Rick Santorum may be the Right Guy

The economic direction of America is currently being debated in Congress.  After three decades of trade deficits and ensuing job losses, shouldn’t we change course?  This should be the main economic issue in the 2016 election.  Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio stated their support for granting President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) to negotiate another trade deal perpetuating the status quo.  Rand Paul and Ted Cruz voted to grant President Obama this power when it came to a Senate vote.

On the other hand, Lindsay Graham voted no on the Senate bill. Mike Huckabee said we need a new course regarding trade policy.  Donald Trump spoke vociferously against granting President Obama this authority – all three understand how international trade flows affect our national and state economies.

Hillary Clinton was at the State Department when much of the Trans-Pacific Partnership was negotiated.  Will she support President Obama’s desire for TPA which goes against what a large majority of Americans want, not to mention the unions who have lost millions of jobs?  Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO has said they may not work for her if she supports the President on TPA.  Bernie Sanders is applying pressure for her to declare which of her supporters she will throw under the bus.

We have written at length in this column about the problem, solutions and importance of getting the upcoming vote in Congress right.  We have spoken about how Ronald Reagan showed us the way to handle the problem.  In the 2012 Presidential campaign, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan ran on confronting China regarding Chinese currency manipulation.  Their platform plank was tailored after Reagan trade policies.  As a result, they won the independent vote. On his 2012 campaign website Romney wrote:

China’s unfair trade practices extend to the country’s manipulation of its currency to reduce the price of its products relative to those of competing nations such as ours. While the extent and impact of the manipulation is widely debated, the practice provides an invisible subsidy to Chinese goods sold internationally and an invisible tariff on other nations attempting to sell in China.

If China fails to move quickly to bring its currency to fair value, the Department of the Treasury in a Romney administration will designate China a currency manipulator and the Department of Commerce will impose countervailing duties. We need to consider the use of targeted unilateral and multilateral sanctions.

Now, Rick Santorum has announced he is running for President.  Focusing on manufacturing and other domestic producers, he expressed the need to restore jobs for the middle class.  Unlike some, he understands that we need to produce more of what we consume as a nation to balance trade for our economy to flourish.

Santorum’s emphasis on “blue collar conservatism” and reviving manufacturing is welcome.  So far, he’s the one Republican — in fact, the one candidate of either party — focusing on the central issue in the American economy and society.  But his initial policy prescriptions were limited and vague.

This past Sunday on Fox News Sunday Senator Santorum, sounding a lot like Reagan, shed a little more light on his plans to restore an American middle class by creating a manufacturing renewal in America.  He hit all the right notes as a champion of the middle class.  He said, “the 35 year-old Republican message is good on growth but insufficient for today.  We need an economy that creates opportunity for the 74% of Americans without a college degree and that means producing more in America.”  His additional points were to:

  • Add an emphasis on middle class workers to the Republican message.
  • Oppose the current TPA/TPP agreement which has very little to do with trade.
  • Confront China on currency manipulation and other non-tariff barriers.
  • Replace the IRS with a flatter and fairer code.

He also said, “Low cost energy, for as far as the eye can see, provides an opportunity for us to make American products more competitive.  If we can get these things right, we can create middle class jobs in America once again.”

As we head into the debates and first rounds of caucuses and primaries, we’ll be looking for specifics:

  • Does Santorum endorse Ronald Reagan’s trade policy principles?
  • Does Santorum endorse Romney’s view on China’s currency policy?  Romney said, “On day one I will designate China a Currency Manipulator and Impose Countervailing Duties.”
  • Does Santorum endorse Dick Morris’s assessment that the TPP and other supposed “free trade” agreements only benefit the investor?  As such, they can’t be expected to reduce our deficits and debt or to generate jobs and higher wages as touted by Obama.
  • Does Santorum recognize that our tax problem extends beyond rates and loopholes to the fundamental mismatch in border tax adjustments? Santorum’s flat tax is only part of the solution and by itself doesn’t help the trade deficit.

If Sen. Santorum expands on the plans outlined above, he may just put the old Reagan coalition together claiming a huge share of the independent vote.  His two speeches since announcing suggest he deserves scrutiny.   If he takes on the global financial elites empowering America’s domestic producers to restore the American Dream, he might just become our next President.

Stay tuned!

Frank Shannon served in the U.S. Army, was an engineering/operations manager for AT&T for 27 years, was the owner of a small manufacturing business for 23 years, served as Colorado Chair of the Coalition for a Prosperous America and moved to Mesquite in 2013.

Comments

  1. Mr. Shannon, I respect your point of view. However not one good thing comes out of NV. I lived there for 8 years, having a disabled son was a challege since NV doesn’t really care for the family let alone people with special needs. They also don’t give a crap about the military. I had to go all the way to CA to get treatment.
    When the election day is closer, we will see what is really out there. Right now everyone wants to run but do they really want what is good for America? I see a bunch of congressional assholes putting our nation into debe and then have the balls to yell RACISTS . I think that we should take apart the entire government and start a fresh.

  2. This is an amazing assessment of Rick Santorum’s economic policies. How refreshing it is to read a news story which actually reports the news in an unbiased manner, and which concentrates on what is most important – how the candidate’s economic policies will impact our ability to find and keep jobs, as well as how to increase our exports and items which are made in America. Having products and services which are made in America and serviced in America (such as people providing you service over the phone) is important because not only does it create jobs inside America, but it keeps the wealth inside America as well. If all of our jobs are outsourced to other countries as well as our manufacturing, we end up with cheap junk with cheap parts that no one can fix. If we want quality products, which are made in America, as well as jobs, we need to bring back manufacturing. Rick Santorum is an honest man who has a clear vision of what is needed to restore America to its greatness. America is falling apart at the seams, economically, and we need strong leadership from someone who can not just fill up the holes with sand, but cement us back together as a nation.

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