The following Op-Ed by Rick Santorum first appeared on RedState.com on March 18, 2012:
Mitt Romney highlights his business experience in the private sector but tries to hide his economic record in the public sector. He was a failed one-term Governor of Massachusetts, and by any objective measure, he would receive an F for his faulty fiscal stewardship there. Indeed, his economic record would not put him in the ring as a featherweight — let alone a lightweight — in any contest.
As heavyweight champ Joe Lewis once said, “He can run, but he can’t hide.” And in Mitt Romney’s case, past performance really does indicate future results. Here’s a start.
· D in Spending when graded against other governors according to the 2005 Fiscal Policy Report Card produced by the non-partisan Cato Institute.
· F in Job Creation as the Massachusetts state economy ground to a halt with Romney as its steward and ranked 47th out of 50 states.
· F in Entitlements and Growing Government as Romney created a brand new entitlement (RomneyCare) and then mandated that all individuals purchase health insurance and all employers with 11 or more employees provide it.
· F in Health Insurance Costs as, according to Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University in Boston, state health expenditures increased by $414 million, private health insurance costs increased by $4.311 billion, federal Medicaid for Massachusetts increased by $2.418 billion, and Medicare expenditures increased by $1.426 billion for a total increase of $8.569 billion in RomneyCare’s first 5 years.
· F on Cap and Trade as he appointed litigation-happy environmentalists to key government jobs, flip-flopped on cap and trade, flip-flopped on carbon taxes, and made the following promise about a coal-fired plant: “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people, and that plant, that plant kills people.”
· F on Wall Street Bailouts as he supported giving taxpayers the Wall Street bailout tab –even though they already paid dearly for the abuses and excesses with their retirement savings losses.
· F for Raising Taxes as he increased fees and taxes by over $740 million in his only term as governor.
While Mitt Romney could legitimately argue that he should get an A for consistency, his record of economic irresponsibility clearly shows he cannot legitimately argue that he can fix the economy.
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney supported major regulatory expansions in the healthcare environment almost identical to Obama’s unconstitutional overreach.
Romney’s inability to advance economic freedom while Governor of Massachusetts gives little comfort that he will do so as President of the United States.
However, I understand that healthy families and economic freedom go hand in hand, and each reinforces the other. High taxes and massive overregulation hamper economic freedom. Only Washington insiders and crony capitalists benefit from those policies. That’s why as President, from day one I will focus on giving American families the opportunity to thrive in a vibrant economy.
Each element of my vision is tied together by a focus on economic freedom. Here are 5 of its pillars:
· Help working families — don’t punish them — through the tax code: I’ll immediately work with Congress to eliminate the marriage tax penalty and triple the personal deduction for children. I’ll also reduce and simplify the system with just two marginal income tax rates of 10% and 28%.
· Unleash America’s energy: I’ll immediately approve the Keystone XL Pipeline. It will provide Americans with thousands of truly shovel-ready jobs and transport ethical oil from our Canadian friends. An American President should never again bow before Middle East interests. I will also immediately rescind all Obama EPA regulations that burden the economy by more than $100 million per year.
· Reinvigorate America’s competitiveness: I will eliminate the corporate income tax for manufacturing activity and halve it to a flat rate of 17.5% for all others. I will also purge the crony capitalists in Washington and ensure that every American plays on a level economic field. Our Founding Fathers understood that markets should reward those who actually add value to society, not those who gain through political favoritism and back-room deals. Our Republic depends on a fair market system where everyone has equal footing.
· Get spending under control: For the past 3 years, American families have been working hard and living with their means. Is it too much to expect Washington to do the same? I will balance the budget in my first term. My budgets will spend less each year than prior years, and I’ll reduce the non-defense-related federal work force by at least10%. I will also call on Congress to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution.
· Repeal and replace ObamaCare: I’ll submit legislation to repeal ObamaCare, and on day one issue an executive order ending related regulatory obligations on the states which was inspired by the freedom offending and health care cost raising RomneyCare. Replacing ObamaCare with the previous system will not suffice. As the father of a large family, I know the trials and tribulations so many undergo when a loved one enters the medical system. I will work with all stakeholders to produce a healthcare system that prioritizes the patient, not the bureaucrats and the moneyed interests behind them.
America’s greatest days can be ahead — if we work together to create an economic system where equal opportunity is provided for all, where everyone’s children can surpass their parents, and where traditional values are rewarded.
We only need the courage to remain true to our Constitution and the principles of freedom and unleash the innovation and potential of the American people.