DECKER: Five questions with Michele Bachmann

‘The income people earn is not the government’s’

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Rep. Michele Bachmann is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president who enjoys strong Tea Party support. Currently serving her third term in the House of Representatives, she was the first Republican woman from Minnesota to be elected to Congress. A former state senator, Mrs. Bachmann understands the problems with the tax code inside and out from five years spent as a federal tax attorney with the Internal Revenue Service. She is author of the recently released book “Core of Conviction” (Sentinel, 2011). You can find out more about her campaign at:

Decker: What would tax reform look like in a Bachmann administration?

Bachmann: The real world of taxation is not reducible to a sound bite or a bumper sticker. We need a real national discussion about what kind of tax system we really want, and as the only tax professional in the race, I will lead that discussion with some serious talk about what the principles “fairer, flatter and simpler” really mean.

First, it is only fair that everyone should contribute something to the core government services. Everyone benefits and everyone needs to pay something.

Today, we live in a world where only 53 percent of Americans pay federal income tax, 47 percent pay nothing. People who pay nothing can easily forget the idea that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Second, even though everyone should pay something, those who can afford to pay more should pay more. This is true not just in absolute terms. Someone at a higher income level should pay at least the same percentage of income as someone at a lower income level.

Third, fairness also demands that government limit its claim on the hard work and talents of the people it taxes. The income people earn is not the government’s; it belongs to the people who earned it. When people in Washington say things like “We can’t afford a tax cut,” they need to think about who the “We” is. It is the people’s money, not the politicians’.

Decker: What are the most important steps a new president should take on Inauguration Day to get America back on the right track?

Bachmann: First, the next president needs to unite what is a sharply divided country. Second, the next president must cast a vision for how to lead America back to prosperity and have the American people and the world believe in and follow that vision.

Decker: As commander in chief, what would you do about Iran’s program to develop nuclear weapons?

Bachmann: As president, I’ll stand on the side of Israel and will ensure that Iran never has a nuclear weapon. An Iran with a nuclear weapon is completely unacceptable to the United States and to Israel; it would be a grave threat to the safety of the world, and so the world community should confront that threat.

Two principles must guide U.S. policy toward Iran. First, we must never allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. And second, we must realize that this is as much a threat to U.S. national security as it is to Israel’s and should not outsource U.S. national security to the United Nations.

I will fully implement provisions of the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act of 2010, and expand them to investment firms from Russia and China, who are deeply tied to Iran. I will also direct the Pentagon to develop plans for war and to impose a naval blockade. While only a fool would wish for war, we must have every option available.

The U.S. should develop and deploy comprehensive anti-ballistic missile systems on land, at sea, in the air and in space while moving additional Aegis and Patriot missile defense systems into the Middle East to protect U.S. and allied interests. We must sell Israel the additional fighter jets, bunker-buster bombs, refueling tankers and other materials they need to defend themselves.

Decker: There’s some speculation about the Reagan coalition of defense hawks, social conservatives and economic libertarians starting to fray. Is it important to keep this marriage together for Republicans to win national elections? How can the standard-bearer be a source of unity for the party?

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About the Author
Brett M. Decker

Brett M. Decker

Brett M. Decker, former Editorial Page Editor for The Washington Times, was an editorial page writer and editor for the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, Senior Vice President of the Export-Import Bank, Senior Vice President of Pentagon Federal Credit Union, speechwriter to then-House Majority Whip (later Majority Leader) Tom DeLay and reporter and television producer for the legendary Robert ...

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