Romney in the News

Romney hit the home page of Yahoo! tonight with a story about his criticizing of the current “stimulus” package that passed the house. Despite the fact that much of the speech referenced by the article was on the economy and the risk of wasting billions of borrowed money on pork barrel projects, the article focuses on Romney’s comments about abortion. I must say, I hope Obama has to pay one day politically for spending tax payer dollars overseas to pay for abortions.

News From #TCOT

#TCOT is a group on Twitter.com that shares info and promotes conservative causes. To read what they are writing just go to Twitter.com and search the hash-tag “#tcot”. Or you can just click here.

TCOT stands for “Top Conservatives on Twitter”. Their website can found here. They also run a news website a la Drudge which is called The TCOT Report.

ANYWAYS… There were a few interesting articles that popped up that I wanted to include in a news round-up for the day: (click titles to follow link)

1 – Obama Authorizes $20 Million in Aid to Gaza Palestinians

2 – More tax problems for Obama’s Cabinet? This time it’s Daschle.

3 – The 40 year wish list. The Dem’s bill is not a “stimulus” bill, just another “spending” bill

4 – A few earmarks included in that spending bill

I knew I wasn’t going to like an Obama presidency, but this is already far worse than I thought. Can we please, please, purty please turn back the clock and elect Romney instead?

~Nate Gunderson

Romney’s Remarks to the House Republican Retreat

Just received this in my in-box. It can also be found at the Free and Strong America PAC blog

It is like sweet music to my ears. I’m wishing more than ever that Romney was at the helm instead of Obama. I’m so glad to see him called on continually to speak to the Republican leadership.

Governor Romney today delivered the following remarks to the House Republican Conference Retreat hosted by the Congressional Institute at the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia.

As prepared for delivery
January 30, 2009

Thank you for the warm welcome. And thank you for the vote you took this week. You stood strong. You stood for principle. You put the best interests of the American people ahead of politics. I got some calls yesterday, after the news. They said what I feel. We want you to know that we’re proud of you.

It sure feels good to be in a room full of Republicans who came out ahead on Election Day. You can be proud of your success. And don’t be afraid to remind the President of this: you, too, won your election.

After my own campaign was over, Ann and I just wanted to get away from it all. We ended up in Beijing, about as far away as you can get. We went to the Olympic Games, and one of the events we attended was women’s beach volleyball. I noticed a lot of people looking in our direction, pointing toward us and taking pictures. It’s always nice to be recognized, and I told Ann, let’s be sure to smile and look our best. Ann said, they might like us even more if we got out of the way—Kobe Bryant is standing right behind you.

A few months have passed since the election. It’s enough time to consider the outcome and take stock of our party’s future. I want to make clear that I’m optimistic: our ideas are good, our agenda will make America stronger, and your action this week showed that we have the kind of leaders who will stand up for what they believe in.

I have often been asked what I think the Republican Party must do to recover. What I’ve said is this: My first concern isn’t about our party—it’s about our country.

In fact, the two are closely related. The best way for us to advance the prospects of our party is to do what we know is right for the country. This is what the American people expect of us. And that’s what we should expect of ourselves.

This is a time of hardship and uncertainty for millions of Americans. The question is: whose leadership and ideas will turn things around. And in such a moment, it’s our job to offer the clear answers, the proven solutions, and resolute leadership that will make this country strong again.

The new President and the Congressional majority are having a difficult time doing that. After all, they have a lot of campaign rhetoric to make good on. And they’ve got plenty of special interests to pay back. As the opposition party, we’re entirely free to do what is right for the country. There are certain advantages to that kind of freedom, and I suggest we make the most of them.

That begins with a clear analysis of what’s needed to get the economy moving again. Predictions that we are almost out of the woods, based on the length of prior recessions, are wishful thinking. Americans have lost some 11 trillion dollars in net worth. That translates into about 400 billion dollars less annual consumer spending in the economy.

There’s something else people don’t talk much about: The pool of investment capital—all the money available for new investments, business start-ups, business expansions, capital expenditures, and new hiring. The size of that pool has shrunk by trillions of dollars. This was a huge loss in value, and the effect could be felt for years—in businesses that don’t start up or grow, in jobs that don’t get created.

Given these extraordinary conditions, I am convinced that a stimulus is needed.

So why not just spend and borrow with reckless abandon? Because we’re in a very delicate situation that could easily get worse if Washington does the wrong thing. The package which passed the House is a huge increase in the amount of government borrowing. And we’ve borrowed so much already, that if we add too much more debt, or spend foolishly, we could invite an even bigger crisis. We could precipitate a worldwide crisis of confidence in America, leading to a run on the dollar … or hyper-inflation that wipes out family savings and devastates the middle class.

