That was the first time the live audience reacted vocally. The line was both humorous and insightful.
GINGRICH: First, the housing bubble came from the Federal Reserve inflating the money supply. Second, I was never a spokesman for any agency, I never did any lobbying for any agency. I offered strategic advice. I was in the private sector. You're allowed to charge money for it. It's called free enterprise. I'm not for bailing them out, in fact, I'm for breaking them up.
Q: Rep. Bachmann, you called Speaker Gingrich a "poster boy of crony capitalism."
BACHMANN: Well, when you're taking over $100 million, and you're taking money to influence the outcome of legislation in Washington, that's the epitome of the consummate insider.
PAUL: I have learned that you should never give up on your opposition. Because if you're persistent, and you present your case, they will come your way. So Rick, I appreciate it. You're open to the federal reserve. That's wonderful. But I work from the assumption that freedom brings people together.
A: I think we just heard from Standard & Poor's. When they dropped our credit rating, what they sai is, we don't have an ability to repay our debt. I was proved right in my position: We should not have raised the debt ceiling. And instead, we should have cut government spending.
Q: Mr. Cain, do you agree with that?
CAIN: I did not agree with raisin the debt ceiling, because the solution that they came up with does not solve the problem, as Rep. Bachmann talks about. The way to deal with it is pay those things that need to be paid and then make the tough choices of cutting the other things, agency by agency, program by program, based upon performance metrics. We didn't need to raise the debt ceiling, but there was an easy way out, and the problem still has not been solved. And Standard & Poor's has sent a message.
A: The plan you will find on our Web site; it is coming. We have been in the race only for a month and a half. But here's what I intend to do: I intend to do exactly what I did as governor of the state of Utah. We took a good state and we made it #1 in terms of job creation. If you want to know what I'm going to do, I'm going to do exactly what I did as governor. It's called leadership. It's called looking at how the free market system works. It's creating a competitive environment. We cut taxes historically. We didn't just cut them, we cut them historically. And we maintained our AAA bond rating. When you look at me and ask, what is that guy going to do? Look at what I did as governor. That is exactly what I'm going to do, and it's exactly what this country needs right now
BACHMANN: That we have to raise the debt ceiling and spend money that we don't have is the wrong premise. [We should] have our balanced budgets and also have our spending priorities in order.
HUNTSMAN: I'm the only one on this stage who stood up for a deal, for the Boehner deal, against this nation defaulting. I know I'm a little different than everybody else in that regard. We are 25% of the world's GDP. We are the largest financial services sector by far in this entire world. And the thought that people would just let this nation default when we could have a deal that at least gets things going on cuts, raising the ceiling, gets us toward entitlement reform, gets us toward a balanced budget amendment. I thought Rep. Boehner should be complimented for what he did. This nation should never default
A: Consider what happened by raising the debt ceiling: The Congress gave Barack Obama a blank check for $2.4 trillion. What did the American people get in return? $21 billion in illusory cuts. So from the time I've been in Congress, we've gone from $8.6 trillion in debt to now almost double, to $16.7 trillion. This is madness The worst thing that you can do is continue to borrow money and spend money that we don't have.
Q: What do you say to the analysts who say that the markets would have fallen through the basement?
A: I think we just heard from Standard & Poor's. When they dropped our credit rating, what they said is, we don't have an ability to repay our debt. I was proved right in my position: We should not have raised the debt ceiling. And instead, we should have cut government spending.
BACHMANN: The thinking that says that we have to continue to raise the debt ceiling and spend money that we don't have is the wrong premise. The American people are asking for a very different, bold vision. And I was the leading voice against raising the debt ceiling. That's what the American people want us to do: have our balanced budgets and also have our spending priorities in order. That was the right thing to do.
A: I'm not going to give you an exact time-frame, but I can tell you this, that if you spend your life in the private sector, you understand that what Pres. Obama has done is the exact opposite of what the economy needed to be done. There are really seven things that need to be done:
[All 8 participants raised their hands] Q: Mr. Speaker, why are you shaking your head?
A: Look, I think this super committee is about as dumb an idea as Washington has come up with in my lifetime. The idea that 523 senators and congressmen are going to sit around for four months while 12 brilliant people, mostly picked for political reasons, are going to sit in some room and brilliantly come up with a trillion dollars or force us to choose between gutting our military and accepting a tax increase is irrational. They're going to walk in just before Thanksgiving and say, all right, we can shoot you in the head or cut off your right leg, which do you prefer? What they ought to do is scrap the committee right now, go back to regular legislative business, and get rid of this secret phony business.
