Mitt Romney on Welfare and Unemployment
In August of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the Republican Presidential debate in Ames, Iowa. He is asked if he would sign an extension of unemployment benefits and he states that he would reform the entire system to allow people to create personal accounts for unemployment benefits.
FERRECHIO: Turning to you, Governor Romney, you've suggested replacing government jobless benefits with individual unemployment savings accounts. Jobless benefits for millions of Americans are about to expire in just a few months. If you were president right now, would you extend them?
ROMNEY: We got a lot of people out of work. We got a president that has a entirely failed economic policy and, frankly, doesn't know what to do to get this economy going again. Surely we're going to help those people who can't find other ways to care for themselves.
But the most important thing we're talking about tonight is making sure that President Obama is replaced by someone who knows how to get this economy going again. That's what this debate is really about. And that's what the American people want to understand.
Unemployment benefits, I think they've gone on a long, long, long time. We have to find ways to reduce our spending on a lot of the anti-poverty programs and unemployment programs. But I would far rather see a reform of our unemployment system, to allow people to have a personal account which they're able to draw from as opposed to having endless unemployment benefits.
So, again, let's reform the system, make the system work better by giving people responsibility for their own employment opportunities and having that account, rather than doling out year after year more money from an unemployment system.
FERRECHIO: Just a quick follow. So would you sign a bill to extend unemployment insurance if you were president right now?
ROMNEY: If I were president right now, I would go to Congress with a new system for unemployment, which would have specific accounts from which people could withdraw their own funds. And I would not put in place a continuation of the current plan.