Restoring the American Dream
With this platform, we the Republican Party reaffirm the principles that unite us in a common purpose.
We are the party of a growing economy that gives everyone a chance in life, an opportunity to learn, work, and realize the prosperity freedom makes possible.
Government cannot create prosperity, though government can limit or destroy it. Prosperity is the product of self-discipline, enterprise, saving and investment by individuals, but it is not an end in itself. Prosperity provides the means by which citizens and their families can maintain their independence from government, raise their children by their own values, practice their faith, and build communities of cooperation and mutual respect. It is also the foundation for our nation’s global leadership, for it is the vigor of our economy which makes possible
our military strength and our national security. Pundits and Democrats tell us that we should
accept the new normal of a slow-growing economy. The consequences are too dire to ever accept that:
President Obama and his party will set a record of being the first modern president ever to leave office without a single calendar year of three percent economic growth. As a result, the number of Americans living in poverty has increased by 7 million, our nation’s economy has lost nearly $8 trillion of cumulative output compared with an average recovery, and the economic growth shortfall has left a cumulative real after-tax per person personal income shortfall of nearly $17,000 compared with an average recovery.
Under President Obama and the Democrats, new private-sector jobs are three million below where they should have been with just average modern post-recession growth. Our labor force participation rate has plunged to at or below 63 percent for far too long, lows last seen two generations ago before President Reagan was elected in 1980. Business closures have exceeded business startups throughout the Obama Presidency. Strong growth, more jobs, increasing incomes, and expanding opportunity are all in short supply under President Obama and the Democrats.
We repudiate the absurd idea this is the best America can do. The American people rejected that nonsense the last time it was offered, in the historic election of 1980, and we ask them to join us now to again repudiate the false gospel of America’s diminishment and retreat. We offer instead our vision of an opportunity society based on the economics of inclusion.
Fair and Simple Taxes for Growth
Republicans consider the establishment of a pro-growth tax code a moral imperative. More than any other public policy, the way government raises revenue — how much, at what rates, under what circumstances, from whom, and for whom — has the greatest impact on our economy’s performance. It powerfully influences the level of economic growth and job creation, which translates into the level of opportunity for those who would otherwise be left behind. Getting our tax system right will be the most important factor in driving the entire economy back to prosperity.
The current tax code is rightly the object of both anger and mockery. Its length is exceeded
only by its complexity. We must start anew. That will be an enormous undertaking and, if it is to succeed, it must command the attention and approval of the American people. It cannot be engineered from the top down, but must have a common sense approach, and be simplified.
Our proposal is straightforward. Wherever tax rates penalize thrift or discourage investment, they must be lowered. Wherever current provisions of the code are disincentives for economic growth, they must be changed. We will not divide the American people into winners and losers. We will eliminate as many special interest provisions and loopholes as possible and curb corporate welfare, especially where their erosion of the tax base has created pressure for higher rates. We will be mindful of the burdens on families with children and the impact on an aging population. We will seek simplicity and clarity so that every taxpayer can understand how much of their income is consumed by the federal government.
We will welcome all to this enterprise — to discuss, debate, challenge, and amend — so that together we can restore economic growth for the American people and, even more important, renew their faith in the future.
Our Tax Principles
To ensure that past abuses will not be repeated, we assert these fundamental principles. We oppose retroactive taxation. We condemn attempts by activist judges at any level of government to seize the power of the purse from the people’s elected representatives by ordering higher taxes.
We oppose tax policies that deliberately divide Americans or promote class warfare. Because of the vital role of religious organizations, charities, and fraternal benevolent societies in fostering generosity and patriotism, they should not be subject to taxation and donations to them should remain deductible. To guard against hypertaxation of the American people in any restructuring of the federal tax system, any value added tax or national sales tax must be tied to the simultaneous repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment, which established the federal income tax.
A Competitive America
Competitiveness equals jobs. That equation governs our policies regarding U.S. corporations in the global economy. Private investment is a key driver of economic growth and job creation. After falling dramatically during the recession, private investment has recovered at a disappointing pace due in part to high corporate tax rates and increasing regulatory burdens and uncertainty.
American businesses now face the world’s highest corporate tax rates. That’s like putting lead shoes on your cross-country team. It reduces companies’ ability to compete overseas, encourages them to move abroad, lessens their investment, cripples job creation here at home, lowers American wages, and fosters the avoidance of tax liability — without actually increasing tax revenues. A more damaging policy is hard to imagine. We propose to level the international playing field by lowering the corporate tax rate to be on a par with, or below, the rates of other industrial nations. We endorse the recommendation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, as well as the current Administration’s Export Council, to switch to a territorial system of taxation so that profits earned and taxed abroad may be repatriated for job-creating investment here at home. We believe American companies should be headquartered in America. We should reduce barriers to accomplishing that goal.
A Winning Trade Policy
International trade is crucial for all sectors of America’s economy. Massive trade deficits are not. We envision a worldwide multilateral agreement among nations committed to the principles of open markets, what has been called a “Reagan Economic Zone,” in which free trade will truly be fair trade for all concerned.
We need better negotiated trade agreements that put America first. When trade agreements have been carefully negotiated with friendly democracies, they have resulted in millions of new jobs here at home supported by our exports. When those agreements do not adequately protect U.S. interests, U.S. sovereignty, or when they are violated with impunity, they must be rejected.
We cannot allow foreign governments to limit American access to their markets while stealing our designs, patents, brands, know-how, and technology. We cannot allow China to continue its currency manipulation, exclusion of U.S. products from government purchases, and subsidization of Chinese companies to thwart American imports. The current Administration’s way of dealing with these violations of world trade standards has been a virtual surrender. Republicans understand that you can succeed in a negotiation only if you are willing to walk away from it. A Republican president will insist on parity in trade and stand ready to implement countervailing duties if other countries refuse to cooperate. At the same time, we look to broaden our trade agreements with countries which share our values and commitment to fairness, along with transparency in our commercial and business practices. In pursuing that objective, the American people demand transparency, full disclosure, protection of our national sovereignty, and tough negotiation on the part of those who are supposed to advance the interests of U.S. workers. Significant trade agreements should not be rushed or undertaken in a Lame Duck Congress.