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The Republican Party platform promises to replace what it criticizes as President Barack Obama’s debt-swollen entitlement society with “a roaring job market to match a roaring economy.”
The platform reflects the influence of presidential candidate Mitt Romney, offering as the remedy for the nation’s economic ills a familiar recipe of low taxes, light regulation, expanded oil drilling and free enterprise. It vows to reduce personal and corporate taxes, repeal Obama’s health-care law, promote small businesses and avoid taxpayer bailouts of troubled financial institutions.
The 62-page roadmap, approved by a voice vote of the delegates yesterday at the party’s national convention in Tampa, Florida, promotes expanded trade and accuses the Obama administration of “a virtual surrender” to commercial rival China. The Asian country is stealing American trade secrets, manipulating its currency to make its exports cheaper, and hampering U.S. firms trying to sell to Chinese customers, the Republicans say.
Republicans call for banks to be “well-capitalized” and pledge to repeal the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law.
Along with major economic policy shifts, the Republicans vow to transform the size and scope of government. Trillion- dollar annual budget deficits and mounting debt are harming job growth, they say. “The massive federal government is structurally and financially broken,” the platform says.
Republicans propose overhauling the Medicare program, which spent $549 billion last year on health insurance for 49 million Americans. Instead of government-paid health care, senior citizens would receive financial help to purchase private insurance with no changes for those currently under 55 years old.
With a nod to “the wisdom of the framers,” the platform refers to the U.S. Constitution as an “owner’s manual” for running the country. Celebrating limited government, it promises that a Republican administration would “get our country back on track.”
Republicans also offer a “salute” to state officials such as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who have acted to limit public-employee unions, and it urges “elected officials across the country to follow their lead.”
The Republican blueprint paints a vision of a failed Obama administration, guilty of saddling future generations with debt and grooming citizens for a “culture of dependency.” Its attack upon “expensive government bailouts” doesn’t acknowledge that the first such bailout, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, began in 2008 under Republican President George W. Bush.
The platform says the “chief cause” of high unemployment, which has topped 8 percent since February 2009, is “unprecedented uncertainty” caused by Obama’s policies.
A Romney administration would “propose immediate reductions in federal spending, as a down payment on the much larger task of long-range fiscal control.”
If the platform were enacted, any tax increase would require a congressional super-majority with exceptions made only during wartime or national emergencies. The Republicans also promise to cap government spending at its historic average to prevent future Congresses from balancing the budget with tax increases.
If kept, that promise would continue gridlock in Washington, where Democrats insist on what they call a “balanced” approach to closing the deficit with a mix of tax increases and spending cuts.
Echoing a longtime demand of libertarian Representative Ron Paul of Texas, the platform calls for an annual audit of the Federal Reserve. And it proposes a commission to investigate “possible ways to set a fixed value for the dollar,” a reference to a potential revival of the gold standard.
The campaign document labels Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government-sponsored mortgage financiers, as “a primary cause of the housing crisis because their implicit government guarantee allowed them to avoid market discipline and make risky investments.”
That view, though widely held among conservatives, has been rejected by the Federal Reserve and three of the four Republicans on the government commission that investigated the 2008 financial meltdown.
The Republican plan also criticizes Obama administration programs that fund emergent alternative energy technologies, saying, “Taxpayers should not serve as venture capitalists for risky endeavors.”
Instead, it urges opening more areas to oil and gas exploration, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the Outer Continental Shelf, and adopting a “reasoned approach” to drilling in East Coast waters. It praises coal as a “low-cost and abundant energy source” while criticizing environmental regulation that it characterizes as a “war on coal.”
The Republicans would expand nuclear energy and commit to approving the Keystone XL Pipeline, which the Obama administration denied a permit earlier this year.
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