A Question of Priorities
The pack of Republican presidential hopefuls — including, for the first time, Texas Gov. Rick Perry — gathers tonight at the Reagan Presidential Library for the first of three debates this month.
Here are the important questions they should have to answer.
- TAXES: Tax rates for the wealthy are at historic lows. If lower tax rates for the wealthy are supposed to create jobs, why was job creation under the Bush administration the lowest since 1945?
- JOBS: Show of hands — do you believe that there is anything proactive that the government can or should do to create jobs?
- CORPORATIONS. Corporations are making record profits; people are not. Though they have record amounts of cash on hand, corporations are not re-investing their cash in the economy and small businesses can’t get loans. Yet, you have all proposed cutting or eliminating the corporate tax rate. Why do you think this money will create jobs or return to people?
- IMMIGRATION: We are here at the Reagan Presidential Library. As you know, Reagan signed 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, which granted amnesty to nearly 3 million undocumented immigrants. Does today’s GOP risk completely alienating the growing population of Hispanics for its virulent opposition to comprehensive immigration reform and even more basic steps such as the DREAM Act?
Specific Questions for the Candidates
- Michele Bachmann: You have already called for cutting the corporate tax rate down to 9 percent and said you are “open” to eliminating corporate taxes altogether. After-tax corporate profits are the highest they’ve been since such data started being recorded in 1947, corporations are sitting on near-record amounts of cash, and corporate tax revenues as a percentage of GDP are at or near a 60-year low. Why do corporations need another tax break?
- Herman Cain: You have said that you’d go even further than President Bush did and get rid of the capital gains tax entirely. This would add $1 TRILLION to the deficit over the next 10 years and overwhelmingly benefit the very wealthiest Americans. What will that do to create jobs since cutting taxes on the rich under President Bush resulted in the lowest job creation since 1945?
- Newt Gingrich: You have made calling for the repeal of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law something of a personal crusade, saying that it is “killing the banking industry now.” But bank profits are actually soaring. Given that the big banks helped create the economic mess we are still in, why should we go back to the lax regulation and oversight that helped create the economic crisis in the first place?
- Jon Huntsman: You recently proposed a tax plan that lowered tax rates while eliminating all tax deductions and loopholes. Under similar plan that you say you based your own plan off of, veterans, students, the working poor, seniors, and the middle class would all pay higher taxes — $1,890 more per middle class family than they pay now, while the richest .1 percent of Americans would receive a tax cut of about half a million dollars each. Is that a fair plan and what will raising taxes on the middle class, seniors, and veterans do to create jobs and fix the economy?
- Ron Paul: States in the Northeast are still reeling from Hurricane Irene and Gov. Perry is calling for additional federal help with the wildfires ravaging your home state of Texas, yet you have said that “we need to come to our senses” and abolish the Federal Emergency Management Administration entirely. Do you think there is anything the federal government should do to help disaster victims?
- Rick Perry: When you launched your campaign, you vowed to “work every day to try to make Washington, DC, as inconsequential” in the lives of Americans as you possibly could. Yet, after cutting the budget of the Texas state agency responsible for fighting fires by one-third, you are now demanding more and faster assistance from the federal government. Doesn’t this show that federal spending and the services it provides are indeed highly consequential and that cuts to those programs will have real life consequences for all Americans?
- Mitt Romney: The economic plan you proposed yesterday includes $6.6 TRILLION in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. The wealthy are already paying historically low tax rates and corporations are making record profits and sitting on record amounts of cash. How can the country afford your plan and how will more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations create jobs now when they haven’t done so in the past?
- Rick Santorum: You have accused equal rights supporters of launching a “jihad” against you because of your views on gay rights. With a majority of the American public in favor of marriage equality, to say nothing of other equal rights measures you oppose, are your views simply outside the mainstream?
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
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