Thank you Senator Huffman (Joan Huffman, TX).
It is special honor to be introduced by a state senator who has been a part of creating policies in Texas that have led to jobs and opportunity, including the sponsoring of a very important tort reform, our Loser Pays law.
I am joined today by my best friend and partner in life, someone who will make a tremendous First Lady for this country, Anita Perry. And we are proud to be joined today by our daughter, Sydney.
Being in the Venetian, I am reminded of the opening act of the Mark Wahlburg movie "The Italian Job," where enterprising thieves escaped through the canals of Venice after ransacking a safe full of gold but enough about The Federal Reserve.
As Republican voters weigh the choice for president, they have an opportunity to put forward a clear contrast with our current president. This is not an election about small differences, it is about nothing less than a new direction for our country.
I would suggest the best antidote to the Obama economic failures is a candidate with the best record in America when it comes to job creation. A change election requires a new direction, not more of the same. I come by my conservatism authentically, not by convenience. And I offer the American people a new direction.
My economic plan is rooted in what has worked in my home state for ten years: lower taxes that are simple and fair; balanced budgets that cut unnecessary spending; and a regulatory climate that is friendly to small businesses and all employers attempting to create jobs in this country.
The first pillar of my plan is a "Made in America" energy policy that makes our nation more secure and creates American jobs by reducing our reliance on foreign oil. America has proven but untapped supplies of natural gas, oil and coal.
America is the Saudi Arabia of coal, with 25 percent of the world's supply. Our country contains up to 134 billion barrels of oil, and nearly 1.2 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas. We have the resources we need to fuel our cars, our homes and our power plants. They can be found in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, North Dakota, Alabama, Kentucky, throughout the American West, and, of course, Alaska.
But President Obama and his over-reaching Environmental Protection Agency won't allow American businesses and American labor to draw on even a fraction of this domestic energy from reserves on government-owned lands.
On one hand, the Obama Administration opposes fossil fuel development at home, and then on the other hand encourages countries like Brazil to drill offshore and sell it to American consumers, creating foreign jobs and foreign profits.
That's wrong. That's hypocritical. That's unfair.
In my first days in office, I will reverse Department of Interior policies that prohibit exploration on federal lands and in federal waters. We will work with Congress to open up ANWR; we will resume pre-Obama levels of exploration in the Gulf; and we will allow our Western States to tap into the massive supply of energy they possess so the West Coast isn't so dependent on hostile sources of foreign energy.
We will review and put a halt to job-killing EPA rules that are grinding our economy to a halt. We will remake the EPA, focusing that agency on regional issues while returning state environmental issues to state policy-makers. And we will stop the subsidies and stop the tax credits for specific industries so we have a true energy marketplace with a level playing field.
America needs jobs. America needs energy. America needs a "made in America" energy revolution. It's time to end the over-regulation. End the excess litigation. End the bureaucratic intimidation. Let's get back to what works to get America working again.
Let's make what Americans buy. Buy what Americans make. And sell it to the world.
The fastest way to get our economy going is to expand energy exploration because for the most part, it can be done without congressional gridlock. A president can make these changes through executive orders and executive actions.
But our long-term growth strategy requires fundamental reform of our tax code, the spending culture, and the way business is done in Washington. In six days, I will release the details of an economic growth package that will create jobs, create growth, and create investor confidence in America again.
It starts with scrapping the three million words of the current tax code, and starting over with something much simpler: a flat tax. I want to make the tax code so simple that even Timothy Geithner can file his taxes on time.
The second part of my plan involves a serious commitment to spending cuts, realizing the alternative is the path of Greece and other European nations that have been sunk by sovereign debt. We will reform entitlements, while preserving benefits for today's retirees and those close to retirement.
We will put forward a plan that balances the budget, and to keep our country on course to future balanced budgets, I will barnstorm all fifty states to generate support for a balanced budget amendment that will require the necessary tough choices year after year.
Lastly, we will change the way business is done in Washington, and it will start by ending the "do as I say, not as I do" entitlement mindset where Congress borrows from future generations to fund lavish pet projects that are non-essential.
But let me be even more clear: my plan ends earmarks for good. It's time to bring tough medicine to Washington. No longer will policy be set by K Street, it will be dictated by Main Street.
As I travel across this country, and look voters in the eye, I find that the American people, though bruised, are not broken. They remain optimistic about our country if we get Washington out of their way. And if the pundits and the establishment think they choose our president, primary and caucus voters haven't gotten the memo.
The American people are not going to trim around the edges in 2012, they are going to turn Washington inside out. I am not the candidate of the Establishment. You won't hear a lot of shape-shifting nuance from me.
I am going to give the American people a huge helping of unbridled truth: that we can't continue to spend what we are spending, that we can't avoid entitlement reform because we are afraid of third rail politics.
The fact is we can't spend our way to prosperity. And we can't grow the bureaucracy in order to grow the economy. There is a better way. It is to restore freedom to entrepreneurs, to our small businesses to limit government in order to create unlimited opportunity.
We will reverse course on the heavy hand of regulation, discarding Dodd-Frank and any other regulations that advance a political agenda at the expense of jobs and investment on Main Street.
It is time to let America be America again. To return freedom to the people. To stand on our founding principles and reject the cynical politics of the Nanny State.
To paraphrase President Reagan, Washington isn't the answer to our challenges, it is part of the problem. It is time to get Washington out of the way in order to preserve the American Way.
Thank you, and God bless you all.