We’re on an economic tightrope. That’s why it is so important to exercise extreme care and good judgment.

So far, the Democratic leadership hasn’t shown a great deal of that. They’ve passed 355 billion in infrastructure spending, 60% of which won’t be spent by the end of 2010. Billions for electronic medical health records—it’s a fine idea, but it won’t produce jobs for years and years.

Even worse are the liberal payoffs—50 million dollars for the National Endowment for the Arts, hundreds of millions of dollars to the states for STD prevention and education. Until your loud protests got it dropped from the bill, there even was 200 million dollars for the DC Mall. That might have grown some grass, but it wouldn’t have grown the economy. And they’re doing this when the economy is on a tightrope.

It’s still early in the administration of President Obama. Like everyone who loves this country, I want him to adopt correct principles and then to succeed. He still has a chance to step in and insist on spending discipline among the members of his own party. It’s his job to set priorities. I hope for America’s sake that he knows that a Chief Executive can’t vote “present.” He can’t let others run the show. He has to say yes to some things and no to a lot of others.

We need to stimulate the economy, not the government. A true stimulus package, one that respects the productivity and genius of the American people, could lift this country out of recession. And experience shows us what it should look like.

First, there are two ways you can put money into the economy, by spending more or by taxing less. But if it’s stimulus you want, taxing less works best. That’s why permanent tax cuts should be the centerpiece of the economic stimulus. Even Christine Romer, the President’s own choice to lead the Council of Economic Advisors, found in her research that tax cuts are twice as effective as new spending.

Second, any new spending must be strictly limited to projects that are essential. How do we define essential? Well, a good rule is that the projects we fund in a stimulus should be legitimate government priorities that would have been carried out in the future anyway, and are simply being moved up to create those jobs now.

As we take out non-essential projects, we should focus on funding the real needs of government that will have immediate impact. And what better place to begin than repairing and replacing military equipment that was damaged or destroyed in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan?

Third, sending out rebate checks to citizens and businesses is not a tax cut. The media bought this line so far, but they’ve got it wrong. Checks in the mail are refunds, not tax cuts. We tried rebate checks last year and they did virtually nothing to jump-start the economy. Disposable income went up, but consumption hardly moved. Businesses aren’t stupid. They’re not going to invest in equipment and new hires for a one time, short term blip.

You know, by proposing tax rebates, the Democrats are admitting that relief to families and employers works. Why can’t they shed their ideological bias and give the American people the kind of permanent, broad based tax relief that even they must know will relieve the suffering our country is going through?

Fourth, if we’re going to tax less and spend more to get the economy moving, then we have to make another commitment as well. As soon as this economy recovers, we have to regain control over the federal budget, and above all, over entitlement spending. This is more important than most people are willing to admit. I mentioned the economic tightrope before. There is a real danger that with trillions of additional borrowing—from the budget deficit and from the stimulus—that world investors will begin to fear that the dollars won’t be worth much in the future. They may fear hyper-inflation. It is essential that we demonstrate our commitment to maintaining the value of the dollar. That means showing the world that we will put a stop to runaway spending and borrowing. Senator Judd Gregg is rightly proposing a new bipartisan approach. It should be part of this bill.

Fifth, we must begin to recover from the enormous losses in the capital investment pool. And the surest, most obvious way to get that done is to send a clear signal that there will be no tax increases on investment and capital gains. The 2001 and 2003 tax cuts should be extended permanently, or at least temporarily.

And finally, let’s exercise restraint in the size of the stimulus package. Without restraint, it may grow as the days go by. Last year, with the economy already faltering, I proposed a stimulus of 233 billion dollars. The Washington Post said, and I quote: “Romney’s plan is way too big.” So what critique do they have for the size of the Democrat’s package? I’m afraid they’ve caught a bad case of liberal laryngitis. It’s everywhere these days.

In the final analysis, we know that only the private sector—entrepreneurs and businesses large and small—can create the millions of jobs our country needs. The invisible hand of the market always moves faster and better than the heavy hand of government.

The difference between us and the Democrats is this: they want to stimulate the government, and we want to stimulate the economy.

Government does have an obligation to address some of the abuses we’ve seen in the markets, particularly in the mortgage finance market and the mortgage guarantee sector. But when markets work as they should, when they are effectively and efficiently regulated, free markets create jobs and boost incomes.

