Romney’s Economic Plan

Earlier today, Mitt Romney released his plan to revive America’s economy. You can read it in its entirety here. Most of its prescriptions will sound familiar; in general, they are pretty standard conservative fare. Taken together, however, they are quite impressive.

Romney begins with five bills he would introduce and five executive orders he would issue on his first day in office:

FIVE BILLS FOR DAY ONE

The American Competitiveness Act
• Reduces the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent

The Open Markets Act
• Implements the Colombia, Panama, and South Korea Free Trade Agreements

The Domestic Energy Act
• 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
• 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
• Immediately cuts non-security discretionary spending by 5 percent, reducing the annual federal budget by $20 billion

FIVE EXECUTIVE ORDERS FOR DAY ONE

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

That, of course, is only the beginning. I have had time only to skim Romney’s proposals, but they are worth studying in detail. Romney is blunt in calling President Obama a failure; this graph, which contrasts the Obama “recovery” with previous recoveries from recessions, pretty much says it all:

Democrats liked to call the recovery that took place early in the George W. Bush administration a “jobless recovery.” Today, for the first time America is experiencing a “jobloss recovery.”

Romney understands, and emphasizes, that regulatory costs are just as important as high taxes. This chart is revealing:

The estimate of the cost of regulation comes from the federal government itself.

Romney also ridicules President Obama’s claim to have initiated an “unprecedented” effort to cut costly red tape. Here is the real Obama record on regulation:

There is much more. I will try to return to Romney’s proposals in days to come, but in the meantime I would urge you to take a look.

As far as I know, no one doubts Romney’s competence. Some members of the GOP base question whether Romney means what he says, and can be counted on, when in office, to fulfill his promises. I can understand that skepticism as applied to the social issues, where Romney’s record is indeed inconsistent. But is there any reason to doubt that Romney is serious about his economic proposals and will work hard to implement them? Not that I can see.

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