Rom­ney vows 11.5 mil­lion new jobs, 4 per­cent growth rate

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY STEPHEN DI­NAN

NORTH LAS VE­GAS, Nev. | Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Mitt Rom­ney on Sept. 6 called for a broad re­write of the re­la­tion­ship be­tween busi­nesses and Washington, promis­ing an an­nual growth rate of 4 per­cent and 11.5 mil­lion more jobs un­der a Rom­ney ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Mr. Rom­ney’s speech was the cur­tain-raiser for an ac­tive week on eco­nomic is­sues and in the pres­i­den­tial cam­paign, which is gear­ing up af­ter La­bor Day. Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates held de­bate in Cal­i­for­nia on Sept. 7, and Pres­i­dent Obama fol­lowed the next night with a ma­jor ad­dress to a joint ses­sion of Congress.

Mr. Rom­ney, who was a oneterm gov­er­nor of Mas­sachusetts, called for cut­ting govern­ment reg­u­la­tions and took par­tic­u­lar aim at China, ar­gu­ing that the top U.S. com­peti­tor for the po­si­tion as the world’s lead­ing econ­omy is ma­nip­u­lat­ing its currency and must face con­se­quences if it does not abide by in­ter­na­tional trade rules.

“I’ll clamp down on the cheaters, and China’s the worst ex­am­ple of that,” he said as he stood be­neath a ban­ner that read, “Day one, job one.” “We’re not go­ing to have a trade war, but we’re not go­ing to have a trade sur­ren­der, ei­ther.”

The jobs is­sue has dom­i­nated pol­i­tics over the past three years as the econ­omy hit a deep re­ces­sion and sput­tered in re­cov­er­ing. Sept. 3 brought news that the econ­omy did not add any net jobs in Au­gust.

Mr. Rom­ney, who ran an in­vest­ment fund be­fore turn­ing to pol­i­tics, re­peat­edly blamed the pres­i­dent for sti­fling the econ­omy by ex­pand­ing govern­ment with­out pro­mot­ing growth.

“He’s not a bad guy. He just doesn’t have a clue what to do,” Mr. Rom­ney said, call­ing the pres­i­dent’s eco­nomic plans “a pay-phone strat­egy, and we’re a smart­phone world.”

The Demo­cratic National Com­mit­tee, in a memo is­sued be­fore his speech, said Mr. Rom­ney was re­hash­ing old ideas and con­tended that his de­sire to win tea party vot­ers in the Repub­li­can pri­mary is cost­ing him cred­i­bil­ity.

“By adopt­ing the ex­treme pol­icy pre­scrip­tions of the tea party, we know Mitt Rom­ney’s vi­sion is of an Amer­ica that has to lower its sights, can’t re­al­ize its full po­ten­tial and has to put the nar­row in­ter­ests of the priv­i­leged few ahead of ev­ery­one else,” the DNC said.

It also sought to turn his re­al­world busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence against him, say­ing he laid off work­ers dur­ing his time as head of Bain Cap­i­tal LLC, the pri­vate eq­uity firm he ran.

Mr. Rom­ney pointed to the firm’s in­vest­ment in Sta­ples, the of­fice-sup­ply chain that he said some had ar­gued against fund­ing, but which is now re­spon­si­ble for 90,000 jobs.

Mr. Rom­ney is run­ning sec­ond in national sur­veys of the GOP’s pres­i­den­tial field, hav­ing sur­ren­dered the lead last month to Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

In a state­ment, Mark Miner, a spokesman for Mr. Perry, said Mr. Rom­ney failed to cre­ate a job-pro­duc­ing environment dur­ing his term as gov­er­nor of Mas­sachusetts and whiffed when he could have in­sti­tuted some of the poli­cies he an­nounced in his speech.

Still, given his cre­den­tials, Mr. Rom­ney’s eco­nomic speech is likely to be the stan­dard by which the other Repub­li­can can­di­dates will be judged, and it in­evitably will be con­trasted with Mr. Obama’s speech.

Mr. Rom­ney spoke from notes, but not from a pre­pared speech, and drew a large ova­tion when he pointed out that he wasn’t speak­ing from a teleprompter.

He ad­dressed a small crowd at a truck deal­er­ship in North Las Ve­gas.

Ne­vada is slated to hold the third nom­i­nat­ing con­test in next year’s pri­mary sea­son, with its cau­cuses fol­low­ing Iowa’s firstin-the-na­tion con­test and New Hamp­shire’s pri­mary.

In con­junc­tion with his speech, his cam­paign pro­duced a 59-point plan, de­tailed in a 160-page book, that called for elim­i­nat­ing taxes on cap­i­tal gains, div­i­dends and in­ter­est on Amer­i­cans with in­comes of up to $200,000. He also pro­posed:

Re­view­ing and re­peal­ing many of the reg­u­la­tions writ­ten dur­ing Mr. Obama’s ten­ure.

Curb­ing unions by mak­ing dif­fer­ent ap­point­ments to the National La­bor Re­la­tions Board and by push­ing for changes to la­bor laws that would es­tab­lish a se­cret bal­lot in union elec­tions.

Of­fer­ing more visas to en­cour­age highly skilled for­eign­ers to work in the U.S.

Cut­ting non-de­fense dis­cre­tionary spend­ing by 5 per­cent, re­duc­ing the fed­eral work­force by 10 per­cent through at­tri­tion, and cap­ping over­all fed­eral govern­ment spend­ing at 20 per­cent of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct.

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