Barack Obama is going to save America’s middle class by taxing the rich and fostering an American manufacturing renaissance. Mitt Romney is going to revive it by creating more jobs for women and rewarding successful people instead of punishing them.
Welcome to the so-far deeply disappointing 2012 general election. This week’s middle-class-related broadsides from both campaigns bordered on the comic.
Obama’s promoting of the Buffett Rule in Florida on Tuesday was smart politics, but the measure is unlikely to create jobs or significantly reduce the deficit. Even liberal pundits assailed it as an election-year “gimmick.”
And Obama’s concept of reviving American manufacturing is politically appealing but completely untested. As my colleague Chrystia Freeland noted, it flies in the face of decades of Anglo-American conventional wisdom that state interventions in the economy inevitably fail. Whether Obama is right or wrong will not be known before Election Day.
Romney, meanwhile, used a piece of carefully selected economic data to try to attack a 19-percentage-point advantage Obama enjoys among female voters. On Tuesday, he toured a Delaware company that has a female CEO and said women have suffered 92.3 percent of job losses since Obama took office in January 2009. Within hours, the figure, while technically accurate, was criticized as misleading.