Romney Talks Policy at Detroit Economic Club

2012 candidate says reforming tax code will create good jobs, increase wages.
3:00 | 02/24/12

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Transcript for Romney Talks Policy at Detroit Economic Club
I wanna talk -- about policy today. This is not -- exciting and barn burning but it's. It's important. And I want to give -- chance to think about the various plans I have to get this economy going again nationally. -- here Michigan. I also want to thank the economic club for for hosting all of us this morning and I want to thank the folks at the at Ford Field. For making this a space available for us I guess we had a hard time running a large enough place to -- and this certainly is. By the way congratulations to the -- and a great season and to the next great season. It's it's going to be back at Michigan this of course is where I was born and raised I a session born and harper hospital. And I grew up here I remember the first day -- kindergarten. But it was at Hampton school. And there about thirty kids that are kindergarten class. As I I looked around I imagine their parents had dropped the -- the school each morning. And and those parents were confident. That our future will be brighter. -- even the lives that they'd enjoyed. You see our parents believed in America's promise. They believe that if you've -- take a good -- and and touch your kids said the right kind of values. If you make sure your kids get an education. And you taught them to work hard. That their future can be prosperous. And secure. -- in those days we all believed that the future was full of possibility. And prosperity. We felt that joyful optimism that comes from being raised in a land of opportunity. A place where if you want to take risk and work hard and get education have the right values anyone can make a better life we are the land of opportunity. That that -- confidence. In a better tomorrow. Is a basic promise of America. But today. That promises being threatened. By -- -- -- -- economy. And in my view by a failed presidency. For 36 months the unemployment rate has been over 8%. 24 million of our fellow Americans are struggling to find work. There's some three million missing workers in America people who dropped out of the workforce -- values are down. Foreclosures have been at a record high level. Our national debt is way too high. And the opportunities in the nation are too few. However I've gone in this campaign I've I met Americans who were suffering as a result of the Obama economy. You could see it in their faces and you can hear their voices. Are anxious. They're scared about the future about moms and dads who were struggling to get by. One works the day shift while the other works the night shift so they can barely make ends meet and really -- for dinner. Admit kids who -- about ready to graduate from college and they're facing huge student loans and a bad economy and they're worried that they won't be able to get a job. You you've heard by the way the new definition of the American dream. It was Dick Armey said this he said the American dream. Is not owning a home it's getting your kids out of it. And so everywhere Rego I hear stories that are sad reminders of the -- failed presidency that we're saying before us. Now -- Obama said -- -- three things. He became president first he said he would hold unemployment below 8% if we let him borrow 787. Billion dollars. And of course we've had 36 months with that promise having been broken. That he said he was gonna cut the deficit in half. He's doubled. And third he said he'd make Medicare and Social Security solvent for future generations. And three years later. He has not offered so far as I'm aware a single serious proposal for either Medicare or Social Security solvency. We have not seen a failure to communicate. We -- to fatally. That's why I'm running for president. I want to restore. America's promise. That means more jobs less debt and smaller government. In the coming campaign I'm I'm offering more than just to change of policy. I'm offering a dramatic and fundamental change. In perspective and philosophy from Washington and for the nation. Now you may have seen earlier this week. I put -- Pro growth tax reform policy to get our economy moving again. Today this this administration is focused on unemployment benefits. But what workers in Michigan around the country really want is a good job. And rising wages. Reforming the tax code is in my view one of the surest and quickest ways to achieve economic goal. First I'm gonna make -- across the board 20% reduction in marginal individual income tax rates. 20% down across the board. And I think about this by reducing the tax on the next dollar earned by all taxpayers. We encourage hard work we encourage risk taking we encourage productivity by allowing Americans to keep more of what they -- And by the way the businesses that pay taxes -- individual income tax not the corporate C corporation but individual income tax entities. They account for guess what guess what percent of American workers work for those kind of businesses sub S and LLC personal income tax companies. Over half. Of all American workers working those kind of companies the United States. So this got a tax cut encourages small business to hire. To raise wages and small business is what pulls us out of recessions and gets us get this economy going again that's part one. Second. I'm gonna make our business taxation the C corporation taxation competitive globally. I'm gonna reduce the corporate tax rate to 25%. From the current 35%. Where the highest in the world that's -- -- and let's get competitive again. I'm also gonna make the R&D tax credit permanent so we can encourage the kind of permanent investment -- motivation that drives economic growth long term. And I'm getting and that job killing repatriation. Tax. So American companies who do business overseas will bring their profits -- back home and invested here I don't with -- you know -- those things are this