Five candidates offer ideas on strengthening U.S. manufacturing
November 1st, 2011
11:26 PM ET
11 years ago

Five candidates offer ideas on strengthening U.S. manufacturing

Pella, Iowa (CNN) – On Tuesday, five Republican presidential candidates outlined their ideas to help the United States strengthen its manufacturing.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke to a group of business leaders at the National Association of Manufacturers in Pella, Iowa. The group's Republican Presidential Forum on Manufacturing was held at the headquarters of the Vermeer Corporation, an Iowa-grown company that makes environmental, agricultural and construction equipment.

The candidates who spoke are the five trailing in polls in Iowa and nationally. The two Republican front-runners, Mitt Romney and Herman Cain, did not attend the event.

Each candidate took questions from Iowa's Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and Tom Hudson, co-anchor and managing editor of PBS' Nightly Business Report. Though the candidates spoke separately - for about 10 to 15 minutes - they coalesced around similar conservative economic themes: less government regulation, reduced corporate taxes and repealing "Obamacare" to save jobs.

First to speak, Perry covered a range of issues of concern to the manufacturing community, including how to help the U.S. become more energy independent.

The Texas governor reiterated his stance on the controversial proposal for the 1,700-mile Keystone oil pipeline that would carry oil from Canada into the southern United States. Critics fiercely oppose the project, believing it could taint underground water supplies

"When you look at the Canadian pipeline, that Keystone pipeline, that oil is going somewhere," Perry said. "It's either going to go west, to China, or it's going to go south, to the United States. There is no doubt, in my mind, where that energy resource needs to go."

The Iowa governor also covered jobs and taxes with Perry.

"One of the biggest impediments for jobs is the federal tax burden," Branstad said. "Would you support reducing the federal corporate income tax and eliminating the penalty for bringing profits back from overseas?

Perry responded by plugging his recently-revealed tax plan. Among its proposals: a plan to lower the corporate tax rate.

"Corporate ought to be 20%...get rid of all the loopholes," Perry said.

"Washington corporate lobbyists are going to hate me as president of the United States. I'm going to take a wrecking ball to that corporate tax code, frankly the personal tax code as well," Perry added.

Following Perry, Santorum stressed similar themes.

"I've put together a plan that - I know Rick Perry was talking about 20% - but when it comes to manufacturers and processors, we zero out the corporate tax."

"We'd say there'd be no corporate tax for people who make things here in America."

Santorum was also asked about the Dodd-Frank Act. The law, supporters say, imposes necessary reforms on Wall Street and makes bank bailouts less likely.

It is also a favorite target for conservatives.

"We have a lot of small community banks out here, they were not part of the problem, they didn't make risky loans," the Iowa governor said. "Yet they are being hammered and over-regulated and additional taxes and burdens placed on them. How do you feel about that?"

"I would repeal Dodd-Frank," Santorum said.

Bachmann's first question concerned, what moderator Hudson said, are the 20 industries forecast to lose jobs at a fast pace, "19 of which are in manufacturing."

"How do you address this trend?" Hudson asked.

"We need the federal government to get off our backs when it comes to federal taxes. They're taxing us to death," Bachmann responded.

"You're making us un-competitive."

Bachmann even mentioned the recently deceased founder of Apple to make her point.

"Steve Jobs recently said this to President Obama. He said, 'You're killing us with regulations.'" Bachmann was apparently referencing a new Jobs biography that reportedly makes that claim.

Paul took the stage and reiterated his criticisms of international trade agreements, his plan to cut $1 trillion in government spending and his opposition to the Federal Reserve.

Branstad asked Paul: "Chairman Ben Bernanke is due to hold a news conference tomorrow. What would you like to hear from the chairman?"

"He's resigning," Paul said, sparking laughs from the crowd.

Following Paul, Gingrich reiterated themes from his recently revealed "21st Century Contract with America," stressed the importance of research and development, and lectured Congress on passing legislation, such as on tax credits, whose impact is only felt short term.

And taking yet another of his frequent swipes at Barack Obama, Gingrich called the president, "a left-wing radical who believes in class warfare."

-Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter:@ShanTravisCNN

Filed under: Iowa • Michele Bachmann • Newt Gingrich • Rick Perry • Rick Santorum • Ron Paul
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    None are addressing the main issue......there needs to be a strong incentive for compelling American companies to return their manufacturing to America.........and start acting like Americans again.

    The only thing that is compelling, of course, is a penalty tax on American companies who import their products from off shore.

