The following is the op-ed I had ready to go in case of a Romney win. The problem with that statement, of course, is that “in case of” meant “when”, as, like nearly everyone on our side, I was pretty darn certain of victory. So we intended for this to run on Election Day or the day after. Lucky me! I sure would have looked dumb if we couldn’t have pulled it in time! But in the interests of full disclosure, here is the unedited piece, which you still need to read. It shows a lot more than merely what could have been. It shows what still can be, and more than a few things well under way, if only we can keep Obama from killing them.
Not long from now, the election of Mitt Romney will be seen as ushering in a new Golden Age for America. This is no overstatement: the forces rendering it such are already here and bearing down upon us. And the best part is, such greatness will require very little of Mitt Romney beyond simply removing Barack Obama.
The psychological aspect of this – the despair, followed by the relief – should resonate with anyone who survived Jimmy Carter. Indeed, it is far more than just the economy which reminds us of that era. Obama’s academic partisans write lengthily of “managing American decline”, something he seems all too determined to do. But the core indictment remains, as stated in today’s surprise Romney endorsement by the leftwing New York Daily News:
[Under Obama] nine million jobs evaporated. The typical American family saw $50,000 vanish from its net worth, and its median household income dropped by more than $87 a week [or more than $4,500 a year]… The official unemployment rate stands at 7.9%, marking only the second month below 8% after 43 months above that level. Worse, add people who are working part-time because they have no better choice and the rate leaps to almost 15%. Still worse, add 8 million people who have given up looking for employment and the number who are out of jobs or who are cobbling together hours to scrape by hits some 23 million people.
Only America’s social safety net, record deficits and the Federal Reserve’s unprecedented low-interest policies have kept the label Great Depression II on the shelf.
Much, much more could be said. But why bother?
Reagan faced bigger dragons, including the entire Soviet Empire, and slew them. Mitt needs achieve but a fraction as much to earn the Gipper’s mantle and grandfatherly glow.
Start with unemployment, obviously intractable to an uncomprehending Obama. Despite the nightmare engulfing most Americans, corporate profits have broken records through most of the Obama Presidency. Why hasn’t this translated into jobs? Uncertainty, a nice way of saying “fear”: of looming new taxes, new regulatory burdens, and of course of a new, deeper recession. Just as many in the public have been buying gold and disaster supplies, companies have been hoarding too.
Mitt changes all that, almost just by showing up. No business will fear a tax increase for the duration of a Romney Presidency: not even Taxmageddon, the looming January 1, 2013 imposition of 23 separate new taxes totaling over half a trillion dollars, a tax hike of over $3,500 for 90% of America’s families and small businesses. So much for Obama’s promises to the middle class; but whether quietly repealed in the lame duck session or triumphantly so at the start of Romney’s first term, this “man-caused disaster” and its like will cease to threaten payrolls for a long, long time.
Repealing Obamacare – Republicans’ central promise – will eliminate the worst of the remaining uncertainty. It’s not just the new taxes: it’s the new compliance costs, the new regulations (many not yet written), the staggering new arbitrary power Obamacare grants government, to be enforced by 16,000 new IRS agents…all must go. And when it does, watch unemployment shrink to nothing.
Then there’s energy. Not just the increased drilling Bush attempted in 2008 (and Obama killed in 2009), nor even the fracking revolution, which has already collapsed U.S. natural gas prices far below the global average and which promises real U.S. energy independence within six years. This technological revolution – one Obama would ban – will put millions to work and pump as much as $700 billion per year currently wasted on imports back into the U.S. economy.
It will also deprive our enemies – Venezuela, Russia, the Arabs – of the cash they use to fight us. And the royalties to government of all this new drilling will literally be enough to pay off the entire national debt – even Obama’s part – in just under 20 years, no tax increases necessary. So much for “American decline”.
It gets better. Multi-well pad drilling – greatly increasing the number of wells which can be sunk from the same pad – promises to double U.S. production in the next few years. Likewise, the same horizontal drilling techniques which have enabled fracking are now producing another revolution: deep-water wells drilled from onshore, thus dramatically cutting both risk and cost. Russian-built LNG terminals around the world may allow our super-low-cost natural gas to be globally exported, and at a cost which drives Gazprom under. And beyond these miracles, good “green energy” companies – like Tesla Motors – will finally have had the chance to mature and fulfill their promise.
By any standard, this describes a Golden Age. America as an energy exporter, with domestic prices far below the global average, means not just the end of high unemployment, but a massive labor shortage. Investment and manufacturing will flood back home: 4% unemployment and 5% annual economic growth – or better – are a lock.
But could Mitt do better? Yes, if selecting Paul Ryan was for more than just show.
It is not too late to meaningfully reform Social Security: Ryan’s 2005 bill would have largely eliminated poverty among the elderly in a generation, and pumped trillions into the U.S. economy as Reagan’s IRAs and 401(k)s did in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Likewise, actually replacing Obamacare with real market-based reforms (e.g., making every dollar saved or spent for health care tax exempt for every American, allowing all insurers to compete in every state, real tort reform, and reinventing the process of new drug approval) could slash health care costs by a third in five years, by two-thirds in twenty.
Obama and his leftist cronies make a serious mistake in believing the U.S. economy is “mature”, that the time of invention is past, that it’s time to divvy up the pie. Quite the contrary: the time of invention is only accelerating. There is nothing holding America back from China-like growth rates, nothing but America itself. Change the assumptions – and the incentives – of the American government, and the American people will outrace and outstrip all the Chinas and Indias the world can throw at us.
That is Mitt Romney’s challenge. He can have a Golden Age almost for free. But will he rise to the challenge of this age, and make this moment shine out through the centuries?
I wouldn’t hazard a guess. But it’s a huge improvement to have such choices.