The following is an editorial endorsement I wrote in my Business Growth Newsletter:
The Republican Primary Endorsement of the South Florida Newsletter for Business Growth goes to Sen. John McCain. It is his program that best serves South Florida businesses and American businesses in general.
GRADING THE CANDIDATES
John McCain A+
Based on his 25 year consistent record of fighting wasteful spending, the fact that his economic program is innovative and hits on all major economic issues facing America and the fact that he is uniquely able to achieve passage of his program through Congress. The other candidates may have some good ideas, but if they have no realistic way of seeing them enacted their programs become of little value.
Mike Huckabee B-
He receives a B- provided that the final plan, as approved and signed into law, would include prebates (monthly checks) to offset taxes on food and other essentials, that only new construction be taxed and existing homes be exempt and that the plan be able to generate sufficient revenue to allow for needed spending without growing the recession.
His plan would take years of lobbying to garner enough congressional support to implement, but unlike Giuliani’s plan (see below), it may eventually pass.
He would receive a C if not for his overall economic populism, with his emphasis on programs that benefit the middle class. These programs, such as aggressively fighting inflation through stable interest rates, are separate from his “fair tax” plan, would be more easily enacted and count in his favor.
Rudy Giuliani C-
His federal disaster fund would be a cumbersome and ineffective way of handling disaster insurance needs but that’s not why the former Mayor of New York receives a low grade. His general economic plan is far too sweeping to hope to achieve congressional support. It has virtually no chance of being implemented and he has yet to offer any alternatives in its place.
Mitt Romney D-
If Gov. Romney were to have championed a conservative economic course, we would have examined the merits of the program and graded it accordingly. Likewise, if Romney had championed a liberal economic course, we would have examined the merits of the program and graded it accordingly.
Instead the Gov. has been all over the place. The same man who just last year proposed criminalization of refusal to carry health insurance in his own state has now campaigned as a nouveau economic conservative. Of course, that was until he went to Michigan, where he again switched back to an economically liberal position, one that involved bailouts that seem unlikely to be sustainable.
His economic “positions” seem to change from state to state and from one debate to the next. This kind of grandstanding is simply not worthy of comment and certainly cannot be analyzed.
It also must be noted that the economic experience he touts does not work in his favor. Romney has a record of merging companies, something that may benefit a particular corporation, but that generally involves laying off workers. In any case, it has no relation to the promotion of general economic growth.
Ron Paul F
His general desire to curb spending is admirable. His proposal to get rid of the Department of Education is not and would have the effect of increasing illiteracy, significantly lower the number of college graduates and would lead to a host of other problems that would render America uncompetitive on the world stage.
It is worth noting that three other candidates who withdrew from the race receive higher grades than most of the remaining contenders. Fred Thompson, Sam Brownback and Duncan Hunter would have all received As or Bs, though none of their economic programs are as sound and realistic as that of Sen. McCain’s.
The South Florida Newsletter for Business Growth has examined the positions of each of the leading candidates as they pertain to small business and general economics. After much deliberation, we have come to the opinion that John McCain the Republican candidate with the best economic program.
It is no secret that our economy faces some serious tough times and that concrete, well thought out, real results are needed. We have therefore examined the economic platform of each candidate and are basing our endorsement based on a number of factors.
Specifically, while Mitt Romney has been all over the spectrum on issues such as taxation and spending, John McCain has strenuously and consistently demanded an end to pork barrel spending. He has never voted for a tax increase, as such increases usually cause unemployment and economic stagnation, but has demanded that lower taxes be coupled with spending cuts.
Three points in particular lead us to endorse John McCain:
In his unwavering battle against reckless spending, he has often gone so far as to fight the leadership of both parties in Congress and has never backed down from a fight.
Central to his economic proposals is the fact that he recognizes the need to reform corporate tax rates. US corporations are taxed at a higher rate than in any other industrialized nation except for Japan. If this situation is not rectified more and more American corporations will move their headquarters to other countries. John McCain’s proposal to reduce corporate tax rates in a responsible way is something that members of both parties can rally around and is clearly needed.
Most importantly, John McCain is the only candidate who can work with both parties in Congress to actually achieve economic change. He enjoys wide respect that crosses party lines. While the other candidates would almost certainly see their economic programs held up by Congress, only McCain enjoys the stature and respect to push through his economic policies. This is largely because his proposals are reasonable and widely recognized as being needed.
McCain’s abhorrence of spending should not be viewed lightly. According to non-partisan federal budgetary agencies, the United States faces falling into a junk bond credit rating within the next 15-20 years should we not take aggressive measures to curb spending and promote growth. McCain recognized the dangers of waste well before most others did and is one of a select few members of congress to consistently take aggressive action to put government spending on the right path.
Rudy Giuliani’s proposal of a federal disaster fund seems intriguing on face value. In reality, however, it would only create a new department that would be managed no better and no more cost effectively than any other federal department is currently run. This is why it is opposed by all other candidates, who unlike Giuliani have had experience running or overseeing spending of federal or state agencies. Contrastingly, McCain’s proposal to bring together the various governors of disaster prone states to find a solution would be far more efficient and cost effective. State governments are far more in tune with the needs of their citizens than a federal agency would be, making his solution the most likely to produce meaningful results.
Governor Huckabee’s proposal to replace the income tax system with a national sales tax seems intriguing in that it would encourage personal savings and penalize reckless spending. We would, however, want assurances that basic food, clothing and school supplies be exempted, this problem is solved with his monthly rebates to middle and low income families and recognize that this may be an effective way of countering the issue. Our last hang up, taxes on existing homes, was answered to a large extent by the fact that only new construction would be subject to the tax. However, the fact is that this proposal has virtually no chance of being adopted by congress at this present time makes us unable to support it as a viable proposal.
While Ron Paul may want to curb spending, his efforts to cut the Department of Education and other needed and beneficial programs that protect and sustain America’s economic and societal future, have rightly been opposed by all other Republicans and Democrats alike. We take solace in the fact that all other Republican candidates believe that his proposals have no place in American life and that he is largely alone, with no support from either party, in many a congressional vote. While we strongly applaud his desire to cut spending, we wish that he would differentiate between needed allocations and wasteful spending, just as we always encourage entrepreneurs to accumulate savings, but not at the cost of their children’s education.
In short, of all the candidates, none come close to the legislative expertise of John McCain, his 25 year record of fighting pork barrel spending even when he had to oppose the congressional leadership of both parties to do so or his consistent stand on taxes that are as low as possible but that allow for investment in America’s future are worthy of support. His personal integrity speaks for itself and makes him least likely to waiver on important economic issues and most likely to be able to bring together members of both political parties to effect economic change. This last factor is crucial as most reforms need the support of a minimum of 60 senators to accomplish.