A: Well, I think that having some kind of central bank is an important part of how you deal with monetary policy in the modern world. But having Chairman Bernanke deal with hundreds of billions of dollars, some estimates as much as $16 trillion in secret is profoundly against a free society. The feds should be totally audited. It should be out in public. Their decision documents from 2007, 2008, & 2009 should be public. We should know who they bailed out and why they bailed them out. And who they didn't bail out. And I think that it is a scandal that the Federal Reserve is secret. And I think, frankly, their monetary policy since the late 90s has been a major factor in the economic pain we're now going through.
A: No. The answer is no, because that's not the problem. The problem is that we have spending that has exploded. Government has averaged 18% of GDP as a percentage of the overall economy that government eats up. And we're now at almost 25%. So if you look at where the problem is, it is in spending, not taxes. And we'll get those taxes up if we grow the economy. I put forward the plan to grow the economy and I've provided leadership in the past to get bipartisan things done.
Q: But just confirming, Senator, you would not negotiate on raising taxes?
A: Absolutely not, because it's not the problem. We need to get the economy growing. That doesn't mean taking more money out of it.
SANTORUM: Well, first off, I didn't say that, the Washington Post said it. I simply commented on what they said. I don't take the claim, the Tea Party organization is flat and it should stay that way. It should support ideas, not candidates. And people who stand up and say they lead it, well, I think most of the Tea Party people think their leadership is among the people, not anybody who is a member of congress or anywhere else. I think there's some reforms we can do at the Fed. And I agree we need to audit the Fed. I disagree with most of what Ron Paul said. Just because he's mostly wrong, doesn't mean he's always wrong. I appreciate his contribution in that regard.
BACHMANN: Consider what happened by raising the debt ceiling: The Congress gave Barack Obama a blank check for $2.4 trillion. Instead, we should have cut government spending.
SANTORUM: Rep. Paul and Rep. Bachmann had an opportunity to lead. But they couldn't lead the Congress to do something responsible in making sure that we didn't have the fiasco that we have in place now. We should have balanced the budget. The balanced budget amendment should have been the focus from the beginning. To suggest that we never need to raise the debt ceiling, that is showmanship, not leadership. Of course we have to raise the debt ceiling at some point. We're borrowing 42 cents of every dollar. You're going to cut 42 cents of every dollar? Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, defense, and interest on the debt is 60%. That means cut everything else and something of those. That's showmanship, not leadership.
PAUL: Well, S&P didn't downgrade it because [Congress] couldn't come to a conclusion. They couldn't come to a conclusion because they didn't know what was going on. The country's bankrupt, and nobody wanted to admit it. And when you're bankrupt, you can't keep spending. And all these proposed cuts weren't cuts at all. What you have to do is restore sound money. You have to understand why you have a business cycle, why you have booms and busts. If you don't do that, there's no way you can solve these problems. And the booms and busts comes from a failed monetary system that--the interest rates that are way lower than--than they should be encourages malinvestment and debt. And to get out of that, all this other tinkering, you cannot do that unless you liquidate debt. You don't bail out the people that are bankrupt and dump the debt on the people. That is what's happened.
GINGRICH: Well, I think that having some kind of central bank is an important part of how you deal with monetary policy in the modern world. I think that it is a scandal that the Federal Reserve is secret. And I think, frankly, their monetary policy since the late 90s has been a major factor in the economic pain we're now going through.
Q: [to Paul]: Is Speaker Gingrich wrong to want to save the Fed? PAUL: Not exactly. Because my position isn't that I'd closed the door down immediately, you can phase it out. But there are some other things that we could do in a transition phase. For instance, and I'm delighted that mainstream is catching up with this, these days, for auditing the Fed. This is great.
A: Well, the US needs a growth target, and it needs to be an aggressive and bold growth target. I don't want the US' growth target to be anemic or lag like Barack Obama's. So, is the bar high? Yes. But do we need that growth to get out of this hole? You bet. But, there's anothe question here. Where is Barack Obama on these issues? You can't find his plans on some of the most pressing financial issues of our country. For example, where is Obama's plan on Social Security reform, Medicare reform, Medicaid reform? In fact, I'll offer a prize tonight to anybody in this auditorium or anyone watching on television: if you can find Obama's specific plan on any of those items, I will come to your house and cook you dinner. Or, if you prefer, I'll come to your house and mow your lawn
Senator Grassley and his colleagues allowed the greed on Wall Street to put all of us in jeopardy. Iowans lost homes, jobs and dreams of retirement. The irresponsible deregulation of Wall Street put us all at risk. In November, we can hold those responsible accountable.
