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March 22, 2012

Romney talks economic freedom at I-House

Mitt Romney, the current leader of the Republican presidential candidates, spoke about his ideas on freedom and economic growth at International House on Monday as part of the Presidency 2012 series.

Sydney Stein Professor in American Studies William Howell introduced Romney through a story about his namesake—Romney’s first cousin once removed, Milton “Mitt” Romney (A.B. ‘23), who played football for the University and the Chicago Bears.

Romney used Milton Friedman’s (A.M. ‘33) U of C connection to transition into the economy and the crux of his speech. “Government does not create prosperity,” Romney said. “Free markets and free people create prosperity.”

Freedom anecdotes and other truisms appeared throughout Romney’s speech, often presented in contrast to actions of the federal government. Romney criticized federal regulations that limited the free market, and mentioned a nameless Environmental Protection Agency official who would not allow an Idaho couple to build on a misnamed wetland.

“The government would have banned Thomas Edison’s light bulb. Oh yeah, they just did,” Romney said with a laugh.

Romney discussed his plans to give power back to state governments, which he believes would make aid programs more effective at the local level.

Romney also talked about his plans if he were elected in November. He said he would roll all the federal workforce training programs into one, lower taxes, and repeal Obamacare, the federal health care law that is similar to one he signed into law as Governor of Massachusetts in 2006.

Note: This reporting was based on the broadcast of the talk, not on the experience of a reporter present in person.

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