Economic issues consistently rank as the most important problem facing Americans — and one of the biggest challenges in Washington. Today, House Republicans turned to Heritage’s chief economist for solutions on spending, welfare, energy, taxes, and Obamacare.
Stephen Moore, who joined Heritage earlier this month from the Wall Street Journal, spoke to Republican members of Congress at their annual retreat in Cambridge, MD.
“Some members of Congress are in a risk-averse mode right now,” Moore told The Foundry after his speech. “I wanted to show them how they could get back on the policy offensive in smart and strategic ways.”
He added, “My main message was hold to the spending caps, let the energy revolution flourish, reform entitlements, get rid of the corporate tax or capital gains tax.”
Moore urged the members of Congress to be bold with a tax reform plan.
“Tax reform is great winning message for Republicans,” he told The Foundry. “Let’s start by eliminating either corporate income tax or capital gains tax. That’s double taxation on business profits. It’s a really bad, anti-growth system where you tax that income twice.”
Taxes aren’t the only challenge facing U.S. businesses. He cited two Obamacare provisions — the 30-hour-a-week rule and 50-worker threshold for mandates — as burdens that will cause a drag on economic growth.
Moore also urged lawmakers to take a strong stand on jobs, an issue that ranks as a top concern of American workers.
“There’s a real shortage of workers in this country,” Moore said. “When you have 90 million Americans of working age who aren’t working, we’ve got a big problem. We cannot grow the economy with 90 million people on the sidelines.”
Moore said his solution is putting stronger work requirements on able-bodied welfare recipients. He said the job-training idea Obama presented Tuesday night in the State of the Union address was worthless. “On-the-job training is the best job training,” he said.
Even though many conservatives fought against the last budget deal and spending bill, Moore said lawmakers must make a commitment to stick to the spending caps.
“One of the reasons we’re making progress on the deficit is that we had these caps and the sequester,” Moore said. “The best way to get Democrats to agree to entitlement reform is to keep these caps on domestic spending.”
When it comes to the energy industry, Moore said it was time for Congress to end subsidies. He cited an upcoming debate on the wind production tax credit as one example.
Moore said he had a conversation with House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) about eliminating static scoring and changing how budgeting is done.
House Republican Conference Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who delivered the official GOP response to the State of the Union, invited Moore to the party’s retreat.