Mitt Romney on Tuesday called the Buffett Rule a “gimmick” and dismissed the plan to make millionaires pay a minimum of 30 percent in income tax little more than political posturing.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, speaking in a wide-ranging interview on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report,” took a pot shot at the Democrats’ failure to pass the so-called Buffett Rule in the Senate.
“I think the reason is that these gimmicks are not going to get America strong again,” he said. “They’re not going to create jobs. They’re going to have the opposite effect.”
Romney said he wanted to simplify the tax code, limit — not eliminate — deductions and lower income tax rates.
“We’ve got to stop apologizing for success here at home, and we’ve got to have a president who stops apologizing for America abroad,” he said. “If people in America want a president who looks around for scapegoats to punish, they’ve got that now. That’s not me.”
Romney also suggested reducing or consolidating federal agencies and shifting the burden to individual states.
“A lot of what happens in Washington, I want to either eliminate or send back to the states. We just don’t need as much overhead or as many bureaucrats,” he said. “A number of agencies can be made smaller or can be combined with others.”
Romney drew criticism after he was overhead telling supporters at a private fundraiser in Florida over the weekend that he might seek to limit tax deductions for mortgages and eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
President Obama was the target of Romney’s rhetoric for what he said was a climate unfriendly to businesses.
“It’s absolutely true that his economic policies from day one have made it harder for businesses to grow,” he said, specifically calling out “Obamacare,” Dodd-Frank, a cap-and-trade approach to emissions and labor policies that “scare people from hiring.”
Obama led Romney 47 percent to 43 percent in a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Monday.
Asked by host Larry Kudlow to weigh in on stock market gains — the S&P 500 up almost 15 percent in the past two years — Romney praised investors.
“I think investors look at American industry and say that entrepreneurs and mangers and inventors have continued to defy the odds” to reach higher levels of profitability,” he said, adding that it wasn’t enough. “I want to see growing businesses, new businesses and jobs being created.”
However, he demurred when asked where he thought the market was headed.
Romney took a stance against further quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve.
“I think as you look at QE2, the second round of stimulus, it had very little positive effect,” he said. “I don’t think there’s a reason for us to further inflate our money supply. … My view is that it’s time for the Fed to ease back a bit and let the market recover on its own.”
Romney also defended speculators’ role in higher oil prices.
“They’re saying as they look out that policies in this administration — and policies around the world — are going to lead to higher prices in gasoline and oil,” he said. “And as they see those things, prices go up.”
The former Massachusetts governor blamed such factors as the administration cutting back on licenses for drilling for oil on federal lands, off-shore drilling and fracking.
“They see an administration that does not like carbon-based energy,” he said.
Natural gas, which is at historically low levels, needed to be brought into more widespread use throughout the United States, Romney argued.
When asked about potential vice presidential picks, Romney offered no specifics.
“I can tell you that the one qualification that comes to mind, without question, is that they would be able to lead the country if it became necessary,” he said. “That has to be the key consideration.”
Pressed as to whether he would name a woman to the veep spot, Romney, who is polling 19 percentage points behind Obama among likely women voters, stammered for a moment.
“I’d be happy to put a person — anyone who meets the qualifications, the constitutional qualifications, to be vice president,” he said. “There are women who meet that requirement, as well as men.” Tune in:
"The Kudlow Report" airs weeknights at 7 p.m. ET.
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