Mitt Romney on Jobs

Former Republican Governor (MA)

We need encompassing policy for jobs, energy, taxes, & trade

Q: [to Perry]: You have said that Gov. Romney was an abject failure at creating jobs when he was governor of Massachusetts.

PERRY: We need to get focused on that 9% unemployment in this country. It's the reason I laid out a plan this last week to get this energy that's under our feet. We've got 300 years of resources right under our feet in this country. 1.2 million jobs could be put to work.

ROMNEY: He's absolutely right about getting energy independence & taking advantage of our natural resources here. But there are also a lot of good jobs we need in manufacturing, and high-tech jobs, and good service jobs, technology of all kinds. America produces an economy that's very, very broad. And that's why our policy to make America the most attractive place in the world for investment. Job growth encompasses more than just energy. It includes that, but also tax policy, regulatory policy, trade policy, education, training and balancing the federal budget, and that starts with repealing Obamacare.

Source: GOP 2011 primary debate in Las Vegas , Oct 18, 2011

Nation should learn lesson from right-to-work states

Q: [to Romney]: Gov. Perry created more jobs in Texas than any other state.

ROMNEY: Terrific state. Some wonderful things that Texas has going for it that the nation could learn from. Zero income tax. That's a pretty good thing. Right to work state. Republican legislature, Republican supreme court. By the way, a lot of oil as well.

Q: So does Gov. Perry deserve any credit for all those jobs?

ROMNEY: Oh, sure. But look, I think Governor Perry would agree with me that if you're dealt four aces that doesn't make you necessarily a great poker player. And four aces--and the four aces that are terrific aces are the ones the nation should learn from, the ones I described, zero income tax, low regulation, right to work state, oil in the ground and a Republican legislature. Those things are terrific. And by the way, there has been great growth in Texas: Under Ann Richards, job growth was under 2.5% a year, under George Bush 3% a year, under Rick Perry it's been 1% a year.

Source: 2011 GOP Tea Party debate in Tampa FL , Sep 12, 2011

Obama's policies have put 2.5 million Americans out of work

[In response to Obama's jobs bill]: Mr. President, you are 960 days late. Under President Obama, America has lost more than two-and-a-half million jobs. Nearly 25 million Americans are out of work, underemployed, or have stopped looking for work. As of September 1, the national debt was an estimated $14.6 trillion. Obama Isn't Working.
Source: Web video response to Obama's 2011 Jobs Speech , Sep 8, 2011

Bain Capital created thousands of jobs during my time there

Q: Some critics say your private-sector experience consisted of being "a buyout specialist."

A: Well, not terribly accurate.

Q: Bain Capital, a company you helped to form, among other things, often buys up companies, strips them down, gets them ready resells them at a net job loss to American workers.

A: You know, that might be how some people would like to characterize what we did, but in fact, we started businesses at Bain Capital, and when we acquired businesses, in each case we tried to make them bigger, make them more successful and grow. The idea that somehow you can strip things down and it makes them more valuable is not a real effective investment strategy. We tried to make these businesses more successful. By the way, they didn't all work. But during the years I was there, we added tens of thousands of jobs to the businesses we helped support. That experience, succeeding, failing, competing around the world, is what gives me the capacity to help get this economy going again.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

America is an extraordinary jobs machine

Q: Is there a crisis of confidence in the US right now?

ROMNEY: Oh, absolutely. People are convinced that we're going to go into another recession. I sure hope we don't. People are worried about whether they can make their bills at the end of the month A lot of folks have stopped looking for work. We have a crisis in confidence in part because we have an absence of leadership.

I put together an outline of what it takes to get America back on the right track. It's a whole series of changes that have to occur, from energy policy, to tax policy, regulatory policy, changes in our trade policies.

We've got to change the way we're structured economically if we want to get people back to work in this country and keep America as we've always been, this extraordinary job machine. We can be the best place in the world to be in the middle class again, with jobs plentiful for our kids and for each one of us that are looking for those jobs today. I know how to do that. And that's why I'm in this race.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

FactCheck: Reduced unemployment in MA from 5.6% to 4.7%

Mitt Romney left the bad parts out of his job-creation record as governor. True, unemployment dropped to 4.7% when Romney was Massachusetts governor. But the state's employment growth was among the nation's worst.

Romney said, "At the end of four years we had our unemployment rate down to 4.7%. That's a record I think the president would like to see. As a matter of fact, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president has created in the entire country."

