The former Virginia governor, now the president and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, founded by legendary Paul Weyrich, spoke to Human Events about his strong support of Edward W. Gillespie, who lost the close Senate race in his home state and his growth agenda for the new Congress.
In addition to ads buys in Iowa and New Hampshire, his Growth PAC made significant TV buys supporting Gillespie, when no one else was stepping up to help him, said James S. Gilmore III, who was Old Dominion’s governor from 1998 to 2002.
Gillespie, the former senior Bush White House aide and political operative, lost to Democrat Sen. Mark R. Warner 49.2 percent to 48.4 percent—although in the week before the Nov. 4 election, most polls had the Republican trailing Warner by an average of 10 points.
“I don’t think any of us knew that it was going to be that close, probably not even Ed, but I think that what we witnessed here was a big decision that the American people made nation-wide to move to the Republican ticket across the country,” he said.
“He had placed himself in a position where he was clearly opportunity to Mark Warner who had really done nothing over the last six years to solve some of these national problems,” said the former Army counterintelligence officer.
“We thought he could win,” he said. “This is my home state and I certainly have a stake in encouraging the Growth PAC to support the candidate of my home state.”
Gilmore said he was disappointed to learn that Karl Rove’s American Crossroads PAC and the National Republican Senate Committee were ignoring Gillespie’s campaign. “We got the word about the time that we were deciding to come in for him, that nobody else was going to play.”
In addition to the TV ads, Gilmore stood with Gillespie in front of the state house in Richmond and spoke on his behalf around the state, he said.
“We wanted to make it clear to the voters of Virginia that if they voted for Gillespie, they had a chance of actually bringing about a growth program for the United States,” he said.
The growth agenda has been Gilmore’s passion, since he took over the Free Congress in 2010, an agenda, which he said was not only key to making life better for Americans, but only would unite Republicans.
“I believe that it is imperative that the new Republican leadership set down an agenda to grow the United States economy,” he said. “I believe they need to do it right away. I think you can rally the entire Republican Congress and in fact, the entire Republican party across the United States behind that unifying agenda.”
“This is a big moment when the American people voted for change,” he said. “This is an opportunity for the Republican leadership to set down a program and get behind it and get that program on the president’s desk,” he said.
I’m very well aware of the frustration of some of the some of the more conservative members of the Senate and the House. I’m very well aware of it and I do think that they are a voice. Let me speak about what I believe the American people said.
The growth agenda has three steps that can be executed right away, he said.
First, Congress must reform the personal and the corporate tax code, he said.
Cut the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, down from 35 percent, one of the highest in the world, he said. “They They ought to reform the tax code and unify business taxes into one piece, small and large business all being taxed the way and at 15 percent rate.”
Part of the reduction of the tax rate will be simplifying out special interest deductions, he said. “You could begin to eliminate some of these unusual deductions and you can buy the rate down to 15 percent, which is better for business. I do believe that we ought to be able to write off investments quicker and in fact, we propose that it be written off in the first year.”
On the personal tax side, there should be three brackets: 10, 15 and 25 percent, he said.
Gilmore said the second step would be the elimination of double taxation.
Once taxes are paid on corporate profits, they should be distributed to shareholders tax-free, since they have already been taxed at the business, he said.
There is no greater destroyer of family wealth than the inheritance tax, he said.
“Whether it’s a business of your own, a family business or a family farm, or just a bank account,” he said. “Whatever it is is, it’s assets and value that you’ve accumulated over a lifetime of work and you’ve paid taxes on it–that’s after tax assets–to then tax it again is not proper.”
Finally, Gilmore said the more than $1 trillion in cash American companies are holding overseas should be repatriated tax-free.
American companies already paid taxes on their profits in the different countries, where they earned the cash they are now sitting on, he said.
There is no way companies will bring that money home if it is taxed at 35 percent, he said.
The growth agenda directly attacks the Democrats’ presumption that believe people prefer dependency over opportunity, he said.
“They’re trying to boost some of the benefit programs to make up for that and to alleviate some of that pressure,” the former governor said. “The best thing to do is to have a thriving economy that’s forward looking, that’s an opportunity society that gives people a sense of looking forward to their future.”
“We think we’re speaking for people who are unemployed or underemployed or not employed or don’t have a real good career or a real good future or people who are poor, we’re speaking for them when we talk about raising up the economy and creating more opportunities for people.