    Nothing else, in my opinion, is going to work. Not anything else.

    November 1, 2011 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  2. Larry L

    Perry needs to study the federal government before he shoots his mouth off about what "he will do". He will only support and sign or veto legislation and propose spending. The Congress, totally broken by the obstructionist Republican Party, will block every initiative and prevent actual debate if the idea isn't blessed by the right-wing. Surely the Democrats will follow suit if a Republican is elected to the Presidency. We have allowed our Congress to become useless.

    Presidents tend to get the blame, not the credit.

    November 1, 2011 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  3. Indy

    So Perry ought to start understanding that he cant just take a wrecking ball to Washington, he better learn that Presidents dont write the tax code and he will too have Congress to deal with and when you say "get rid of all the loopholes" you need to have specifics that are measurable.Just aying cut everything is like saying I dont really have a plan, we will just cut everything. The Keystone is not going to China and Perry knows that but in true Republican style he lies out loud.It is interesting that the countries that have the most balanced and strict banking regulations are not having job creation problems and their economies are doing much better then the US.

    November 2, 2011 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  4. thomas

    "Steve Jobs recently said this to President Obama. He said, 'You're killing us with regulations.'"

    Bachmann quoting Steve Jobs , wow !

    November 2, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  5. sovereignhominin

    Ron Paul is the only one with the guts to go after the real problem.

    November 2, 2011 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  6. ithink122

    "Though the candidates spoke separately – for about 10 to 15 minutes – they coalesced around similar conservative economic themes: less government regulation, reduced corporate taxes and repealing 'Obamacare' to save jobs."

    Why do they even need to show up at these events anymore? Just record one of their speeches and send it to each new place, they always say the same thing anyway. And it doesn't matter how many times they say it, their ideas still won't work. Ask any economist. All their ideas are based around giving the wealthy and corporations more money. That is the only guaranteed result of deregulation, less corporate taxes and repealing Obamacare, more money in the pockets of the wealthy and corporations. Anything after that is just a guess on what they will do with it. But these corporations are sitting on record amounts of money. They aren't doing anything with it, just sitting on it. Even Fox is reporting that, so you can't claim mainstream media bias. How will giving them even more (at the expense of peoples health, the environment and living wages no less) suddenly change and improve the situation?

    November 2, 2011 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  7. The Lone Okie

    Both parties sold the middle class/manufacturing out for globalization/ one world economy. Trickle Down doesn't work, Reagans Voodoo economics, Bush Tax cuts and unfunded wars, Right to scab and die, I mean work, shipping jobs to the Red State that will work for minimun wage and no benefits doesn't work. You can have those jobs, I am not going work for a non-liveable wage.

    November 2, 2011 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  8. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    The GOP offers ideas? HAHAHAHA!!!!!

    November 2, 2011 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  9. The Lone Okie

    The Goverment can create jobs. It's just that we got a bunch of Dumb Senators and lazy, frighten Congressmen. All they got is smoke-screens, Taxes, Tax cuts & Tax credits. America needs Immediate Relief on Jobs and Mortgages, bail the Middle Class, like Bush did with Banks & Wall Street. Bailing Out Just For Fun.

    November 2, 2011 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  10. logic in LA

    At what point do American wake up to the fact that business do not make decision to hire based on tax levels? If your goods are selling you hire- your costs are all write-offs. If business is slow- you lay people off regardless of what your profit tax is. This is a non-issue conjured up by Conservatives to give corporate America even more money in their pockets. Obviously Conservatives need to go back to school and take economics 101 again.

    November 2, 2011 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  11. 1berty4All

    The Doctor was dropping pearls of wisdom yet again. Here's to hoping more people are picking up on what ails us and the Doc that has the cure.

    November 2, 2011 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  12. BB

    We can live with Perry but not that slick charlatan career politician called Mitts

    November 2, 2011 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  13. GaryB

    More of the same old/same old from the GOP. The fact is, we've been cutting net taxes on corporations (via loopholes), lowering capital gains taxes and loosening regulations pretty steadily since 2002. The result? A massive national debt (much of which was run up under a Republican controlled presidency and congress), a couple of recessions and the worst unemployment since Reagan was president. Why woudl anyone think that doing more of the same would work any better?

    November 2, 2011 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  14. vlad

    Ron Paul did a lot more then just talk about the Federal Reserve. Why don't you go into detail and explain to your readers Monetary Policy, the devaluation of Money by printing and how that can have dire consequences on the poor, with prices on everything going up.

    November 2, 2011 05:28 am at 5:28 am |