Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney unveils his economic plan.
NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV-- In a crowded trucking company warehouse north of Las Vegas, Mitt Romney unveiled his highly anticipated economic plan today, saying it will fundamentally restructure the U.S. economy to create jobs, and painting President Obama's policies as hopelessly outdated.
"President Obama keeps putting quarters into a pay phone that isn't connected," Romney said to cheers from supporters here. "Your pay phone strategy doesn't work in a smartphone world!"
Romney, speaking without a teleprompter and with only a single page of notes, called his plan a "business plan for America", and outlined several of the 59 proposals laid out in a detailed 160-page book released by the campaign today. (Read the full plan here).
In the package of legislation he said he would propose on day one, and ask congress to act upon within 30 days, Romney said he would push to lower the corporate tax rate 10 percentage points to 25 percent and immediately implement three pending free-trade agreements.
Also on his first day agenda, Romney said he would issue executive orders to begin unwinding President Obama's healthcare legislation and other regulatory reform passed under this president, and push for sanctions to stop unfair Chinese business practices.
Unlike former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman's plan, presented last week, Romney's plan offered no specific revisions of personal income tax brackets, but does call for the elimination of all taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for Americans making less than $200,000 per year.
Romney's plan to create jobs and reform the economy covers a wide variety of topics, ranging from domestic energy production, -- which Romney would push for legislation to expand -- to the creation of a so-called "Reagan Economic Zone" of free-trading nations who agree to abide by strict fair-trade and intellectual property-protection rules.
Romney campaign officials say that their candidate's proposals amount to more than just a jobs plan, but a fundamental restructuring of the U.S. economy -- one that would create 11.5 million jobs and push GDP growth to four percent annually in the first four years of a Romney administration. Offering statistical estimates certain to be criticized and debated both by Democrats, and Romney's GOP rivals, campaign officials also say their modeling shows the plan cutting unemployment down to 5.9 percent within four years.
Campaign officials noted that the plan was likely to draw some fire from elements of both the political left and right, and before Romney had even left the building, both the Obama and Perry campaigns issued critical statements.
"While Mitt Romney spoke today about the struggles of the middle class, he offered a plan that would tip the scales against hard-working Americans," the Obama campaign statement read. "Governor Romney repackaged the same old policies that helped create the economic crisis: boosting oil company profits and allowing Wall Street to write its own rules, more tax breaks for large corporations and more tax cuts for the wealthiest while working Americans are forced to carry a greater burden."
The campaign of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who according to today's NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll leads Romney by some fifteen points among Republicans, also quickly issued a statement attacking the former Massachusetts governor's record leading that state, saying he "failed to create a pro-jobs environment and failed to institute many of the reforms he now claims to support."
But in what could become a talking point in tomorrow night's NBC News/Politico debate, one conservative voice defended Romney's plan, and called on other candidates to match it.
"Governor Romney deserves praise for his specific plan to put America on a path to economic prosperity." said Chris Chocola, president of the conservative Club For Growth. "Unlike President Obama, who has given nothing but empty rhetoric promising more of the same failed policies, Governor Romney has offered specific solutions. Every Presidential candidate should issue a comparable blueprint for Americans to review."