By Tommy Thompson
America is at a crossroads. Liberal Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin has contributed $9.4 trillion to our skyrocketing $16 trillion debt, and under her watch more than 6.6 million Americans have lost their jobs. In total, more than 23 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed; and even worse, 840,000 more have given up hope and dropped out of the workforce altogether.
No longer can we afford her overspending, overtaxing and over-regulation that has defined Washington, D.C., over the years. As a country, we are in desperate need of reformers who will offer common-sense solutions to lower taxes, foster job creation and create economic growth.
The $787 billion stimulus bill, TARP and "Obamacare" are only a few of the litany of failed economic policies that have been spearheaded by liberal Democrats like Baldwin. All of these broken promises have failed to ignite our economy, and have resulted in the same outcome: more money taken from family budgets.
My plan keeps Americans' hard-earned money where it belongs, in their pockets. It simplifies the federal income tax code, cuts the capital gains tax for families making less than $100,000, makes the Republican tax cuts permanent, and repeals the federal tax on Social Security benefits.
By contrast, Tammy Baldwin's so-called Buffett tax would actually raise taxes on small businesses in Wisconsin and across this nation. If enacted, it would further distress our economy and discourage job creation.
Rather than increase taxes, like "Obamacare" did, and put the burden of the economy on the backs of America's middle-class families, we need to look to the private sector to help pull us up.
There are immediate steps that Washington must take to get our country working again:
1. Create a competitive tax rate.
2. Repatriate foreign profits for investment at home.
3. Expand domestic energy production.
Washington needs to create a more competitive corporate tax code that fosters economic growth. At one of the highest in the world, 35 percent, our current corporate tax rate doesn't serve as a welcome mat for job creators, but rather a moving truck.
Currently, foreign profits are taxed at upward of a 35 percent rate if brought back into the United States. Rather than pay this exorbitant rate to bring money made overseas back to the U.S., countless companies choose to leave the money invested on foreign soil.
Secondly, we must address the perverse incentives that cause companies to reinvest foreign profits overseas rather than repatriating those profits. I propose a zero penalty to return those funds for investment in the U.S. when they are used for investment in plant, equipment, job training or research and development.
Lastly, to create long-term economic expansion, we must break our dependency on foreign oil. Energy independence would mean creating millions of jobs and lowering energy costs, starting right here in Wisconsin, while breaking the chain of dependency when it comes to foreign oil. It is estimated that fully realizing our nation's energy potential by 2020 would add as much as $624 billion to our country's GDP.
I had the honor and responsibility of serving the people of Wisconsin as governor before becoming Health and Human Services secretary. I helped create more than 740,000 jobs for the state, cut taxes 91 times and saved taxpayers more than $16 billion. Wisconsin families know my record as governor and they know I will take those experiences to Washington to do the same thing.
Tommy Thompson is the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. He is a former governor of Wisconsin and former U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services.