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The State - Santorum: Bold Solutions for America's Families

Op-Ed

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By Rick Santorum

I am excited about America and her future. In this election the American people have an opportunity to restore her greatness and to focus once again on protecting liberty and creating opportunity for all. No longer should it be harder for people to succeed economically than it was for their parents. No longer should upward mobility be better in parts of Europe than in America. We need a renewed focus on creating opportunity, not dividing Americans by class; on creating wealth, not distributing it; and on promoting savings rather than dependency.

This is what my father and grandfather came to America for. This is our time to reclaim it. In contrast, Obamanomics has brought one in six Americans to poverty. President Obama's philosophy of "spreading the wealth" in fact spreads poverty and economic decline.

I have a bold economic plan that will move our country forward -- a plan that will create jobs, renew confidence in the free-market place and reward families for their hard work. My plan will cut spending and ensure future fiscal responsibility through a balanced budget amendment; lower and simplify taxes for families and businesses to promote growth; return federal programs to the states to promote freedom; and promote sustainable health-care and retirement solutions for young people and seniors.

First, I will cut spending by $5 trillion over 5 years, repeal ObamaCare and other onerous regulations and cut non-defense spending to 2008 levels. I support legislation to prevent members of Congress from being paid if they don't pass fiscally responsible spending bills on time. We will pass a balanced budget amendment to discipline Congress and limit federal spending to a maximum of 18 percent of gross domestic product. I will eliminate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's federal housing role, reduce non-defense related federal workers by at least 10 percent and eliminate all energy and most agriculture subsidies. We will unleash America's domestic-energy production.

Second, I will lower personal income and corporate tax rates and dramatically simplify the tax code for families, workers and businesses. To promote marriage, families and the high calling of parenting, I will triple the child deduction and eliminate all marriage tax penalties. The family is the foundation of our country. We need to have an economic policy that supports families and freedom and encourages marriage.

Instead of adding new taxes like President Obama has, I will fight to simplify the tax code by moving from six to two rates and lowering personal income tax rates to 10 percent and 28 percent respectively and eliminating most deductions. This will get us back to Reagan-era pro-growth tax rates. My goal is for the American economy to be growing at least 4 percent to 4.5 percent a year in my first term as president, more than double President Obama's; by one estimate this would help create 10 million jobs in three years.

I also support two corporate tax rates: 17.5 percent for most businesses -- half the current rate -- and zero for manufacturers. This will multiply job opportunities for struggling middle-income families and renew communities that have lost critical manufacturing jobs.

Third, I will support social innovation in the states and local communities, modernize our social safety net and be fiscally responsible by block granting to the states Medicaid, housing, job training, food stamps and education programs. We will promote dignity and control costs through time limits for able-bodied people, as we did successfully in welfare reform.

Fourth, I will work to implement key reforms to Medicare and Social Security. Those approaching retirement can only be confident if these programs are on sustainable footing. I support Rep. Paul Ryan's Medicare reforms, which include private-sector innovation, competition and consumer choice. While I whole-heartedly support cutting taxes, I believe that changes to payroll taxes should be tied to sustainable reforms in Medicare and Social Security.

I don't believe that poverty is a permanent condition. How do we effectively address poverty in rural and urban America? We promote jobs, marriage, quality education and access to capital and embrace the supports of civil society. I believe in equality of opportunity. I believe that American entrepreneurs and business owners create jobs and that skilled and committed workers sustain them, not government.


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