Monday, October 22, 2012


Romney can lead economy forward

Oct. 20, 2012 06:49 PMThe Republic |
The last U.S. president to attempt transformative social change on the scale attempted by President Barack Obama was Lyndon B. Johnson, who in 1964 launched his Great Society.

Times were different then. At the end of Johnson's term, the national debt stood at just $353 billion, representing an annual growth rate during the five-plus years of Johnson's presidency of just over three percent. The nation's debts then were under control.

Fair or not, the debt monster since then has grown unimaginably, forcing its harsh reality into every new discussion about federal spending.

Not counting long-term unfunded liabilities tied to Social Security and to many of those Johnson-era programs, the nation is more than $16 trillion in real-time debt, one of the greatest financial-debt burdens in modern history.

Our belief that Republican Mitt Romney should be elected the 45th president of the United States is anchored in that tough reality.

We believe the nation's best opportunity to escape the compounding woes of spiraling debt and economic stagnation lies with a president who believes in the free market's capacity to heal its own wounds.

That leader is Romney. The nation's economy now is in desperate need of the kind of jobs-creating animal spirits that President Romney would encourage.

The economy indisputably will benefit, perhaps significantly, from a flatter, fairer system of taxation along the lines proposed by Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan.

It will benefit, too, from a regulatory environment that does not smother small businesses with punitive, anti-competitive, hoop-jumping requirements that favor their bigger competitors. We expect a Romney administration to foster that kind of growth-oriented, business-friendly environment.

But, more to the point, we expect better job growth in a Romney economy mostly because Mitt Romney does not fear or dislike a free-wheeling, growing, free-market economy.

We cannot say the same of President Obama.

In our judgment, the economy will not fully revive under Obama. Certainly not to the degree it would thrive if Washington, D.C., would only get past its current "Dodd-Frank" frame of mind, its free-market-fearing sense that the terrible times will come crashing back if Washington lets those scalawags of the private sector loose again.

The president's proposals for a second administration project scant hope that the economy will do much more than stumble forward at the current, anemic, sub-two-percent rate of growth. The 23 million Americans either unemployed, scraping by in part-time, low-paid jobs or not looking for work anymore need to see a commitment to revival. And, simply put, Obama isn't offering them much. Not in his vision of the future as illustrated in debates thus far. And certainly not in the record of his first term as president.

The reason Obama's infamous "You didn't build that" comment on July 13 in Roanoke, Va., resonated among his political opponents wasn't because it revealed some great secret.

It resonated because it validated a suspicion that the president has done little to dismiss. He has consolidated federal power and reach in health care, banking, the auto industry and energy production. He has fostered the view that all good economic things flow from Washington.

Obama's very first proposal to revive the economy -- initiated in February 2009 when the economy was shedding more than 600,000 jobs a month -- in fact was highlighted in large part by his plans for government-centric health-care reform. That, remember, was when we learned how crises were too valuable to waste.

Mitt Romney, certainly, would not a perfect president make. But he is far, far removed from the grotesque caricature of the heartless plutocrat created by the Obama campaign and its allies.

Democrats from Bill Clinton to Cory Booker defended Romney's work at the much-maligned Bain Capital for a reason: because it has been financial engines like Bain that have helped power the American economy.

America needs a return to that kind of economic power, that kind of jobs-creating energy.

The nation's best chance for reviving those spirits lies with Mitt Romney.

The Arizona Republic recommends Mitt Romney for president of the United States.

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