By Mitt Romney
Special to the Observer
“Hope” and “change” were the watchwords we heard repeatedly from Barack Obama back when he was a presidential candidate campaigning here in the Carolinas. Three years into his presidency, he hasn’t delivered much in the way of hope. But we’ve seen a lot of change.
The change has come in the size and shape and reach of Washington. Obama promised to fix our broken system. Instead, he has grown it massively.
We have thousands of new regulations, many of them job-killers. We have hundreds of billions in new federal spending. The government workforce has grown by tens of thousands of new workers. The national debt now totals a stratospheric $15 trillion. We have a brand new and enormously expensive entitlement program known as Obamacare.
With government swelling at a rapid pace, the private sector, unsurprisingly, has stagnated. Nearly 24 million Americans are out of work, struggling to find full-time work, or no longer even looking. In North Carolina, unemployment is an appalling 10 percent. In South Carolina it’s 9.9 percent. As I’ve traveled the South and traveled the country, I’ve heard story after story of heartbreak, of homes lost, of retirement plans replaced by jobs at minimum wage, of dreams shattered.
If we are going to undo the damage, this year’s election is critical. The destiny of our country is at stake. We can choose to live in the Entitlement Society that Barack Obama has been constructing, a society built around dependence on government. Or we can return to the merit-based Opportunity Society built by our Founding Fathers.
The drafters of the Declaration of Independence wrote that the Creator endowed us with unalienable rights, among them, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In America, we would be free to plot our own course. Ours would be the land of opportunity, where people achieve their dreams through hard work, education and daring.
Nearly two-and-a-half centuries of American history demonstrate the brilliance of our founding principles. America has produced pioneers and inventors of distinction in every field. We have excelled in science and industry. We have built an Opportunity Society that is prosperous and free and strong.
Barack Obama has taken us on a detour away from our founding philosophy. He has mismanaged our economy, weakened our military, and apologized for America around the world. In October, I spoke at The Citadel, where patriotism is a passion. The spirit of sacrifice I found there, the love of our country and everything we stand for, only reinforces my belief that we need change in Washington, D.C., and change in the White House. I want America to be respected around the world. I want to return America to the path of greatness and I know how to bring us where we need to go.
I’ve spent most of my life in the private sector. I’m not a career politician. I know how misguided government policies can choke off investment and kill jobs. I also know how government can get out of the way to foster economic growth.
My administration will make America the best place in the world for entrepreneurs, inventors and job creators. I’ll lower and simplify taxes, especially for middle-income Americans. I will repeal every unnecessary Obama-era regulation that kills jobs or hurts economic growth. I will fight the union bosses who build their power at the expense of the very workers they purport to represent.
I’ll open up new markets for American goods. I’ll press to exploit fully our abundant energy resources. I will cut and cap spending, and lead us toward a balanced budget. And I will repeal Obamacare. On my first day as president, I will direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to grant waivers from Obamacare to all 50 states.
Let’s not be under any illusions that change of the sort I am proposing will be easy. Obama, the Democratic machine, and the entrenched interests behind them are going to fight to retain their power and their privileges at every step of the way. We need to fight back. Fortunately, we have a simple tool at hand: It’s called the truth. And the truth is that President Obama has failed, and his vision for America is wrong. Reversing that failure, and correcting our course, is what the election of 2012 is all about.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
By Mitt Romney