Monday, January 14, 2008

Mitt Romney - Detroit Economic Club Address

Extended Excerpts Of Governor Romney's Detroit Economic Club Address

Detroit, MI – Today, addressing members of the Detroit Economic Club, Governor Romney will give an address on "Keeping Michigan and America Economically Strong." Our country faces extraordinary economic challenges both here at home and abroad. No where is this more known than in Michigan which has been enduring a one-state recession for the last ten years. Speaking to Michigan leaders, Governor Romney laid out his vision for strengthening our economy to the benefit of Michigan and all American families.

Excerpts Of Governor Romney's Remarks (As Prepared For Delivery):
"A lot of Washington politicians are aware of Michigan's pain, but they haven't done anything about it. I hear people say it's Michigan's problem. Or, the car companies just brought it on themselves. But that's where they are wrong. What Michigan is feeling will be felt by the entire nation unless we win the economic battle here. Michigan is a bit like the canary in the mine shaft - what's hurting Michigan, if left unchecked, will imperil the entire nation's economy.

"I don't know about the Washington politicians, but I can tell you this: if I am President, I will not rest until Michigan is back. Michigan can once again lead the world's automotive industry. But it means we're going to have to change Washington. We're going to go from politicians who say they are 'aware' of Michigan's problems to a President who will do something about them." ...

"First, we have to tackle the problems head on. If I am your President, in my first 100 days, I will roll up my sleeves, and I will personally bring together industry, labor, Congressional and state leaders to develop a plan to rebuild America's automotive leadership. It will be one that works for Michigan and that works for the American taxpayers." ... "From legacy costs, to health care costs, to increased CAFE standards, to embedded taxes, Detroit can only thrive if Washington is an engaged partner, not a disinterested observer. The plan should include increases in funding for automotive related research and new tax benefits including making the research and development tax credit permanent." ...

"Washington has to stop loading Detroit down with unfunded mandates. Of course fleet mileage needs to rise, but discontinuous CAFE leaps, uncoordinated with the domestic manufacturers, and absent consideration of competitiveness, kills jobs and imperils an industry. Washington dictated CAFE is not the right answer.

"We also must stop Washington politicians from imposing enormous unilateral energy costs on American manufacturing, including automotive. "For example, Senator McCain and Senator Lieberman have a bill pending in Congress that unilaterally imposes new high energy costs on U.S. manufacturers, with no safety valve. The Energy Information Agency estimated that this bill would raise electric rates by as much as 25% and gasoline prices by 68 cents a gallon. And the cost in American jobs – over 300,000. So it would not only kill jobs, it would make it harder for families to make ends meet." ...

"But taking off all these burdens is only half the solution. If we are going to be the world's greatest economic power, we must invest in our future. It's time to be bold. First, I will make a five-fold increase – from $4 billion dollars to $20 billion dollars – in our national investment in energy research, fuel technology, materials science, and automotive technology.

"Research spins out new ideas for new products for both small and large businesses. That is exactly what has happened in health care, in defense, and in space. Look how industries in other states have thrived from the spin out of technologies from our investment in these areas. So if we can invest in health care, in defense, and in space, why not also invest in energy and fuel technology here in Michigan?" ...

"Second, we will turn Government workforce training programs managed by bureaucrats into personal accounts that can be managed by the workers themselves to gain education at community college or to pay for on the job training in real jobs. "There are currently 40 government workforce training programs spread out over the federal government. Let's replace bureaucracy and bureaucrats with personal responsibility and individual ownership.

"Long term, we will lead the world only if our students are the best educated in the world. Almost every independent group that has looked at our public education has said that we are falling behind. And their number one prescription, treat teachers like the real professionals they are. Better teachers should be better paid. Teachers should be evaluated and promoted. And here's a novel idea, education of our children should come ahead of the interests of the teacher's union." ...

"There is no one silver bullet. When it comes to getting Michigan back on track and building a stronger America, we must address every problem I've spoken about. And I will.

"By the way, this is what I have done all my life – take on complex situations, lead tough negotiations, find solutions, and get things back on track. That was my job as a leader in the business world, as the head of the Salt Lake Olympics, and as the governor of Massachusetts.

"I am the only candidate with this kind of experience, and frankly, this is exactly the kind of experience Michigan and America needs in the White House.

"There are some people who don't think there's a future for the domestic automobile industry. They think the industry and its jobs are gone forever. They are wrong." ...

"Washington politicians look at Michigan and see a rust belt. But the real rust is in Washington.

"The pessimist will point to an empty factory and a laid off worker and say they have no future. "Instead, I see a vital infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and an innovative spirit all worthy of an optimistic vision and deserving of a leader who will work tirelessly to deliver the power and potential of Michigan and the American people.

"The pessimist says that the hundreds of thousands of jobs that have been lost, are lost forever.

"That logic says that the 200 jobs lost at Willow Run last week are lost forever. "And that logic also says all the rest of the jobs in the auto industry will one day be gone forever, and there is nothing that can be done about it. "The pessimists are wrong. The auto industry and all its jobs do not have to be lost. And I am one man who will work to transform the industry and save those jobs.

"After this speech I will do with my son Tagg what my Dad did with me 50 years ago. We're going to the International Auto Show where I show him the best of today and the vision of what we can be tomorrow.

"The next time I visit the Auto Show, I look forward to doing so as your President."

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