Newt Gingrich at CPAC
I attended a breakfast this morning with Newt Gingrich as part of the rollout for the American Solutions Winning the Future effort. As usual, he was an extremely forceful speaker and passionate strategist.
He opened by saying that he is an optimist and that “President Obama is doing us a huge favor” by showing how “radically different” the Left’s ideas are from those of conservatives.
He noted, for example, two polls showing that between 77 percent and 80 percent of Americans oppose “giving one more penny to GM.” He said that it was a foundational idea of the country, articulated by Captain John Smith to the aristocrats at Jamestown that “He who will not work will not eat” and that the current policies are trying to overturn that basic ethic. The Declaration of Independence articulates “the right to pursue — an active, responsible verb — happiness,” not a guarantee of achieving it.
Gingrich dubbed the current bailout ethic “the Bush-Obama” plan and argued that conservatives must articulate an articulate vision. Republicans’ job is not to simply be an opposition party but rather a “better solutions party.”
He believes the massive stimulus plan gives us an opportunity for a “clarifying national dialog.” To win, the Speaker argued, we need ideas that are both popular and that work. Given how many issues there are to fight about, then, it makes sense to pick ones where there’s already a strong reservoir of good will — “tripartisan” ideas that 80 percent of people listening to drive time radio would agree with.
Here’s his 12 point alternative plan:
- Payroll Tax Stimulus. With a temporary new tax credit to offset 50% of the payroll tax, every small business would have more money, and all Americans would take home more of what they earn.
- Real Middle-Income Tax Relief. Reduce the marginal tax rate of 25% down to 15%, in effect establishing a flat-rate tax of 15% for close to 9 out of 10 American workers.
- Reduce the Business Tax Rate. Match Ireland’s rate of 12.5% to keep more jobs in America.
- Homeowner’s Assistance. Provide tax credit incentives to responsible home buyers so they can keep their homes.
- Control Spending So We Can Move to a Balanced Budget. This begins with eliminating Congressional earmarks and wasteful pork-barrel spending.
- No State Aid Without Protection From Fraud. Require state governments to adopt anti-fraud and anti-theft policies before giving them more money.
- More American Energy Now. Explore for more American oil and gas and invest in affordable energy for the future, including clean coal, ethanol, nuclear power and renewable fuels.
- Abolish Taxes on Capital Gains. Match China, Singapore and many other competitors. More investment in America means more jobs in America.
- Protect the Rights of American Workers. We must protect a worker’s right to decide by secret ballot whether to join a union, and the worker’s right to freely negotiate. Forced unionism will kill jobs in America at a time when we can’t afford to lose them.
- Replace Sarbanes-Oxley. This failed law is crippling entrepreneurial startups. Replace it with affordable rules that help create jobs, not destroy them.
- Abolish the Death Tax. Americans should work for their families, not for Washington.
- Invest in Energy and Transportation Infrastructure. This includes a new, expanded electric power grid and a 21st century air traffic control system that will reduce delays in air travel and save passengers, employees and airlines billions of dollars per year.
This, certainly, would have been a more compelling alternative than we had last November.