As Republicans, we remain the confident voice of limited government and free enterprise. These principles are going to face another test when it comes to healthcare.

We should be first to propose a Republican plan to bring health insurance to all Americans, one based on market dynamics, free choice, and personal responsibility. I think what we did in Massachusetts is a good model to start from, but whatever direction we take, let’s not simply react to what the Democrats do. Their own plan would undoubtedly create a vast new system of costly entitlements and bureaucratic dictates, burdening the people and threatening the economy. Americans will be looking for a better alternative. Let’s give it to them.

Let’s also defend the rights of workers—against coercion and intimidation. The working people of this country should be able to unionize the way their fathers and mothers did – by free choice and secret ballot. The Democrats’ plan to take away those rights would result in economic calamity. More than that, it’s an insult to the dignity and common sense of working people. We’re going to defend the freedom of workers and the rights of labor. Interesting, isn’t it, which party stands up for workers and which one jumps for union bosses.

Ours is the party of freedom and enterprise, and we are the party of life. I know that I’m not alone in wondering why our new president, in the earliest hours of his administration, directed that international groups that promote and provide abortions be funded with American taxpayer dollars. Is that really what the world needs, more abortions?

In our party, we don’t have perfect agreement on the life issue. But with an administration that is firmly on the side of abortion, that answers to the most extreme wing of the abortion lobby, our duty is clear. We should be a voice for moderation and compassion. And even if the administration will say nothing on behalf of the child waiting to be born, we must take the side of life.

The new administration has also gained the favor of liberal commentators by pledging what it calls reform in the treatment of detainees who have taken up arms against America. And of course, President Obama says he will close Guantanamo.

But I wonder if he noticed that some of the men already released from Guantanamo have turned up in new al Qaeda tapes? I also wonder where the President now intends to send the terrorists we capture. Will he send them to nations that will release them to kill Americans? Or will he send them to US prisons, to infect our own criminal population?

There may be more steps like closing Guantanamo—and they will receive the predictable applause from law professors, editorial boards, and others who have no responsibility for protecting American lives. The Washington Post last week announced President Obama’s actions with this headline: “Bush’s War on Terror Comes to a Sudden End.” I hope this President knows that the terrorists are still fighting and killing Americans, and that they plan to keep killing Americans.

Here, too, our party will speak confidently. We have no greater duty than a vigilant defense.

This great party of ours has seen setbacks before. They have never defined us. For our party, I believe this will be remembered as the time when we demonstrated the strength of our convictions, when we defended the foundations of America’s prosperity, security and liberty.

America will be tested. It’s not for us to choose every new test that may arise. But we’re entirely free to choose how we will face those tests. We’ll face them as you did this week. And we’ll face them as Republicans have done before in our finest moments—with the clarity and the confidence of those who put their country first.

That is the work you have undertaken as Republican members of the 111th Congress. You gather in smaller numbers than last year, but you have ideas, energy, and convictions—and the resolve to lead America to a better future. The comeback for our nation and for our party starts with you. You can count me as an ally in the work ahead. Thank you.

Join Romney 2012 Facebook Group

For those of you who are Facebook members I recommend joining the Facebook Group linked to below.

http://www.facebook.com/mittromneycentral

For those of you not on Facebook, it’s time to step up to the plate and sign up.

ALSO join MittRomneyCentral.com’s new facebook page. Be sure to become a fan.

~Nate Gunderson

Mitt Romney Releases Statement of Support for Pro-Life Marchers

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 22, 2009

ROMNEY SALUTES PRO-LIFE MARCHERS

Former Governor Mitt Romney today released the following statement:

“Today in Washington, many thousands of American women and men have proudly gathered on the National Mall for the March for Life. In a city of many competing political interests, these marchers have come to speak for only one cause: the goodness of every life, and the rights of the unborn.

Thirty-six years ago, those rights were denied by our highest court, in a decision that also denied the rights of all Americans to resolve the abortion issue through democratic debate and legislation. To their great credit, the organizers of the March for Life never let this anniversary pass without speaking to the conscience of America , and calling our nation to uphold its highest ideals in the protection of human life.

America owes these marchers a debt of gratitude for their perseverance in a noble cause. I am honored to count myself as their friend and ally. And because of their dedication and their goodness of heart, I am certain that one day this cause will prevail. “

Romney comments on the Obama Inauguration

Mitt Romney’s remarks on the Obama inaugural speech.

