New Romney ads focus on economy, deficit

Team Romney refocuses this week on the economy and job creation, as the Washington Post predicted earlier today, with a simplified presentation of Mitt Romney’s plan for a first term.  Instead of talking about the details of his economic plan, which are as accessible on the website as it was months ago, the new ad “The Romney Plan” breaks it down into three digestible pillars — improve and defend American trade, cut deficit spending and reduce federal spending, and attack the regulatory growth that threatens small business:

The campaign also released an attack ad focusing on the impact of Obamanomics on families, especially on the decline of median household income:!

The part about trade will evoke the concerns felt this week on the foreign-policy front, but only indirectly.  At least for right now, the Romney campaign wants to keep hitting Obama on the stagnant (or worse) economy and bad job-creation environment.  The attack on the regulatory adventurism of the Obama administration is a key part of that attack, because as John Merline notes at Investors Business Daily today, a second Obama term would make matters even worse:

Using official government sources, the National Federation of Independent Businesscalculates that there are more than 4,000 federal rules in the pipeline, and that just the 13 biggest ones would, if imposed in an Obama second term, cost businesses a total of more than $515 billion over four years.

That tally doesn’t include the more than 100 still-to-be-written regulations needed to enforce the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, or the mountain of regulations required by ObamaCare. The health law has already resulted in thousands of pages of rules, including 18 pages simply to define what a “full-time employee” is. …

In the first 3 1/2 years, his administration issued 37% more “economically significant” regulations — those costing $100 million or more — than had the Bush administration in his first 3 1/2 years, according to data from the White House Office of Management and Budget.

A broader analysis by the Heritage Foundation that includes independent agencies found Obama had imposed nearly four times as many new regulations as Bush in his first three years, with a combined price tag of $46 billion a year.

John has a few of the problem areas identified, but one in particular caught my eye:

Auto mandates. The Department of Transportation wants to require all new cars to include a rear-view video camera that turns on when cars are backing up. The cost? $10.8 billion over four years.

I had one of these installed last week on my 11-year-old CRV.  I was replacing a 15-year-old stereo I had moved into my current vehicle from my previous one, and I wanted to address a sight-line issue on this car that had always worried me.  Many new vehicles come with a camera already installed, because customer demand has prompted that innovation.  Many cars don’t really need it, though, especially sedans, where the view is much more clear from the rear window.  Why mandate the inclusion?  Why not let customers and manufacturers decide when it’s needed and when it’s not?  After all, I never backed into anyone in the eleven years I had my car prior to the camera installation, although I’m happy to have a better look now.  Why is the federal government intervening in this transaction at all?

That’s the kind of question that needs to be asked a lot more often in Washington, and clearly this is not the administration to ask it at all.

Update: Could Team Romney get some resonance among younger voters with a tailored economic argument?  Glenn Reynolds offers a glimpse at a potential opening:

Young people younger than 30 are “desperate for jobs,” as their cohort faces the worst unemployment prospects in decades. According to The Atlantic, last months’ jobs report was an awful jobs report for young people because it demonstrated that new jobs just aren’t being created at a sufficient rate to absorb all the young people entering the jobs market from high school and college. Wrote The Atlantic’s Jordan Weissmann, “In short, there are a lot more young adults still sitting at their computers scrounging around jobs boards for work than there should be at this point in the year.”

There are. And it gets worse. Because of the senior squeeze mentioned earlier, older “gray-collar” workers are staying in, or re-entering, the jobs market to make up for the income they’re losing due to lower interest rates, and to offset higher costs of living. These older workers, because of their already established track records, might be out-competing younger workers even in such entry-level areas as food-service jobs.

The old plan was that older workers would be able to leave the workforce for a comfortable retirement, opening up opportunities for younger workers. That plan isn’t surviving the realities of $4 gasoline, fractional-percentage interest rates, and surging food and medicine prices. With the older workers not leaving, the jobs just aren’t there for younger workers.

There may be some gold in that argument if made effectively to younger voters.