By Rick Santorum
Michigan has lost 143,000 jobs since President Obama took office. Over a quarter of a million workers have left the labor force. Michigan's official unemployment is more than 9 percent. In Michigan, as in the rest of the country, if you ask people whether they are better off than they were four years ago, the answer is no.
Michigan is not naturally the land of unemployment. We're a nation that meets challenges and overcomes them. We'll meet the challenges of today, we'll persevere, and we'll succeed. We'll do that not by placing our faith in government to solve our problems, but by trusting in the goodness of the American people and its institutions.
When my grandfather first came to America, before he set out for the coal mines of southwest Pennsylvania, he actually came to Detroit and worked in the auto factories for two years. Now his grandson is running for president of the United States. That's what makes America great.
Some in America don't understand what makes America great. Last Monday President Obama sent to Congress a budget. It has massive tax and spending increases and continues our unsustainable budget deficits.
America has tried three years of higher spending and increased government intervention. It has never worked. It cannot work.
America can do better. Much better.
In the 1980s, under President Ronald Reagan, Michigan created more than half a million jobs. The unemployment rate in the state fell from 12.4 percent when Reagan took office to 6.9 percent when he left.
I'm deeply committed to Reagan's policies of economic freedom, prosperity and growth. I've also been unwavering and successful in my commitment to cut taxes for American businesses and families, reform regulations, and unleash our entrepreneurial spirit once again.
Americans have to compete against countries all around the world who want our jobs, and in many cases took our jobs. Our plan understands the competitive playing field.
Taxing the rich won't solve the nation's problems. I propose cutting the top Bush-Obama-era rate of 35 percent to 28 percent, the Reagan top rate. If it's good enough for Ronald Reagan, it's good enough for me.
Plus, I'll reduce to just two the number of tax brackets -- one at 28 percent and one at 10 percent.
I'll triple the child exemption, because there's no more stressful job than being a parent. Unless we have strong families and strong community, we're not going to be an economically successful country.
China is one of the most important countries in the world. America and China should grow and prosper together. The only way to do that is if both countries abide by the same set of rules. Unfortunately that has not yet happened.
That's why we need a zero tax rate for manufacturing activity. Manufacturing is vital, and it's disadvantaged in America because of China's policies. We need to give our homegrown industry some help.
In addition to a zero tax rate for manufacturing activity, I'll call on Congress to pass an immediate cut of the business income tax rate from the disastrously uncompetitive rate of 35 percent to 17 percent. That will help businesses stay in America and create jobs.
I'll also ask Congress to eliminate or dramatically reduce the tax on profits that U.S. businesses earn overseas, thus encouraging the repatriation of capital to help build America and create jobs. I'll urge the expansion of the R&D tax credit from 14 percent to 20 percent and make it permanent.
We shouldn't have a society that has a president who creates class warfare or envy between one group of people and another. We should celebrate success like we do in towns all across America.
Detroit builds statues and monuments and buildings, and names them after people. Why? Because in their greatness and innovation, they created wealth, not just for themselves but for everybody. And that's a good thing, not something to be condemned in America.
We won't get the dynamic growth our sick economy needs unless we also reduce the suffocating regulatory burden on industry. Enterprise isn't free when it's tangled in 82,000 pages of red tape every year. Large corporations have compliance departments that can handle these regulations, but small businesses can't manage. Getting rid of irrational and burdensome regulations is change that we can believe in together as we restore America's greatness and freedom.
I've committed to immediately repealing all Obama regulations that have a burden of more than $100 million on American businesses. I'll have all regulations reviewed to determine whether benefits exceed costs, and I'll revoke those regulations that cannot meet this commonsense test.
Many provisions of the Dodd-Frank law go against the America's principles of limited government and individual freedom. They kill opportunities for job growth. I'll work with Congress to repeal Dodd-Frank.
An effective energy policy will expand economic development and create high-quality jobs, resulting in a strong economy for America's families and workers. It's time to get serious about unleashing America's domestic energy.
Hydraulic fracturing has turned oil shale into an economically viable resource. It's reduced North Dakota's unemployment rate to 3.3 percent and created well-paying jobs for everyone who wants one.
The Obama administration's decision to prevent the construction of the Keystone Pipeline is unconscionable. Oil supplies from Mexico and Venezuela are diminishing, and our refineries in the Gulf need a new supply of Canadian oil in order to keep employing Americans.
But this president is not interested in creating jobs. In my opinion, he's interested in creating benefits. He's interested in redistributing wealth and creating a dependency class. Government becomes your lifeboat.
More and more of our budget is taken up with these entitlements that keep people dependent.
When I was born, the military was 60 percent of the federal budget, and entitlements were 10 percent. Now, the military is just 17 percent of the budget, and entitlements are consuming most of revenues.
America needs bold and sustainable entitlement reforms. In my budgets, each year's spending will be less than the year before until the budget is balanced. I'll cut at least $5 trillion over 5 years in non-defense related federal spending, and in five years I'll send Congress a balanced budget.
Ultimately, the success of America is not found in managing the economy. It's in getting Washington off of the backs of ordinary Americans and creating the atmosphere for economic growth. We've done it before, and we can do it again.
Former Pennsylvania U. S. Senator Rick Santorum is a Republican candidate for president.