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MEMO: Questions For The Republican Debate

To: Interested Parties
From: Rodell Mollineau, President, American Bridge 21st Century
RE: Questions For The Republican Debate
Date: September 7, 2011

Last month, the Republican Presidential candidates met on a debate stage about a week after the resolution of the debt ceiling debacle. In their attempts to top one another in their pandering to the Tea Party, their political brinksmanship outlined a vision for America that would have assured default and advocated dangerous economic policies that would push our economy over the edge. Tonight, the candidates meet while jobs are at the forefront of national attention. The American people want to see if these Republicans can offer something other than the failed policy prescriptions that got us into this mess. While Republicans want to talk about cutting taxes for corporations with record profits at the expense of the middle class, the American people expect answers to these questions:

Raising taxes on those who can least afford it

During the last debate, moderator Bret Baier asked those onstage whether they would support a deal on the debt ceiling if it included revenue at a ratio of 10:1 favoring spending cuts. However, on the campaign trail, many of you have indicated that there is a segment of the population that does not pay enough in taxes:

Perry“We’re approaching nearly half of the United States population that doesn’t pay any income taxes. And I think one of the ways is to let everybody, as many people as possible, let me put it that way, to be able to be helping pay for the government that we have in this country.”

Romney: “We want to make sure people do pay their fair share. Half the people in this country pay no income tax at all.”

Bachmann: “Part of the problem is today, only 53% pay any federal income tax at all; 47% pay nothing. We need to broaden the base so that everybody pays something, even if it’s a dollar.”

Do you support raising taxes on the poor?

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

While Speaker Boehner may not believe that it is as important as this debate, the American people are eager to hear President Obama’s job proposal tomorrow night. Once again, the most recent jobs numbers showed modest gains in the private sector offset by public jobs lost, primarily from state and local jobs that had been maintained by the Recovery Act.

Though each of you has indicated a belief that government is incapable of creating jobs, you have all chosen to respond to our nation’s jobs crisis by running for public office. And while you’ve been quick to question the President’s efforts, your records on job creation also raise questions:

Perry: While you’ve made apparent that you think that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstrous lie,” it appears that the investment with the surest rate of return in Texas is to put one’s money into Rick Perry’s campaign coffers. You’ve appointed nearly a thousand donors, who have collectively given you over $17 million, to boards and commissions. You’ve directed business incentive grants to your donors, including $174.2 million in Enterprise Fund Economic Incentives to 20 companies that gave $2.2 million to your campaign or the Republican Governors Association that you presided over. You’ve also supported legislation on behalf of your donors, including a bill to allow the disposal of nuclear waste at a facility owned by your second largest donor.

Just 3 years after electing a President that has changed business-as-usual in Washington, why would the American people want to bring your Texas pay-to-play politics to the federal government?

Romney: You’ve taken criticism on the campaign trail for being out of touch with ordinary Americans; some would say unfairly. You’re not actually quadrupling the size of your beachfront mansion; it’s only being doubled, if you don’t count the basement and garage. When you told unemployed Americans that you were also unemployed, even though you made millions of dollars in private equity laying off workers, that was a joke. And of course, corporations are technically considered people, albeit that you want to lower taxes on corporations but “love” the idea of a flat tax that would raise taxes on lower-income Americans.

Yet how would you respond to people who ask what part of your private sector experience matters now, after almost five straight years of running for President, that couldn’t help you during 4 years as Massachusetts governor when the state ranked 47th in job growth?

Huntsman: When you unveiled your tax overhaul plan last week, you said, “It’s time for ‘Made in America’ to mean something again.” However, coming from you it rings a bit hypocritical because it is ‘Made in China’ that has been so profitable for your family’s chemical company that has a majority of its employees overseas.

How can the American people trust you to help get them back to work when your family has chosen to instead invest in creating jobs overseas?