A: America has lost its economic leadership. We have a $9 trillion dollar debt. Weíve got a weakening dollar. Weíve got jobs going overseas. These are the steps that I would take as president. What is going to be key is fiscal discipline. I am for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget within a 5-6 year period. We have to balance that budget. This debt is to commercial banks, to China, to India. Iím for a line item veto. We need investments also in science and technology. Give a tax incentive for increasing the prevailing wage. Invest in education, invest in kids and science and technology. Itís a competitiveness issue. This is the kind of investment we need to make. Fiscal discipline, number two science and technology, invest in the new industries of the future and third invest in education. Thatís how America will regain its economic leadership.
A: I think itís a pretty good idea. In fact we made a similar suggestion. Freezing that rate would allow a couple of things to happen. One, people stay in their homes. But also the financial institutions, theyíre better off getting 3-4% back than nothing whenever foreclosures occur. [Furthermore], Iím trying to make sure this doesnít happen again. This was outrageous what went on here. There were no cops on the beat in this administration--they basically walked away from this and you have three times people of color in this country are being lured into sub prime lending.
DEAN: The first priority is balancing the budget. What we will do is lay out a plan to balance the budget and include some sort of plan to increase corporate taxes, just as Lieberman has suggested, because corporate taxes are now at the lowest level since 1934, which means the rest of us are paying the rest of the tax burden and thatís not fair.
KUCINICH: Dean takes the position that heís going to balance the budget, but he said repeatedly that he wonít touch Pentagon spending. Half the discretionary budget of the US goes for the Pentagon. The solution is get out of Iraq, cut the bloated Pentagon budget by 15%, and stop the tax cuts that are going to the wealthy.
DEAN: There are an enormous number of needs in defense that arenít getting met: special operations, an anti-terrorist task force, human intelligence; cyber intelligence; soldiers arenít paid properly. What I will do is leave the Pentagon budget alone.
A: The truth of the matter is that we should have a full-employment economy. With the government, the employer of last resort, there ought to be jobs, enough jobs for all who want to work. And as president, I will create a full-employment economy by sponsoring a WPA-type program, which will rebuild Americaís cities and rural communities, new bridges, water systems, sewer systems, new energy systems, put millions of people back to work.
A: Itís a recovery for the people in the corporate boardroom. Itís a recovery for corporations, to some degree, by compacting, by increasing productivity. But if you go across America, itís not a recovery This recovery is a recovery for those people who have stock. Itís a recovery for those people who are able to walk away with the highest salaries. But workers have only seen a three-cents-an-hour increase in their wages.
KUCINICH: When you consider that a steelworker whoís making $40,000 a year has virtually the same tax burden as someone whoís making $400,000 a year, you see that there are inequities. This administration has used the tax code to accelerate wealth to the top. Most of the tax breaks have gone to people in the top bracket.
And what does that mean? That means that we have a diminishing capacity to take care of needs here at home. Look whatís happened with this budget the administration has just submitted. Theyíre cutting funds for job programs, for veterans, for health care, for education, for all the real social needs. So the wealth continues to be redistributed upward. We need a tax code thatís fair. But we need to cancel the Bush tax cuts that go to people in the top bracket.
This is economy is not working for working people, because the Bush crowd does not appreciate, understand or have any respect for working people. Democrats believe that government can play a constructive role to serve the public interests, to serve everybody.
DEAN: You can actually do both, and weíre going to have to do both. The Republicans canít balance budgets. They havenít done it in 34 years. Itís not an accident that in 1993 when the House and Senate supported balancing the budget, that that kicked off this tremendous time of prosperity, because people had confidence and they began to invest in America again.
GORE: Iíve presided over the so-called reinventing government program to downsize our federal bureaucracy, including, more than any other, the Pentagon and the Defense Department. But even as weíve kept our military strong, weíve turned the biggest deficits into the biggest surpluses in history. Now we have an opportunity to invest in education & human services. And if you work in the field of human services, you know how important Medicaid is to the people who receive those human services.
|2012 Presidential contenders on Budget & Economy:|
Green: Dr.Jill Stein(MA)
Libertarian: Gov.Gary Johnson(NM)
Justice: Mayor Rocky Anderson(UT)
Constitution: Rep.Virgil Goode(VA)
Peace+Freedom: Roseanne Barr(HI)
Reform Party: André Barnett(NY)
AmericansElect: Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
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