Obama and Romney Open Debate Sparring on Economy

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

DENVER (AP) - President Barack Obama says the United States is making progress in repairing the struggling economy he inherited when he took office while his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, says the Democratic incumbent favors a "trickle-down government, if you will."

Obama and Romney opened their first of three presidential debates Wednesday with disagreements on how the government could help add jobs.

Obama pointed to progress made in saving Detroit's auto industry and rebuilding the housing market. Romney, meanwhile, says he would take a different path that gets government out of the way for American businesses.

Obama says Romney's plan would cut taxes for high-income workers. Romney says that is incorrect and that wealthy Americans will do just fine regardless whether he or Obama is in the White House.

On taxes, Romney's idea to impose a $17,000 limit on taxpayer deductions would hit the wealthy the hardest. But that limit by itself wouldn't fully make up for revenue lost in Romney's plan to reduce all income tax rates by 20 percent.

Campaign officials say the ceiling on deductions is part of a three-pronged approach that Romney is considering. The idea is to limit tax breaks in order to pay for lower overall tax rates. Romney says his plan would reduce the top tax rate from 35 percent to 28.

The officials say Romney is also considering limits on the standard exemption that most taxpayers claim and the tax exclusion for employer-backed health insurance.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the plan that Romney hasn't announced.


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