” Barack Obama gave a speech from the middle. He once again is communicating that he intends to govern from the middle and not from the wing…It was a speech that could be offered by a leader from either party and that’s good. His themes extended well beyond partisan causes and drew upon American values and dealt with American challenges.

On a day like this, with an inauguration and the commencement of a new presidency, I think Americans come united. We want to see Barack Obama successful in combating terror, in helping strengthen the economy, in diverting Iran from its nuclear ambitions. We just join with common hope.

But down the road of course there will be differences of opinion and that is the blessing of democracy. Our system thrives by having a debate of alternative views. We’ll disagree with Barack Obama as he will with us but hopefully together we will act for the common good.

I think given the challenges we face today, the future of either party pales in comparison with the future of our country. I think partisans are burying their partisanship to take action that will strengthen action at a critical time.”

Gov. Romney Remarks on Obama’s Speech

Though the speech wasn’t disastrous, Romney is much more gracious than I could be. Here are his remarks on Obama’s speech:

Barack Obama gave a speech from the middle. He once again is communicating that he intends to govern from the middle and not from the wing…It was a speech that could be offered by a leader from either party and that’s good. His themes extended well beyond partisan causes and drew upon American values and dealt with American challenges.

On a day like this, with an inauguration and the commencement of a new presidency, I think Americans come united. We want to see Barack Obama successful in combating terror, in helping strengthen the economy, in diverting Iran from its nuclear ambitions. We just join with common hope.

But down the road of course there will be differences of opinion and that is the blessing of democracy. Our system thrives by having a debate of alternative views. We’ll disagree with Barack Obama as he will with us but hopefully together we will act for the common good.

I think given the challenges we face today, the future of either party pales in comparison with the future of our country. I think partisans are burying their partisanship to take action that will strengthen action at a critical time.

~Nate Gunderson

Full Transcript of Romney’s Testimony for Economic Stimulus Working Group

H/T the NRO for a transcript of Romney’s Testimony, which I surprisingly ran across by way of Marc Ambinder. I formatted the testimony to fit in a blog post. I also saved a pdf version on my server available for download by clicking here. It is 4 pages and approximately 160Kb.

Economic Recovery Solutions

Testimony before the Economic Stimulus Working Group

Mitt Romney
Former Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

January 15, 2009

Leader Boehner, Congressman Cantor and members of the working group, I want to thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss options for a stimulus package.

I also appreciate the President-elect’s willingness to solicit input from our party. We are committed to working together to strengthen the economy.

These are not ordinary times. Yes, we have had bubbles before. And we have experienced recessions. But this was no ordinary bubble and this is no ordinary recession. This bubble encompassed the largest investment sector of our economy—housing. And when it deflated, it evaporated not billions, but trillions of dollars.

The first impact was to our nation’s pool of investment capital—capital that sustains businesses, capital that finances new enterprises, capital that promotes education and discovery. This pool of investment capital was held by banks, by investment banks, by institutions and even by individual investors. And it has shrunk by trillions of dollars.

It didn’t take long for America’s families to feel the impact either. The net worth of American families has shrunk by approximately $11 trillion. This translates into about $400 billion less annual spending by consumers. And that $400 billion drop in consumption would lead to a deepening downward spiral of business failures and unemployment.

Exports won’t make up the shortfall: most of the world is in a recession and the dollar has strengthened as fear has struck the currency markets. Investment won’t make it up either given the hit taken by the pool of investment capital. What’s left is the government sector.

There are two ways Washington can put money into the economy—one is by sending it
back to the taxpayers and the other is by spending it. Of the two, it’s the former that has the bigger bang for the buck. Research by Christina Romer, the President-elect’s Chairwoman for the Council of Economic Advisors, shows that tax cuts have a substantially greater multiplier effect than does spending on infrastructure projects.

Tax cuts should be the centerpiece of any stimulus plan. The President-elect has proposed refund checks for taxpayers. Experience shows, however, that a one-time check has very little positive impact. The 2008 stimulus led to checks being sent out in May, June and July of last year. Sure enough, disposable income rose in those months, but as Hoover Institution economist John Taylor has shown, consumption did not (figure 1).

stimulus romney chart

And further, even if consumption were to bump up, it would not lead businesses to expand and to add jobs. Business people are smart enough to recognize a one-time, short-lived bump for what it is.

The best medicine for a sick economy is permanent tax relief. I’d recommend eliminating the tax on savings for middle income Americans—no tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. This accomplishes three things: it puts money into the consumer’s pocket, it helps replenish the pool of investment capital, and it encourages more Americans to become owners of American business.