THE FACTS: To be sure, 4.7% unemployment would be a welcome figure nationally. But Romney started from a much better position than Pres. Obama did. Unemployment was only 5.6% when Romney took office in 2003, meaning it came down by less than 1 percentage point when he left office in 2007. Obama inherited a national unemployment rate of 7.8%.

Source: AP FactCheck on 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA , Sep 7, 2011

FactCheck: Jobs grew faster in MA under Romney's predecessor

[We fact-checked this exchange from the debate]:

PERRY: Michael Dukakis created jobs three times faster than you did, Mitt.

ROMNEY: Well, as a matter of fact, George Bush and his predecessor created jobs at a faster rate than you did, governor.

PERRY: That's not correct.

ROMNEY: Yes, that is correct.

THE FACTS: Perry was at least in the ballpark. Democratic Gov. Dukakis saw Massachusetts employment grow by 500,000 jobs during his two divided terms, 1975 to 1979, and 1983 to 1991, a rate of more than 41,000 jobs a year.

Romney, governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007, saw employment grow from 3.23 million to 3.29 million, growth of about 60,000 jobs, or a rate of 15,000 a year. That means Dukakis' job growth rate was nearly three times Romney's.

Source: AP FactCheck on 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA , Sep 7, 2011

The free economy means sometimes we lose jobs

Q: As head of Bain Capital, you acquired American Pad & Paper. Two U.S. plants were closed and 385 jobs were cut. Later, you bought Dade International. Almost 2,000 workers were laid off or relocated. And when you were governor, Massachusetts ranked 47th of the 50 states in job growth. You are going to be the jobs president?

A: Absolutely. Let me tell you how the real economy works. When I was at Bain Capital, we invested in about 100 different companies. Not all of them worked. I know there are some people in Washington that doesn't understand how the free economy works. They think if you invest in a business, it's always going to go well. And they don't always go well. In those 100 businesses we invested in, tens of thousands of jobs, net-net, were created. I understand how the economy works. And, by the way, as the governor of Massachusetts, when I came in, jobs were being lost. We turned that around. Our unemployment was below the federal level three of the four years I was in office.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

Replace jobless benefits with unemployment savings accounts

Q: You've suggested replacing government jobless benefits with individual unemployment savings accounts. Jobless benefits for millions of Americans are about to expire; would you extend them?

A: Unemployment benefits, I think they've gone on a long, long time. But I would rather see a reform of our unemployment system, to allow people to have a personal account which they're able to draw from as opposed to having endless unemployment benefits. Let's reform the system, make the system work better by giving people responsibility for their own employment opportunities and having that account, rather than doling out year after year more money from an unemployment system.

Q: Would you sign a bill to extend unemployment insurance if you were president right now?

A: If I were president right now, I would go to Congress with a new system for unemployment, which would have specific accounts from which people could withdraw their own funds. And I would not put in place a continuation of the current plan

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa , Aug 11, 2011

FactCheck: No, fewer US unemployed than Canadians employed

Romney claimed there are more unemployed Americans than employed Canadians, but that's not true: "Today there are more men and women out of work in America than there are people working in Canada. And in January, Canada created more new jobs than we did.

Romney is right about the January unemployment numbers: the US added 36,000 jobs and Canada gained 69,000. But it's not true that there are more Americans who are unemployed than Canadians who are employed.

As of January, there were 13.9 million Americans out of work; and 17.2 million Canadians employed. During his CPAC speech, Romney said there were 15 million unemployed Americans. That's wrong, but even if it were correct, it would be less than the 17.2 million employed Canadians.

The Romney campaign pointed to the number of Americans who are underemployed--including those who are in part-time positions while still looking for full-time work. But Romney spoke of Americans "out of work," and those who are underemployed are not out of work.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2011 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 15, 2011

FactCheck: No, more jobs lost under Bush than under Obama

Mitt Romney strained the truth in blaming the nation's economic woes on Obama. He also was wrong when he said Obama had lost more jobs than any modern president. Romney sought to put the job loss under Obama in historical context, but came down on the wrong side of history:

Romney Feb. 11: "Pres. Obama has stood watch over the greatest job loss in modern American history. And that, my friends, is one inconvenient truth that will haunt this president throughout history."

