The EFM Feature

That’s the conclusion of the Club for Growth’s white paper on Gov. Romney’s economic record. Make sure to read the whole thing. Meantime, here are some relevant excerpts:

As governor, Romney pushed for important changes to Massachusetts expansive welfare system. Although federal welfare reform passed in 1995, Massachusetts was woefully behind, relying on a waiver to bypass many of the legislation’s important requirements. Romney fought for legislation that would bring Massachusetts’ welfare system up to date with federal standards by increasing the number of hours each week recipients must work and establishing a five-year limit for receiving benefits. Much to his credit and to the dismay of many Massachusetts liberals, Romney successfully forced Medicaid recipients to make co-payments for some services and successfully pushed for legislative action forcing new state workers to contribute 25% of their health insurance costs, up from 15%. Governor Romney also deserves praise for proposing to revolutionize the Massachusetts state pension system by moving it from a defined benefit system to a defined contribution system.

On balance, Romney’s anti-regulation efforts reflect an intuitive appreciation for the free market and its important role in promoting economic growth. While many of his proposals were rejected by the State Legislature, he demonstrated strong support for private enterprise in a state where regulation is a way of life.

From his 1994 Senate race, to his gubernatorial campaign in 2002, and throughout his four years as governor, Romney was a strong proponent of tort reform. As governor, he supported capping personal injury claims in automobile-related cases and advocated for overhauling Massachusetts’ exorbitant medical malpractice system. Massachusetts is notorious for having some of the highest malpractice insurance rates in the country, driving doctors in key specialties out of the state.

Nevertheless, given his outstanding private sector entrepreneurial experience; the strong pro-growth positions he has taken on the campaign trail; his overall record as governor; and the fact that the U.S. Congress will not be as liberal as the Massachusetts Legislature, we are reasonably optimistic that, as President, Mitt Romney would generally advocate a pro-growth agenda.

Among economic conservative interest groups, Club for Growth is one of the most adamant in its support of the free market and most critical of those who support policies that thwart the workings of that market. Therefore, the fact that Gov. Romney came out as well as he did in their report–with certain warts, to be sure–bodes well for his candidacy. Beyond that, I’ll let our economic expert weigh in on the specifics.

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