America is facing some of the most significant economic challenges since the Great Depression. I am committed to advancing policies that will allow the private sector to flourish and, consequently, for our national economy to recover. This includes lower taxes on individuals and small businesses, reasonable regulation of businesses, and a pro-American trade policy that promotes American products and workers.
I believe American families and small businesses are taxed too much. Furthermore, I believe the system through which we collect these taxes is overly burdensome, too complex, and fundamentally unfair in many respects. Consequently, I am an advocate of fundamental and comprehensive tax reform.
The two most prominent tax reform proposals are the Flat Tax and the Fair Tax. Both of these proposals represent a dramatic departure from the current system, and both of them would profoundly simplify the tax code of the United States.
According to The Heritage Foundation a Flat Tax "has a single rate, usually less than 20 percent. The low, flat rate solves the problem of high marginal tax rates by reducing penalties against productive behavior, such as work, risk taking, and entrepreneurship." The Flat Tax eliminates deductions, credits, exemptions, the death tax, the capital gains tax, and the tax on dividends. The only vestige of the current tax system it retains is an exemption based on family size, with most proposals allowing that a family of four, for example, would not begin to pay taxes until its annual income was at least $30,000.
The Fair Tax, on the other hand, would eliminate all taxes on income - including all federal personal and corporate income taxes, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, and self-employment taxes and, instead, collect taxes on the purchase of goods and services. Estimates on the actual rate of this national sales tax range from 23% to 30%. Like the Flat Tax, the Fair Tax also provides exemptions for lower income earners by eliminating or reimbursing all taxes levied on any family below the poverty line.
The American people deserve a tax system that they believe to be fair, that they can understand and comply with easily, and that increases American economic competitiveness around the globe. I have closely studied both of these proposals and have concluded that while they both greatly simplify the current system - and either one of them would be a dramatic improvement to the current system - my personal preference is for the Flat Tax. But regardless of ones preference for either of these two proposals, I strongly believe that Congress should consider both in a fair and open debate.
Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and the best way to end the recession we are currently experiencing and create private sector jobs is by creating an environment where small businesses can thrive. This means keeping taxes low and creating a fair and predictable regulatory environment.
For more than 20 years, small business owners have listed health costs as their top concern. However, rather than help quell these concerns Congress has effectively crippled small business growth by levying new taxes and penalties in support of a massive new healthcare entitlement. This new healthcare law offers some subsidies for small businesses to pay for insurance, but unfortunately these credits would do little to help thwart rising healthcare costs. In other words, small businesses will have to pay more for health insurance than they do now.
Helping employers afford quality health care for their workers and their families would improve the quality of life and remove major obstacles to hiring additional workers. I will continue to support policies that would help small businesses provide health care to their employees through health savings accounts, Association Health Plans or other tax deductions for medical expenses.
Another important component of a thriving economy is trade. American products and services are among the best in the world and should compete freely in the world market. While unfair foreign trade practices inhibit our ability to compete, the ability to pursue new, free markets with more consumers allows businesses-increasingly, small businesses-to grow and expand, translating into more jobs for U.S. workers. I support trade policies that would increase our exports, especially those that affect Oklahoma, like agriculture and energy technology. Generally speaking, I will be supportive of future free trade agreements that strengthen our domestic economy and increase the ability of American citizens to move products into overseas markets.