Mitt Romney: Americans deserve a business leader's experience

Editor's Note: Gov. Romney contributed this commentary to the Duluth News-Tribune, a Forum Communications newspaper.The West Central Tribune in sharing Romney's commentary with our readers.

Editor's Note: Gov. Romney contributed this commentary to the Duluth News-Tribune, a Forum Communications newspaper.The West Central Tribune in sharing Romney's commentary with our readers.

We have grown up in an America that is safe, prosperous and stable. For many Americans, that is all they have known. And it is all they can imagine.

Perhaps that is why so many of us fail to see the consequence of continuing along our present course. The greatest generation -- our parents and grandparents -- had witnessed the turmoil of depression and the tragedy of war. They acted to preserve our liberty. They sacrificed to build the world's strongest economy. And they gave us the education, values and work ethic that permitted us to succeed in it.

Today, we face a new generation of challenges. Ignored, the challenges will overwhelm us; confronted, they will make us an even stronger nation.

The challenges come from different directions. Our national security is threatened by radical Jihadists who seek to destroy America and to conquer the world. Our economy faces new competition from Asia, particularly China. All the while, oil-producing nations like Russia, Venezuela and Iran siphon away our national wealth, weakening our competitiveness.


Here at home, Washington politicians "fight over the deck chairs on the Titanic," even as the nation heads through icebergs. Rather than confront the challenges and call on America's spirit of unity, the politicians bribe us with pork-barrel spending and lavish favors on special interests.

Washington is broken. And given the challenges we face, we must act to fix it.

We must start by strengthening our economy because as the national economy changes, it affects every state in the nation.

In January, Minnesotans received some of the worst employment numbers they've seen since 2001. This winter, families across Minnesota are facing soaring heating bills and too many are struggling to pay their mortgages. It is time for Washington to act, because Minnesotans cannot afford a recession. Minnesota jobs and homes are at stake if we do not act quickly to stimulate the economy, reduce energy costs, and encourage innovation to help American companies compete with the new economies on the rise in Asia.

The American people know that Washington must act immediately to keep us from sliding into recession. Instead, we see worrying signs of the same old bickering as the Senate fiddles while the American economy burns. We need Congress to act now to help get the economy moving again. But just as important, we must act to reinforce the foundation of our competitiveness. As president, I will reduce taxes permanently, open and expand markets for American goods and services, and promote an economic culture of innovation and transformation that will strengthen our economy.

I have spent 25 years in the real economy. I have done business in more than 20 countries. I know why jobs are lost and how they are won. I have been fortunate to gain the kind of experience that is needed to strengthen our economy. It simply cannot be done by Washington politicians who have never had a job in the real economy.

Strengthening the American people also requires the elimination of the threat of terrorism -- radical, violent Jihad. Our military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan are working. But we and all civilized nations must construct a more comprehensive strategy to eliminate violent Jihad throughout the world. This effort demands vigorous leadership that unites and strengthens our country.

In short, it cannot be accomplished with business as usual in Washington. Rather, it demands new energy, new ideas and new leaders shaped in the crucible of the real world, not the Washington world. In the Washington world, the media is the most important constituent and success is passing a bad bill, as long as it has your name on it. In the real world, keeping our military strong, our families safe and our economy growing is the real measure of success. In today's broken Washington, it is too often merely an afterthought.


The American people have never shied away from the big challenges the world has often thrown our way. This moment and these great challenges demand new leadership and new ideas. Together, we will face and meet the threats to our economy and way of life that confront us today.

My promise to the people of Minnesota and to every American across the country is that we will overcome these challenges, fix our economy, protect our shores and our families and remain the hope of the world.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is a Republican candidate for president of the United States.

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