The economy may be the number one issue in Florida
and the issue on which the GOP frontrunner is determined. The
emails from ever- active camp Romney are starting once again going
after his opponents (especially McCain). Certainly, Romney has an
appeal as a business leader that other candidates lack. However, he
has several problems of his own.
First, Romney pointedly declined to support the
Bush tax cuts to the delight of Democrats at the time. Rudy
supported them. McCain at least articulated a rationale for his
opposition— his insistence that budget cuts be included with tax
reduction. Romney never has explained his equivocation. Second,
Romney’s tenure as Governor of Massachusetts was mediocre. CATO
gave him a
and for good reason.
summarizes the key problem for him : “On all key labor
market measures, the state not only lagged behind the country as a
whole, but often ranked at or near the bottom of the state
distribution. Formal payroll employment in the state in 2006 was
still 16,000 or 0.5 percent below its average level in 2002, the
year immediately prior to the start of the Romney administration.
Massachusetts ranked third lowest on this key job generation
measure and would have ranked second lowest if Hurricane Katrina
had not devastated the Louisiana economy. Manufacturing payroll
employment throughout the nation declined by nearly 1.1 million or
7 percent between 2002 and 2006, but in Massachusetts it declined
by more than 14 percent, the third worst record in the country.”
has yet to recover jobs lost in the 2001
recession. On taxes, he claims to have held to his 2002 campaign
promise not to raise taxes but his $500M in fees and loophole
closings will be an issue.(Club
details the numbers here.
put the number at $700M). Finally, although Romney
offers himself as a businessman/outsider alternative to the
Washington politicians, he has demonstrated a rather naive
infatuation with the ability of government to effect economic and
social progress —indeed a preference for government over the power
of markets. In touting RomneyCare
and more recently
he seems more than willing to trust
government rather than trust free markets.
Does this mean that Romney will lose in Florida ?
Not necessarily. He now offers a robust tax reduction plan and has
put out a new more market oriented healthcare plan. That may be
good enough for many voters. But it is plain that Romney has
significant handicaps of his own which in a multi-candidate race
will not go unnoticed. UPDATE: Reuters summarizes many of these