August 28, 2012
“Fellow Americans, I want you to know why I am running for president. Our country, which has been a glorious beacon of hope for more than two centuries, is in danger of losing its way. We are in the midst of a terrible recession and millions of hard-working, ambitious Americans cannot find jobs. Great cities are declaring bankruptcy and institutions – like our Post Office —is almost out of business.
Airports are overcrowded and bridges are breaking down. Healthcare costs are growing so fast that they threaten our nation’s future. One quarter of our children fail to graduate from high school. Many who do graduate lack the skills and knowledge they need to make it through college. Unhappily, the list goes on and on.
My friends – these are not unsolvable problems. They are problems that men and women of good faith can agree to fix. They are problems that cry out for leadership, and for common sense solutions. This is the United States of America. Don’t tell me we can’t upgrade our schools or fill our potholes.
How have we arrived at this sorry place? How is it we are now being asked to settle for less – to make do with transit systems that are overcrowded and streets that are not safe? Consider this – Camden New Jersey, one of the most dangerous cities in the country, is scrapping its entire police force – arguably exposing its citizens to even higher crime rates -- because it cannot meet payroll. How can this be?
It is because the United States – the wealthiest nation on earth – has been careless. We—and I mean Republicans and Democrats, legislators and presidents -- have promised so much to so many that we cannot afford the most basic of investments; we have guaranteed such a grandiose expansion of our safety net that soon we may not be able to care for our most vulnerable citizens. We have spent our resources on the here and now, and not planned for the future. Little by little, we have undermined the ambition and self-reliance of a growing number of our citizens. Instead of moving mountains to make sure there are jobs available for our people, we have created a victim class of unemployed and unemployable citizens, supported by federal tax dollars.
We can’t undertake big spending programs that are so necessary to our future because we can’t safely borrow more money. Over the past several years, we have spent trillions of dollars more than we took in; our debt now threatens our future. Last summer the unthinkable happened; for the first time in our history, we lost our triple-A credit rating, meaning investing in the U.S. is no longer considered a safe bet.
How are we going to solve these problems? President Obama says the answer is to raise taxes on our top earners – on the 3 percent of Americans who now already pay about half of all income taxes. That’s it. That’s the beginning and end of my opponent’s program. He thinks that he can turn anger over our nation’s problems against our wealthiest and most productive citizens. He’s wrong. Polls show that Americans do not envy the rich; they want to become rich. Polls also show that our country holds the president responsible for our stalled economy, and they want action.
Here’s what we have to do: we have to get this country growing again. That is the only way we will shrink our deficits and pay down our debts. How can we do that? By stepping aside and unleashing the energy and resourcefulness of the American people.
We need to dig in, and compete like crazy. We have to make sure we’re the best place in the world to develop a new product. We need to clear out the cobwebs of confusing and overlapping regulation that have become the nightmare of U.S. entrepreneurs and small business owners. We need to simplify our monstrous tax code, so that it becomes an instrument of progress and not a swamp of unintended consequences.
We need to attract the best and the brightest from around the world – invite them to set up shop on our shores and bring their bold ideas with them. We need to partner with the private sector and rebuild our docks and roads. We can do this. Of course we can. Our history tells us so. When Britain was under attack from German bombers in 1940, Churchill tried desperately to pull us into the war. We were not war-ready, but he knew that once this country set its mind to something, there would be no stopping us. That’s as true today as it was then.
We also need to celebrate the bounty of this great land, and especially our natural resources. While President Obama is doling out hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to uneconomic green energy companies, he refuses to acknowledge that thanks to new technology, we now have a one hundred year supply of natural gas. That’s huge -- that’s a cheap energy resource that moves the competitive dial. We can do more with this plentiful resource; for instance, we can increase the use of natural gas to run heavy duty truck fleets – a fairly simple change that experts say could create nearly a half million American jobs and cut our OPEC oil dependence in half in less than a decade. This is not some pie in the sky forecast- we know how to do this, and we should do it.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is much work ahead. Work of the kind that I have done as a Governor of Massachusetts, as organizer of the Olympics, and in my time at Bain Capital. I know how to fix problems. If elected, and with the help of both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, I will fix them.”