repatriation tax. But but but those are not familiar with it will find it interesting. If there's an American company like Ford. That has a division and China making cars in China and they make profit there. Right now if they keep their profit in China and invest there in China. There's no US tax. But if they bring the money home to invest here. Then we charge of up to 35% tax this makes no sense that's got to end we've got -- the repatriation tax and bring dollars on its estimated to be over a trillion dollars sitting offshore that could come back here. And create American jobs and I get it got. Now course I'm gonna maintain the 15% capital gains tax rate. That's the at the right course to to keep our economy growing I'll eliminate the tax entirely by the way. Entirely capital gains interest and dividends and eliminate that for those with annual income below 200000 dollars. -- those -- tax rates encourage Americans to save and to invest and -- encourage business investment and economic growth. And finally I will repeal the alternative minimum tax and I will abolish the death tax it's simply not fair. Now -- make it clear. These changes I will not allow to raise the deficit. Stronger economic growth. Spending cuts and broadening the base will offset the reductions. Americans will continue to join the tax benefits. That -- important priorities. Including home mortgage interest deduction charitable giving them health care and savings. But they'll be some changes in the current deductions and exemptions for higher income Americans. Those who received the greatest benefit -- that 20% cut are gonna see the most significant limits on some of the deductions and exemptions so we can keep a code as progressive. Now these reforms will grow the economy. They're gonna -- right wages. They're gonna grow jobs. That's -- we have to do in this country let's get a tax policy that encourages growth and investment and doesn't just penalize people for being successful. Now an image of -- else all of you have experience in business are familiar with the balance sheet. I find it interesting. That the largest enterprise in our country the federal government doesn't publish a bouncy. But in fact we have one. And if -- get -- get our fiscal house in order we also have to fix our national balance sheet. Today we face 62. Trillion dollars in unfunded promises. In our entitlement programs Medicare and Social Security being the largest you know we talk a lot about the fifteen trillion. Out -- deficit debt that's been piled up. We gotta tackle let that is well but is that 62 trillion of unfunded promises. The case most of us up at night. Now few comments as -- are gonna ensure that we can make good our promises to our seniors. And we can also save social security and Medicare for the future generations. Tax hikes -- off the table. This can be no change also for the people who are near retirement are currently retired but younger generations. Who who enter that system have to have a system to strengthen for the coming century. When it comes a Social Security what I'll do it slowly raise the retirement age. We're also -- to slow the growth in benefits for higher income future retirees. And then when it comes to Medicare tomorrow's seniors will have a choice among insurance providers. Including traditional Medicare -- offered by the government. And as with Medicare part. And to provide coverage at the lowest possible price seniors will then receive government support to ensure that they can afford that coverage. And with Medicare like with Social Security lower income seniors will receive the most generous benefits. Starting in 2022. New retirees will participate in the new system. Will gradually increase the Medicare eligibility age by one month each year. And the long run the eligibility ages for both programs will be indexed to longevity. So that they increase only as fast as life expectancy. -- those of the kind of common sense changes we have to have we got to fix our balance sheet. Instead of having 62 trillion -- commitments hanging over our future. We're gonna have a balance sheet that is actually in balance and it's time to get that done. Now one more thing my administration will also make the hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts. Necessary to reduce spending to 20% of the economy. By the end of my first term and -- -- -- at that 20% level. And then without sacrificing a military superiority. I will balance the budget. Now the three things I gotta do to get that done and the not -- first. I'm gonna cut programs. I mean look at every single government program and ask this question is this program so critical that it's worth borrowing money from China to pay for -- And if not I'm gonna get rid of it. -- to start with the easiest kind of all. I will get rid of obamacare. It's -- you know it's a trillion dollar entitlement that we. We don't want we can't afford it's bad medicine bad policy when I'm. President the bad news obamacare is going to be over. We're also gonna cut things that includes subsidies a lot of people like -- cut the subsidies to Amtrak and funding for Planned Parenthood. Or repeal the union -- -- -- Davis Bacon Act to save taxpayers bio by the way a hundred billion dollars over ten year period. Sort of cut things that's part one part two what -- take a lot of federal programs we're gonna keep and we're gonna send them back to the states. I -- to -- Medicaid back to the states and cap that programs rate of growth. And inflation plus 1%. -- do the same for other programs like food stamps and housing subsidies and job training. States are better able to perform these kind of functions. And by the way once the economy's really growing again. I believe we should return our spending level of these programs to the pre recession levels and then -- the rate of growth. And give the states flexibility and control over the programs. Tax -- save money. And those who need the benefit of these programs will find a more effective and efficient and responsive if their run the