Jon Huntsman’s Jobs Plan: ‘Time to Compete’

Aug 31, 2011 5:58pm

ABC News’ Sarah Kunin (@sarah_kunin) reports:

Jon Huntsman revealed his jobs plan at Gilchrist Metal Fabricating in Hudson, New Hampshire this afternoon, marking his first policy speech since announcing his candidacy in June.

In a speech titled “Time to Compete,” the former Utah governor introduced an economic strategy that fuses ideas from the Paul Ryan plan as well as the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission.

Huntsman’s speech focused on five distinct areas: debt, tax reform, regulatory reform, energy independence, and free trade.

“My plan may be challenged by the special interests, on the left and the right. But it represents a serious path forward – toward fiscal discipline and economic growth,” Huntsman said to the crowd of 50 to 60 people, according to the campaign. “It also represents a very different vision for our country than the current occupier of the White House. The President believes that we can tax and spend and regulate our way to prosperity. We cannot. We must compete our way to prosperity.”

On controlling the nation’s debt, Huntsman noted that he supports many of the Ryan Plan’s ideals paired with a balanced budget amendment.

“Our debt is immoral and it should be unconstitutional as well. But we cannot restore our nation’s economic strength by cuts alone,” he said.

Huntsman then outlined his approach to tax reform, simplifying the system by the removing loopholes and temporary provisions. “Rather than tinker around the edges of a broken system, I’m going to drop a plan on the front steps of the Capitol that says, ‘We need to clean house.’ Get rid of all tax expenditures, all loopholes, all deductions, all subsidies. Use that to lower rates across the board. And do it on a revenue-neutral basis,” he said.

On individual taxpayer rates, Huntsman plans to remove all deductions and credits, lowering rates to 8, 14, and 23 percent.

He also plans to rid of the Alternative Minimum Tax, which Huntsman says “is unfairly penalizing a growing number of families and small businesses.” Huntsman suggests that eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends will jumpstart investment in the economy by lowering the cost of capital.

As for corporate taxes, Huntsman proposes lowering rates from 35 to 25 percent.  He also suggests a tax holiday for corporate profits earned overseas, which he says will he says will make $400 billion and $600 billion available to companies to make capital investments.

Huntsman then moved to regulatory reform, where he called attention to the National Labor Relations Board’s attempt to block a new Boeing plant in South Carolina. ” If elected, I will immediately instruct the NLRB to stop pursuing this politically motivated attack on free enterprise, and if they fail to do so I will replace them,” he said.

Huntsman also plans to repeal the extensive set of financial industry regulations that comprise the Dodd-Frank Act.  “Rather than true financial reform, the American people were handed a 1600 page monstrosity that gives unelected bureaucrats unprecedented and unreviewable power over our financial system,” Huntsman said. “Another fundamental problem with Dodd-Frank is it perpetuates ‘too big to fail.’ Taxpayers must be protected from more bailouts. Yet we must reconsider whether increased competition between smaller entities is more efficient than a vast new regulatory apparatus that will almost certainly produce more bailouts.”

Huntsman concluded the regulatory reform portion of his speech by calling for a  repeal of Obamacare,  as well as “the EPA’s serious regulatory overreach” and “the FDA’s ridiculous approval process that increases development costs and unnecessarily delays new products.”

On energy independence, Huntsman plans to utilize domestic energy sources, “by expediting the approval process for safe, environmentally-sound projects – including our oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska and appropriate Federal lands and supporting the Keystone Pipeline Project in cooperation with Canada.”

He would also call for the elimination of energy subsidies, making domestic energy sources such as natural gas and biofuels more viable.

On free trade, Huntsman said that previously established agreements with South Korea, Columbia, and Panama would become some of his top priorities as president. He also called for discussions with India to end the United States’ bilateral free trade agreement with the nation, “strengthening our relationship with a friend who will prove to be critical to America’s success in the 21st century.”

Huntsman concluded his speech by emphasizing his made-in-America values. ” It’s time for America to start building things again,” he said. “It’s time for America to start working again.

It’s time for America to compete again. I believe with a new administration we can do just that.”

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