MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – The Republican Party took center stage on CBS Tuesday morning to discuss their plans for budget and other areas of American life.
The town hall style meeting featured Florida Congressman Allen West, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn.
Congressman West was asked about what track he would take to stimulate the economy to get it out of the stagnation that is gripping the Main Street economy. He took issue with taxes and government regulation as impediments to the economy.
“What I see down in my district is the – small businesses are the economic engine that drive this country,” West said. “But yet – when you look at some of the regulations that are coming in and that’s restricting access to capital for them to grow; and you look at some of the tax policies which are gonna preclude them from hiring more Americans. When you drive by in South Florida on U.S. 1, you see all those closed storefronts. You just have to think about maybe there were six to eight Americans that once occupied those storefronts.”
West would agree with Congressman Ryan who put together the Republican economic blueprint that was passed by the House, but died in the U.S. Senate. The main idea through much of the town hall meeting was that business and Wall Street wasn’t the problem, the government was the problem.
When asked about dealing with the mortgage crisis, West started his answer saying that government was too large.
“I think the most important thing that we have to do is from the policies we’re creating up here is set the conditions by which we can reduce the size and the scope of the federal government to get money back into your pockets,” West said.
But West also echoed a progressive talking point right after this by complaining about the sham mortgage backed securities that helped bring down the economy starting in the mid-2000’s.
“When all of a sudden we start to take those – mortgage-backed securities and we’re selling them freely between banks and also to form banks, then we have all this bad paper out there,” West said.
And when the discussion turned to the possibility of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, who haven’t been impacted nearly as bad by the Great Recession, West wouldn’t hear of it and questioned the need for higher taxes at any level of government.
“It’s not just the tax rates; it’s all of the additional taxes that make up a marginal tax rate,” West said. “So the next thing you know, you’ve got the dividends tax, you’ve got your capital gains tax, you’ve got your estate tax. You’ve got all of the taxes you may have at the state level, even down at the local level. And now what we’re about is a marginal tax rate for people that can be anywhere from 60 to 70 percent.”
Congressman West was confronted with the issue of employing austerity measures that could send the unemployment rate through the roof. West wasn’t concerned with the potential unemployment crisis that could erupt.
“We can start to cut and get the federal government back to its essential functions,” West said. “So, I think that, you know, we can’t have this bureaucratic nanny state that grows up here in Washington, D.C.”
But the biggest question Congressman West and the rest of the panel, except Governor Haley, will face in the coming month is the government’s need to raise the debt ceiling. Without passing it, the U.S. will face grave consequences when the government begins to default on payments on the debt.
None of the panel members would consider voting for raising the debt ceiling without a combination of “spending control measures,” according to Congressman West, and “deep spending cuts,” according to Governor Haley.