During the recent recession there were more jobs lost under Bush than Obama. Employment declined by nearly 8.4 million between its most recent peak in Dec. 2007 and when the job slump bottomed out two years later, in Dec. 2009. Of those lost jobs, 4.4 million disappeared while Bush was president, and just under 4 million vanished during Obama's first year. Now, the Bush total includes the devastating loss of 779,000 jobs in Jan. 2009--Bush's last month in office and Obama's first. We included Jan. 2009 in the Bush column.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2011 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 15, 2011

"Card check" is a massive imposition on worker freedom

The most naked pro-union power play in decades is the AFL-CIO demand to change the process by which a union enters a company's workplace. The proposed statute, known as "card check" legislation, would represent a massive imposition on the freedom of workers to choose whether or not to become part of a union. Currently, the decision about unionization is made by a secret-ballot vote by the company's employees, but because unions haven't been winning a lot of elections, they want to change the rules. Under the AFL-CIO plan, the union would collect pro-unionization signature cards from a majority of employees, cards that could be collected over an extended period of time and without the knowledge of the employer that an organizing effort is under way; thus, employees could be targeted and pressured, one by one. This is a remarkable departure from the one of the prerequisites of any democracy--that of a secret ballot. It's easy to imagine how this system could lead to employee harassment and coercion.
Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.112-113 , Mar 2, 2010

Incentivize hiring jobless: cover $2000 in training costs

I have seen that the best training often occurs in the workplace where it is targeted to a job that is actually needed. That is one reason why I favor programs that incentivize employers to hire and train people who have been out of work for an extended period of time, who have disabilities, or who have been affected by the failure of a company or industry. As governor, I was able to establish a program that paid employers $2,000 toward the cost of training anyone they hired who had been out of work for more than a year. For all the benefits that productivity improvements bestow on the many, we need to make sure that the cost is not borne by the few.
Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.116 , Mar 2, 2010

Opposes "25-75": 25 years of service then 75% pension

I got the big question from the union leadership: Would I support "25-75"? Someone explained that it was shorthand for a proposed state law mandating that after 25 years of service, firefighters could retire and receive annual pensions that would equal 75% of the average of their highest three years of compensation, plus inflation--a pension that would be paid regardless of whether the retired firefighter got another job.

I did a quick calculation. A firefighter who was hired at 20 years of age would retire at 45, then be paid for the remaining 30 years of life expectancy. The state would actually pay this person more during retirement than during their employment years. It made no sense--not just the money, but also the notion that a public employee could retire at 45 with a full pension. I declined to offer my support for "25-75." It would have been easy to say yes and win the union's support because the cost to the state wouldn't have become significant until many years after I'd left office.

Source: No Apology, by Mitt Romney, p.155 , Mar 2, 2010

Built long-term pipeline for MA jobs; so job growth is slow

Q: The Boston Globe said that job growth during your years in office was the third lowest of any state in the nation, and manufacturing employment declined more than 14%.

A: I’ll take exception with the Boston Globe. Massachusetts is a high-tech state, and a capital goods state. And that’s a sector of the economy that responds very slowly to turnarounds. And by about 2.5 years into my administration, we were able to turn that job decline around and we started adding jobs.

Q: During the four years you were governor, jobs grew nationally by a rate of 5.5%, but in Massachusetts they grew by 0.5%, and that was the fourth worst record.

A: I came into a state that had no pipeline, no sales force that called on companies and encouraged them to come into the state. There was no activity of any significance to bring jobs to the state. And we went to work, legislature and I, to try and change that. It took us a while to get all the incentives in place.

Source: 2008 Fox News interview: “Choosing the President” series , Jan 20, 2008

Take action & we need not give up on any industry’s jobs

Q: John McCain seems to suggest you’re painting an overly rosy picture on jobs, saying, “I would be ashamed to tell the people of Michigan or South Carolina that all of these jobs are coming back. These people know that a lot of these jobs aren’t coming back.” Did you see that as a swipe at you by McCain?

A: Perhaps. But the reality is this: I’m not going to give up on any jobs. And I recognize that of course industries change. I’ve been in the business world 25 years. Senator McCain has never been in the business world. There are many, many industries, such as the automotive industry, that politicians in Washington simply write off. And they say, well, there’s nothing that can be done about Michigan. So I’m not going to be pessimistic about the future. I’m not willing to write off the hundreds of thousands of jobs that are still in the automobile industry and say they’re all going away. I’m going to fight for them and do what I did in the private sector: Take action.

Source: CNN Late Edition: 2008 presidential series with Wolf Blitzer , Jan 13, 2008

MA had 3rd worst job growth; I turned around declining rates

Q: Do you believe that we’re headed for a recession?

A: First, let’s get the record straight. Could we be headed for a recession? Absolutely. Do we have to be headed for a recession? Absolutely not. Recessions hurt working families. They hurt people across this country. And so this is something we’re going to have to address in a very aggressive way.

