Mitt Romney. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.
(Ed. note: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is responding to a USA TODAY editorial with an op-ed piece of his own. His full remarks are below.)
By Mitt Romney
Since our founding, America has promoted personal responsibility, the dignity of work and the value of education. Those values made our nation the hope of the earth and our economy the envy of the world.
Efforts that promote hard work and personal responsibility over government dependency make America strong. When the economy is growing and Americans are working, everyone involved has a shared sense of achievement, not to mention the basic sense of pride that comes with the paycheck they earn.
However, over the past four years, those kinds of opportunities have been in short supply. We're experiencing the worst recovery since the Great Depression. Unemployment has been above 8% for 43 straight months; 47 million Americans are on food stamps. Nearly one in six Americans now live in poverty.
Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency. My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility.
Government has a role to play here. Right now, our nation's citizens do need help from government. But it is a very different kind of help than what President Obama wants to provide.
My experience has taught me that government works best when it creates the space for individuals and families to pursue success and achieve great things. Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in creating sustained prosperity and lifting people out of poverty. It is why our economy rose to rival those of the world's leading powers -- and has long since surpassed them all.
The dreamers and the entrepreneurs, not government, built this economy, and they can once again make it strong.
My course for the American economy will encourage private investment and personal freedom. Instead of creating a web of dependency, I will pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty.
My five-point plan will deliver the economic recovery we've all been waiting for and the jobs millions of Americans still need. This can be more than our hope; it can be our future. And it can start this November with your vote.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is the Republican candidate for president.