Campaigning in New Hampshire earlier this week, Mitt Romney took yet another stab at the evils of regulation — this time with a focus on fisheries.
Speaking with New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte in the seacoast city of Portsmouth, the two railed against regulations that “burden [companies] with red tape and put them out of business.”
The focus on regulation is no surprise. Even though only 0.3% of reported layoffs across the U.S. economy in 2010 were due to regulation, Republicans are applying anti-regulatory rhetoric to every subject they can think of. Stretching the argument as far as he could take it, Romney tied Obama’s health insurance plan to the woes of the east coast fishing industry:
“It’s a tough time to be in the fishing business in America,” Romney told a crowd of about 200 on the Portsmouth Commercial Fishing Pier. “Not just in that industry, but in many industries. Small business has really felt like it’s been under attack over the last several years.”
“One, of course, is the discussion to put in place Obamacare,” Romney said. “The last thing these businesses want to hear is that they’ve got a new expense they’ve got to pay.”
“Then regulation,” he added. “We heard today about fishing regulations. I’ll continue to learn more about those regulations as they affect this industry. But across America, regulators [are] just multiplying like proverbial rabbits and making it harder for enterprises to grow and to understand what their future might be.”
The ironic part of this connection is that Romney’s policies as Massachusetts’ governor laid the foundation for both Obama’s health care plan and National Ocean Policy — both of which Romney now claims are examples of government over-reach.
Romney’s push for mandatory health care as governor has been well documented. But most people don’t realize that Romney also helped create an Ocean Management Initiative to help pro-actively manage commercial, recreational and ecological needs along the Massachusetts coast. The “smart growth” plan resulted in a comprehensive policy for sustainably managing the economic and ecological interests of the ocean.
The current plan supported by the White House uses many of the same concepts developed in Massachusetts under the Romney administration.