By Gina Bittner
Campbell's Soup employees were given the opportunity to listen to and address U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews Tuesday afternoon at a special forum concerning the U.S. economic downturn.
"It's a jobs and economic issue above everything else," he said to about 30 employees. "People's 401ks are not what they were, their home equity certainly isn't what it was, it is more difficult to educate your children, and many people are looking at a longer life of working longer years in order to sustain the standard of living that they thought they had locked up a long time ago."
Andrews told the room he would like to see a number of important -- yet unpopular -- changes take place. "You can't do anything real and meaningful if you don't do something that is a little unpopular," he said.
The congressman said he would like to slowly change the age qualifications for both social security and Medicare. Because both programs were implemented when life expectancy was shorter, changing the age requirements would stretch each program's assets for a longer period. "This would save an enormous amount of money," Andrews said.
Additionally he'd like to dissolve the U.S.'s European defense bases and pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan. "I think the withdrawal from both countries should be sooner, faster and more," he said.
While eliminating these expenses, Andrews suggests bringing in more revenue.
To do this he said he proposes lowering the corporate income tax rate, especially for businesses who reach a certain job creation bench mark. Andrews also said he wants the U.S. to spend more money right here by investing in what we "do and make in this country that the rest of the world wants," including our medical technology, energy and more.
According to the congressman, our country's economy and job deficits are natural especially when companies outsource to pay lower wages. "It's just a fact of life," he told the employees. "The source of unhappiness is the reality of the economy."