Taxes and spending
Talking about the low approval ratings of Congress — down to 9 percent in a poll earlier this year — Quist blamed the size of the national debt and the recent escalation in yearly deficits.
“This is banana republic type economics. It’s hard to believe this is going on in the United States of America, but it is,” Quist said. “... I want to do my part to get this train turned around.”
Walz blamed the unwillingness of many in Congress to compromise, specifically singling out the vast majority of Republicans who have signed the no-new-taxes pledge of anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist. Huge tax cuts and foreign wars were authorized during the presidency of George W. Bush with no plan for paying for them, according to Walz.
“If you don’t understand where the problem was created, it’s going to be hard to fix it,” said Walz, who called for a return to pay-as-you-go rules that require all new spending and tax cuts to be offset by tax increases or spending reductions elsewhere in the budget.
Quist, who signed the Norquist pledge, said tax hikes are a mistake.
“If you raise taxes, you harm the economy and you avoid making the real decision you need to make,” he said, repeating his mantra about the importance of freeing up “the lion of free enterprise.”
Walz countered that eliminating Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans, which he said did nothing to promote job growth, would create new revenue for debt reduction and ease cuts to programs crucial to the middle-class.
“The problem we have in politics now is that it’s all ‘all or nothing’ solutions,” Walz said.
Democratic calls for a “balanced approach” of cuts and tax increases on the wealthy are really “political jargon” that translates to “tax hikes,” Quist said. Tax increases will only dampen economic growth, which he said will worsen the federal deficit in two ways.
“Your tax revenue goes down, your welfare goes up,” he said.