GOP candidates outline economic plans

January 23, 2008 7:53:59 PM PST
The Republican candidates have jumped onto the economic stimulus bandwagon -- but with some caution.

They're leery of being seen as tied too closely to President Bush.

The top GOP candidates like the president's tax rebate while at the same time stressing their differences. Eugene Muscat is a USF business professor.

"So you don't want to as a Republican candidate be out there looking like your plan is in any way similar to the President's because it ties you to a very unpopular President. So you try to only focus on those parts of your plan which are different," said USF professor Eugene Muscat.

Republicans John McCain, Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani are all focusing on cutting corporate taxes and reducing taxes for the middle class.

"If your taxes are lower, you are going to get a bigger refund, you're going to spend that," said Muscat.

Studies have also shown lowering corporate taxes produces more jobs. Carol Yenne is a business owner.

"I think it's really good to encourage business owners to hire employees and keep the economy good by keeping the unemployment rate down," said Yenne.

Which candidate will best deliver? Romney sells himself as the wealthy businessman with experience, McCain says he'll make it harder for Congress to raise taxes and Giuliani announced today that a congressional delegation will introduce a bill based on his tax plan.

That plan would eliminate the death tax, reduce the capital gains rate and would cut the number of tax brackets from six to three.

Giuliani hopes this will help him win Florida. There the housing crisis is among the hottest issues.

Both Giuliani and McCain support agreements between the homeowners and the lenders and oppose bailouts. Leon Huntting is the former president of the California Mortgage Brokers Association.

"Bailouts are bad because it's just money coming out of our pockets, it will mean raising taxes, because that is what you are going to have to do, if you do a bailout," said Huntting.

The economy has stolen the spotlight from other issues like the war in Iraq. Another big issue the GOP candidates are not talking about is oil prices. At $100 dollars a barrel, the Energy Secretary said today in Cairo these high prices are beginning to affect the U.S. economy.

"The candidates are not talking about it because a lot of individual voters are not talking about it. The fact of the matter is people are going to drive they are going to pay whatever they have to pay in order to drive," said Muscat.

Instead the candidates are focusing on what many voters want to hear -- finding other means of energy.


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