Monday, January 14, 2008

Mitt Romney's Address to the Detroit Economic Club

"A lot of Washington politicians are aware of Michigan's pain, but they haven't done anything about it. I hear people say it's Michigan's problem. Or, the car companies just brought it on themselves. But that's where they are wrong. What Michigan is feeling will be felt by the entire nation unless we win the economic battle here. Michigan is a bit like the canary in the mine shaft - what's hurting Michigan, if left unchecked, will imperil the entire nation's economy.

"I don't know about the Washington politicians, but I can tell you this: if I am President, I will not rest until Michigan is back. Michigan can once again lead the world's automotive industry. But it means we're going to have to change Washington. We're going to go from politicians who say they are 'aware' of Michigan's problems to a President who will do something about them."

"First, we have to tackle the problems head on. If I am your President, in my first 100 days, I will roll up my sleeves, and I will personally bring together industry, labor, Congressional and state leaders to develop a plan to rebuild America's automotive leadership. It will be one that works for Michigan and that works for the American taxpayers."

"From legacy costs, to health care costs, to increased CAFE standards, to embedded taxes, Detroit can only thrive if Washington is an engaged partner, not a disinterested observer. The plan should include increases in funding for automotive related research and new tax benefits including making the research and development tax credit permanent."

"Washington has to stop loading Detroit down with unfunded mandates. Of course fleet mileage needs to rise, but discontinuous CAFE leaps, uncoordinated with the domestic manufacturers, and absent consideration of competitiveness, kills jobs and imperils an industry. Washington dictated CAFE is not the right answer.

"We also must stop Washington politicians from imposing enormous unilateral energy costs on American manufacturing, including automotive.

"For example, Senator McCain and Senator Lieberman have a bill pending in Congress that unilaterally imposes new high energy costs on U.S. manufacturers, with no safety valve. The Energy Information Agency estimated that this bill would raise electric rates by as much as 25% and gasoline prices by 68 cents a gallon. And the cost in American jobs – over 300,000. So it would not only kill jobs, it would make it harder for families to make ends meet."

"But taking off all these burdens is only half the solution. If we are going to be the world's greatest economic power, we must invest in our future. It's time to be bold. First, I will make a five-fold increase – from $4 billion dollars to $20 billion dollars – in our national investment in energy research, fuel technology, materials science, and automotive technology. "Research spins out new ideas for new products for both small and large businesses. That is exactly what has happened in health care, in defense, and in space. Look how industries in other states have thrived from the spin out of technologies from our investment in these areas. So if we can invest in health care, in defense, and in space, why not also invest in energy and fuel technology here in Michigan?"

"By the way, this is what I have done all my life – take on complex situations, lead tough negotiations, find solutions, and get things back on track. That was my job as a leader in the business world, as the head of the Salt Lake Olympics, and as the governor of Massachusetts. "I am the only candidate with this kind of experience, and frankly, this is exactly the kind of experience Michigan and America needs in the White House "There are some people who don't think there's a future for the domestic automobile industry. They think the industry and its jobs are gone forever. They are wrong."

For the full text, go to:

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