AUDIO: Mitt Romney’s Remarks on the State of the Economy

Obama Isn't Working

Obama Isn’t Working

Mitt Romney released his weekly podcast on the most recent disappointing economic data, including a decline in household incomes, an increase in unemployment in 44 states, and the devastating impact President Obama’s policies are having on American families. The podcast is available each week on mittromney.com.

Here’s the text:

Hello, I’m Mitt Romney.

In 44 states last month, the unemployment rate went up. The heartbreaking problem of joblessness just got worse in 44 states.

In 44 states, it got harder for an unemployed dad to look his son in the eyes at the dinner table.

In 44 states, a young mother worried that her daughter won’t have the same opportunities as the other kids at school.

In 44 states, a man laid off in the middle of life laced up his best shoes, straightened his tie, and walked out the door to face another long day of hard stares, hard interviews, and hard disappointments.

Last month, more families were shattered, more hearts ached, and more children wondered if they’d ever see their parents smile again … because the hope of a recovery that should have been ours grew dimmer in 44 states.

In six states, people saw the unemployment rate go down or stay the same. But all Americans are hurting. Too many are living paycheck to paycheck. Just this week, we got the unbelievable news that household incomes fell even further during the so-called recovery than they did during the recession itself.

Anxiety has never been higher. Another new report out of Washington warns that higher unemployment and a double-dip recession will be a reality next year unless immediate steps are taken to avert what they’re calling a “fiscal cliff.”

In all 50 states, Americans are looking to the White House for leadership. But all they’re getting from their President is fear, frustration, and blame. Instead of uniting our nation in this time of crisis, President Obama has hit the campaign trail to declare “a stalemate in Washington.”

Think about that. With millions of Americans hurting like never before, the President has admitted defeat. With five months to go before his term his up, he’s saying he won’t even try anymore.

Isn’t this a devastating verdict on his own failure to lead?

I’ve led companies. I’ve overseen an Olympic Games. And I’ve governed a great American state. When people are telling you to give up, that’s when you find a way to try harder. When others are pointing fingers, that’s when you extend an open hand. And when Americans are hurting and families are falling apart, that’s when you put politics aside and find a way to get them some help. In a word, you Lead.

Look to Tampa. Two days from now, leaders from all across the country will gather to show Americans that help is on the way. For that father whose heart cries out for the dignity of work … for that child who needs a stable home … for that mid-career worker who just wants another chance, a better America can be more than just a hope. It can be our future. It must be our future.

Romney’s NEW OP-ED: What I Learned at Bain Capital

Mitt Romney at Bain

Romney Economics! Investing in Companies and Creating Jobs.

The original may be found on yesterday’s Wall Street Journal editorial page.

The back-to-school season is here, and as parents take their children to shop for school supplies, I suspect that many of them will be visiting a Staples store. I’m very familiar with those stores because Staples is one of many businesses we helped create and expand at Bain Capital, a firm that my colleagues and I built. The firm succeeded by growing and fixing companies.

The lessons I learned over my 15 years at Bain Capital were valuable in helping me turn around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. They also helped me as governor of Massachusetts to turn a budget deficit into a surplus and reduce our unemployment rate to 4.7%. The lessons from that time would help me as president to fix our economy, create jobs and get things done in Washington.

A broad message emerges from my Bain Capital days: A good idea is not enough for a business to succeed. It requires a talented team, a good business plan and capital to execute it. That was true of companies we helped start, like Staples and the Bright Horizons child-care provider, and several of the struggling companies we helped turn around, like the Brookstone retailer and the contact-lens maker Wesley Jessen.

My presidency would make it easier for entrepreneurs and small businesses to get the investment dollars they need to grow, by reducing and simplifying taxes; replacing Obamacare with real health-care reform that contains costs and improves care; and by stemming the flood of new regulations that are tying small businesses in knots.

My business experience confirmed my belief in empowering people. For example, at Bain Capital we bought Accuride, a company that made truck rims and wheels, because we saw untapped potential there. We instituted performance bonuses for the management team, which had a dramatic impact. The managers made the plants more productive, and the company started growing, adding 300 jobs while Bain was involved. My faith in people, not government, is at the foundation of my plan to strengthen America’s middle class.

I also saw firsthand through these investments how energy costs impact the ability of a business to grow. Today, energy costs are weighing on job creators across America because President Obama has limited energy exploration and restricted development in ways that sap economic performance, curtail growth, and kill jobs. I will take a sensible approach to tapping our energy resources, which will both create jobs and make energy more affordable for every sector of our economy.

In the 1990s, when the “old-technology” steel industry in the U.S. was failing, Bain Capital helped build a new steel company, Steel Dynamics, which has grown into one of the largest steel producers in America today, holding its own against Chinese producers. The key to its success? State-of-the-art new technology.

Here are two lessons from the Steel Dynamics story: First, innovation is essential to the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing. We are the most innovative, entrepreneurial nation in the world. To maintain that lead, we must give people the skills to succeed. My plan for a stronger middle class includes policies to give every family access to great schools and quality teachers, to improve access to higher education, and to attract and retain the best talent from around the world.

The second lesson is that we must have a level playing field in international trade. As president, I will challenge unfair trade practices that are harming American workers.

Running a business also brings lessons in tackling challenges. I was on the board of a medical diagnostic-laboratory company, Damon, when a competitor announced that it had settled with the government over a charge of fraudulent Medicare billing. I and fellow Damon outside board members joined together and immediately hired an independent law firm to examine Damon’s own practices.

The investigation revealed a need to make some changes, which we did. The company, along with several other clinical-laboratory companies, ended up being fined for billing practices. And a Damon manager who was responsible for the fraud went to jail. The experience taught me that when you see a problem, run toward it or it will only get worse.

That will be my approach to our federal budget problem. I am committed to capping federal spending below 20% of GDP and reducing nondefense discretionary spending by 5%. This will surely result in much wailing and gnashing of teeth in Washington. But a failure of leadership has created our debt crisis, and ducking responsibility will only cripple the economy and smother opportunity for our children and grandchildren.

I’m not sure Bain Capital could have grown or turned around some of the companies we invested in had we faced today’s anti-business environment. Andy Puzder, the chief executive of CKE Restaurants Inc., which employs about 21,000 people at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants, has said that the “current unfriendly economic environment perhaps best explains why American companies are sitting on over $2 trillion which they could invest.”

President Obama has piled on excessive regulations, proposed massive tax increases, added more than $5 trillion in federal debt, and failed to address the coming fiscal cliff—all of which is miring our nation in sluggish growth and high unemployment.

I know what it takes to turn around difficult situations. And I will put that experience to work, to get our economy back on track, create jobs, strengthen the middle class and lay the groundwork for America’s increased competitiveness in the world.

A few comments from Paul Johnson, if you’ll indulge, about why what Mitt says is so important:

1. Mitt’s succeeded before. We have some serious problems, but Mitt has displayed an unusual ability to solve difficult issues. From his tenure at Bain, to establishing and turning around other companies, to turning around the Olympics, Mitt Romney knows success and how to replicate it. (more…)