In his republican debates, Mitt Romney has been very clear that we don't want to be like nasty old failed Europe.
But today, Germany announced that its employment has reached a record 41 million, 50% of its population of 82 million. In contrast, United States employment remains around 142 million, 45% of our population of 313 million. We would need 15 million more jobs to employ people at the level currently enjoyed in Canada and Germany.
In truth, both the president and Romney are wrong in their beliefs. The president thinks we need more education, more global trade, and more competitiveness. Germany has an indifferent higher education sector, rampant protectionism, and yet they consistently run a big trade surplus. What they do have is higher pay, shorter hours, affordable medical care, civil rights in employment, and worker representation on every board of directors.
Romney would be far worse than the president, as would any Republican. Romney says he will force China to revalue its currency, but President Bush treated China with kid gloves, claiming they were models of fair trade as late as 2008, and Romney's former management consulting employer, Bain & Co., was one of the biggest firms recommending offshoring jobs to China in the 1990s, second only to Accenture (the former Andersen Consulting). Now Bain has done a study of 2,000 and clients and said, whoops, only 10% were successful in offshoring. The U.S. lost jobs and didn't gain any profits from it (reference in the below article). Romney has yet to get that memo and probably won't, even with focus groups telling him people don't want one-way trade with China.