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Tuesday
Oct252011

Rick Perry: My Plan Will 'Jolt This Economy out of the Doldrums'

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(GRAY COURT, S.C.) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Tuesday unveiled an economic plan he argues is the kind of “bold reform” needed to revive the economy, presenting an optional 20 percent personal income tax, the lowering of the corporate tax rate to twenty percent, and offering his most specific proposals yet to reform entitlement programs.

“My plan doesn’t trim around the edges, and it doesn’t bow down to the established interests. But it’s the kind of bold reform needed to jolt this economy out of the doldrums, to renew American prosperity. And those who oppose it will wrap themselves in the cloak of the status quo,” Perry said Tuesday at ISO Poly Films, Inc., a plastics manufacturing company in South Carolina.  “Americans, though, they aren’t searching for a reshuffling of the status quo, which simply empowers the entrenched interests. This is a change election, and I offer a plan that changes the way Washington that does business.”

Perry’s plan, called “Cut, Balance and Grow,” proposes a simplified tax code which offers an optional 20 percent personal income tax, allowing for people to fill out their taxes through a simple postcard. Taxpayers would have the choice to stay under the current tax code or opt for this new flat tax.  

“The size of the current code, which is more than 72,000 pages, is represented by this pallet and its many reams of paper,” Perry said pointing to stacked reams of paper to the right of the stage.  “The best representation of my plan is this postcard, which taxpayers will be able to fill out to file their taxes.”

Perry’s team passed around an example of an individual income tax return postcard taxpayers could use to select the flat tax option.

The tax reforms in the plan also include a 20 percent corporate tax rate and eliminations of the death tax, dividends tax and capital gains along with ending taxes on Social Security.  Perry pledged to balance the budget by 2020 and vowed to work for a Balanced Budget Amendment.

Perry also stressed the burdens placed on business by current federal regulations, and said he would put a freeze on any pending federal regulations and review any regulations implemented since 2008.

Perry vowed to eliminate taxes on Social Security and presented five proposals on how to fix the entitlement program. Perry's plan includes:

- Protecting benefits for current retirees while working with Congress to determine an age to  
  grandfather those approaching retirement age into the program
- Keeping Congress from using the Social Security Trust Fund
- Creating private accounts for young workers
- Allowing state and local governments to allow employees to opt out of the federal program and    pay into locally run retirement programs
- Raising the retirement age for younger workers

On Medicare, Perry recommended providing patients with greater flexibility to choose plans that fit their needs, gradually raising the age of Medicare eligibility, implementing a sliding scale for distributing Medicare benefits, and tackling waste and fraud in the program.  Perry’s plan also restructures Medicaid by turning its administration over to the states.

Perry touted his plan as a direct contrast to President Obama’s stimulus plan, arguing “It’s the kind of economic stimulus that President Obama could’ve achieved if he wasn’t so hellbent on passing government schemes that have failed American workers.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct192011

Rick Perry Previews His Next Economic Plan

Alex Wong/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) – After his first strong debate performance since his entrance in the presidential race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry shared a portion of his forthcoming economic growth plan that he will unveil in next week in South Carolina.  The economic growth plan will include a flat tax, spending cuts, a balanced budget amendment, and a call for entitlement reform.

“In six days, I’m going to release the details of an economic growth package that will create jobs, create growth, create investor confidence in America again” Perry said at the Western Republican Leadership Conference Wednesday. “Scrapping the three million words of the current tax code, starting over with something simpler: a flat tax. I want to make the tax code so simple that even Timothy Geithner can file his taxes on time.”

Perry expressed his commitment to cutting spending and reforming entitlement programs, but offered no specifics on how exactly this would be achieved. The Texas governor, who touts his own success in balancing the budget in the Lone Star State, made a call for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

“I will barnstorm this country from day one going to all 50 states if that’s required to generate the support for a balanced budget amendment that will require the necessary -- that will demand the necessary -- changes be placed in our constitution and make tough choices year after year.”

