Mitt Romney’s Five-Point Plan

Energy Independence

Romney’s Five Point Plan Included North American Energy Independence. According to The Los Angeles Times, “Achieve North American energy independence by increasing access to domestic fossil fuels, streamlining regulations and the permitting process, drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and approving the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada. ‘No. 1, we’re going to take advantage of our energy, and that’s going to create millions of jobs.’” [The Los Angeles Times, 9/15/12]

Romney Supports Ideas Similar To President Obama

Romney And Obama Had Similar Energy Plans Favoring Expanding Drilling And Natural Gas Development. According to The Washington Post, “Here are some of the highlights of the energy positions of Mitt Romney and President Obama. There are similarities. Both candidates favor expanded oil and gas drilling and support the development of natural gas resources, even with the use of controversial hydraulic fracturing techniques. Obama says he favors an ‘all of the above’ strategy and wants to further reduce U.S. reliance on foreign oil. Romney says he would aim for ‘North American energy independence,’ leaning heavily on increased imports from Canada and higher U.S. output.” [The Washington Post, 9/11/12]

Romney Supports Ideas Benefitting Wealthy Oil Companies

Central Part Of Romney’s Energy Plan Is Deregulating Oil And Gas Industry. According to Huffington Post, “A central part of the plan is taking the power to permit and license new onshore drilling on federal lands out of the hands of the federal government and putting it into the hands of the states. That means that states like Alaska or North Dakota, which is enjoying a massive oil boom under the current regulatory regime, would be able to allow drilling on federal lands with no oversight from Washington. North Dakota stands out, in particular, as it is where Romney’s top energy adviser, oil billionaire Harold Hamm, is making his fortune. Hamm, whose stump speech is only three words, ‘Beat Barack Obama,’ has given $985,000 to Restore Our Future and raised money for the Romney campaign. He would profit greatly from this change in policy as his company, Continental Resources, would be freed to drill beyond the Bakken fields in North Dakota using techniques including hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling.” [Huffington Post, 8/24/12]

Improve Education

Romney’s Five Point Plan Included Improving Education Through School Choice And Changing Teacher Hiring. According to The Los Angeles Times, “Improve education and job training, in part by increasing school choice and changing the way teachers are hired and evaluated. ‘We’ve got fix our schools…. It’s time for us to put the kids and the parents and the teachers first, and the teachers union behind.’” [The Los Angeles Times, 9/15/12]

Romney Deferred Education Funds To States For Private School Vouchers

Romney’s Education Policy Gave Federal Funds To States But Did Not Force Or Encourage Them To Expand School Choice. According to a Time op-ed, “Romney and other Republicans know they’re using a great talking point when they complain that the President is against allowing poor kids in Washington’s beleaguered public schools to attend better schools, especially when Obama’s own kids attend a highly-regarded private school in the city. But as policy, Romney’s blueprint is pretty weak soup because it doesn’t force — or even do much to encourage — states to expand choice. It merely says that federal dollars will defer to states and cities that decide to allow private-school vouchers.” [Time, Op-Ed, 6/14/12]

Romney’s Education Policy Was Similar To “Pro-Voucher” Report From The Hoover Institution. According to The New York Times, “Mr. Romney’s policy seems closely inspired by a pro-voucher report issued in February by the conservative Hoover Institution. Five of eight members of a task force that produced the report are among the 19 education advisers the Romney campaign named last month. Once thought to be moribund, the voucher movement was revived by gains Republicans made in the 2010 midterm elections. Fourteen states since then have introduced or expanded private school vouchers, according to the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.” [The New York Times, 6/11/12]

Romney’s Open-Enrollment Mandate For School Districts Were More Burdensome Than No Child Left Behind

Romney’s Open-Enrollment Requirement Had “Massive” Loophole Because Transfer Student Capacity Could Not Be Easily Verified. According to a Time op-ed, “There’s a massive loophole that lets everyone off the hook. The one tantalizing part of Romney’s proposal is his requirement for states to adopt open-enrollment policies that disregard school-district boundaries for public schools. That would be a big deal for poor parents. Open enrollment in theory would give inner-city kids and other kids stuck with lousy school options the chance to attend better public schools elsewhere. But there are two problems. First, as my former colleague, Erin Dillon, showed in a 2008 Education Sector analysis, there are just not enough good schools within a reasonable distance for these kids to commute to. Romney’s proposal also leaves a loophole wide enough to render the open-enrollment provision meaningless because it hinges on schools having sufficient ‘capacity’ to accept transfer students. That’s the same hazard that doomed No Child Left Behind’s public-school choice provisions. Don’t want students transferring in? Then make sure you have no capacity, a metric that is difficult to verify.” [Time, Op-Ed, 6/14/12]