state level look there -- such differences between states. -- port Massachusetts is different than being poor in Mississippi or Montana or Michigan lets states craft their own programs for their own poor. Welfare reform. It showed us how well a state led approach can really work and I want to extend that conservative small government philosophy. Across the entire social safety net for those that are in need -- our help. Now finally ousted number one cut programs. To balance the budget number two. -- programs back to states. -- we cap the growth rate that -- states managed those programs in the way they think best and the third thing to do is to make the government the remains. That government itself has to be more efficient. And I want to shrink the size of the federal work force initially by 10%. Through attrition. And then and only the pay of government workers. With the -- that exists in the private sector I don't think public service you get paid more than the taxpayers are paying for. Now is a plan to get America back on track. Talked about tax policy lowering tax rates to create growth. Talked about entitlement reform -- balance -- gets fixed. Spoken about deficit reduction by cutting spending cutting programs -- -- programs back to the states and make government and making government more efficient. But also -- -- just a moment to think about Michigan. But it takes to get Michigan on track in addition to what's happening at the national level and -- a course revolves in many respects around the auto industry. For Michigan to be strong and vital the auto industry has to be growing -- -- I hope we learn lessons. From the experiences of the past. In my view the industry got in trouble because the UAW and asked for too much. Management gave too much -- made -- mistakes. And the government cafe standards hurt domestic auto makers. And provided a benefit to some of the foreign automakers. By the way the results of those -- steps. Was a cost penalty per car about 2000 dollars. -- even the best designers and engineers -- the world and they're here could not overcome that kind of cost disadvantage without that the customer being able to tell. And so as we look forward it's important that the UAW takes care not to impair impair the long term future of the industry. And cafe standards have to be worked out between government and the private sector so they don't become overly burdensome and put our domestic manufacturers at a disadvantage. And the companies they've got to invest. In new technology and take advantage of the massive new market the largest markets in the world are going to be Indonesian Brazil and China and India. We should get by the way we should get the government out of General Motors. So that the future of that company is determined by the demands of the marketplace. Not by the preferences of bureaucrats in Washington. Detroit shouldn't just be the the motor city of America. It's got to be the motor city of the entire world. And I want to make sure that happens. What I've described I believe our economic plans -- strengthen America. -- the Michigan. By making bold cuts in spending. And common sense reforms we're gonna make our government simpler smaller. And smarter. Through pro growth policies. We're gonna get our economy back on track and get our citizens back to work. And taken together. The plan -- I'm proposing represented the biggest fundamental change to the federal government in modern history. These conservative. Pro growth policies. That -- -- jumpstart the economy. But they'll stop the dangerous -- Of this country into a society where. Values of entitlement. Our -- higher than values of opportunity. We've got to restore the promise of America. With more jobs. Last -- smaller government. I know the -- Obama's gonna criticize my proposal Soviet. I believe the American people are ready for real leadership. I believe they really do deserve a bold conservative plan for reform and growth. And I like the president. Actually have that kind of plan. I'm not afraid to put on the table. My plan for America requires leadership. And it calls for sacrifice. It doesn't require a leader to promised bigger bigger benefits and something for nothing. Underscore that it doesn't require a leader to promised bigger and bigger benefits and free stuff. It requires a leader. If you need to call for sacrifice. And if I'm elected president. I promise you this. We're gonna restore America's promise. Pure Michigan. The future will once again be full promise of prosperity. Parents won't have to wonder if their children we'll have a better life. They know we'll have a better life. Together we can get our -- under control. We can pursue that the spending cuts to rein in the deficit that -- our future. Entitlement reforms will tackle our long term debt. And a pro growth tax policy is -- create jobs and encourage investment again Foster risk taking and innovation that's the magic of America. If we pursue the policies I've just described. You're gonna see a Michigan with rising home values again. Your kids -- gonna come out of college and find their jobs there that are consistent -- skills. Businesses will come here. Because of your unparalleled work force engineering skills extraordinary institutions of higher learning. Michigan will once again be known as the engine of innovation. I'm not promising that every -- is going to be easy or there won't be sacrifice and hard work. But I'm promising. That every day will be on -- track to get things better and better. And together we'll make America stronger again. But to do that. I need your help. Next Tuesday that a major vote that start -- as part want it and if you want to make this election about restoring America's greatness. -- I hope you'll join me. This is a critical time for our country. I now. I love the the foundation of this extraordinary land. I think it was spoken have been written by the founders of this country. When they wrote the declaration of independence. They chose their words carefully -- said we were endowed by