RELEASE: CAP Action: Romney-Ryan Policies Will Have Negative Effect on Communities of Color

The Impact of Mitt Romney’s Policies on Essential Programs for People of Color

By Vanessa Cárdenas | August 16, 2012

Washington, D.C. — Today, CAP Action’s Progress 2050, a project focused on the changing demographics of our nation and its implications for our economic future, released a report entitled “The Impact of Mitt Romney’s Policies on Essential Programs for People of Color.” In events and speeches in the past, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has indicated that his economic policies are the key to fix communities of color’s economic well-being. And with his decision to choose Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his running mate, those economic positions seem to be all the more defined. This report takes a closer look at Gov. Romney’s and Rep. Ryan’s stated positions on key issues that matter to all Americans, especially communities of color, showing that these policies would hinder their progress rather than help.

From policies on jobs, housing, and education to policies on immigration and health care, the Romney-Ryan plan to prosperity would push communities of color further away from the ladder of opportunity and the American Dream. The following are key highlights from the report:

Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan on jobs and the economy: “Cut at all costs”

Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan have thus far shown a deep disregard for these communities’ economic struggles. By embracing and promoting a “cut at all costs” approach, they threaten to push further down those individuals and families who are already barely holding on and worsen the economic outlook of the next generations of Americans. Rep. Ryan’s “Believe in America” plan would slash vital programs for the poor and middle classes, repeal the Affordable Care Act, and gut Medicare and Social Security.

Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan on housing: “Let it hit the bottom”

Communities of color were most affected by the implosion of our housing market. Latinos and African Americans have a foreclosure rate that is nearly double that of whites—11.9 percent and 9.8 percent for Latinos and African Americans, respectively, compared to 5 percent for whites in 2011. In October 2011 Gov. Romney stated, “Don’t try to stop the foreclosure process, let it run its course and hit the bottom.” Gov. Romney also elaborated on this position during a Republican presidential debate on June 19, where he said that the right thing to do is to let the markets work, while condemning the idea of the federal government interceding to help families avoid foreclosure.

Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan on immigration: “Self-deportation”

Mitt Romney has not only made it clear that he would do nothing to fix our dysfunctional immigration system, but he has also called for a policy of “self-deportation” for undocumented immigrants and promised to veto the DREAM Act. Rep. Ryan for his part voted for the Sensenbrenner bill, which made it a crime to be in the country as an undocumented immigrant. Ryan also voted against the DREAM Act.

Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan on Social Security: “Raise the retirement age”

Gov. Romney’s plan to raise the retirement age for Social Security eligibility would have a disproportionately negative impact on Latinos and African Americans because Social Security is the primary or only income source in retirement for these communities. African American and Latino workers tend to be in worse health than their white counterparts at older ages, tend to have lower life expectancies, and tend to have less retirement wealth outside of Social Security. Raising the retirement age is an across-the-board benefit cut that especially impacts communities of color who already disproportionately depend on Social Security.

Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan on health care: “Repeal Obamacare”

Communities of color fare far worse than their white counterparts across a range of health indicators—life expectancy, infant mortality, prevalence of chronic diseases, self-rated health status, insurance coverage, and many others. Yet Gov. Romney has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which includes numerous provisions that are explicitly intended to reduce health disparities and improve the health of racially and ethnically diverse populations, including expanding coverage to those who currently have no health insurance and providing financial assistance to help those with lower incomes purchase coverage. In addition, Obamacare has already helped more than 1 million young people of color by allowing them to access health care through their parents’ insurance. Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan have offered no alternative to Obamacare.

Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan on education: “Reduce Pell Grants and Head Start”

One standout feature of the Romney-endorsed Ryan budget is that it would deliver the biggest reductions to funding of Pell Grants in program history. It would cut the Pell Grant program by $200 billion, which could “ultimately knock more than one million students off” the program over the next 10 years, and would reduce the number of low-income students receiving bachelor’s degrees each year by as much as 61,000.

The Romney-approved Ryan budget would also cut programs like Head Start by 20 percent. An analysis by the National Education Association estimated that close to 200,000 children would lose Head Start classroom slots by 2014, but more alarmingly, this would amount to 2 million children over the next decade that would not be able to attend Head Start. According to the National Education Association, this would also cause the loss of more than 61,000 slots for low-income children in the program and more than 22,000 jobs in fiscal year 2013.

Despite all the evidence pointing to the struggles of communities of color, Gov. Romney and Rep. Ryan continue to advocate for cuts to needed programs while offering $2.24 trillion in tax cuts to the top 1 percent earners over 10 years. We need a president and a vice president committed to ensuring that the economic ladder ascending to the middle class remains strong and available to the next generation of Americans. The Romney-Ryan economic plan is far from delivering that.

To read the full report, click here.

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To speak to experts on this topic, please contact Laura Pereyra at or 202.203.8689.

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