Carly Fiorina on Government Reform



Fire 100s of top executives from the Veterans Administration

The people know we need a president who's going to make tough calls. Let me tell you where I'm going to start. The American people got a bill passed through Congress that said we could fire the top 400 senior executives at the V.A. for dereliction of duty. When we know that 307,000 veterans have died waiting for health care and the V.A. handed out $142 million worth of bonuses for superb performance, I'm going to start by firing 400.
Source: 2016 Fox News Republican Undercard debate in Iowa , Jan 28, 2016

We've become a nation of rules, not a nation of laws

Big government has created a big business called politics. We need to do five things to really get this economy going again.
  1. We need to go to zero-based budgeting so we know where every dollar is being spent, we can challenge any dollar, cut any dollar, move any dollar.
  2. We need to actually reform the tax code. Go to a 3-page tax code. Yes, there are plans that would reform our tax code to 3 pages.
  3. In addition to rolling back what Pres. Obama has done, we need to do a top-to-bottom review of every single regulation on the books. That hasn't been done in 50 years.
  4. We need to pass the REINS Act so Congress is in charge of regulation, not nameless, faceless bureaucrats accountable to no one. We've become a nation of rules, not a nation of laws.
  5. And finally we actually, yes, have to hold government officials accountable for their performance. All this has to be done, and the citizens of this nation must help a President Fiorina get it done. We must take our government back.
Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Problem is government growing bigger, crushing growth

This government has been growing bigger and bigger, more corrupt, less effective, crushing the engine of economic growth for a very long time. This isn't about just replacing a Democrat with a Republican now. It's about actually challenging the status quo of big government.
Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Corrupt federal bureaucracy works only for well-connected

I think these are serious times. 75 percent of the American people think the federal government is corrupt. I agree with them. And this big, powerful corrupt bureaucracy works now only for the big, the powerful, the wealthy and the well-connected. Meantime, wages have stagnated for 40 years. We have more Americans out of work, or just Americans who have quit looking for work. Ours was intended to be a citizen government. We need a leader who will help us take our government back.
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Assert principles to facilitate bi-partisan action

Q: How would you, as President, get the Democrats and Republicans, which both have their point of view, to compromise?

FIORINA: The way to bridge difference, the way to negotiate a good deal--you start out by stating very clearly what your principles are, what you must have, what your walk away position is. And then you enter into an open-minded spirit of collaboration about everything else and try to find common ground. On the other hand, there are some issues about which there really is broad bipartisan agreement and yet nothing gets done. How long have we been talking about broad bipartisan reform for tax reform? It doesn't happen. Everyone says they want to secure the border. It doesn't happen. Everybody says our VA is a scandal. Nothing changes.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 20, 2015

75% of people think current government is corrupt

The truth is 75 percent of the American people think the government is corrupt; 82 percent of the American people think these problems that have festered for 50 years in some cases, 25 years in other cases. The border's been insecure for 25 years; 307,000 veterans have died waiting for health care. These things have gone on for so long because no one will challenge the status quo.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN , Sep 16, 2015

Reduce size of federal government by not replacing retirees

We have never succeeded in shrinking the size of government, we have a bunch of baby boomers who are going to retire out of the federal government over the next five to six years. I will not replace a single one. And we need to actually get about the business of reducing the size, the power, the cost, complexity and corruption of this federal government.
Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 9, 2015

Zero-based budgeting, and civil service pay-for-performance

Washington DC has become a vast unaccountable bureaucracy. It's been growing for 40 years. We have no idea how our money is spent. I think there are two things that would help tremendously.
  1. Zero base budgeting, so we know where the money is spent. We're talking about the whole budget and not just the rate of increase.
  2. Pay for performance in our civil service. How many reports do we need to read that say, "you can watch porn all day and get paid exactly the same"?
Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 29, 2015

Crony capitalism is alive and well

Elizabeth Warren is right, crony capitalism is alive and well. Big business and big government go hand in hand. But for the first time in US history, we are destroying more businesses than we are creating. And so, while we had 10 banks, too big to fail, those now have become 5 big banks too big to fail, while 3,000 community banks have gone out of business. That's important because small businesses create 2/3 of the new jobs and employ half the people.

