Deficit and gridlock
Romney knows what it's like to be in hostile political territory: He was a GOP governor in a state with a heavily Democratic legislature. He worked with the late Democratic Sen. Edward M. Kennedy on the state's health care law. Romney noted that he cast "over 800 vetoes when necessary" (although more than 700 of them were overturned by the legislature) and said he worked with the legislature "when possible." He did not address the question of dealing with a deadlocked U.S. Congress, although he has criticized both Obama and congressional Republicans for agreeing to mandate a $1.2 trillion cut in future federal spending.
Romney's economic and employment approach reflects his belief that taxes should be low and government involvement limited, and that programs are often better run when states and individuals have more control. Romney promises to create 12 million new jobs in the next four years by cutting the deficit, supporting small-business development and achieving energy independence by 2020.
The former governor wants to block-grant existing job-training programs so they can be run by states and "built around initiatives led by the private sector." Romney proposes creating "personal reemployment accounts," money that qualified unemployed people could spend in the way that works for them — be it community college courses or technical training. "These accounts encourage unemployed individuals to take ownership of their own careers," Romney said. Overall economic growth, coupled with such jobs programs, would close the employment gap for older Americans, Romney said.
Susan Milligan is a Washington-based freelance reporter and writer.
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