By Governor Rick Perry
In the last three years, 2.4 million Americans have lost jobs. 45 million Americans now rely on food stamps just to feed their families. Our debt has swollen by $4 trillion, and our national credit rating has been downgraded for the first time in history.
Make no mistake: under President Obama, it is midnight in America.
With so much at stake, America can no longer afford lukewarm half-measures from politicians who shrink from the fight for fear of offending the Washington elite.
Establishment politicians got us into this mess, and they cannot get us out of it by tinkering at the margins of a system that is completely and utterly broken.
While the establishment believes Washington can be fixed with a pair of tweezers, I know that it will require a sledgehammer.
The first step to get America working again is to end the IRS as we know it with a 20% flat tax that is simple enough to file on a postcard. My Cut, Balance and Grow plan gives every American a choice: either continue to pay the current tax rates, or opt for a new flat tax with a higher standard exemption and deductions for mortgage interest, charitable donations and state and local taxes.
My plan will cut taxes for every income group and save Americans up to $483 billion in annual compliance costs.
My flat tax proposal ends the gravy train of lobbyists and lawyers feeding at the government trough by eliminating the loopholes and carve-outs that the biggest companies with the most lobbyists exploit to avoid paying any taxes whatsoever. And it not only levels the playing field for small businesses, it cuts the corporate tax rate to help American employers of all sizes compete more effectively in the global marketplace.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the business tax reforms I'm proposing will pump over $1 trillion back into the American economy and create more than 2 million jobs.
We can create at least another 1.2 million jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil simply by tapping the resources under our own soil. As president, I will order federal agencies to begin opening American energy fields for exploration and development and work with Congress to ensure that new revenue generated from energy production on federal lands is used to pay down the national debt.
I know something about helping the private sector create jobs. My state has gained more than one million jobs since I've been governor, including 40% of all new American jobs since June 2009.
But growing the economy and cutting taxes will not be enough to right America's economic course. Washington politicians have to stop spending all the money.
My Cut, Balance and Grow plan forces government to live within its means by cutting billions of dollars from discretionary spending, capping spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product and putting Congress on track to balance the budget by 2020.
Despite all the promises of reform, earmarks remain a Congressional addiction for members of both parties. My plan will make Congress kick the habit cold turkey. Throughout my presidency, I will veto any budget that contains earmarks. The same goes for bailouts.
And I have the record to back up that promise. I am the first Texas governor to cut state spending since World War II. I cut $15 billion from the last budget alone. And citizens of my state now enjoy the second lowest government debt per capita in America.
To understand the massive disconnect between Washington and Main Street, compare the economic situation in our nation's capital with the rest of the country.
Your Money Your Vote - A CNBC Special Report
According to a Bloomberg analysis, Washington D.C. is now America's richest metropolitan area on a per capita basis, surpassing even Silicon Valley. While millions of Americans have lost jobs since 2009, the average federal worker in our nation's capital has seen their pay increase to more than $126,000 per year, including benefits.
Think about that: the people who have seen their income decrease or disappear are forced to pay more in taxes so bureaucrats can make higher and higher salaries. And yet, do we ever hear President Obama lamenting this form of wealth redistribution?
The fleecing of the American taxpayer will end when I am president. I will fight to freeze the salaries for every member of Congress and every federal employee, excluding the military and public safety workers, until the budget gets balanced.
America cannot afford four more years of a president who continues on the course to economic ruin, or a Republican alternative who simply tinkers with the status quo while the Washington establishment brazenly continues its spendthrift ways.
I have never been afraid of a fight, and I don't run away from conservative principles when the going gets tough. If I am elected, I will take a wrecking ball to the Washington establishment so we can get America working again.