So, if we want mainstream and the middle class going and growing again, we've got to get small and family-owned businesses growing again. Washington has become a vast unaccountable bureaucracy. It's been growing for 40 years. We have no idea how our money is spent.

There are two things that would help tremendously. One, zero base budgeting, so we know where the money is spent. We're talking about the whole budget and not just the rate of increase. And two, pay for performance in our civil service.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 29, 2015

Hillary shouldn't accept foreign money in her PAC

Carly Fiorina came out swinging at Hillary Clinton at CPAC, attacking her for accepting foreign money in the Clinton Global Initiative. "Mrs. Clinton, name an accomplishment," Fiorina said during her speech. "And in the meantime, please explain why we should accept that the millions and millions of dollars that have flowed into the Clinton Global Initiative from foreign governments do not represent a conflict of interest."

In her CPAC speech, she continued the trend of firing at Clinton: "She tweets about women's rights in this country and takes money from governments that deny women the most basic human rights."

Source: Time magazine on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Feb 26, 2015

Abolish earmarks; limit federal salaries

Carly believes strongly in the power of transparency and accountability in improving quality and reducing costs. Carly believes the federal government must start with obvious reforms: abolishing earmarks, forcing honest accounting, taking the power to cook the books away from politicians, and limiting federal salaries & benefits. Carly also supports posting every bill and every budget on the Internet far enough in advance so that people can comment on the policies and take an active role in government
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, www.carlyforca.com, "Issues" , Sep 1, 2010

American dream is perishable, if government keeps growing

I believe our state and our nation are at a pivotal moment. We have arrived at what Ronald Reagan once called a time for choosing. I've lived the American dream. But our American dream is perishable. I believe bigger and bigger government higher and higher taxes and thicker and thicker regulation are killing the American dream. I see it happening all over the state and if Barbara Boxer remains in office for another 6 years it will only get worse. I'm the only candidate in this race who has met a payroll or created jobs. And I will fight for every job. I am the only candidate in this race who has ever actually balanced a budget and cut spending in the real world and I will fight to cut government spending. I believe we must stop sending more of our money to Washington because they have amply demonstrated that they do not spend our money wisely or well. If we want to change Washington we have to change the people we send to Washington.
Source: Hogue News 1380 KTKZ coverage of 2010 CA Senate debate , Mar 7, 2010

In a complex organization, change takes time

Nothing in a big organization happens quickly. In a complex organization there are too many people operating too many moving parts for change to occur overnight. But it's equally true that large organizations have a lot of momentum. Once a real shift in an organization's thinking and behavior occurs, even if it's imperceptible at first, the momentum behind the new direction will continue to build and gather strength. The idea that we had to be more strategic and systematic began to take hold.

Of course, it wasn't simply because I hadn't backed down. It was also because we just kept at the idea that there was a better way of doing things. An organizational psychologist once told me that a person needs to hear a new idea at least six times before he or she can acknowledge it. A lay person would say "Change just takes time." And it's true. It takes time to hear a new idea, time to understand it, time to accept it, time to support it. And of course it takes time to see it work.

Source: Tough Choices, by Carly Fiorina, p. 93 , Sep 25, 2007

Change is not bad; change is necessary

At HP, everyone needed to think differently about change. I began to quote Charles Darwin to employees, "It is not the strongest of the pieces who survive, nor the most intelligent, but those who are most adaptive to change." Change is not bad, change is necessary. Standing still is dangerous. Species that don't adapt become extinct. People who stop learning become old before their time. Companies that stop adapting and learning will fade over time and never regain their former glory.

I told employees about bullfighting. Every bull has his own carencia. This is the spot in the ring to which the bull returns when he is threatened. As the fight wears on, and the bull is threatened more frequently, he returns to his carencia again and again. And although the bull believes he retreats to safety, in fact he puts himself in graver danger. He becomes easier and easier to attack. We cannot return to our comfort zones. We cannot retreat to the familiarity of how it used to be.

Source: Tough Choices, by Carly Fiorina, p.202 , Sep 25, 2007

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Page last updated: Jun 15, 2016