By Deanna C. White
Despite being nearly eclipsed by "mystery guest" Clint Eastwood's erratic "endorsement," Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney delivered precisely the acceptance speech expected of him at last week's Republican National Convention, repeatedly hammering President Barack Obama on what many consider to be his weakest flank: jobs and economic growth.
For too many Americans, Romney told the Republican faithfuls, the "good days" they had grown to expect for themselves and their children have been harder to come by, asking them how many days under the Obama administration, have they woken up "feeling that something really special was happening in America."
"Many of you felt that way on Election Day four years ago. Hope and change had a powerful appeal," Romney said. "But tonight I'd ask a simple question: If you felt that excitement when you voted for Barack Obama, shouldn't you feel that way now that he's President Obama? You know there's something wrong with the kind of job he's done as president when the best feeling you had was the day you voted for him."
Romney went on to say President Obama "hasn't led America in the right direction."
"He took office without the basic qualification that most Americans have and one that was essential to his task. He had almost no experience working in a business. Jobs to him are about government," Romney said.
In contrast to what he perceives as President Obama's lackluster performance on jobs and economic growth, Romney said his platform on those issues would be centered, in part, around supporting the key economic driver in America: small business.
Romney painted himself as a thirty-seven-year-old independent entrepreneur who "helped start a small company" called Bain Capital - the "small business" that eventually grew into a mega corporation, which now includes Staples, Sports Authority, and Steel Dynamics among its holdings.
"Business and growing jobs is about taking risk, sometimes failing, sometimes succeeding, but always striving," Romney said. "It's about dreams. It's the genius of the American free enterprise system - to harness the extraordinary creativity and talent and industry of the American people with a system that's dedicated to creating tomorrow's prosperity rather than trying to redistribute today's."
As a counterpoint to President Obama's agenda, Romney offered his own five-point plan to stimulate economic growth, which he claims would create twelve million jobs by the end of his four-year term.
- Make North America energy independent by taking full advantage of its oil, coal, gas, nuclear, and renewable resources.
- Provide Americans the skills they need for the jobs of today by increasing access to education and job training programs.
- Forge new trade agreements around the world and curtail unfair trade practices by enforcing "unmistakable consequences" when countries violate trade agreements.
- Cut the deficit and cap federal spending to assure "every entrepreneur and every job creator" that their investments in America are safe.
- Champion small businesses - "America's engine of job growth."
The plan aims to promote small business by reducing taxes on small business through individual and corporate tax reform, stopping increases in regulation, protecting workers and businesses from strong-arm labor tactics, and replacing "Obamacare" with real health care reform that controls cost and improves care.
Romney's tax reform plan, "designed to stimulate entrepreneurship, job creation, and investment," suggests the following tax reform for individuals and for corporations.
Individual tax reform would:
- Make permanent an across-the-board 20 percent cut in marginal rates.
- Maintain current tax rates on interest, dividends, and capital gains.
- Eliminate taxes for taxpayers with AGI below $200,000 on interest, dividends, and capital gains.
- Eliminate the Death Tax.
- Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).
Corporate tax reform would:
- Cut the corporate rate to 25 percent.
- Strengthen and make permanent the research and development tax credit.
- Switch to a territorial tax system.
- Repeal the corporate AMT.
President Obama's campaign team strongly refutes Romney's convention claims that the President is weak on small business and says the only small business policies Romney has championed are those that "undermine the ability of entrepreneurs to expand and hire."
Also, according to President Obama's campaign website
, "President Obama has put forward a plan that would support small businesses by cutting taxes for entrepreneurs who hire and expand, and by investing in infrastructure, innovation, and education. Romney's plan, on the other hand, would slash investments that support small business growth while putting millions of small businesses at risk of a tax increase to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires."