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Poll: Romney leads on economy ahead of debate

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Betsi Fores
The Daily Caller News Foundation

Republican challenger Mitt Romney leads President Barack Obama in handling the economy ahead of the first debate Wednesday night, according to the latest from Gallup.

“Romney’s economic advantage is important, given that the economy is Americans’ overriding concern this election year. However, that advantage alone is not enough to make Romney the leader in the presidential campaign,” Gallup reports.

Questions on the state of the economy and each candidate’s proposed tax plan will be central to the debate, which will cover domestic policy issues.

“I expect to hear at the debate there will undoubtedly be questions  of tax policy, and I would suspect that a lot of it would be centered around this point, is Governor Romney trying to raise taxes on the middle class,” AEI research fellow Alex Brill said on a conference call Tuesday.

“I think the question’s misplaced,” Brill continued. “The question should really be is the tax code one that’s working well, and if it’s not, what are the steps to make it better. On that front, Governor Romney has outlined what his vision for tax reform would be. President Obama obviously has a detailed budget himself, …but it’s not one that I think could be described as a tax reform proposal, it’s rather centered around increasing tax burdens…that’s a stark difference….and deserving of inquiring on Wednesday.”

The Tax Policy Center concluded that Romney’s tax plan would raise taxes on the middle class. Several subsequent analyses of the tax plan have disputed this assertion.

“On the fiscal front, there’s an important discussion between the longer fiscal imbalance, and the short term fiscal cliff,”AEI resident scholar Alan Viard explained.

“There is a potential difference difference in visions between he two candidates,” he continued. “I would expect that there’ll be some discussion about the permanent state of the 2001-2003 tax cuts, which is also a short term issue on the cliff, but the long term will be how much revenue we are raising for the country,” adding that the issue of tax cuts brings up issues of income distribution as well as the effects on small businesses.

A preliminary jobs report from ADP employer service show employers hiring 162,000 new workers in the month of September. The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release their official jobs report Friday.

The labor force participation rate suggests that the labor market is far from recovery according to Aparna Mathur, former World Bank consultant and resident scholar at AEI.

“There’s been a lot of talk about the Obama administration’s track record on job creation. Starting from January 2009 when he took office ,the private sector has added 868,000 jobs, the public sector has lost 743,000 jobs, the economy as a whole has therefore added 123,000 jobs.

Mathur goes on to explain that the BLS recently made a change in its benchmark provision to its unemployment numbers for 2011. The BLS had not accounted for 386,000 jobs, which will be added to the upcoming jobs report and have a huge impact on the unemployment debate.

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