The Texas governor, who came out swinging in Tuesday night’s debate, attempted to differentiate himself from the other candidates, characterizing himself as anti-establishment.

“I am not the candidate of the establishment. You won’t hear a lot of shifting nuance from me,” Perry said. “I’m going to give the American people a huge big old helping of unbridled truth that we can’t continue to spend what we’re spending, that we can’t avoid entitlement reform because we’re afraid of the third rail of politics.”

Perry’s appearance at the debate and speech Wednesday morning marked his first appearance in Nevada this campaign cycle.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep152011

Boehner to Present GOP’s Alternative Strategy for Job Creation

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As President Obama continues to drum up support for his $447 billion jobs plan, House Speaker John Boehner will deliver an alternative path for job creation in an address to the Economic Club of Washington Thursday, focusing chiefly on tax reform by broadening the base of the tax structure without raising taxes and continuing the GOP’s quest to cut red tape from Washington’s bureaucracy.

According to a senior aide to the speaker, Boehner will push to enact the GOP’s Plan for America’s Job Creators by “streamlining and reforming a burdensome tax code, stopping harmful regulations, and cutting Washington spending,” which Boehner will say “have combined to create a toxic environment for job creation that has rattled confidence and prevented job creators from hiring new workers.”

Boehner will add that although there is some common ground between his vision for job creation and the president’s bill known as the American Jobs Act, the speaker will continue to push for Republican alternatives to be part of a jobs bill because Obama’s plan is “no substitute for the pro-growth policies needed to remove barriers to job creation in America.”

The House is not expected to bring Obama’s bill in its full legislative language to the floor for a clean vote, but sources indicate that aspects of the president’s proposal will work through the committee process and pieces of his plan will eventually come to the floor for consideration.

The speaker is also expected to explain his belief that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction “should advance fundamental tax reform to support private investment and job creation, and address the structural problems in our entitlement programs that have put our country in danger of more job-destroying downgrades.”

Earlier this week, Boehner told reporters that the 12-member deficit reduction panel should aim high as it works to identify at least $1.5 trillion in savings over the next 10 years.

“We should tackle as much of our debt problem as is possible.  As you all know, I spent months working with the president trying to do the big deal [during the debt limit debate], and I always believed that it’d be easier to get the votes if, in fact, we got a big deal,” Boehner said on Tuesday.  “The debt that hangs over our economy, the debt that hangs over our society, is a serious impediment for our country, and so the bigger the job of the debt committee, the more that they’re able to do, frankly I think is very helpful for our country.”

On Thursday, Boehner will also attempt to establish the ground rules for Republicans participating in the talks, pressing the committee to agree on significant reforms without raising taxes.

“He will note that tax reform should include closing loopholes -- but tax increases, which Boehner believes would destroy jobs, are not a viable option for the Joint Select Committee,” the aide wrote in an email.  “He will make the case that by working together to liberate our economy from excessive regulation, higher taxes and out-of-control spending, rather than focusing on short-term gimmicks that could worsen the environment for job creation, the two parties can provide certainty to job creators and lay the foundation for long-term economic growth in America.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep142011

Obama’s Jobs Campaign Heads to North Carolina

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will take his jobs pitch to North Carolina Wednesday where he will highlight the ways the American Jobs Act would benefit small businesses and once again urge Congress to pass the legislation.

Obama’s speech Wednesday afternoon in Raleigh-Durham will be his fifth address on jobs in just seven days, and his third in a key battleground state.  Obama visited Ohio on Tuesday and Virginia last Friday.

The president’s first stop will be in Apex, where he will tour WestStar Precision, a small business the White House says will benefit from the American Jobs Act.

Obama will then deliver remarks on his jobs plan at North Carolina State University, “emphasizing the need for Congress to pass it now and put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of working Americans, while not adding a dime to the deficit,” according to the White House.

After returning to Washington, the first couple will attend the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Annual Awards Gala Wednesday evening.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep122011

Romney Promises 11.5 Million Jobs: Could He Really Deliver?