our creator with our rights. Not by government not by the king but by our creator. And among those rights are life. Liberty. And the pursuit of happiness. That last phrase the pursuit of happiness happiness we send -- gloss over our minds. But it suggests that in America people would be free to pursue their path in life as they choose they would not be limited by government. Or by the circumstance of their birth. And because of these freedoms our freedom our liberty and our right teachers -- course in life. America became the place on the planet where people came within a -- pioneering spirit that's what built this city and built this state. Pioneers and innovators hard workers came to work for them and build this extraordinary land. We have a president to do it today who I think is try to transforms America -- -- something we wouldn't recognize. I don't think that's the right course for America I love what we are I want to restored to America the principles that nation that made this the hope of the earth. I would restore freedom I want to restore a conviction that people pursuing their own path in life will build a better future. And so I come to you and ask for your help. I want to restore the greatness -- America. Relying on the greatness of the American people their dreams their visions their education their hard work there innovative spirit that's what makes us who we are there's a critical time for America. We're gonna to choose who we are. What the -- of America's going to be are we going to be a nation led in government. By a massive government in Washington taking a larger and larger share do you -- government today accounts for. About 35%. Of our total economy federal state local 35% -- inches away from no longer being a free economy. I want to get more jobs and less debt and shrink government get back to the American people being able to pursue their course in life. I love this country -- -- what it stands for. I'm of the vision I have in the future I'm optimistic about the future. I'm convinced that the American people that led by people who are actual leaders. Who know a lot of call for sacrifice. Rather than just promised bigger and bigger benefits that Americans -- -- to the occasion. I believe that despite the challenges we have that if we have the president but the we'll tell the truth. And live with integrity. Who actually knows how to lead who by the way likes cars. And don't call the greatest the American people will see Michigan come back we'll see America come back and we'll know that America -- -- the hope of the earth thank you so much. -- -- -- this morning. -- was fat thank you very active there's a there's a custom boat club two two. -- a few questions that we've been provided with three from the audience. If if we -- okay. The first question is China is -- growing power Wednesday. What should the United States -- to victory. The relationship between these two countries. China is Smart enough to know that in the free enterprise system which they have adopted to a certain degree that -- in competition. And they will take every advantage that a competitor normally wants to take to strengthen their hand relative to us or relative any competitor that's what that's -- competitors do. And and they have taken advantage in ways that many respects are unfair. The reason we have laws and regulations. Is to allow. Introduced it to play at a level playing field so the most effective competitor succeeds in -- less effective competitor. Weakens and and perhaps does not succeed. China has taken advantage of the fact that we -- watching very carefully. The we have not insisted that they abide by the rules. And so -- -- they -- into our computers. Government computers. Village of the designs of our new aircraft the F 35 for some two years before we figure that out. Then they going to corporate computers and see what kinds of things you're designing. So the millions and billions you spent developing new products they get for free. They've also got to the practices that are interesting stealing intellectual property designs. -- know how brand names they take those. Things you spent again millions and billions of dollars to build. They take for free. And then finally they have a practice of manipulating their currency which is holding down the value of their currency. So their products are artificially low priced. The impact of those unfair practices -- that Americans have seen businesses go out of business Juana -- level playing field they would not have. And so you have to have a president who's willing to column on the carpet and say look we love free trade. I'm -- pro free trade guy I want to open up more markets for free trade I applauded the Columbia. Panama South Korea deal if we can't compete -- a level playing field when we might as -- locked the doors of course we can compete will win -- a level playing field. But we can't have people like you like China cheating. Now they recognize that they've got to be sit back and asking how -- -- -- so long to finally figured this out. People -- -- but if we if we crack down on them -- there might be a trade war this is how much stuff. They sell to us every year. This is -- much stuff we sell them every year. They're not about to start a trade war. All right -- we gotta do is make sure that we get back to a level playing field and we worked together because our common interest. Is a growing thriving world economy where we -- -- China can be an ally for for prosperity in the world. But we can't allow them to continue to steal jobs and if we do. The consequence for our kids and their kids is unthinkable the time has come for a president that will stand at the China I will declare them a currency manipulator. And if necessary applied tariffs were I think that their practices unfair trade practices are killing American jobs thank -- Actually thinking right along those lines. The -- which the United States due to respond to the growing. Threat from. -- this is. This -- -- -- we -- we think about with some. Sobriety. We're