The same principles apply to business tax relief. A rebate check would be a welcome sight to every businessperson. But a rebate check isn’t going to incentivize businesses to expand, to invest for greater productivity, or to hire more people. It’s lower future tax rates that do that. And there sure is room to cut corporate tax rates—we are at the top of the heap, along with Japan, the nation that has suffered through a decade-long downturn.

In my view, sending out one-time refund checks to consumers and to businesses is not the best course—it adds to a monstrous budget deficit without significantly boosting the economy. The right course is permanent tax relief, designed to spur growth, investment, and jobs. It should go without saying that raising taxes should be out of the question. It is a positive development that the President-elect has chosen not to seek an immediate repeal of the Bush tax cuts. We should go further to seek a permanent or even a temporary extension.

President-elect Obama has also proposed a short term business incentive tied to hiring new workers. That’s not a terrible idea, but it would be less effective than allowing businesses to expense capital equipment purchased this year and next. That would lead them and their suppliers to add employees, and it would boost productivity, raising wages and improving our competitiveness abroad.

The spending portion of the stimulus should be limited to those things which are urgently needed and which we had already planned to buy in the future. Infrastructure projects will be included, but because they invariably face delays for engineering, environmental reviews and contracting, they can take a long time to actually boost the economy. They should be part of the picture, but not the whole canvas.

I would like to see a significant portion of new spending to be devoted to the maintenance, repair, replacement and modernization of our military equipment and armament. Since the 1990’s dismantling of our military, we have tended to live off the assets that had been purchased in the past. These have been extensively employed in two Gulf wars and in Afghanistan. Bringing forward needed replacement and repair will boost the economy, enhance our national security, and importantly aid our men and women in uniform.

I would also add spending for energy research and energy infrastructure. Energy independence is an economic and strategic imperative.

With new spending on the agenda, Republicans should make sure that there is no parade of pork. All spending projects should be selected by the responsible federal agency according to explicit and public criteria. Republicans should commit to vote “no” on any stimulus bill with earmarks that have not been voted upon by the entire body. I know that cities and states have various financial challenges of their own. Some have built rainy day funds for times like these. Others have not. As a governor who welcomed the help you provided to us in the last recession, I won’t prescribe zero help for the states. But I do believe that it is critical for cities and states to use this time to finally align
spending with revenues.

Today, we are rightly focused on a stimulus to stop the economic decline and end the recession. But if we are not careful, it could add to the risk of something even worse than a recession. If we continue to leverage the public sector, to pile on more and more debt, and to ignore the looming entitlement liabilities, we could precipitate a worldwide collapse of confidence in America—in our currency, in our credit-worthiness, in our competitiveness, in our future. We cannot write bailout checks to every petitioner, spend hundreds of billions on a laundry list of infrastructure goodies, nor reduce taxes without also reducing government obligations. The ballooning deficits must be balanced with budget restraint and responsibility when the economy recovers.

This stimulus package should include a commitment to reform entitlements—Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. Senator Gregg is right to have proposed a bi-partisan commission to do just that. He is right, and now is the right time. A stimulus bill, combined with a projected deficit of $1.2 trillion, could send us down the road to ruin if we do not muster the courage to reform entitlements and to rein in future government spending.

Let me add a thought about regulation. Smart regulation is good; dumb regulation is bad. Housing finance is one of the most highly regulated sectors of our economy. And no one will claim that that regulation was very smart. Yes, we need to improve regulation, in housing and in financial services. But the right course is to make regulation that is effective. Smart regulation will make these sectors more productive and more competitive. Simply layering on burdensome regulatory schemes will depress these industries, kill more jobs, and slow economic recovery.

And there is one very bad idea that is being promoted by a special interest group. It is an idea that would have devastating impact on the economy—short term and long term. It would lead investors to send their funds elsewhere, businesses to expand elsewhere and jobs to relocate elsewhere. It is the plan to virtually impose unions on all small, medium and large businesses by removing the right of workers to vote by secret ballot. Card check is a very bad idea under any circumstances. In these circumstances, it would be calamitous.

In sum, we are presented with economic peril unlike anything we have faced during our lifetimes. I do indeed believe that careful, skillfully crafted stimulus can improve the prospects for recovery. But excessive and sloppy spending and one-time refund checks could have the exact opposite effect than that which the stimulus seeks. And in the final analysis, we must remember that it is the private sector—the home of entrepreneurs, workers, managers, and visionaries—the private sector, not government, that creates jobs, boosts wages, and provides for our future. What gives me my confidence is this: I believe in the American people. Thank you.

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