Santorum in Iowa: “We Are Not Competitive Anymore”

Nov 18, 2011 6:14pm

Washington, IOWA—Rick Santorum rolled out his economic policy plan in Iowa today, and at an Italian restaurant in this rural town in southeast Iowa, he said he picked up the points to include in the 31-step plan from “things I’ve learned around Iowa.”

Dressed in brown cowboy boots, Santorum told the crowd of about 20 people how he’s going to make the small towns of the country booming manufacturing towns once again. The former Pennsylvania senator said the nation’s small towns, like this one, have lost manufacturing facilities overseas because “we are not competitive anymore.”

“We are going to level the playing field so I have some bold plans out here. I took the corporate tax off manufacturers. If you make things in America, you don’t pay any corporate tax,” Santorum said. “Number two, we took the regulations off manufacturers.”

Santorum also promised to cut energy costs for small businesses and pledged to repeal the regulations currently in place so “we are not micromanaging both businesses and farms from Washington D.C.”

Some of the other points of the plan released today include cutting and simplifying personal income taxes, simplifying the tax code, eliminating the death tax, lowering the capital gains and dividend tax rates to 12% among many others.

At the hourlong event, his fifth of the day, he also criticized President Obama for what the president said last week at the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings in Hawaii. “We’ve been a little bit lazy over the last couple of decades.  We’ve kind of taken for granted — ‘Well, people would want to come here’ — and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new businesses into America,” Obama told CEOs gathered at the event.

Santorum called the “idea that the president says we are lazy … insulting.”

“It reminded me as soon as I heard that this is Jimmy Carter talking about malaise,” he added, referring to a speech Carter gave in 1979, in the midst of an energy crisis. While it became known as his “malaise speech,” Carter did not actually use that word.

“It’s now Barack Obama saying we are lazy. Americans are not lazy. Americans are the hardest working people in the world by any objective measure …  but what we have is a president who is doing everything he can to crush the people who work hard in America and make them pay and punish them to redistribute wealth to the folks who are not working that hard.”

However, Santorum only focused on the first few words of the president’s comments and a member of the audience took Santorum to task, explaining that what Obama meant was the country “took things for granted.” Before the candidate could respond, the man asked a question on a different topic.

At the end of the town hall, Santorum asked those gathered to support him at the caucuses on Jan. 3, and even asked them to sign up to be precinct captains.

Relentless campaigning has become Santorum’s trademark. He has campaigned in all 99 counties in Iowa, reaching the milestone earlier this month. It’s a feat none of his opponents have come anywhere close to matching. The campaign is hoping that an early start and a breakneck pace will lead to victory in two months.

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