Barack Obama has failed miserably to bridge the partisan divide in Washington. The country is more polarized than ever before and working families across the nation have lost faith that their elected officials in Washington have any understanding of the challenges they face in their lives.
It is not hard to pinpoint the source of the American people’s anger. During the Obama presidency, taxes have been increased by nearly $2 trillion over a 10-year period, while the national debt has risen by $8 trillion. The Obama economy has sputtered along at a tepid rate of 2 percent growth, resulting in the lowest workforce participation rate since the Carter presidency and a decline in middle class incomes of $2,000.
While the rest of America has struggled, Washington, D.C., has become America’s new boomtown, with the highest per capita income in the nation. This explosion of wealth hasn’t occurred because of some new private sector innovation or the manufacturing of products that have improved the lives of the American people. It is has been driven by the growth of government and debt, which is coming at the expense of taxpayers who are losing ground in a weak economy.
As president of the United States, I will use all the powers of my office to disrupt the political culture of a dysfunctional Washington, D.C. We need to clean house and it must start by eliminating the crony capitalism that is pervasive throughout the federal government. There are tens of billions of dollars of corporate welfare subsidies tucked into the federal budget. An honest effort to cut the deficit should start here.
During the debate on the last farm bill, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa declared his opposition by pointing to the fact that 70 percent of the subsidies in the bill would go to the largest farmers. We can take care of small family farms and provide sufficient protection to American agriculture without handing out billions in subsidies to the biggest agribusiness companies. We also need to stop picking winners and losers in the energy industry. My tax reform plan would phase out all the tax breaks for the oil and gas industry, as well as those for wind, solar and renewables.
With a level playing field and regulatory certainty from Washington, we can leverage our newly realized status as an energy superpower to create jobs and reduce the cost of gasoline and utility bills for the American people.
Ending crony capitalism also requires a complete rewriting of the tax code and a seismic change in the way we regulate the American economy. I would eliminate corporate tax breaks, loopholes and carve outs so we can lower the top business tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. Right now, American companies pay the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. By simplifying the tax code and lowering rates, we will give our economy and American workers a significant lift.
But we cannot stop here.
We also need to restore common sense to federal regulations. During the Obama presidency, there have been more than 2,500 new regulations imposed on the economy with a staggering price tag of $670 billion. This is one of the reasons we have more businesses dying in America today than starting up. I would bring sweeping regulatory reform to the federal government, adopting policies to stop the biggest corporations from rigging the rules to their favor and establishing a regulatory budget to ensure that every new dollar of regulatory cost is offset by eliminating a dollar of cost from old regulations.
Taken together, these efforts will make our economy more competitive, rein in the growth of federal spending and help restore the trust of the American people in our political process, paving the way for much needed reforms to our entitlement programs.
None of these reforms will be easy to make. The influence peddling industry in Washington will fight every step of the way to defend their fiefdoms and special favors. It is going to take a president with a stiff spine and a proven record of delivering conservative reforms to disrupt the old, established order.
I intend to be that president.
Jeb Bush is a former governor of Florida and candidate for the 2016 presidential election.