Reforming the tax code and repealing two of President Obama’s signature pieces of legislation – ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank banking reform bill – would promote economic growth and are key priorities for the top Republican candidates for president.
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In a wide-ranging debate in Cleveland sponsored by Fox News, several of the ten candidates who participated said repealing ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank would benefit U.S. businesses by lowering expenses and easing regulations that have created costly obstacles for business owners.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio said the U.S. economy has “radically transformed” in the last five years and that many categories of good paying jobs “are gone.”
“The economy we live in today is dramatically different than it was five years ago,” Rubio said, and small businesses in particular are struggling under the regulatory burdens of ObamaCare, Obama’s signature health care reform legislation, and the Dodd-Frank banking legislation passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
Both pieces of legislation need to be repealed, Rubio said. In addition, the tax code needs to be reformed such that the tax rates for small business is lowered to 25%. “We need to make America fair for all businesses but especially for small biz,” he said.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has said he would promote policies that would lift economic growth to a 4% growth rate (or GDP), well above the current 2% to 3% range anticipated for 2015.
Bush said that a higher growth rate is possible if better quality jobs are created and the U.S. fixes a “convoluted tax code.” He also called for repealing ObamaCare, saying it raises costs for business owners.
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said the IRS should be eliminated.
Ohio Governor John Kasich was asked how Republicans can differentiate themselves from a Democratic challenger who argued Republicans are only out to help the rich. Kasich said Republican policies promote economic growth and “economic growth is the key to everything.”
Businessman Donald Trump, speaking broadly on the U.S. economy, said, “We don’t win any more, we lose to China, we lose to Mexico. We need to turn it around.” Trump also said he would repeal ObamaCare.
Responding to a question targeting the four times Trump companies filed for bankruptcy protection, Trump said he only availed himself of U.S. law as any good businessman would.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker defended his record of job creation in his state, saying he dramatically lowered the state’s unemployment rate. He also called for reforming the tax code and easing regulations on businesses.
“I think most of us understand that people, not the government creates jobs,” Walker said.
On the hot button issue of immigration, Walker said the issue impacted the broader economy and that the U.S. needs an immigration policy that “gives priority to American working families” and keeps wages high.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, facing a question about his handling of the struggling New Jersey economy, said the state is now creating jobs under his administration, a dramatic turnaround from his predecessor.
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson said he would scrap the current tax system and replace it with a system of tithing, the religious practice of donating a percentage of a household’s earnings. “We need a significantly changed tax system,” he said.