Romney’s Open-Enrollment Policy Would Require A “More Invasive Mandate” On States Than No Child Left Behind. According to a Time op-ed, “And in case you slept through the last several years, Republicans are against heavy-handed federal intervention in schools right now. They want to scrap the 10-year-old No Child law, which merely required states to come up with school accountability systems. It’s politically inconceivable that a President Romney would replace that law with a much more invasive mandate on states to essentially scrap school district boundaries and have a federal hand in deciding which students get to attend which schools.” [Time, Op-Ed, 6/14/12]

Stop Unfair Trade

Romney’s Five Point Plan Included Curtailing Unfair Trade, Especially From China.  According to The Los Angeles Times, “Curtail unfair trade practices, especially those of China. ‘I will call China a currency manipulator and stop them in their tracks from killing American jobs.’” [The Los Angeles Times, 9/15/12]

Romney Used To Support Non-Protectionist Free Trade

Romney Previously Favored Non-Protectionist Free Trade With China.  According to The New York Times, “Most large U.S. companies favor economic engagement with China and abhor any possibility of a trade war. Although it isn’t unusual for a presidential candidate to bash China during the campaign, Mr. Romney has taken this sport to a new level and may be more serious…That view is shared by some top political advisers, too. Getting tough with China is a staple of Mr. Romney’s early general election ads; in a commercial released in Ohio last week, the candidate says his initial act would be to ‘stand up to China.’ Mr. Romney is a recent convert to this position. As a successful business executive and former Massachusetts governor, he was a proponent of free trade and greater engagement with China and showed no protectionist proclivities; when he headed the 2002 Winter Olympics, he opposed punitive actions against China for human rights abuses. To be sure, some multinational companies, intimidated by the Chinese, privately welcome tough talk from Washington; Chinese trade and business policies are heavy-handed. Yet some experts and business leaders acknowledge that this ultimately is a bluff because the United States is dependent on China’s purchases of Treasury bonds. They predict that, if elected, Mr. Romney would quickly revert to what he really believes. People in the Romney camp say that’s wrong.” [The New York Times, 6/24/12]

Romney Wrote The Best Course For The Country Would Be “Not To Obstruct Foreign Competition.” In his book “No Apology” Mitt Romney wrote “The math here is quite straightforward: replacing jobs in low-productivity industries with jobs in high-productivity businesses raises the nation’s average productivity and per capita wealth. ‘The process of expanding exports from more productive industries,’ Harvard Business School professor and author Michael Porter concludes in his cross-nation study, ‘shifting less productive activities abroad through foreign investment, and importing goods and services in those industries where the nation is less productive, is a healthy one for national economic prosperity. ‘Employing subsidies, protection, or other forms of intervention to maintain such industries,’ Porter continues, ‘only slows down the upgrading of the economy and limits the nation’s long-term standard of living.’ The best course for the nation—and for our citizens collectively—is not to obstruct foreign competition.” [“No Apology,” 2011, Pg. 128]

Club For Growth “Was Concerned” With Romney’s Protectionist Language Toward Trade With China. According to the Hill, “Club for Growth called former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s jobs plan ‘pro-growth,’ although the group expressed concern over his trade policy with China… ‘Governor Romney deserves praise for his specific plan to put America on a path to economic prosperity,’ said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola… ‘We are somewhat concerned by the protectionist language used by Governor Romney in his plan regarding trade with China,’ he said. ‘A President Romney would be wise to avoid starting a trade war with China and punitive duties like the ones proposed by Romney are the first step in that direction.’ In the proposal, Romney said if ‘China fails to move quickly to bring its currency to fair value, the Department of the Treasury in a Romney administration will designate China a currency manipulator and the Department of Commerce will impose countervailing duties.’” [The Hill, 9/6/11]

Romney Opposed Steel And Tire Tariffs On China

Romney Opposed Bush Chinese Steel Tariffs And Obama’s Chinese Tire Tariffs. According to the Club for Growth, “In his recent book, Romney also voiced his opposition to President Bush’s steel tariff decision and President Obama’s decision to impose tariffs on foreign tires.” [Club For Growth, 2012 Presidential White Paper #5, 6/7/11]

