“Fellow patriots of this exceptional nation, the United States of America, we need real economic growth. We need a real energy independence plan. We need real national security clarity. But most of all, we need real leadership, and not more political position-ship. God bless you, and God is blessing America.”
That was my 30-second closing statement at the South Carolina Republican presidential debate on May 5, 2011. Since we were only allowed 30 seconds to close, I was forced to severely narrow my usual seven critical issues down to three, which I consider co-critical number one issues that we must solve for the survival of this nation.
We must solve all of the issues, which I discuss in “Common Sense Solutions” at HermanCain.com, and we can solve them. But they all start with robust economic growth, energy policy, and a real, clear foreign policy.
If we do not stimulate this economy out of this anemic economic growth rate, it will be nearly impossible to properly address the other issues. And this continued dependence on foreign oil is a national security crisis waiting to explode.
For example, as gasoline prices continue to climb past the tipping point of $4 a gallon, it starts to put downward pressure on what little economic growth we are maintaining. At an anemic 1.8 percent growth rate in the first quarter of 2011, as reported by the Commerce Department last week, we simply cannot afford to grow any slower. Other countries like China are gaining on us.
The Commerce Department also announced last week that the unemployment rate for April went back up to nine percent. That number just represents the approximately 15 million people who are unemployed, but it does not include the nearly five million people who are “underemployed.” The increase in the unemployment rate was not a surprise to those of us who really understand how and why jobs are created.
We need direct stimuli to the economy. We must lower the top corporate and individual tax rates, take the capital gains tax rate to zero, suspend taxes on repatriated foreign profits, and provide a full-year payroll tax holiday for all employees and employers.
Most importantly, we must make the tax rates permanent until we can replace the entire tax code with the Fair Tax, which is a national sales tax to replace all federal income and payroll taxes. Extending tax uncertainty two more years as the 111th Congress did at the end of 2010 just created more economic uncertainty. This causes businesses to develop tentative growth plans.
Big-government liberals are quick to criticize these common-sense ideas as too politically difficult to accomplish in Washington. Yes, they are difficult to pass. But this nation deserves leadership that is not afraid to do what’s right, even if it is politically difficult. That same leadership will engage the voters and not take the voters for granted, or take them for another ride with un-kept promises.
Those same liberals will also try to kill these ideas by asking, “How are we going to pay for the tax cuts?” The truth is that they will pay for themselves and then some if they are done the right way, which John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan proved.
And liberals will try to compromise these ideas to the point that that they will not work, so they can say that they did not work. It’s analogous to being half pregnant, which has never produced a baby.
Solving these and many more issues will take real leadership. That means identifying the right problems, setting the right priorities, surrounding oneself with the right smart people, and putting together and executing plans that the public can understand.
Let’s get real!
We do not have that leadership in the White House today. But we can in 2013.
Herman Cain is a former CEO, a radio talk show host on AM 750 and 95.5 FM WSB in Atlanta, and a Fox News contributor. In January, Cain launched a presidential exploratory committee.