Herman Cain to CMU: ‘This economy sucks’
Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain made a stop at CMU for his “College Truth Tour” Tuesday night and gave the audience his ‘solutions’ to America’s problems.
Cain, a former businessman who briefly became the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination last fall, spent much of his speech criticizing Washington politicians for putting up “more barriers to the pursuit of happiness than was ever intended” through higher taxation and increased regulation.
“You can’t spend your way to prosperity,” Cain told an estimated crowd of about 300 people at Plachta Auditorium. “You must grow your way to prosperity.”
Cain said Congress needs more businessmen and fewer politicians in order to solve the nation’s challenges. He took a swipe at his former Republican primary opponent, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, for dismissing his trademark 9-9-9 tax plan as a political impossibility.
“Politicians propose stuff that will pass. Businessmen propose stuff that will fix the problem,” Cain said.
Cain put the biggest problem facing the United States and college graduates bluntly.
“The economy sucks,” he said.
Though short on specifics, he said the only way the economy can get out of stagnation is by cutting taxes, rolling back regulations and tackling the debt.
“We have the ability,” Cain said. “Our (gross domestic product) … is one-fourth of the world’s GDP. If you get the GDP growing faster, it will be better for us, and it will be better for the rest of the world.”
Talk of reforming the tax code from politicians in both parties is not enough for Cain.
“We need to replace the tax code, not just reform it,” Cain said.
Citing the tax cuts Democratic President John F. Kennedy pushed for, he said lower taxes, especially for business owners, are crucial to economic growth.
“Anybody that tries to tell you lowered tax rates don’t work is lying to you,” Cain said.
He said the so-called “fiscal cliff,” the predicament facing America at the end of this year when all of the Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire and automatic cuts to defense spending and government programs will occur if no action is taken, is stalling economic recovery by adding to the “uncertainty” facing business owners.
“Businesses are saying ‘we can’t take it anymore,’” Cain said.
He urged politicians to make the United States an energy independent state by digging for coal and natural gas domestically.
“There is a safe way to become energy independent,” Cain said. “We are the Saudi Arabia of coal.”
He called importing oil from Middle Eastern countries a “national security threat.” Because of the violent anti-American protests in the Middle East, Cain claimed OPEC, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, could decide to cut back on oil exports, sending gasoline prices skyrocketing.
The former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza spent the beginning of his speech recalling his rise in the business world and eventual political career. He said his story, and the stories of his parents, personified what the American Dream is about.
“Do you think I ever imagined by age 60, 62, I’d be running for president of the United States? Only in America can that happen,” Cain said.
He ended his speech by urging college students to vote and be informed before taking questions from audience members.
“Stupid people are ruining America,” Cain said. “Don’t be among the stupid.”
Minneapolis rock band Quiet Drive performed on stage before and after Cain’s speech. He was introduced by Megan Gill, the chairwoman of the College Republicans.
“One thing both (Cain’s) supporters and his opponents can agree upon is that we need real-life solutions to our economic problems,” Gill said.
CMU was the ninth stop on Cain’s tour. He will speak at Michigan State University tomorrow and at the University of Michigan Thursday.
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