NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A Republican article of faith is that high unemployment should put Governor Mitt Romney in the White House. With their candidate fading in the polls, party operatives focus on tactical corrections, but fail to grasp that the basic GOP message -- lower taxes, deregulation and free trade -- is unappealing to voters scarred by the Great Recession and corporate abuses.
Romney would lower personal and corporate income tax rates, financed by eliminating deductions, credits and loopholes totaling nearly $500 billion. Almost certainly, that nixes cherished middle-class benefits like the mortgage interest deduction. By shifting around the tax burden rather than reducing it, he gives President Obama the opening to charge that he would raise taxes on many middle-class families.
Streamlining regulation to open up petroleum development in the Gulf, off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in Alaska could cut oil imports in half and create 2.5 million jobs -- without adding to CO2 emissions or environmental risks. However, Romney has not explained the latter -- he wrongly assumes swing voters embrace conservative doubts about global warming and don't harbor lasting fears from Deepwater Horizon.
He repeats this lack of empathy on many issues.Dodd-Frank imposes an unnecessary overlay of new regulations that curtail prudent lending and smother regional banks. The financial collapse was caused by accounting frauds the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley reforms should have caught but didn't, because the Treasury is too much in the vest pocket of the Wall Street aristocracy. After trillions in Federal Reserve and Treasury bailouts, multimillion dollar paydays continue for big bank CEOs and their lieutenants, allegedly for "talent" -- the remarkable aptitude to nearly destroy global capitalism through irresponsible business practices. Hardly a week goes by without new revelations about schemes to rook investors or evade taxes. Banks will never return to honest lending and stop abusing depositors and credit card customers until those bonuses are dramatically slashed, because bankers can't pay themselves so grandly by making ordinary loans and behaving like honest men. Romney would repeal Dodd-Frank but has not explained how he will clean up this mess.