Romney Plan Vows To Add 11 Million Jobs In 4 Years

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday laid out a wide-ranging economic proposal. Romney announced his plan inside a giant truck warehouse in Nevada.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

DAVID GREENE, host:

And I'm David Greene.

A slowing economy, a 9.1 percent unemployment rate and an approaching election have all focused this week's political rhetoric on jobs.

INSKEEP: Presidential candidates and, tomorrow, the president himself are laying out plans to create jobs - or at least that they say can create jobs.

Republican Mitt Romney described his proposals yesterday as he visited a trucking company in Nevada.

NPR's Ari Shapiro reports from Las Vegas.

ARI SHAPIRO: This is a massive garage at McCandless International Trucking. There trucks from Farmer Brothers Coffee, Meadow Gold Dairy of Las Vegas, UPS and other companies, all with their hoods open. There's a smell of oil and the sounds of people working to repair these trucks and get them back on the road.

Mr. ROBERT PATRIQUIN (Service Foreman, McCandless International Trucking): My name is Robert Patriquin. I've worked for John McCandless here for over 10 years now. I'm a service foreman.

SHAPIRO: Patriquin has been here through the boom and the bust, and the bust just doesn't seem to end.

Mr. PATRIQUIN: A lot of our companies that we've done business with, that have been in business for 40, 50 years, have gone under in this last couple years.

SHAPIRO: These are companies whose trucks you repair and service.

Mr. PATRIQUIN: Yes, they are. A lot of the companies that we have that haul dirt, you know, for construction sites, things of that nature, have gone under.

SHAPIRO: When national unemployment numbers came out last Friday showing that the jobless rate is stuck around 9 percent, people here in Nevada thought: if only. The unemployment rate here is almost 13 percent, the highest in the country. Nevada also leads the country in home foreclosures. It is the third state to vote in the 2012 presidential election season. And all of that makes it a perfect place for Mitt Romney to lay out his plans to bring the economy back.

(Soundbite of song, "Roll On Eighteen Wheeler")

ALABAMA (Country Band): (Singing) Roll on 18-wheeler, roll on. Roll on.

SHAPIRO: The candidate took the stage at McCandless Trucking, wearing a blue sport coat and tie. A banner behind him said Day One, Job One.

Mr. MITT ROMNEY (Republican Presidential Candidate): The right answer for America is not to grow government or to believe that government can create jobs. It is instead to create the conditions that allow the private sector and entrepreneurs to create jobs, and to grow our economy. Growth is the answer, not government.

SHAPIRO: The campaign released a little blue book full of charts, diagrams, footnotes and endnotes. The proposals are consistent with Republican economic doctrine. Romney says on his first day in office, he'll take steps to lower the corporate tax rate 10 points, to 25 percent, cut domestic discretionary spending by 5 percent, and for any new regulation, he'll insist on rolling back a regulation that costs just as much.

He also wants to undo President Obama's health care law, fight unions and open new lands to domestic oil and gas drilling. He says those proposals will create more than 11 million jobs in four years. It was a rare, off-the-cuff speech for Romney. He relied on notes rather than a printed text, and the audience responded enthusiastically.

Mr. ROMNEY: President Obama's strategy is a payphone strategy, and we're in a smartphone world. And so we're going to have to change. What he's doing is taking quarters and stuffing them into the payphone and thinking - can't figure out way it's not working. It's not connected anymore, Mr. President.

(Soundbite of cheering)

Mr. ROMNEY: Your payphone strategy does not work in a smartphone world.

(Soundbite of cheering, applause)

SHAPIRO: David Damore is a political scientist at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He says people here in Nevada are obviously eager for a solution to their terrible economic situation. But after so many months of bad news, people here are also skeptical of any proposals that sound like a quick fix.

Mr. DAVID DAMORE (Political Scientist, University of Nevada, Las Vegas): Republicans can talk about, you know, ending regulation. They can talk about tax breaks and those types of things there. But at the end of the day, we've been through that, and it doesn't work well in Nevada. We have one of the lowest tax rates, some of the most lenient regulations of business in here, and we have the highest unemployment rate.

SHAPIRO: Nevada's unemployment rate has actually dropped a couple of points this year, from a high above 14 percent. Nobody's exactly sure why. Damore speculates that it may be because people left the state for nearby Texas, where Governor Rick Perry has been bragging about his record of creating new jobs.

Ari Shapiro, NPR News, Las Vegas.

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