By Rick Santorum
President Obama's State of the Union speech confirmed that flowing rhetoric can't compensate for failed economic policies.
In Florida, families are hurting and jobs are scarce with nearly 10 percent unemployment. In Washington, politicians have nearly doubled their spending over the past 10 years and they plan to burn through $3.7 trillion this fiscal year alone, spending around 40% more than we have. Through their economic and moral malpractice, our nation's debt now stands at over $15 trillion, equivalent to a $135 thousand of debt on every American household. This concerns Americans of all age and all incomelevels. This out-of-control spending and growth of job-killing government regulations also destroy Florida's jobs and concentrates extraordinary power in Washington.
For each penny spent by Washington, it must take one from the private sector. Overspending, takes from our future as well. Government spending -- no matter how it is financed -- represents a significant burden on the private sector. Washington's lack of fiscal discipline strips trillions from the real economy that could be used by entrepreneurs to hire employees and produce value. This means less money and fewer jobs for Florida's families. That's why raising taxes won't solve the jobs problem in Florida; it will only worsen it.
President Obama quoted our first Republican President Abraham Lincoln to the effect that government should do for people only what they cannot do for themselves. He then went on to list all of the ways that he was going to ignore this foundational American principle. Under Obama, Washington, DC violates this principle of limited government and economic freedom on a daily basis and apparently he is committed to keep putting points on thatsame board.
The past few years have been tough on Florida's families. If they don't benefit from Washington's outrageous fiscal excess, who does? The answer: Big Business, Big Labor, and Big Government.
In the ongoing Solyndra scandal, the Obama administration guaranteed $535 million to a company that's only competitive advantage was its political connections. Over a thousand working men and women lost their jobs, but the donors reaped a profit. Administration officials knew about the company's pending collapse, but failed to notify workers for purely political reasons.
At Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, once again it became political connections not the free market that determined their fate. Executives paid themselves multi-million dollar bonuses while hiringlobbyists from both parties to help push substandard mortgages through the system. As a result, Florida now suffers from a historic collapse in its housing market with 45% of homes "underwater" with the mortgages exceeding the current market value. In 2006, I singed a letter with a handful of Senators warning of the pending disaster on the horizon -- and demanded the system be reformed. While that attempt fell on deaf ears, as President I will eliminate the federal housing role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and help those seeking a fresh start by allowing deductions for losses from the sale of a home.
In South Carolina, the National Labor Relations Board intervened directly in Boeing's business decisions. While the NLRB dropped its case against Boeing last month, the threat to all Americans' economic freedom continues. I will make sure that they don't have the resources to undermine the free market and jobs again.
Some say that these examples show capitalism in action. I disagree. Instead, each exemplifies a different aspect of abuse of the free market what some call crony capitalism. In a free market, businesses create value for society by producing goods and services that make their customers' lives better. If they do this, they make a profit and society benefits.
But we no longer have a free market in America. Instead, Big Business, Big Government, and Big Labor have fused into a system where cronies benefit through backroom deals instead of through adding economic value. Small businesses, entrepreneurs, and families lose in this system.
The Constitution does not give government the power to pick corporate winners and losers. It does not give government the power to micromanage corporate decisions. We need pro-growth economic freedom which will promote equality of opportunity for all Americans.
Government does, however, have a responsibility in these trying times to help working families. At a minimum, government should defend private property rights, ensure a stable dollar, and protect families against fraudulent business practices.
That's why my "Made in America" plan can be boiled down to a few basic points. We will cut $5 trillion from the federal budget over 5 years, pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to force Congress and the President to live within our means, lower and simplify taxes on personal and corporate income and savings, and allow only commonsense, predictable regulations. We will unleash America's manufacturing sector and domestic energy production to create jobs. This is the right way to increase revenue, through economic growth. I will cut all personal taxes to two rates of 10% or 28%, the Reagan pro-growth maximum rate. I will cut all corporate taxes in half to 17.5% so smaller businesses and big businesses can compete on a more level playing field. I will have a zero rate on US based manufacturing.
To reinvigorate the economy, I will cut $5 trillion over 5 years and balance the budget within 4 years. Left in the hands of American entrepreneurs and families, these dollars will be utilized more effectively than in the hands of Big Government. As part of that effort, I will immediately reduce to 2008 levels all federal, non-defense discretionary spending and freeze defense spending at its current level. I will ensure that defense spending goes no lower since protecting the nation is the primary responsibility of the federal government in the Constitution. President Obama wants to cut $1 trillion from defense and not a meaningful penny from non-defense related federal bureaucrats and agencies. This reflects his vision of Big Government rather than a vision for the greatness of American innovation, American entrepreneurship, American values, and the American people.
We didn't hear anything from President Obama about the excesses of his signature initiative of ObamaCare or how to control rising healthcare costs. Maybe he ran out of time. He mentioned in passing with one line- the growing issue of entitlements which represent 60% of our current budget. I have made clear that I will freeze Medicaid spending and fully block grant to the States for local solutions and innovation, I will build off of the best of Congressman Paul Ryan's plan to improve and enhance Medicare through competition and choice, and I will lead the effort to make Social Security fiscally sustainable for seniors and young people. Amazingly even now, we heard from President Obama about more government and more aggressive regulators such as his novel concept of a recess appointment without a Congressional recess, as if the stranglehold of Dodd-Frank was not enough. Most schoolchildren would point out that saying you had a recess without having one does not make it so. The only recess was one taken from the Constitution. To ease the regulatory burden on Florida, I will rein in the NLRB, EPA, and other regulatory agencies so that they can focus on their core missions, not micromanaging small businesses and entrepreneurs, or they will be eliminated.
Working with families, communities, churches, synagogues, and small businesses, I know that we can get spending under control and get Florida and the nation moving again. Obamanomics, ObamaCare, ObamaRegs, and ObamaScare of our seniors rather than honestly addressing the unsustainability of our current path will not move our nation forward; it will not create jobs, it will not revive the housing sector. Obamanomics seeks to "spread the wealth"- in reality as we have all seen- it spreads poverty and decline. Under President Obama- 1 in 6 Americans is in poverty and 1 in 4 children receive food stamps. Limiting government and expanding economic freedom is what will help create jobs. My policies will free America once again to invest in a future which is better for our children, not worse. It will expand opportunity and upward mobility for all American families.