The Romney plan consists of no in increase the size of the federal budget or bureaucracy and goes to great lengths to cut spending and streamlines regulation. Romney’s blueprint also points out that his economic recovery program does not promise to immediately create any imaginary number of jobs, because, as he states, “government cannot create jobs—at least not productive ones that contribute to our long-term prosperity.” According to Romney, “it is economic growth, not government growth, that provides productive opportunities for American workers. That is the lesson of these past three years, and one that America has learned well even if the White House has not.”
But the Romney camp does estimate that if implemented, his economic recovery program would create 11.5 million new jobs and lead to 4 percent annual growth in the U.S. economy over a period of four years. While Romney does offer some bold specifics in his plan , it generally is a wide-ranging proposal to create jobs, by among other things, reducing regulations and taxes on companies and reducing or eliminating several other taxes, increasing more U.S. oil, coal, and natural gas production, and expanding trade pacts. Perhaps the most unique aspect of Romney’s plan is his willingness to confront the problems posed to the U.S. economy by China.
In 2008, Romney’s campaign was forceful on the need to insure that the United States became and remained more competitive with China and had greater access to the burgeoning Asian economies that will continue to be vital to jobs and profits here at home. In the 2012 campaign, Romney is prepared to continue to make this issue and his new proposals consists of some strong handed measures that would seek to reduce many of the overbearing influences of big unions which are a detriment to U.S. competition in the world economy and it even proposes sanctions against China in order to force them to capitulate on their unfair currency practices.
The issue of China is one that needs to raised in 2012 and not just in regards to currency policies and their ownership of a vast majority of our national debt. China’s ever expanding military capacity and influence must also be addressed. Of course that is a topic meant for discussion on a day when is not focusing our the economic priorities, but the fact that Mitt Romney is one of the few candidates to voluntarily address the problems we currently have with China, is promising.
Some of the other more immediate and bold initiatives of the Romney plan include what he calls a “Five Bills for Day One” initiative and another which he describes as his “Five Executive Orders for Day One” proposal.
His promised first five executive orders are as follows:
An Order to Pave the Way to End Obamacare
Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health care solutions that work best for them
An Order to Cut Red Tape
Directs all agencies to immediately initiate the elimination of Obama-era regulations that unduly burden the economy or job creation, and then caps annual increases in regulatory costs at zero dollars
An Order to Boost Domestic Energy Production
Directs the Department of the Interior to implement a process for rapid issuance of drilling permits to developers with established safety records seeking to use pre-approved techniques in pre-approved areas
An Order to Sanction China for Unfair Trade Practices
Directs the Department of the Treasury to list China as a currency manipulator in its biannual report and directs the Department of Commerce to assess countervailing duties on Chinese imports if China does not quickly move to float its currency
An Order to Empower American Businesses and Workers
Reverses the executive orders issued by President Obama that tilt the playing field in favor of organized labor, including the one encouraging the use of union labor on major government construction projects
Romney also proposes to immediately present to Congress the following five bills for consideration and passage:
- The American Competitiveness Act which would reduces the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent
- The Open Markets Act which implements the Colombia, Panama, and South Korea Free Trade Agreements.
- The Domestic Energy Act which would directs the Department of the Interior to undertake a comprehensive survey of American energy reserves in partnership with exploration companies and initiates leasing in all areas currently approved for exploration.
- The Retraining Reform Act that consolidates the sprawl of federal retraining programs and returns funding and responsibility for these programs to the states.
- The Down Payment on Fiscal Sanity Act…..an act to immediately cuts non-security discretionary spending by 5 percent, reducing the annual federal budget by $20 billion.
Each of those 10 points provide enough positive fodder for Republicans to consider. Each of them could and should be warmly received by the G.O.P. and even the TEA Party. The problem is that with a plan that consists of 160 pages of explanation, he becomes vulnerable for a Rick Perry or of she runs, a Sarah Palin, to accuse him of trying to complicate things and argue that we all know it is really very simple…….we need to cut spending and simply reduce the size and scope of government. However, on the flipside, had the Romney campaign not issued a substantial program, Mitt would have been open to ridicule from the left for being an empty suit.
Ultimately, Romney made the right call to issue the type of lengthy report he did. While many of his proposals are simple enough to turn into the type of bullet points that answers to an electorate with Attention Deficit Order, he can also point critics on the left, to the exact page and details that support each of his economic ideas. While this all makes for the best possible strategic move he could have possibly made at this time, and while it was well executed, I am still left wanting something more. And in the end, I think the ginned up conservative base and TEA movement will to.
This is an election year where the G.O.P. does not want the status quo. They do not want another McCain or Dole and unless Romney proves to be bolder than his economic plan inititally seems, he will just be viewed as an accountant adding and subtracting the numbers that someone gives him. This year I, and I believe many others out there, want a candidate who is a bit of a rebel and very much an anti-establishmentarian. For that reason, while I applaud Romney’s plan for being a good example of a low tax, pro-growth agenda and for being very soiund policy, I wish he would have gone a step further with his proposals.
For instance, while Romney’s plan reduces corporate taxes to 25%, this past Saturday Sarah Palin proposed getting rid of it altogether. While Romney proposes reducing regulations and even the size of the bureaucracy, candidates like Ron Paul are out there proposing the elimination of whole government Departments. While Romney tinkers with the tax code in an attempt to make it flatter, candidates like Herman Cain are out there calling for our tax code to be totally scrapped. For that reason, the one thing I believe the Romney plan really lacked was an example of “major” reform…….something that dramatically changes the business that Washington does, not just how Washington does business. For my part, I would have liked to see Mitt prove himself to be a real conservative reformer, a conservative with a Jack Kemp-like passion for supply-side economics and was committed enough to the cause to propose a Flat Tax. Such a tax would produce the quickest and most dramatic boost to our economic malaise. As it has done for every single nation that has adopted a Flat Tax, it would lead to profound rate of national economic growth and if there is one thing we need as the nation braces for an Obama led double dip recession, it is quick and dramatic economic growth.
Not proposing a Flat Tax was a missed opportunity for Romney, for Republicans, and for the nation.
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