  • Romney Wrote That The Bush Administration’s Attempt To Save U.S. Steel “Did More Harm Than Good.” In his book “No Apology” Mitt Romney wrote “The Bush administration’s decision to protect the U.S. steel industry is a case in point—I agree with those who have concluded that it did more harm than good.” [“No Apology,” 2011, Pg. 133]
  • Romney Wrote That President Obama’s Action To Defend Tire Companies From Foreign Competition Was “Bad For The Nation And Our Workers.” In his book “No Apology” Mitt Romney wrote “President Obama’s action to defend American tire companies from foreign competition may make good politics by repaying unions for their support of his campaign, but it is decidedly bad for the nation and our workers.” [“No Apology,” 2011, Pg. 133]

Cut Federal Deficit/Reduce Spending

Romney’s Five Point Plan Included Cutting The Deficit And Federal Spending. According to The Los Angeles Times, “Cut the federal deficit by reducing federal spending below 20% of GDP. ‘You’re not going to get entrepreneurs to go out and start an enterprise … unless they realize we’re not headed to Greece.’” [The Los Angeles Times, 9/15/12]

Romney’s Spending Cuts Do Not Add Up

Romney’s Spending Cut Proposals Were $150 Billion Short Of His Goal Of Cutting $500 Billion Form The Budget Each Year. According to The New York Times, “In a speech last November, Mr. Romney said that his goals would require spending cuts of almost $500 billion a year, and he laid out a number of things he would do: cap Medicaid payments to the states to save $100 billion a year; eliminate waste and fraud to save $60 billion; limit the salaries of government workers to save $47 billion a year; cut the federal work force by 10 percent, saving $3.5 billion a year, and cutting federal spending on Amtrak, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But a rough back-of-the-envelope tally of his proposed cuts, which does not take into account whether they are realistic, finds that his proposals fall more than $150 billion shy of his goal of cutting nearly half a trillion dollars a year. An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal-leaning research and advocacy group, found that for Mr. Romney to meet all of his tax, spending and deficit reduction goals would require ‘extraordinarily large cuts’ in other programs.” [The New York Times, 9/14/12]

Romney’s Federal Funding Cuts Did Not Add Up To His “Headline Goal” Of A 20 Percent GDP Cap. According to CNN Money, “And while the Department of Education might be ‘a heck of a lot smaller’ under a Romney administration, the candidate said he was ‘not going to get rid of it entirely,’ the Journal reported. Even with these additional details, much remains a mystery. On spending, Romney has said he would cap spending at 20% of GDP, immediately reduce non-security discretionary accounts by 5% and pursue a balanced budget amendment. With federal spending currently at around 24% of GDP, that means huge cuts. On the campaign trail, Romney most often says he wants to cut funding for relatively small programs like Amtrak, the National Endowment for the Arts, foreign aid, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Title X family planning. He does detail a few bigger ticket items, like a 10% reduction in the size of the federal workforce and modification to Medicaid that would turn it into a block grant program. But those cuts don’t add up to anything near his headline goal. The result, at the moment, is an economic policy plan with significant gaps.” [CNN Money, 4/16/12]

Washington Post: Romney’s Tax And Spending Plans Did Not Support His Pledge To Reduce Debt And Spending. According to the Washington Post, “Romney: ‘I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno. We will stop borrowing unfathomable sums of money we can’t even imagine, from foreign countries we’ll never even visit. I will bring us together to put out the fire.’ The Facts: Romney’s tax and spending plans don’t support his vow to dampen the debt fire. He proposes to cut taxes and expand the armed forces, putting yet more stress on the budget, and his promise to slash domestic spending isn’t backed by the big specifics. Romney’s tax plan would cut the top income tax rate to 28 percent from 35 percent and other rates by 20 percent each. He says he’d broaden the tax base and eliminate many deductions in the process, but details are missing.” [Washington Post, 5/15/12]

Bloomberg: Romney’s Budget Cuts “Total Less Than $320 Billion.”  According to Bloomberg, “On Nov. 4, Romney said he would cut $500 billion in annual spending by the end of his first term in 2016 and then “put us on a path to a balanced budget and a constitutional amendment that requires government to spend only what it earns.”  The proposals he has offered — including turning the Medicaid health-insurance program for the poor over to the states, reducing government workers’ pay and cutting waste — total less than $320 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.   Balancing the budget would be made harder by his plan to reduce taxes and reverse the Obama administration’s scheduled defense-spending cuts of $450 billion over the next 10 years.”  [Bloomberg, 11/14/11]

