By Rick Santorum
America's budget process is broken. Our economy and American families are struggling, and the country needs bold reforms and major restructuring, not tinkering at the margins. Obamanomics has left one in six Americans in poverty, and one in four children on food stamps. Millions seek jobs and others have given up.
Meanwhile, my opponent in the Republican primaries, Mitt Romney, had a last-minute conversion. Attempting to distract from his record of tax and fee increases as governor of Massachusetts, poor job creation, and aggressive pursuit of earmarks, he now says he wants to follow my lead and lower individual as well as corporate marginal tax rates.
It's a good start. But it doesn't go nearly far enough. He says his proposed tax cuts would be revenue neutral and, borrowing the language of Occupy Wall Street, promises the top 1% will pay for the cuts. No pro-growth tax policy there, just more Obama-style class warfare.
By contrast, in my first 100 days as president, I'll submit to Congress and work to pass a comprehensive pro-growth and pro-family Economic Freedom Agenda. Here are 10 of its main initiatives:
* Unleash America's energy. I'll approve the Keystone Pipeline for jobs and energy security, and sign an order on day one unleashing America's domestic energy production, allowing states to choose where they want to explore for oil and natural gas and to set their own regulations for hydrofracking.
* Stop job-killing regulation. All Obama administration regulations that have an economic burden over $100 million will be repealed, including the Environmental Protection Agency rule on CO2 emissions that's already shut down six power plants. I'll review all regulations, making sure they use sound science and cost benefit analysis.
* A pro-growth, pro-family tax policy. I'll submit to Congress comprehensive tax policies to strengthen opportunity in our country, with only two income tax rates of 10% and 28%. To help families, I'll triple the personal deduction for children and eliminate the marriage tax penalty.
* Restore America's competitiveness. The corporate tax rate should be halved, to a flat rate of 17.5%. Corporations should be allowed to expense all business equipment and investment. Taxes on corporate earnings repatriated from overseas should be eliminated to bring home manufacturing. I'll take the lead on tort reform to lower costs to consumers.
* Rein in spending. I'll propose spending cuts of $5 trillion over five years, including cuts for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. I'll propose budgets that spend less money each year than prior years, and I'll reduce the nondefense-related federal work force by at least 10%, without replacing them with private contractors.
* Repeal and replace ObamaCare. I'll submit legislation to repeal ObamaCare, and on day one issue an executive order ending related regulatory obligations on the states. I'll work with Congress to replace ObamaCare with competitive insurance choices to improve quality and limit the costs of health care, while protecting those with uninsurable health conditions. In contrast, Gov. Romney signed into law RomneyCare, which provided the model for ObamaCare. Its best-known feature is its overreaching individual health-care mandate. But it shares over a dozen other similarities with ObamaCare and has given Massachusetts the highest health-care premiums in the nation, and longer waits for health care.
* Balance the budget. I'll submit to Congress a budget that will balance within four years and call on Congress to pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution which limits federal spending to 18% of GDP.
* Negotiate and submit free trade agreements. Because many Americans work for companies which export, I'll initiate negotiations in the first 100 days and submit to Congress five free trade agreements during my first year in office to increase exports.
* Reform entitlements. I'll cut means-tested entitlement programs by 10% across the board, freeze them for four years, and block grant them to states--as I did as the author of welfare reform in 1996. I'll reform Medicare and Social Security so they are fiscally sustainable for seniors and young people.
* Revive housing. I'll submit plans to Congress to phase out within several years Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's federal housing role, reform and make transparent the Federal Reserve, and allow families whose mortgages are "underwater" to deduct losses from the sale of their home in order to get a fresh start in difficult economic times.
I'll work with Congress and the American people to once again create an economic environment where hard work is rewarded, equal opportunity exists for all, and families providing for their children can once again be optimistic about their future.