Mitt Romney -- The
New Ronald Reagan
While many conservatives have criticized Romney for not being ideological enough (and some of that criticism is fair), they seem to have a blind spot for something that should be blindingly obvious: Mitt Romney is the most economically conservative Republican candidate for President since Ronald Reagan.
A fair-minded and thorough review of Romney's interviews, speeches, and proposals, reveals a heartening emphasis on free enterprise, low tax rates, economic freedom, federal spending cuts, free trade, and a free-market approach to such supposedly intractable social problems as health care, education, and the alleviation of poverty.
After his recent trip to Israel, Romney wrote an essay called “Culture Does Matter,” in which he made a robust defense of his much-maligned statement that culture plays a key role in the prosperity of peoples and nations.
“One feature of our culture that propels the American economy stands out above all others: freedom," wrote Romney. "The American economy is fueled by freedom. Free people and their free enterprises are what drive our economic vitality … economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in lifting people out of poverty . . . the only principle that has ever created sustained prosperity.”
Who was the last Republican leader who spoke in those terms? Ronald Reagan.
And recall Romney's words last month when he entered the lion's den at the NAACP:
“Free enterprise is still the greatest force for upward mobility, economic security, and the expansion of the middle class.”
The crowd booed lustily when Romney told them he opposed Obamacare -- an event that got widespread attention on YouTube and the like. But to its very great credit the NAACP audience gave Romney a standing ovation at the end of his speech -- in recognition of the worthiness of his philosophy of governance.
And in opposition to President Obama's infamous and revealing "You didn't built that" gaffe, Romney counters: “This is an ideology which says, ‘Hey, we’re all the same here, we oughta take from all and give to one another,’ and that achievement, individual initiative, risk-taking, and success are not to be rewarded as they have [been] in the past.”
Romney called the President's assertion exactly what it is: an upside-down philosophy that "does not comport with the American experience." This is surely how Ronald Reagan would have put it.
Should he be elected, Mitt Romney's economic plan would do the following:
⁃ Reduce the the federal government's spending share of GDP from 24% to 20 % by 2016 -- in other words, the largest proposed spending cut ever.
⁃ The net savings of that cut over time could be as much as $1.8 trillion, which could finance the following:
⁃ Deficit reduction
⁃ Pro-growth tax reform
⁃ Under this plan personal tax rates would be slashed by 20%
⁃ Tax deductions for upper-income payers would be limited or cut
⁃ America's corporate tax rate would be cut from 35% to 25%
Romney and his economic team believe this plan would produce 4 percent annual growth -- and create 12 million new jobs in his first term.
These are specific policies, which, experience tells us, will lead to specific, positive economic results. Mitt Romney is arguing that a free-enterprise, supply-side program will rejuvenate jobs and economic growth. And he backs this up with an unmistakable philosophy of economic freedom. It’s the backbone of his thinking, and it connects to policies that will restore American prosperity. And we've seen it work before -- under the presidency of Ronald Reagan.
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