Washington (CNN) – Mitt Romney says that like other presidents, Barack Obama inherited a recession. But the former Massachusetts governor feels unlike his predecessors, Obama has made the recession he inherited worse, not better.
In an op-ed in Wednesday's USA Today, Romney says what he calls the president's inability to "stem" the rise in unemployment should not be a surpise.
"With no experience whatsoever in the world of employment and business formation, he had no compass to guide his path. Instead, he turned over much of his economic recovery agenda to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, themselves nearly as inexperienced in the private sector as he," says Romney.
The op-ed's release comes hours before the president holds a jobs forum at the White House. The nation's unemployment rate stands at 10.2 percent, the highest level in 26 years. November's job report will be released Friday.
In the article, Romney, a Republican presidential candidate in the 2008 election and a possible contender for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, lays out advice he terms a ten point plan to help reenergize the economy.
See Romney's "10-point plan" after the jump.
My 10-point plan
The president's economists insist that technically, the recession is over. But double-digit unemployment was neither prevented nor has it ended. To get people back to work as rapidly as possible and to restore America's economic vitality, the nation must change course. Here's the advice I would give:
• Repair the stimulus. Freeze the funds that haven't yet been spent and redirect them to immediate, private sector job-creation priorities.
• Create tax incentives that promote business expansion and hiring. For example, install a robust investment tax credit, permit businesses to expense capital purchases made in 2010, and reduce payroll taxes. These will reignite construction, technology and a wide array of capital goods industries, and lead to expanded employment.
• Prove to the global investors that finance America's debt that we are serious about reining in spending and becoming fiscally prudent by adopting limits on non-military discretionary spending and reforming our unsustainable, unfunded entitlements. These are key to strengthening the dollar, reducing the threat of rampant inflation and holding down interest rates.
• Close down any talk of carbon cap-and-trade. It will burden consumers and employers with billions in new costs. Instead, greatly expand our commitment to natural gas and nuclear, boosting jobs now and reducing the export of energy jobs and dollars later.
• Tell the unions that job-stifling "card check" legislation is off the table. Laying new burdens on small business will kill entrepreneurship and job creation.
• Don't allow a massive tax increase to go into effect in 2011 with the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. The specter of more tax-fueled government spending and the reduction of capital available for small business will hinder investment and business expansion.
• New spending should be strictly limited to items that are critically needed and that we would have acquired in the future, such as new military equipment to support our troops abroad and essential infrastructure at home.
• Install dynamic regulations for the financial sector — rules that are up to date, efficient and not excessively burdensome. But do not so tie up the financial sector with red tape that we lose a vital component of our economic system.
• Open the doors to trade. Give important friends like Colombia favored trade status rather than bow to protectionist demands. Now is the time for aggressive pursuit of opportunities for new markets for American goods, not insular retrenchment.
• Stop frightening the private sector by continuing to hold GM stock, by imposing tighter and tighter controls on compensation, and by pursuing a public insurance plan to compete with private insurers. Government encroachment on free enterprise is depressing investment and job creation.
The 10% unemployment crisis hangs like an albatross around President Obama's neck. Eventually, as with every recession and recovery, the economy will improve and jobs will be created, but those who were unnecessarily unemployed due to the president's faulty economic program will not forget. In order to most rapidly re-employ all Americans and to speed a strong recovery, the president must change course. If he does not, Republicans will bring a change of their own to Washington in the 2010 elections.
UPDATE: In a statement, the Democratic National Committee scoffed at Romney's ideas and claimed that Republicans have refused to offer their own plans to fix the economy.
"Now, instead of acknowledging, as leading economists and the independent CBO have, that the President's Recovery Act rescued this country's economy from the brink of disaster and has already saved or created 1.6 million jobs, Republican leaders like Mitt Romney and Eric Cantor are now offering 'plans' that are nothing more than a laundry list of the failed Bush-era economic policies that nearly destroyed our economy in the first place," said DNC national press secretary Hari Sevugan. "Mitt Romney's allegiance to Bush economics is one policy position he'd do well to flip-flop on."