Americans will be making two choices when they cast their presidential ballots on Nov. 6. They will be selecting the individual who will lead the nation over the next four years, a period that promises to be every bit as challenging as the past four. They also will be charting a long-term course for America.
President Barack Obama came into office in 2009 riding a wave of hope and change. Unfortunately, he has not delivered on the nation's yearning for change nor on the specific promises he made to fix what is broken. The president is asking the country to be patient, but his plan isn't producing results that would merit more patience, and the president hasn't spelled out what he would do differently in a second term.
Hope and change are still what Americans are seeking. This time, Republican challenger and Michigan native Mitt Romney offers the best hope of changing the nation's fate.
Romney brings credible plan
We anticipate that Romney will govern in the same manner as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a practical leader who shares his background as a business executive.Snyder has rapidly set Michigan on the path to revival by applying sound business practices and accountability to government operations. We expect that Romney will also employ a results-oriented approach and be ever mindful of his customer, the taxpayer.
Also like Snyder, we find Romney to be less partisan than the typical politician, and not bound by rigid ideology. The nation will be best served if the entrenched disagreements of the past four years give way to cooperation and achievement.
We are confident that Romney will be focused on the bottom line, and will divert the United States from "the road to Greece," as he's said on the campaign trail. Hard choices to reduce the debt and deficit cannot be postponed. Spending has increased by nearly 25 percent in four years, $5 trillion was added to the national debt and the annual deficit doubled, with no return to fiscal discipline in sight.
The Keynesian approach has not worked. Despite an $830 billion stimulus and increased annual spending, the economic recovery is the weakest in post-World War II history. Investors remain on the sidelines, afraid to put their money into job creating projects because of the uncertainty about future tax and regulatory policy.
Romney's five-point plan for economic revival centers on energy independence, a goal that is finally achievable thanks to the natural gas boom and development of the Canadian oil sands; a better trained work force; trade that increases the demand for American goods and services; debt and deficit reduction and promoting the growth of small businesses. If implemented in urgent fashion, we believe the plan will work.
Romney would simplify the tax code and create a regulatory environment that works to protect consumers and assure a fair marketplace, but doesn't place the regulators in control of every private sector decision.
As a venture capitalist, the ability to make a deal was the key to Romney's success. He understands that most deals begin with the parties in adversarial positions but must end with them both satisfied that they've got as much as they've given.
What's missing in Washington is that willingness to move toward a middle ground. This all-or-nothing attitude has resulted in the inexcusable failure for three years of the president and Congress to pass a budget, a gridlock that has thwarted bipartisan solutions to the debt and deficit, and has now placed the country on the edge of a frightening fiscal cliff. That's not leadership. Romney has been an effective leader his entire career, both in business and politics. As governor of Massachusetts, he worked with a Democratic legislature to produce difficult health care and education reforms. We are optimistic he can restore the art of compromise to Washington.
He lifted the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics out of a desperate financial hole and turned the games into a successful enterprise. As a businessman, he established a reputation as a turnaround expert, rescuing failed companies and returning them to profitability, allowing them to create jobs and economic opportunity for their communities. The federal bureaucracy is nothing if not a turnaround project.
Aside from his sterling resume, we also see in Romney a strength of character. He's his own man. We doubt he will be led off course by those who place party ahead of the good of the country. In Monday night's final presidential debate, Romney passed the commander-in-chief test, demonstrating a level-headed view of foreign affairs.
Thank Obama for auto rescue
Don't assume that it was a no-brainer for a conservative newspaper to endorse a conservative presidential candidate. We recognize and are grateful for the extraordinary contribution President Obama made to Michigan in leading the rescue of General Motors and Chrysler. Had either of those companies been allowed to go under, Michigan's economic maladies would have become fatal.
The president stepped up with the support the two automakers needed to keep themselves and their suppliers in business. We have said in past editorials that while Romney rightly advocated for structured bankruptcies in his infamous "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt" New York Times op-ed, he was wrong in suggesting the automakers could have found operating capital in the private markets. In that article, Romney suggested government-backed loans to keep the companies afloat post bankruptcy. But what GM and Chrysler needed were bridge loans to get them through the process, and the private credit markets were unwilling to provide them. Obama put a rescue team to work and they were true to the task. We have criticized Obama in past editorials for rewriting bankruptcy law on the fly to hold harmless his supporters in the United Auto Workers union. Still, Michigan is better off today because of Obama's leadership on this issue.
Had Obama done as well with the rest of the economy, it would be hard to deny him a second term.
But Obama said himself in a midterm television interview that if by the end of his first term the economy was still broken, he should not be re-elected. Well, the economy is still broken, and we have lost confidence in the president's ability to make the necessary repairs.
Despite his wrong-headedness on the auto bailout, we believe Romney when he proclaims himself a "car guy." And he is indeed a son of Detroit, having grown up in the automobile industry. His father, George Romney, was the head of American Motors before becoming governor of Michigan.
Romney understands the industry, and will shield it from regulators who never tire of churning out new layers of mandates. It is important to remember that the automobile industry is never truly "saved;" there are always new challenges. Romney will be an advocate for Detroit, and if he can make the overall economy stronger, Michigan and the automakers will benefit greatly.
The course of a nation
As we said, this is more than a choice between two individuals. America is locked in a struggle over what it will be as a mature nation.
A country built on rugged individualism finds itself increasingly under the thumb of a federal government that is ever expanding its reach into the lives of its citizens.
Obama has proved himself a disciple of the doctrine that for every problem there's a government solution.
Romney, by contrast, embraces individual initiative and entrepreneurship. He would turn back the encroachment of the bureaucracy into the private sector.
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From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121025/OPINION01/210250332#ixzz2ALbBdk6I