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Thursday night urged Congress to pass a plan that some analysts say will put 1.9 million Americans to work in the next year.  But two days earlier, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced a plan that he says will create nearly 10 times as many jobs.

Romney, who detailed his jobs agenda in a 161-page book, said in a Las Vegas speech unveiling the plan that if elected, he would push his plan to create 11.5 million jobs in his first term, dropping unemployment to less than 6 percent and boosting gross domestic product (GDP) growth to 4 percent annually.

But while most economists agree that Romney’s plan does include some job-creating initiatives, whether his proposals will add up to 11.5 million jobs is a bit hazy.

“It is unclear what that 11.5 million number came from,” said John Irons, research and policy director for the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank.

Irons said 11.5 million jobs, or about 240,000 per month, is a “fairly modest target” because most economists would expect about 300,000 to 350,000 jobs to be created per month when the economy is coming out of a recession.

“If that’s his target, I don’t think it’s ambitious enough,” Irons said.  “It is a little bit notable, but that’s not that many over four years.  That’s the kind of job creation you would expect to see as a status quo.”

Romney’s proposed GDP growth is about half a percent higher than the 3.6 percent growth that the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects under current law for the same four-year time frame.

But on unemployment, Romney suggests his plan will outpace current CBO predictions by 2 percent.

“It’s a practical plan to get America back to work.  It’s also immediate,” Romney said of his plan.  “This isn’t something that’s going to take years to put into place.”

The former GOP front-runner’s plan includes five executive orders he would sign on his first day in office and five bills he would immediately send to Congress.

One bill would lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent -- the second highest rate in the world -- to 25 percent.  William McBride, an economist at the Tax Foundation, said the lower rate would reduce unemployment by about 0.5 percent, adding about 1 million jobs in a year.

But while dropping the rate by 10 percent would stop U.S. businesses from relocating overseas, it would not lead to a large number of companies relocating to U.S. soil because the average rate of America’s trade partners is around 25 percent as well, he said.

“This ultimately isn’t so radical.  It’s just moving us toward the average,” McBride said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Sep122011

Obama Sending American Jobs Act to Congress

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is not letting up on Congress after practically demanding last week that they quickly pass the American Jobs Act.

A White House official says the president will make remarks Monday morning at the Rose Garden, where he'll announce that he'll be sending the legislation to Capitol Hill that evening.

During his announcement, the official says Obama will be joined by people from across the country who would benefit from the American Jobs Act, including teachers, police officers, firefighters, construction workers, small business owners and veterans.

The president unveiled the $447 billion economic stimulus package last Thursday night before a joint session of Congress.  According to Obama, the measure seeks to cut payroll taxes, provides tax breaks for small businesses that hire new workers and puts Americans to work on infrastructure projects.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep092011

Obama to Sell Jobs Plan in Battleground Virginia

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama takes his jobs plan on the road Friday to Virginia, a 2012 battleground state and home to one of his fiercest Republican critics, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

The president will deliver remarks at the University of Richmond, where he’s expected to appeal directly to his audience and the American people to have confidence in his ideas and heap pressure on lawmakers to pass them.

Before a joint session of Congress Thursday night, Obama rolled out a $447 billion economic stimulus package that he said would “jolt an economy that has stalled.”  It includes roughly $250 billion in tax cuts for workers and employers and $194 billion in federal spending on infrastructure, unemployment insurance benefits and new job training programs.  Obama did not detail how it would be paid for.

The independent economic consultancy Macroeconomic Advisers predicts the president’s plan would give a “significant boost” to the gross domestic product and lead to 1.3 million new jobs through 2012.

“This plan is the right thing to do right now,” Obama said.  “I intend to take that message to every corner of this country.  I also ask every American who agrees to lift your voice and tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now.  Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option.”

The president’s pitch won’t be the only one taking place in Richmond on Friday.  Cantor will discuss Republicans’ plan for jobs and economic growth in remarks at a building materials company in his district, just 11 miles from where Obama will speak.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep092011

Analysis: An ‘Urgent’ Obama Tries to Rally Congress Behind Him

Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Although President Obama urged the assembled members of Congress to “stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy,” there were plenty of times during Thursday night’s speech that the president sounded like he was campaigning.

