public sector workers.

And Gov. Romney had nothing substantive to say when he was asked, during the town hall debate, about American companies that outsource to take advantage of lower pay scales, and when asked how he’d increase take-home pay for women who generally earn less than men doing the same jobs.

President Obama cited his signing of the Lily Ledbetter law, which protects gender income equality.  The President also repeated his call to end tax breaks for American companies that ship American jobs out of the country.

Mitt Romney does not support Lily Ledbetter.  Nor does he advocate tax penalties to discourage outsourcing.  Gov. Romney answered the questions about wages with a lot of vague speechifying about “making America the most attractive place to build a business” – which is code for reducing the tax and regulatory burden on big companies.  That will help corporate bottom lines.  But don’t expect it to expand the size of our paycheck.

Mitt Romney’s talk about wages – like most of his promises – is nothing more than empty rhetoric spouted for political effect with no realistic policy to back it up.

Thanks for listening.  I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my two cents.

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