Republican U.S. Senate nominee Tom Smith of Armstrong County today unveiled a five-point economic plan as he prepares for the final two months of the election campaign. Smith criticized incumbent Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) for voting to raise the nation's debt ceiling seven times but "never heard him come forward with a plan" on growing the economy or "how we get our deficit spending under control."
Smith said the first part of his economic platform is simplifying the tax code which he described as "70,000 pages, ten times the length of the bible, without the good news." The Republican nominee said he's proposing a single tax rate. "It will be very simplistic, for business owners it doesn't matter if you're medium-sized, small-sized business owners, and the general public, all taxpayers--a flat tax where it's one rate for all."
He said the country can't keep borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends and that every department needs to be examined. "Where we have duplication we eliminate that," said Smith. "A good place to start would be with the Department of Energy. It was started in 1977 under the Carter administration. Its main mission was to get us off of foreign oil. Well, it hasn't."
To help reduce spending, Smith called for a balanced budget amendment, a freeze on non-defense hiring and a reducing of the federal workforce through attrition.
Smith discussed his proposal on a bus outside Climatech, Inc., a heating, ventilation, air conditioning company in Robinson Township. He said an end to what he calls "oppressive regulation that suffocates growth and kills jobs" and impedes the creation and expansion of small businesses.
The former coal company owner said the U.S. has 17% of the world's fossil fuel reserves and they must be used. "Our president and Bob Casey has (sic) declared an all-out war on fossil fuels. That is the backbone of this economy," Smith said. "That is what got this country built to what it is today. We need to maintain common sense and balance." Smith added he believes there can be a balance between jobs and the environment.
The final point of his plan involves reforming Social Security, younger workers could partially opt out; and changing Medicare: recipients could use their government subsidy to purchase private coverage, which Smith believes would lead to competition and lower prices. Smith also wants to repeal "Obamacare" (the Affordable Care Act). "Then you start from scratch and necessary adjustments that needed made, make them."
Smith described the incumbent Casey as "most likely a good and decent person, but I disagree adamantly with his policies."