Would Mitt Romney be a better president for architects? The conservative answer from Philip Klein is “yes,” on account of Romney’s promise to lower the tax burden for all Americans, and business owners in particular. But this is a bit misleading. Conservatives present the alternative as the status quo with lower taxes. But the actual alternative is lower taxes coupled with significant cuts to social services, and lower investment in infrastructure and research.
For example, repeal of the Affordable Care Act would throw the insurance market into disarray, and put health insurance out of reach for many small business owners. Romney’s plan for across-the-board tax cuts, higher defense spending, and a balanced budget would require large spending cuts in other areas. Pell Grants, among other programs for college students, would be on the chopping block. This would be a significant blow to potential architecture students, especially ones from low-income families.
More broadly, Romney’s spending cuts would take billions out of the economy and slow the recovery for individuals and small businesses. And his plan to repeal Dodd-Frank financial regulations would set up a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis.
It’s possible that Romney’s promised adherence to his most conservative base is a ruse—a necessary sop to the ideological gatekeepers of the Republican Party. But if Romney is prepared to mislead his core supporters, what reason is there to believe that he’ll hold to any commitments once in office?
The safer bet is to assume that—as with most presidents—Romney will work to fulfill his promises. In which case, the pledged cuts are sure to come, and architects are certain to suffer.