WASHINGTON — “Government is taking 40 percent of the GDP,” says Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. “At some point, you cease being a free economy, and you become a government economy. And we’ve got to stop that.”
Americans will head to the polls this week to decide the next president, in an election focused squarely on the size of government and its role in the lives of everyday citizens. President Obama has increased the size of the federal government. Mitt Romney pledges to shrink it, and return some responsibilities to the states and the private sector.
Under Obama, the number of Americans on food stamps increased from 32 million to 46.5 million. He enacted Obamacare, granting government a much bigger role in health care. He championed the stimulus, an $800 billion big-government attempt to spark the economy. And big government isn’t cheap: the deficit, at $459 billion in 2008, increased to $1.1 trillion by 2012.
Romney says he will cut the government down to size — starting on day one. He has promised to repeal Obamacare, reform Medicare, and cut taxes for corporations and individuals. He has also pledged to reduce financial and environmental regulations, saying they have cost Americans jobs. And the deficit? He says he’ll reduce it, mostly by slashing spending.
This week, it’s all up to the voters. Most Americans don’t trust big government: 54 percent think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses. And 59 percent think the federal government has too much power.