Rick Santorum: Transcript of ABC/Yahoo News Exclusive Interview

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JOHN BERMAN: Tax policy. One voter wanted to know, they said, "With the majority of Americans in favor of additional taxes for the rich, why does the Republican Party defend-- or why is the p-- Republican Party so against this idea?"

RICK SANTORUM: Yeah, I think everybody wants to see-- you know, folks who are the upper brackets pay-- as well as, you know, the country, we-- we need more revenues in the federal government to o-- the fact that we're at 14 or 15 percent of G.D.P. in revenues, when the historic average is about 18 or 19. I think most people would say that, you know, we need some revenues to make up the difference.

But why are we at 14? We're-- we're pretty much at the same tax rates as we were when we were collecting 19 or 20 percent. But now we're collecting 14 or 15. Rates haven't changed, nothing's changed with respect to rates. What's changed the-- is the economy. And so the answer is not what-- what-- what we need to do with rates, what we need to do with revenue. How are we gonna get more revenue? And-- and one of the things that I've put forward is a plan that I believe will get the economy going, so we'll create more revenues.

If we can get back to the historical norms of 18-19 percent of-- of federal rev-- of-- of-- of taxes-- making up the economy. And we can take that 25 percent, which is now what we're spending with respect to the percentage of the economy in government and get that back down, those two things come together, we'll have-- we'll have a balanced budget. But you're not gonna get there by-- by raising rates and slowing the economy down even further. You're not gonna get-- the-- the benefit of-- of-- of tax raises in an economy that's sick by making the economy sicker.

JOHN BERMAN: So you're not anti-revenue.

RICK SANTORUM: I'm not anti-revenue, in fact, you know-- I-- I hope that we can get those revenues back to the historical norms, by getting the economy growing. I don't think anyone would suggest that-- that-- that, you know, we need to-- to-- cut taxes to the point-- well, actually, it's interesting. If you look at-- the-- historical normal since World War II, we had rates of 90 percent. And then we had rates as low as 28 percent. But the take during most of that time was about 18-19 percent.

So what happens is-- is that rates are not really the issue as much as it is how well the economy's doing. And, of course, this is the other thing. We had 90 percent rates but nobody paid them. And so you had all these exemptions, exclusions, shelters, all this kind of stuff. And that's why most Americans are saying, "Look, let's just be honest. Let's have lower rates, but everybody pays them. Instead of-- instead of having these artificially high rates and then giving all these deductions and exclusions-- for people to-- to play games with. And that's the plan that I've advocated.

JOHN BERMAN: Senator, this is-- as you know, is a different type of interview and a different type of format, going out on the-- on the internet, live right now. In our last two minutes-- with all the candidates, what we're trying to do is-- a bit of a lightning round. So-- so quick short answers to-- to some of the-- I would say most pressing questions that are out there.

RICK SANTORUM: Oh, short questions-- short answers to pressing questions, all right.

JOHN BERMAN: So let's jump right in.

RICK SANTORUM: All right.

JOHN BERMAN: What's the worst job you ever had?

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