Q: Given your record in Massachusetts, which had the third lowest job growth of any state during the years you were governor, why should voters trust you to handle a slowdown?

A: I’m very proud of the fact that after many months of declining job growth, I took over the state and helped turn that around. And in my years as governor, we kept adding jobs every single month after we saw that turnaround. The pipeline for new jobs coming into our state was in single digits when I came into office. When I left, it was over 200. And some of the biggest employers are still coming into the state. Every month since I’ve left, we keep on adding jobs

Source: 2008 GOP debate in S.C. sponsored by Fox News , Jan 10, 2008

I believe in domestic supports for our agriculture industry

Q: We subsidized farmers to the tune of $26 billion last year.

A: I believe in domestic supports for our agriculture industry. I don’t want to see our food supply be in the same kind of a jeopardy situation that our energy supply is in. And clearly there’s a responsibility of government to make sure that our farmers are treated on the same basis as farmers in Europe & other markets that we compete with. The WTO talks [may] find a way to bring down subsidies around the world, & that’ll be good news.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan , Oct 9, 2007

Good unions train members; bad unions hurt their company

Q: Are unions good for America?

A: There are some good unions and some not so good. The good ones are those that say, “How can we do a better and better job helping our members have better and better skills.”

Q: Can you name a few “good” unions?

A: Yeah, like the Carpenters Union, for instance, does a great job training their members and making them more effective and more efficient, and they get higher compensation as a result of it. There are also bad unions. I’m probably not going to name specific bad unions, but there are bad unions as well, which go too far and who forget that in order for them to be successful, the enterprise that they’re involved with has to also be successful.

Source: 2007 Republican debate in Dearborn, Michigan , Oct 9, 2007

FactCheck: Yes,US added 50M jobs since ‘78; but EU added 36M

Romney erred when he claimed US job growth had been nearly 17 times faster than that of Europe. Romney said, “We are the largest economy in the world. During the time Europe added 3 million jobs, we’ve added about 50 million jobs in this country.”

That miraculous sounding statistic is way off. It has taken since the end of 1978 for total employment in the US to grow by 50 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But total employment for the 15 core members of the European Union (those who joined before 2004) grew by well over 33 million between 1978 and 2005.

Romney was misquoting an outdated and highly dubious figure, which was used by an author who no longer stands behind it. Romney cited a 2005 article in The American Enterprise magazine, which said, “Since the 1970s America has created some 57 million new jobs, compared to just 4 million in Europe (with most of those in government).” The article’s author told FactCheck.org he wouldn’t use the figure today.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2007 GOP Iowa Straw Poll debate , Aug 5, 2007

Tax incentives for employee training

Source: Boston Globe review of 1994 canpaign issues , Mar 21, 2002

Other governors on Jobs: Mitt Romney on other issues:
MA Gubernatorial:
Deval Patrick
MA Senatorial:
John Kerry
Scott Brown

Newly seated 2010:
NJ Chris Christie
VA Bob McDonnell

Term-limited as of Jan. 2011:
AL Bob Riley
CA Arnold Schwarzenegger
GA Sonny Perdue
HI Linda Lingle
ME John Baldacci
MI Jennifer Granholm
NM Bill Richardson
OK Brad Henry
OR Ted Kulongoski
PA Ed Rendell
RI Donald Carcieri
SC Mark Sanford
SD Mike Rounds
TN Phil Bredesen
WY Dave Freudenthal
Newly Elected Nov. 2010:
AL: Robert Bentley (R)
CA: Jerry Brown (D)
CO: John Hickenlooper (D)
CT: Dan Malloy (D)
FL: Rick Scott (R)
GA: Nathan Deal (R)
HI: Neil Abercrombie (D)
IA: Terry Branstad (R)
KS: Sam Brownback (R)
ME: Paul LePage (R)
MI: Rick Snyder (R)
MN: Mark Dayton (D)
ND: Jack Dalrymple (R)
NM: Susana Martinez (R)
NV: Brian Sandoval (R)
NY: Andrew Cuomo (D)
OH: John Kasich (R)
OK: Mary Fallin (R)
PA: Tom Corbett (R)
RI: Lincoln Chafee (I)
SC: Nikki Haley (R)
SD: Dennis Daugaard (R)
TN: Bill Haslam (R)
VT: Peter Shumlin (D)
WI: Scott Walker (R)
WY: Matt Mead (R)
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Contact info:
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Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 55239, Boston, MA 02205

Page last updated: Nov 23, 2011