MORRISTOWN -- America has "energy" -- and it needs to be put to use creating jobs for Americans, Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan told a crowd in Morristown Saturday.
About 350 people turned out on a chilly, rainy morning to hear Ryan speak outside the barn at the Valley View Campgrounds. In that setting, he spoke of the nation's ample coal and natural gas supply, the need to put people to work and the rising cost of electric bills.
He termed GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney "a man with a plan" and "leader." He also criticized Democratic opponent President Barack Obama's financial policies for "reckless" borrowing, more spending and higher taxation.
"We owe you solutions and a better path forward -- that's precisely what we are doing," Ryan said. "We feel it is our moral obligation to give you, our fellow Americans, an alternative to choose from.
"Our plan for economic growth and a stronger middle class starts with this: we have so much energy in this country. Let's use that energy in this country and put people back to work. Let's get people jobs. Let's lower our prices -- gas prices have doubled since President Obama was elected. We're losing thousands of coal jobs."
He noted there are about 100 coal-fired power plants across America that are slated to close, and he said thousands of jobs "are on the chopping block."
Photo by Jennifer Compston-Strough
Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan speaks to a crowd at Valley View Campground near Morristown on Saturday.
"Our plan is to make North America energy-independent by the end of the decade," Ryan said. "We can do this. It's right here. We can unleash this technology boom to keep American energy dollars in America. That creates good jobs. That creates coal jobs. That creates gas jobs. That creates "all the above jobs," and that creates all the manufacturing jobs that come with it.
"On day one, when Mitt Romney faces the decision of whether or not to build the Keystone Pipeline, he will say yes, you can build that. We'll get that oil in this county. It won't go to China."
If America unleashes its energy resources, that could create 3 million jobs and reduce energy costs, he continued.
Ryan next noted that in America, "we build things, we grow things."
"That's what makes this country great," he said. "If we want to make sure we can keep good-paying jobs here, we've got to make sure other countries trade fairly with us. We have to hold them to account. We have to open markets so we can make more things in Ohio and sell more things overseas. That gives us good-paying jobs."
Education needs in the country also need to be addressed so that workers have the skills they need for tomorrow's jobs, according to Ryan, who is chairman of the House Committee on the Budget.
"And we need to stop spending money we just don't have," he continued. "This president is spending us into a debt crisis. This president has given us four budgets with trillion-dollar deficits. You see this mounting burden of debt -- it's just not hurting our economy today. It's just not giving us the threat of a debt crisis like that which is now plaguing Europe. It's guaranteeing the young people in our audiences -- our children and our grandchildren -- it is guaranteeing they have a diminished future. We've never done that before.
"Never in the history of this country has one generation knowingly consigned its next generation to a lower living standard. Every generation in this country has fixed its problems, has addressed its challenges and has tackled its nation's problems before they tackled us so that their kids would be better off. That's what we have to do. It's our job, and our moral imperative to save the American dream for our children and our grandchildren."
Most jobs in America come from successful small businesses, Ryan continued.
"It's not the big corporations, it's the small businesses that make this world work," he said. "The president is guaranteeing and promising if he is elected, the tax rate on our successful small businesses goes up to 40 percent in January. ... Other countries have lowered the taxes on all their businesses.
"Canada lowered its tax rate on every one of its businesses to 15 percent. The other countries we compete with have lowered to 25 percent or less. ... When we tax our manufacturers and American job creators at such higher tax rates than our foreign competitors tax theirs they win, we lose. And why? This doesn't even pay for 10 percent of his proposed deficit spending increases."
Obama administration policies are "putting coal out of business and making it harder for businesses to hire people," Ryan added.
"If they worked, we would be entering a golden age along with Greece," Ryan said. "It doesn't work. It's not going to work."