Romney Would Not Give Details On Reducing The Deficit And Spending Cuts

Romney Failed To Offer Specifics On How He Would Reduce The Federal Deficit. According to the Washington Post, “Nowhere in Tuesday’s speech was there a new idea of how Romney would accomplish the promised deficit reduction. He spoke generally of reforming Social Security and Medicare, eliminating duplicative government programs, and transferring some functions to the states or the private sector, adding that he would ‘streamline everything that’s left.’ The closest he has come to laying out a specific spending plan has been in his endorsement of the budget blueprint passed this year by House Republicans, which also fails to produce his promised deficit reductions.” [Washington Post, 5/15/12]

Helping Small Businesses

Romney’s Five Point Plan Included Cutting Taxes And Regulations For Small Business And Overturning The Affordable Care Act. According to The Los Angeles Times, “Champion small business by cutting taxes and regulations, and by overturning Obamacare. ‘We need small business to grow. … Small businesses have been crushed these past four years.’” [The Los Angeles Times, 9/15/12]

Repealing The Affordable Care Act Would Hurt The Economy

Politifact: Romney’s Claim That Repealing The Affordable Care Act “Saves $95 Billion A Year” Was False. According to Politifact, “Romney said repealing the health care law would save $95 billion a year. But that only accounts for outlays in one year, 2016. Because of the revenue sources that the law established, repealing it actually adds significantly to the deficit over the long haul, according to the CBO. We rate Romney’s statement False.” [Politifact, 01/08/12]

  • Romney Wrote That Repealing President Obama’s Health Care Reform Would Save $96 Billion.  Mitt Romney wrote an op-ed in USA Today listing examples of what the federal government could cut, that read “Repeal ObamaCare, which would save $95 billion in 2016.” [USA Today’s Op-Ed by Mitt Romney, 11/3/11]

CBO: Repealing Health Care Would Increase The Deficit By $138 Billion Over The Next Ten Years. According to Talking Points Memo, “Republicans are at pains these days to present themselves as the party of fiscal austerity. They’re also at pains to advertise themselves as the party that will repeal (or repeal and replace) the Democrats’ new health care law. The problem for them is that those two platforms are basically mutually exclusive. If Republicans attempt to repeal the health care bill, they’ll run headlong into the Congressional Budget Office, which found that the health care bill reduces deficits by over $100 billion over its first 10 years. Repeal that, and Republicans will have to raise taxes or cut spending to keep from driving up the deficit they decry. Or they could simply ignore Congressional scorekeepers — which is what top Republicans seem intent on doing. … CBO itself says that the final health care law, as enacted and which is taking shape today, will decrease the deficit by $138 billion, as compared to what would have happened if Congress had done nothing. Now that it’s the law of the land, CBO would find that a straight repeal would increase the deficit by about the same $138 billion. Replacing it with the GOP’s alternative health care bill wouldn’t come close to making up the difference.” [Talking Points Memo, 7/20/10]

Tax Cuts Were Not Correlated With Increased Economic Growth

Congressional Research Service: No Clear Correlation Existed Between Tax Cuts For The Wealthy And Economic Growth. According to Talking Points Memo, “There is no clear correlation between tax cuts for high earners and economic growth, according to a new study by Congress’ nonpartisan policy analyst. ‘There is not conclusive evidence, however, to substantiate a clear relationship between the 65-year steady reduction in the top tax rates and economic growth,’ concluded a report by the Congressional Research Service released Friday. ‘Analysis of such data suggests the reduction in the top tax rates have had little association with saving, investment, or productivity growth.’” [Talking Points Memo, 9/17/12]

Congressional Research Service: Cutting Effective Tax Rates For The Rich Correlated With Rising Income Inequality. According to Talking Points Memo, “The study delves into the last 65 years of U.S. tax policy pertaining to high earning Americans — including top marginal rates on income and capital gains taxes — and how it impacts their decision-making. The conclusion: cutting effective taxes on the rich doesn’t boost economic growth, but it does correlate with rising income inequality. ‘Throughout the late-1940s and 1950s, the top marginal tax rate was typically above 90%; today it is 35%. Additionally, the top capital gains tax rate was 25% in the 1950s and 1960s, 35% in the 1970s; today it is 15%. The real GDP growth rate averaged 4.2% and real per capita GDP increased annually by 2.4% in the 1950s. In the 2000s, the average real GDP growth rate was 1.7% and real per capita GDP increased annually by less than 1%,’ wrote Thomas L. Hungerford, CRS’ specialist in public finance and author of the report.” [Talking Points Memo, 9/17/12]