Among the great failures of the mainstream media in this campaign has been to claim that neither candidate has laid out an agenda. Both have been as clear as candidates can be about their plans for the nation in the next four years. On this, the day before Election Day, let’s review the particulars:
- Energy: President Romney would open the spigots on domestic energy, meaning no capricious regulatory roadblocks to fracking for oil and natural gas as well as to mining coal (where he will re-visit the Obama administrations regulatory roadblocks). He will rapidly grant permits to the Keystone pipeline and similar projects as they come along. He will not impose moratoriums on offshore drilling (as occurred for a year in the Gulf of Mexico after the BP platform blew up). He will not fund ideologically driven alternative energy projects like Solyndra or claim that wind and solar are viable alternatives to fossil fuels, and he will not build energy policy around such a claim. A recent Manhattan Institute study found that North America could be energy independent within less than a decade, some say within the coming presidential term. He would do everything in the federal government’s power to ensure that happens. On all these particulars, President Obama would do the opposite.
- Job growth: More than anything else, job growth means small business growth. President Romney will push Congress for renewal of the Bush tax rates (thereby cutting the tax rates small businesses pay) and then push again to lower them. He will review all Obama era regulations of business and eliminate or recast those that impeded business growth. This means he will not allow doubling of the capital gains tax rate, which is what President Obama’s thirty-percent minimum tax would do. He will undo Obamacare by state waivers, regulatory scrutiny and, as quickly as he can push it through Congress, legislation. President Obama will do the opposite.
- Federal discretionary spending and debt: President Romney will eliminate programs and agencies (he has said that it is not enough to reduce programs and their bureaucracies; you have to zero them out, or they just grow back). He will work with Congress to cut discretionary spending by five percent in his term, if achieved the first cut in that category since the Reagan presidency. His default position on all domestic choices between growing and cutting spending will be to cut. President Obama will do the opposite.
- Social Security and Medicare: He will push for reforms that make these programs solvent. Everything will be on the table – the higher retirement age and means testing as well as personal empowerment options, such as private accounts. His top priority will be to ensure that for the next generation the guarantees these programs represent are real, not empty, while current retirees keep the programs in their current form (without reform, these programs may not remain viable through the lifespans of the already retired or about to retire). President Obama will do the opposite.
- Global trade: After small business growth, growth in global trade is the other major driver of job growth in America. President Romney will open trade talks on a bilateral (country-by-county free trade agreements) and multilateral (a new round of talks) basis, which is what his pledge to seek from Congress Trade Promotion Authority means. The current administration has initiated no – zero – trade opening talks during its term, the first administration since the end of World War II to fail to lead the world in trade-opening initiatives. Meanwhile China has negotiated nearly two dozen. Regarding China, before receiving Trade Promotion Authority, President Romney will open by executive action trade talks with China, which is what labeling the government of the world’s second largest economy a “currency manipulator” empowers the president to do. On trade in general, his default position in approaching every decision will be to move assertively to open trade further. President Obama will do the opposite.
- On religious liberty: President Romney will end the use of federal law and regulation in health care and other fields to squash the freedom of Catholics, evangelicals and other Americans of faith to practice their faith in their lives. President Obama will do the opposite.
- On life before delivery and on traditional marriage: President Romney will do all a president can do to protect both. President Obama will do the opposite.
- On rule of law: President Romney will respect the separation of powers and both the Constitutional and legislative limits on the power of the executive branch, including in the writing and enforcement of regulations. President Obama will do the opposite.
- On the Supreme Court: President Romney will appoint justices like Scalia, Thomas and Alito, not Kagan and Sotomayor. President Obama will do the opposite.
- On foreign policy and national security: President Romney will rebuild our Navy, protect our borders, stand with our allies and approach would-be adversaries with firmness and no reservations or apologies about standing for American national interests — peace and security through strength. President Obama will do the opposite.
- Taken together: President Romney stands for a limited and solvent U.S. government, bounded by the whole Constitution, for an entrepreneurially vibrant American economy fully engaged in the international economy and for renewing American leadership on the global stage. President Obama stands for the opposite.
Few elections in American history have presented such a contrast. Few have offered such different futures for the nation. The choice for tomorrow will define our national life for decades of tomorrows.