Mitt Romney’s main campaign message is “Restore America,” specifically by growing the U.S. economy and creating jobs. He argues that he is the leader who can accomplish this goal because of his experience as a political and business leader. So how did this Republican presidential nominee hopeful do when he ran a state, an Olympics, and a company? Based on his record, could he be a better President than Barack Obama?
The former governor of Massachusetts is often characterized as a “turn around artist.” Romney was key in turning the failing 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic games into a sporting and economic success, not accepting pay or an expense account. As head of investment firm Bain Capital, Romney claims to have created jobs and profits for investors. According to The Los Angeles Times, on his watch, the Boston-based company invested $26.4 million in Epoch Senior Living in 1998 when it had a few hundred employees. By the time Bain sold this company in 2007, 3,000 people worked for Epoch and investors more than doubled their initial investment.
But critics point to GS Industries as an example of the Romney-led Bain policy of maximizing profits by firing employees when steel companies were bought and merged. This company eventually went bankrupt despite a $100 million dollar investment authorized by Romney, costing 700 workers their jobs, severance, and along with retirees, health insurance and other benefits.
As governor, Romney was up against an economy that had high unemployment and slow job creation. On his watch, the unemployment rate lowered from 5.6% to 4.7% and 50,000 jobs were added. But critics note that this figure fell because people simply gave up looking for jobs, abandoning the workforce in large numbers, according to the Washington Post.
Some of the most piercing criticisms come from social conservatives, who point to Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor to question his “conservative creds.” He declared his support for both abortion and gay rights before revoking it. Critics accuse him of committing “sacrilege,” when he signed the Bay State’s health care law-- considered the template for President Obama’s federal version--on grounds that it opened the door to the government imposing on individual rights.
On illegal immigration, Romney has towed a hard line, advocating “self-deportation” or undocumented immigrants leaving voluntarily if work dries up. He also supports legal immigration although details of how the quota system would be modified are unclear. As governor of Massachusetts, he has a mixed record: vetoing in-state college tuition for illegal immigrant students who had attended at least three years of high school in Massachusetts, but not acting to cut funding or penalize four sanctuary cities that welcome all immigrants and continuing to employ a landscaping company that hired illegal workers, despite being informed of their status.
Based on his record, will you vote for Romney?