By Deanna White
Issues about personal morality and personal bets may have headlined the ABC News Iowa Republican Debate on December 10, but for those paying attention to the bottom line, the lively exchange was kicked off by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who began by discussing taxes and the role taxes play in job creation.
When asked by moderator Diane Sawyer about his "distinguishing idea" to create jobs and bring jobs back from overseas, Gingrich stuck close to his "pro-growth Jobs and Prosperity Plan", which advocates lowering taxes and reforming government regulations to grow the American economy.
Citing his record of job growth partnership with former presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, Gingrich said he helped grow approximately twenty-five million jobs over a seven-year period in the Reagan administration and eleven million jobs in a four-year period under Clinton, which reduced the unemployment rate to 4.2 percent.
To quote Gingrich, he stated that his distinguishing idea "starts very simply, taxes, lower taxes, less regulation, an American energy plan, and actually be positive with our people to create jobs. The opposite of the Obama plan, which is higher taxes, more regulation, no American energy, and attack people who create jobs with class warfare."
Gingrich said his plan would start with a number of steps to grow jobs, many of which focused on reducing the tax burden on individuals and corporations.
"I would start with zero capital gains, hundreds of billions of dollars would pour into the country, I'd go to 12.5-percent corporate tax rate that would bring in at least $700 billion in repatriated money back from overseas", Gingrich said. "I would then go to 100-percent expensing for all new equipment . . . and I'd abolish the death tax penalty. Those steps would begin to dramatically create jobs."
Gingrich's comments stick close to the script of the Jobs and Prosperity Plan he outlines on his official campaign Web site.
According to his Web site, Gingrich would employ "a pro-growth strategy similar to the proven policies used when he was Speaker of the House to balance the budget, pay down the debt, and create jobs."
On his Web site, Gingrich states he would:
- "Stop the 2013 tax increases to promote stability in the economy. Job creation improved after Congress extended tax relief for two years in December. We should make the rates permanent."
- "Make the United States the most desirable location for new business investment through a bold series of tax cuts, including: eliminating the capital gains tax to make American entrepreneurs more competitive against those in other countries; dramatically reducing the corporate income tax (among highest in the world) to 12.5 percent; allowing for 100% expensing of new equipment to spur innovation and American manufacturing; [and] ending the death tax permanently."
- "Move toward an optional flat tax of 15 percent that would allow Americans the freedom to choose to file their taxes on a postcard, saving hundreds of billions in unnecessary costs each year. This optional flat tax system will preserve deductions on charitable giving and home ownership, and create a new personal deduction of $12,000 for every American. This deduction is well above the current poverty level, ensuring that this new system does not unfairly target the poor."
- "Strengthen the dollar by returning to the Reagan-era monetary policies that stopped runaway inflation and reforming the Federal Reserve to promote transparency."
- "Remove obstacles to job creation imposed by destructive and ineffective regulations, programs, and bureaucracies. Steps include: repealing the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which did nothing to prevent the financial crisis and is holding companies back from making new investments in the United States; repealing the Community Reinvestment Act, the abuse of which helped cause the financial crisis; repealing the Dodd-Frank Law, which is killing small independent banks, crippling loans to small businesses, and crippling home sales; breaking up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, moving their smaller successors off government guarantees and into the free market; replacing the Environmental Protection Agency with an Environmental Solutions Agency that works collaboratively with local government and industry to achieve better results; and modernizing the Food and Drug Administration to get lifesaving medicines and technologies to patients faster."
Gingrich's plan also advocates implementing an American energy policy that "removes obstacles to responsible energy development", creating jobs in the process; balances the budget "by growing the economy, controlling spending, implementing money-saving reforms, and replacing destructive policies and regulatory agencies with new approaches"; repealing "Obamacare" with a "pro-jobs, pro-responsibility health plan"; and undertaking a fundamental reform of entitlement programs.
Apparently, Gingrich's plan and his persona are taking hold. The Gallup tracking poll of 1,000 Republications conducted on December 12 has Gingrich with 37-percent ballot support, which is a fourteen-point lead over his rival and closest running mate, Mitt Romney, who is at 23 percent.