Republican Debate GOP Debate 2011

Jon Huntsman: Rebuilding Our Nation’s Manufacturing Muscle

Jon Huntsman |Former Governor, Utah
John Huntsman

Nearly three years into President Obama’s tenure, the shuttered factories and foreclosure signs that continue to litter our nation’s landscape represent the final verdict on his administration’s failed economic policies.

Our national debt has escalated from $10 trillion to $15 trillion, with little to show for it. 14 million Americans remain out of work, denied the dignity of a job. Millions more are so dispirited they’ve simply given up looking.

The seriousness of today’s broken economy demands a serious, principled leader; a leader with conviction who will restore trust in Washington, and in government’s ability to help solve problems, not create them.

I’m not running for president to offer slick sound bites crafted to appease focus groups, nor to shrink from the big issues when it’s politically convenient.

I am running to offer the tough but necessary solutions that will transform America’s economic foundation, and give the American people the tools to compete in the 21st Century. In short, we have an opportunity to rebuild our nation’s manufacturing muscle.

My economic and jobs plan is endorsed by the Wall Street Journal, and described as “the most pro-growth proposal ever offered by a U.S. presidential candidate.”

The centerpiece is an overhaul of our convoluted and complicated tax code, which has devolved into a maze of special interest carve-outs and loopholes that cost taxpayers more than $400 billion a year just to comply with.

Rather than tinker with a broken system, my plan cleans house.

As president I will privatize Fannie and Freddie, and let the housing market settle in order to lay the groundwork for renewed growth."
Former Governor, Utah
Jon Huntsman

We will eliminate all subsidies, loopholes, deductions, and corporate welfare. We’ll use that revenue to lower rates across the board, for individuals and businesses. And we’ll do it on a revenue-neutral basis.

We will create a tax code that is flatter, fairer, simpler and more conducive to growth.

This is exactly what I did as governor of Utah, which helped our state lead the nation in job growth and our economy grow at triple the national rate.

Our creative and entrepreneurial class is being strangled as much by over-regulation as over-taxation.

We will repeal Obamacare – which includes $1 trillion in new spending and an onslaught of mandates on small businesses – as well as Dodd-Frank, which perpetuates too big to fail.

We will also rein in the EPA’s overreach and reform the FDA, which is stifling our biotech and health sciences industries, two of the brightest stars of the American economy which seek to cure human disease and extend life.

Unleashing the ingenuity of the American energy industry is another pillar of my economic plan.

Our nation is drowning in energy resources. Yet every year we send $300 billion – half our trade deficit – overseas for oil. That money should be invested in American communities to create American jobs.

I will expedite the approval of safe, environmentally sound projects, including our oil and natural gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, and stand firmly behind the Keystone Pipeline.

My first day in office I will also begin to systemically end every subsidy for individual energy companies – whether it be oil, natural gas, wind or solar – and direct that money instead to basic research that will help discover the revolutionary energy technologies of tomorrow.

Foreign policy is critical not only for our national security, but also for economic growth.

We need a 21st Century foreign policy that expands our economic engagement in the world through free trade agreements.

As a former governor and 3-time U.S. Ambassador, I’ve seen firsthand the tremendous opportunities of free trade.

95 percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders, and with the U.S. party to only 17 of more than 300 trade agreements worldwide, opening more markets for American businesses will be a priority of my administration.

We will pursue new trade opportunities, particularly across the Pacific, with Japan, India, Taiwan and Brazil. We will make completion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership a priority, as well as support the Doha Development Round of World Trade Organization Negotiations, which will benefit both developed and developing nations.

To stabilize the economy, we must also stabilize the housing market.

Washington inflated the housing bubble through the misuse of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and today the White House continues to use these institutions to perpetuate a failed intervention in the housing market, which is preventing a natural stabilization.

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As president I will privatize Fannie and Freddie, and let the housing market settle in order to lay the groundwork for renewed growth.

Finally, we must deal honestly and frankly with our nation’s cancerous debt.

I support the Ryan Plan to cut spending, and reform and strengthen entitlement programs. I will also send to Congress a balanced budget amendment, because it’s immoral to squander a nation’s wealth, and it should be unconstitutional as well.

In these tumultuous times, America cannot afford half-measures; we need bold reforms equal to the monumental challenges we face.

Overseas, I’ve heard our adversaries speak of America’s decline as if it were inevitable; it is not. Some say today’s economy is the “new normal we must accept.” I refuse to.

America is still home to the best and brightest innovators, and the hardest and most productive workers in the world.

Now they deserve a government that matches their character, and that unleashes – not inhibits – their potential.

2012 is the most important election in our lifetime. President Obama won in 2008 by offering hope; we’re going to win in 2012 by offering solutions.