we're tired. Of conflict. -- we've been through following I'll let god some long and challenging conflicts in Afghanistan which still goes -- In Iraq. And any thought -- further conflict is just the furthest thing from our minds. And the minds of our leaders in the minds of our citizens. The same time. Iran. Is on the cusp of developing nuclear capacity. Building fist -- material which they can use in it weaponry. And the consequence to the world and to us. If they have fissile material. Is unthinkable. If if Iran V world sponsor of terror Hezbollah Hamas. Has nuclear material provides it to Hezbollah or Hamas. And by the way Hezbollah now extensively working in Venezuela other parts of Latin America Mexico. And they -- there not disrupt those places as much as to -- this place. We simply cannot allow a nation that signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. To brush that aside develop nuclear weaponry brought into the hands here terrorists and potentially use it against -- They didn't -- that they would use nuclear technology against Israel they call Israel a one bomb nation small enough -- one nuclear weapon would wipe them out. It's it's just not acceptable and so as a result I give a speech and Israel several years ago personally a conference laid out the seven steps were needed to keep Iran from being nuclear. Sadly. None of those steps have been take. The three that that immediately can in my number one crippling sanctions and around this president and get them in place finally got forced to try -- do it now we're at the cusp of them. Developing nuclear technology that should have been done long ago number two was standing behind -- dissident voices. In a rod. They took to the streets looking to America for support for freedom and our president had nothing to say. Inexcusable. And number three developing military options and communicating that we have military options to -- So they understand that combined with crippling sanctions. Dissident voices on their street. Any commitment on our part to take military action if necessary to prevent them from becoming nuclear that combination I believe would keep them from this going down that path. And preventing us from having to take military. Action but they have to know -- it is unacceptable to the president of the United States and the people of this great nation. To have our future and our kids future threatened by a nuclear Iran. This will be the third and final question. Do you do you think you -- the Republican candidate with the best chance of defeating president well. I don't think I have the best chance I think to have the only chance maybe of overstating it this. I. That's my family of the -- -- here. It's always hard to defeat an incumbent president. Even an ineffective unlike Jimmy Carter. -- it's not easy. -- to defeat as someone who is -- got the White House and in some respects and can affect the national agenda. They can raise money and massive amounts. He's gonna have hundreds of millions of dollars coming in from organized labor. And by the way not not from members of unions to get to choose to get to. No they have money taken out of their their paychecks going to union dues -- into -- which the CEO of the union gets to spend as he wants. Can you imagine that in your enterprises. -- if you if you took money out of all your employees' paychecks and then you've got to -- -- to put it behind can imagine such a thing but that's what's gonna happen in his favor. By virtue of organized labor. So he's going to be hard to defeat. I think the only way to defeat him is to have someone who runs against him who is very different than -- who can present a clear contrast. I have not spent my life in Washington. The other a couple of guys I was debating the other night. Ron Paul spent time in and health care and so is also different -- the president. But Newt Gingrich and and Rick Santorum fine fellows but they spent their careers in Washington. They have -- their background the same background he hands. I will have credibility of the economy. I will be able to talk to him about why when he says how we turnaround America's economy -- -- no Mr. President. Everything you did made it harder for this economy to recover. Obama -- did not encourage people hire more people Dodd-Frank did not make it easier for banks to make loans. When you fought for card check and forced unionization. When an LRB and LRB makes a decision like it made in South Carolina. Those actions all made it harder for how to beat it to recover and I can say that with credibility. And so I believe the best way and the only way we're -- have to get President Obama out of the White House and get someone there who put Americans back to work. -- more jobs less debt and a smaller government is if we nominate someone. Whose career is not politics. Who's lived in the private sector. And his passion is caring for the coming generations. And that's what -- ever present I want to say thank you to -- David and -- welcoming me here. I apologize for keeping his along from the launch this smells of which -- began to walked into this room. I. I love this country. Actually of the state just feels good being back in Michigan. You know the of the trees of the right -- they. Streets are just right. I like the fact that most of the cars I see here our Detroit made automobiles -- drop a mustang and tea and a Chevy pickup truck and drives a couple of cadillacs actually. And that. I used to have a dodge trucks -- to have both recovered. But I but I want to I want to tell you how much I appreciate this this state this city this country. And I can tell you that if I'm lucky enough to be president -- -- -- states the Governor -- will have a friend and ally in the White House I'll go to work to help Michigan. Tell America to help Detroit and make sure that we have a -- prosperous future for kids and for their kids thanks so much could -- it today thank.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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