AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
Published Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011 | 1:21 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011 | 3:23 p.m.
With a North Las Vegas trucking company as a backdrop, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney unveiled his plan to turn around the economy, calling for a modernized American economy by harkening back to the nation’s global economic dominance of the 1950s and 60s.
The former Massachusetts governor’s plan called for lowering taxes on corporations and individuals -- including eliminating taxes on personal savings -- reducing regulations on businesses -- including to allow increased domestic energy production -- expanding free trade and reigning in the federal budget.
"In the first four years, if I'm lucky enough to be president, this will grow the economy at approximately 4 percent per year, it will add 11.5 million new jobs for Americans," he said.
At one point he offered this would-be campaign catchphrase: “Growth is the answer, not government.”
Romney, who concluded his remarks at 1:20 p.m. PDT, addressed a crowd of about 200 supporters at McCandless International Trucks, near Interstate 15 and Cheyenne Avenue.
North Las Vegas has been a favorite backdrop for Romney, who stopped there in April to highlight the country's employment problems, returned in June to film a campaign commercial to decry President Barack Obama's jobs record and chose it again to underscore the area's 14 percent unemployment rate.
Romney said his plan -- presented without the use of a Teleprompter, “not that there’s anything wrong with that,” he joked in a jab at Obama -- would cut the national unemployment rate to 5.9 percent by the end of his first term.
The plan is sweeping, covering 59 points in seven broad subjects -- taxes, regulation, trade, energy, labor, human capital and government finances -- and also including five bills and five executive orders he would submit on his first day in office.
Among the highlights:
• A call for no taxes on savings or dividends for middle class Americans, whom he defines, as the Obama administration does, as an individual earning less than $200,000 a year. The corporate tax rate would be cut to 25 percent.
• Limiting new government regulations: Introduction of a new regulation would require the elimination of an old one. He did not say where he would scale back government oversight.
• His most unusual proposal: creation of a "'Reagan Economic Zone,' a partnership among countries committed to free enterprise and free trade."
The proposal is aimed at China, which he said steals our technology and intellectual property and has manipulated their currency to detriment of the American manufacturing base by keeping their products cheap.
“I don’t want a trade war, but I don’t want a trade surrender either,” Romney said.
• Loosening restrictions on fossil fuel extraction. “We’re an energy rich nation, but we’re living like an energy-poor nation,” he said. At the same time he attacked renewable energy, calling it in written materials the “unhealthy green jobs obsession.” To the crowd, he said, “Where are all those green jobs?”
• Not allowing union dues to be used for political purposes.
• Creating personal reemployment accounts, which would, in effect, privatize federal job retraining.
• A balanced budget amendment, capping federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product. He assumes his policies will prompt the economy to grow by 4 percent a year.
Romney vowed to introduce five bills on his first day in office to: reduce the corporate income tax 25 percent; implement a free trade agreement with Colombia, Panama and South Korea; allow energy drilling in all areas currently approved for exploration; consolidate federal job retraining programs and give money and responsibility to the states; cutting nonsecurity discretionary spending by 5 percent, or $20 billion.
Also on the first day in office he would issue five executive orders, including a universal waiver for the new health care law; to halt all Obama administration regulations; to examine trade sanctions against China; to prohibit unions from using dues for elections.
Even before Romney delivered his remarks, Democrats presented a response. State Sen. Steven Horsford, D-North Las Vegas, said Romney, who led Bain Capital, a venture capital firm, "has made a living killing middle class jobs to increase profits for big corporations and CEOs."
"I welcome Governor Romney to Nevada... But I would ask him to talk to those who will be impacted negatively by his proposals, not just the corporations that will benefit from them," Horsford said. "We don’t appreciate Governor Romney coming here and using our hardships as a photo-op for his campaign."