×

Santorum sees a 'hollowing out' of middle class

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Thursday the economy is not great for many Americans.

The former senator from Pennsylvania told CNBC's "Squawk Box" that while asset values and real estate are higher, wages are not.

"There is a hollowing out of the middle of this country. I think it's clearly because of the anti-growth policies of this administration," he said, citing as examples high tax rates and President Barack Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Read More Chris Christie: I need to get to work in Iowa, NH

As part of his plan to increase economic growth, Santorum wants to simplify the tax code. He released a comprehensive plan last month, featuring a 20 percent flat tax on individuals and corporations. The top rate on companies is now 35 percent.

"As far as assets sitting overseas, part of our tax bill is to allow repatriation at no more than 10 percent," Santorum said. U.S. corporations are holding more than $2 trillion in low-tax countries to avoid playing higher American rates.

"We need to get those assets back into this country to be invested here in America or distributed here in America," he said.

Another economic growth driver would be investment in infrastructure, but not at the federal level, he said. He advocate a return of transportation funding to the states.

"I just don't think we need to manage it out of Washington, D.C.," Santorum said. "A lot more jobs would be created."

Earlier this week, Santorum participated in the "undercard" GOP debate, along with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

According to a RealClear Politics average of major national polls, Santorum has only 0.8 percent support among likely Republican primary voters.

Morning Squawk: CNBC's before the bell news roundup

Sign up to get Morning Squawk each weekday

Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and service. Privacy Policy.
Please enter a valid email address