Governor Romney On The Economy And Pro-Growth Change
Today, Governor Mitt Romney addressed the Latin Builders Association about the challenges confronting our economy and the pro-growth actions we can take today to meet these challenges. Below are excerpts of Governor Romney's remarks as delivered:
"We face big challenges today. Big enough challenges that unless we change and actually stop talking about them and actually do them, we can find ourselves being surpassed by other competitors in the world: China, India. As Asia emerges, much tougher competition. And for that reason, it's my view that we have to change Washington. States are beginning to get it. State after state is able to deal with major problems, but Washington seems incapable of dealing with major problems.
"When you think about the last several decades, they told us they would solve the problem of Social Security. They haven't done that. They said they would rein in excessive government spending. They haven't done that. They said they would live by high ethical standards. They haven't done that. They said that they would get health care for our citizens that was affordable and portable. They haven't done that. They said they would end illegal immigration and protect legal immigration. They haven't done that. They told us they'd get us off of foreign oil and that we could become independent of foreign energy. They haven't done that. The list goes on and on.
"The consequences of failure to act are so severe that it puts very much in jeopardy the future of this great land and part of what we're seeing right now in our economy is one of the manifestations of failure to act on the part of Washington. It is an economic slowdown, which currently looks like a very temporary caused event. Sub-prime mortgage crisis is what caused it, you'll hear. But beneath that sub-prime mortgage crisis impact is the fact that there are so many other cracks in our economic foundation that this crisis seems to open up a larger chunk of a problem within our economy."
"Now, on the business side of the ledger, I've also proposed some changes. One of my changes is to let people expense capital expenditures at 100 percent in the first year, and do that for the next two years so that corporations go out and start buying stuff and say, 'I want to get this capital expenditure program going.' That would certainly encourage a lot of commercial and residential construction in a hurry.
"Further, I want to lower the corporate tax rate. I want to cut it almost in half, to 20 percent over two years so that businesses find every incentive to stay here and grow here and not take their capital to other countries. Of course, there are some other things I've proposed for a long time. I want to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. I want to kill the death tax. I want to roll back tax rates on all Americans. I want to prevent the Alternative Minimum Tax from capturing more and more of our citizens, and I want to make the research and development tax credit permanent."
"What are we going to do about [the mortgage crisis]? One, I believe we need to aggressively expand the capacity of the Federal Home Administration (FHA) to guarantee larger loans and to put families into stable, fixed rate loan products. We've got to get mortgages out to people who can meet the requirements of a mortgage and the FHA has got to stand up in a major way.
"That's going to require additional funding for the FHA, even though it is a guarantee. It also means a new write of the regs there saying that you can take on larger loans, you can also take on loans where there's been a smaller down payment than what you normally require. The FHA restrictions are going to have to be loosened so that we can get FHA guarantees out into the far broader market so that these homes will be able to be kept from going into foreclosure.
"There's a program out there called NeighborWorks America's Foreclosure Avoidance Initiative. I'd like to see more of these around the country so that people who are facing difficulties with their mortgage can get professional counseling as to how to stay in their home and how to work with this FHA program or other programs available in their market place. We're also going to have to do a better job, I think, in informing consumers in the future about the nature of the product that they're getting and making sure there is a better disclosure form and process for letting people understand what a re-set is and what the risks are."