In an attempt to try and stay above the partisan fray and appeal to independent swing voters, Obama started his address Thursday night by focusing on what the two parties shared in common.

“There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation,” he said.  “Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans -- including many who sit here tonight.”

He went on to highlight the fact that “50 House Republicans have proposed the same payroll tax cut that’s in this plan” and that the idea for an infrastructure fund “came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat.”

Yet, his calls for action on his proposal -- sixteen times Thursday night he called on Congress to “pass this bill” -- also sounded a lot like something you’d hear at a campaign rally.

As one Democratic strategist told ABC News, this was “urgent” Obama not “explainer” Obama.  “Urgent” Obama was the candidate who was able to fire up crowds and connect with average voters.  “Explainer” Obama was the one who often seemed aloof and lecture-ey.

While he didn’t advocate for the kind of big stimulus spending that many liberals would have liked to see, he did make an impassioned defense of government.

“[T]his larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everyone’s money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own -- that’s not who we are,” said Obama.  “That’s not the story of America.”

The president has also showed no sign of backing down on his commitment to close tax breaks for corporations and wealthy Americans, despite the fact that he lost this battle at the end of 2010 and during the debt ceiling debate.

“Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies?  Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers?  Because we can’t afford to do both,” he said.  ”Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires?  Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs?  Right now, we can’t afford to do both.”

This battle over the proper role of government is one that defined the election of 2010 and will be central to the debate between President Obama and his GOP opponent in 2012.  Americans have heard many of the lines Obama used Thursday night in previous speeches, and there’s little doubt they’ll hear much of what was in this address on the campaign trail and in debates in 2012.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep092011

Republicans Respond to Obama's American Jobs Act

Stephen Morton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama hopes that Republicans can get their act together so that they join Democrats to quickly pass his American Jobs Act.

However, there was the sense after his address to a joint session of Congress on Thursday that Republicans don’t quite see the same urgency to bring the bill up for an immediate vote.

Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who hopes to run against the president in the 2012 general election, had nothing positive to say about the speech.

According to Bachman, “the president under the veil of one of the most sacred, deliberative forms -- a joint session of Congress -- delivered yet one more political speech where he doubled down on more of the same policies that are killing the United States economy...Mr. President, what among your proposals was new?  What hasn’t already been tried and failed before?"

House Speaker John Boehner did not give a ringing endorsement to the plan although he sounded a bit more optimistic about its chances, saying, “The proposals the president outlined tonight merit consideration.  We hope he gives serious consideration to our ideas as well."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was less effusive in his opinion of the American Jobs Act, having already dismissed it out of hand after reading an advance copy of the speech.  The Kentucky Republican described it as a "reelection plan," rather than a "jobs plan."

Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the leading Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, was also skeptical of the $447 billion proposal.  

He remarked, “The president just doesn’t get it.  No economic plan can succeed that ignores our staggering and surging debt."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep082011

Obama to Send Congress 'The American Jobs Act'

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will do more than call for job creation in his address before a joint session of Congress Thursday evening -- he'll announce that he's sending legislation to Congress for quick action.

“The president will unveil tonight The American Jobs Act, a plan of bipartisan ideas to create jobs right now and is fully paid for,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer told ABC News.

The final price tag is still being calculated but it could reach $400 billion, paid for by savings elsewhere in government.

And it is crafted to appeal to Republicans who have control of the House, where all money bills must begin their legislative track.

White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley told ABC's Good Morning America that the specifics “will create jobs.  They’ll get teachers back to work.  First responders back to work.  Construction workers, it will get money into small businesses.  And the American people will see a tax cut with a payroll extension.”

Daley added that special emphasis will be on tax breaks for smaller companies which hire: ”It will help the long-term unemployed and help small businesses hire veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan at a time where there is a growing unemployment rate among veterans.”

The president will send The American Jobs Act to Congress in a few days.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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