Throughout the race for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney has been the steady force, maintaining a lead position by idling in second place as all the other candidates take turns in the lead. None of his competitors have seemed to stay in first long enough to seem like a legitimate threat. But now, after a month and a half of primaries and caucuses, Rick Santorum may have a chance to keep his momentum going and stay in the lead. Does Santorum have what it takes to fix the nation's economy?
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is currently backed by the religious right and it is no wonder why. He has strongly denounced what he deems as immoral actions, espousing extreme views regarding American freedoms -- many of which actually threaten freedom. Some of Santorum's comments make him appear willing to impose his worldview on other nations, which is good news for social conservatives, but terrible news for fiscal conservatives and the nation as a whole.
" No more leading from behind for America ," is the second item on Senator Santorum's issues page . From an economic standpoint, this sounds great. Upon closer inspection, however, Santorum makes it evident that he would like to continue American "nation-building" efforts like those in Afghanistan and Iraq, but this time in Cuba and Iran.
Santorum makes it abundantly clear that he plans not only to expand the American Empire, but to also impose his religious views on the political world at home and abroad. He is concerned about other nations trying to "oppress the Church and others who believe in the inalienable rights of life and liberty." This concern seems less rooted in the freedom of religion enshrined in our government, and more out of the persecution of religious denominations in favor of those to which Santorum is sympathetic.
Regardless, any further meddling in international affairs is simply not financially feasible.
Being the liberator of all the worlds oppressed might be a noble idea, but the United States is $14 trillion in debt. Our government is borrowing money from our economic competitors in Asia and all over the world. Initiating more conflicts, not to protect the American homeland but to push American ideology, is both vain and unaffordable. It's easy for Santorum to talk about the Islamist threat, and to propose the same sort of "regime change" talked about in the Bush years, but the conflicts in the Middle East have shown that these exercises are neither simple nor cheap.
Santorum fails to realize that freedom must be grasped by those seeking it. It cannot be forced on a nation by foreign "liberators." Despite the good he sees in our actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the reality is that the U.S. military is seen as an oppressing force by many, and this will not change any time soon. A strong U.S. presence does create freedom fighters: people fighting to free their homeland from the grasp of American influence. The U.S. military calls them "terrorists."
If the United States is looking for peace, it must be the example of peace. Bombing schools and hospitals, killing women and children, destroying families -- these are not the examples of peace and freedom that will lead to a better world. This is the path to more war and destruction.
The first part of his plan is to cut government spending, stop Americans from getting healthcare, and fire 10 percent of government workers. Cutting spending sounds good, but the reality is that the job market will only get worse as more Americans compete against each other for a decent livable wage.
His solutions to America's health care problem: citizens are on their own with pre-taxed dollars. This is not a financially sound solution. It will deter preventative treatments, keeping health care costs higher over all.
The second part of Santorum's plan is to change the tax code. He wants to spend more by tripling the child deduction. He would then eliminate most other deductions and change the tax rates to 10 percent and 28 percent. He would then cut corporate taxes in half--17.5 percent for all but manufacturing businesses. Manufacturers would pay zero taxes.
At a quick glance, this may sound good. However, a value-added tax could all but eliminate the income tax all together. It would also tax foreign imports as they enter the country, providing billions in revenue that could then be used to stimulate growth for American companies.
The third and fourth items on his list would be to remove social safety nets from the federal level to the local levels. Rather than all states drawing from a larger pool, it will be every state for itself in a race to the bottom.
While Santorum speaks highly of education, his website is vague on solutions and he has come out in favor of replacing public schools with home schooling for the poor and private schooling for the rich. It appears he wants to cut funding for public schools in favor of private education, and it is clear that he wants to again push the burdens onto local governments and leave the federal government out of the process as much as possible.
While it is true that education begins in the home, public schools are essential for preparing youth for the jobs of tomorrow. Public schools should be improved, not eliminated. Lower standers of education will only further damage the nation's economic future.