Romney unveils economic proposals
Just two days before President Barack Obama is set to give his jobs speech before a joint session of Congress, Mitt Romney laid out his proposals to get the economy moving again. Here is the red meat from Romney’s editorial in USA Today:
Only the individual initiative of entrepreneurs, workers, investors and inventors enables companies, and our economy as a whole, to flourish. We must once again unleash the tremendous economic potential of the American people. The contrast between what the Obama administration has done and what I would do as president could not be starker.
First, President Obama has raised or threatened to raise taxes on both individuals and businesses. I would press hard in the opposite direction. Marginal income tax rates and tax rates on savings and investment must be kept low. Further, taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for middle-income taxpayers should be eliminated. Our corporate tax rate is among the world’s highest. It leaves U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage and induces them to park their profits abroad, benefiting the rest of the world at our expense. I will fix these problems with permanent solutions. Ultimately, I will press for a total overhaul of our overly complex and inefficient system of taxation.
With scant regard for the costs imposed on consumers and businesses, President Obama has vastly expanded the regulatory reach of government. The federal government has estimated the price tag for its regulations at $1.75 trillion. I will pare back regulation, including eliminating “ObamaCare.” I will direct every government agency to limit annual increases in regulatory costs to zero. The impact of any proposed new regulation must be offset by removing another regulation of equivalent cost. Every one of President Obama’s regulations must be scrutinized, and those that unduly burden job creation must be axed.
Seeking to pay back political favors, President Obama has catered to the institutional interests of union bosses at the expense of both workers and businesses. I will fight against measures that deprive workers of basic rights, such as the secret ballot. And I will not tolerate federal intrusions of the kind that the National Labor Relations Board initiated when it filed suit against Boeing for opening a plant in a right-to-work state.
We also need a rational system for worker retraining, instead of the existing 47 separate programs run by nine federal agencies. America can have the world’s most competitive workforce, and under my leadership, we will.
Finally, President Obama has engaged in a massive spending binge of choice. He threw dollars at every problem he encountered, running up the national debt and accomplishing worse than nothing in exchange. I will restore fiscal discipline by cutting the federal budget and placing an ironclad cap on spending. I will also press for a Constitutional amendment to balance the budget. Tellingly, while the private sector shed 1.8 million jobs since Barack Obama took office, the federal workforce grew by 142,500, or almost 7%. A rollback is urgently required.
As this catalogue of differences makes clear, our country has arrived at a fork in the road. In one direction lies the heavy hand of the state, indebtedness and decline. In the other direction lies limited government, free enterprise and economic growth. I know which direction is the American way. And I know in which direction lie the millions of jobs we need.
The 88-page plan, which James Pethokoukis notes looks like his plan from 2008, has been posted on Romney’s website. At first glance, I see some things that really stick out as positives, including the proposed 25% corporate income tax and passing free trade agreements. Other parts of it seem tepid, such as the 5% or $20 billion in immediate non-defense discretionary spending cuts (that’s all?).
His tax plan isn’t nearly as ambitious as what Jon Huntsman recently put forward. Romney would maintain current tax rates, reduce taxes on investments and eliminate the death tax. That’s all well and good, but he dedicates a paragraph on the “long-term goal” to reform the tax code.
Perhaps another problem keeping Romney’s economic plan from really gaining interest among conservatives and libertarians is because his economic advisors, Glenn Hubbard and Gregory Mankiw, have backed some questionable tax policies in the past; including carbon taxes and cap-and-trade. Romney’s own positions energy policy are, like so many other issues, a reason for distrust among the GOP base.
Frankly, I’m not sold on it. Romney has been running for president since McCain lost in 2008 and he really hasn’t come up with anything new. That and his frequent position changes are among the reasons that FreedomWorks and tea party groups are criticizing him so harshly. He deserves it.