GOP Has Its Own Plan For The Economy

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President Obama opened his news conference Friday with remarks on his administration's plans for growing the economy. Host Scott Simon talks to Republican Congressman Tom Price of Georgia about his own party's plans for the economy.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

President Obama opened his news conference yesterday with remarks and his administration's plans for growing the economy. For a Republican view now, we turn to Congressman Tom Price of Georgia's 6th District. Mr. Price is a member of the House Financial Services Committee. He joins us on the line from his office in Marietta, Georgia. Congressman, thanks very much for being with us.

Representative TOM PRICE (Republican, Georgia): Thanks so much, Scott. Great to be with you.

SIMON: The president says that Republicans in your chamber are dragging their feet on legislation that would help create jobs by giving tax credits to small businesses and other items. Are you dragging your feet?

Mr. PRICE: I don't think so. In fact, what we've done is done our best to propose real solutions that will actually solve the challenges that we face in terms of decreasing spending, holding the line on taxes or decreasing taxes and incentivizing those job creators across this country as opposed to punishing them, which I would suggest the administration has been doing for now 19 or 20 months.

SIMON: How?

Mr. PRICE: Well, when the uncertainty in the market is out there, job creators have to hold onto their resources. They're not certain whether or not they're going to have their taxes increased next month or next year. So all that uncertainty contributes to the - especially the small businesses out there -saying, look, we cannot plan right now. We've just got to wait and see what happens.

SIMON: Your committee, as I understand it, passed the Small Business Lending Fund in May, and that legislation can't get out of the Senate. Are your colleagues in the Senate holding up a popular bill?

Mr. PRICE: I think what they're doing is saying this may not be a bad idea but we ought not be using money that we don't have to pay for it. If this is a priority of our country - and it should be - let's find appropriate resources and not rob from Peter to pay Paul. What the president reiterated once again is that he wants to provide a benefit to small businesses, a tax credit for small businesses, but then he also wants to tax them. He wants to increase their taxes.

SIMON: Now, when you say the president wants to increase the taxes on small businesses, is that a reference to his opposition to extending tax cuts for people who earn above $250,000 a year?

Mr. PRICE: Exactly. As you know, Scott, most of your listeners will know, the vast majority of small businesses file their taxes at the individual rate. And most small businesses that are successful and virtually all small businesses that are going to be hiring anybody or creating jobs have an income of greater than $250,000. So they will see their taxes go up.

SIMON: Do you know, in your district, the 6th Congressional District of Georgia, are there more people above or below that $250,000 line?

Mr. PRICE: Oh, there are more people below.

SIMON: So, I wonder, is it popular for you to - if they buy the president's reasoning - oppose applying more taxes to people above that line and giving them tax relief where the president says it's really necessary?

Mr. PRICE: Well, that's a divide and conquer mentality, Scott. The fact of the matter is, we're all in this together, and we ought to all be pulling in the same direction. And nobody who wants a job wants the job creators to be punished.

SIMON: Congressman, what would you do right now to turn the U.S. economy around if it was within your grasp?

Mr. PRICE: Oh, I'd do three things very specifically, and I believe provide that certainty that's so necessary out there. First and foremost, we've got to decrease the spending from Washington. The incredible deficit spending is having a destabilizing effect on our economy and it is also robbing individuals from the opportunity to create that economic vitality.

Secondly, I would say that for the foreseeable future we will not increase taxes on anybody. And thirdly, I would incentivize those job creators. We do those things very specifically and we'll find that this economy will stabilize and in fact turn around.

SIMON: Congressman, can you reduce the deficit and cut taxes at the same time?

Mr. PRICE: I think you can, and I think President Kennedy proved it. I think President Reagan proved it. The fact of the matter is when you decrease taxes in our economy and allow individuals to keep more of their hard-earned money, what you do is actually increase the economic vitality and productivity of this country. And a byproduct of that, gloriously, is more revenue for the federal government.

SIMON: Congressman Tom Price of Georgia speaking with us from his office in Marietta. Thanks so much.

Mr. PRICE: Thanks, Scott.

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