Moreover, Obama's health care law came into effect in 2010. Over the period since then, the total cost of a family plan is $1,975 higher on average, and the share paid by workers is up $319 in that time — altogether a far cry from the notion that Obamacare is already costing families thousands of dollars a year. Indeed, Kaiser's experts, along with nonpartisan analysts in the government, say Obama's law thus far has played only a marginal role in rising costs. Its main effects don't start until 2014, when coverage expansion kicks off. Obama has clearly oversold the ability of his law to bring costs down, but Romney's assertion that it already is breaking the bank is fanciful.
OBAMA in Green Bay: :
—"Another $5 trillion tax cut that favors the wealthy isn't change."
—"But if the price of peace in Washington is cutting deals that will kick students off of financial aid, or get rid of funding for Planned Parenthood, or eliminate health care for millions on Medicaid who are poor or elderly or disabled, just to give a millionaire a tax cut, I'm not having it."
THE FACTS: This supercharged critique of Romney's agenda assigns a misleading price tag to the Republican's tax plan, which calls for tax cuts for all income groups, not just millionaires. Romney is not proposing to "eliminate health care" for Medicaid recipients or to throw students to the wolves, although it's within the bounds of political debate to assume the worst of your rival's policy ideas.
Obama gets the $5 trillion figure from a forecast by the Tax Policy Center that Romney's tax cuts would reduce federal revenue by $465 billion in 2015 — in the ballpark of $5 trillion if spread over 10 years. But Obama is ignoring a crucial feature of the plan: that Romney says he would greatly lower its cost by reducing or eliminating some tax credits, deductions and exemptions, especially for wealthier taxpayers. Romney won't be specific, but it's clear $5 trillion is just one side of the equation.
ROMNEY in Roanoke: "We're gonna create 12 million new jobs and more take-home pay."
THE FACTS: Romney never gets to the nitty-gritty of how these jobs would be created. He merely sketches a general five-point plan calling for lower taxes, more trade, better worker training, deficit cuts and accelerated energy production.
Still, he could well succeed in this goal, because it is not particularly ambitious.
Most economists think that about that many jobs will return over the next four years no matter who wins, absent another big economic setback. It doesn't take boom times to create jobs at a rate of 3 million a year.
To reach Romney's job pledge, the workforce would have to grow at an average of 250,000 a month. While that's above recently depressed averages, it's not abnormally high for non-recessionary times when the economy is growing at close to 3 percent or higher. Since July, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month.
In essence, then, Romney with this claim is promising a return to modest economic growth. Saying 12 million jobs sounds better.
Associated Press writers Tom Raum and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.
EDITOR'S NOTE _ An occasional look at political claims that take shortcuts with the facts or don't tell the full story
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