Gov. Rick Perry is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president. He has been elected governor three times and served the remainder of George W. Bush’s second term when the latter became the 43rd president of the United States, making Mr. Perry the longest-serving chief executive in Texas history. He also has been lieutenant governor, a three-term state representative and was the Texas Agriculture Commissioner for two terms. Mr. Perry’s life of public service began when he was a pilot in the Air Force from 1972-77. You can find out more about his campaign at: www.rickperry.org.
Perry: Like virtually everything else in Washington, our tax code is broken and must be completely overhauled. The centerpiece of my Cut, Balance & Grow plan is a 20 percent flat tax for individuals and employers. My plan gives every American the opportunity to throw out the current tax code and replace it with a flat tax that is simple enough to file on a postcard. It also cuts taxes on employers and provides strong incentives to use foreign profits to create jobs and build factories here at home. That’s just a quick thumbnail sketch.
Decker: What are the most important steps a new president should take immediately to get America back on the right track?
Perry: Despite our economic circumstances, I really am optimistic about our future. As president, I’ll follow the same principles that have helped Texas gain one million jobs while the rest of the country lost two million jobs. The first thing I will do is immediately open federal lands and waters for energy exploration. That will not only reduce our dependence on hostile nations, it will create over one million jobs across all sectors of our economy. Second, I will freeze all pending federal regulations, audit each one to determine its necessity, and get rid of the ones that kill jobs. We will also repeal a host of laws that hurt job creation, such as Obamacare. Third, I’ll work to pass my Cut, Balance and Grow plan. In addition to the tax reforms I already mentioned, it cuts billions in government spending, caps spending going forward and permanently bans bailouts and earmarks.
Decker: As commander in chief, what would you do about Iran’s program to develop nuclear weapons?
Perry: A nuclear Iran is the greatest threat to peace and freedom worldwide. Iran’s leadership has threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the earth, imprisoned our citizens, backed terrorist attacks and aggressively continues to seek nuclear weapons. The Obama administration’s policy of engagement has been a total failure, beginning with their lack of support for the Green Revolution in 2009. Round after round of half-hearted sanctions have done little to deter Iran’s nuclear development and aggressive behavior. As president, I will bring every diplomatic and economic effort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And I’ll leave every option on the table, including the harshest sanction on the Iranian Central Bank, and military options if necessary. We cannot afford to eliminate any option that would stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
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?