2. Lower Tax Rates. Americans face a monster tax increase because of "bracket creep", the alternative minimum tax and the expiry of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. This means cutting taxes just to keep even. Taxpayers deserve the lowest possible tax rates, simplification and certainty about what those rates are likely to be - not the gimmicks and tricks Congress imposes.
One dangerous gimmick is the one-third increase in the long-term capital gains tax rate due to explode on investors and the economy early in the next presidency. I am committed to keeping the rate low. But the strangest trick is that under current law, the "death tax" will disappear for a year, in 2010, and then roar back to oppressive levels. This is unfair. Only Washington could create a tax incentive for death. If you have worked hard and played by the rules, your children should not have to sell the family farm or small business just to pay another round of punitive taxes. That is why the death tax should get the death penalty.
3. Regulatory Reform. The US currently has a regulatory black eye. We are being hurt by heavy-handed regulators, laws such as Sarbanes-Oxley and an environment of hyper-litigation and shareholder lawsuits that can be poisonous to the private sector. When companies such as Enron and WorldCom cheated shareholders, they were rightly punished to the limit of the law. But after a scandal, Washington often overreacts and over-regulates. We now need to reform the unwise excesses of the initial reforms. When regulation becomes too burdensome, it weighs on us like a tax. It hurts the competitiveness of American businesses. That is why regulatory reform must be a priority for the next president.
4. Sound monetary policy. A strong economy and a sound monetary policy are intertwined. The Federal Reserve Board is the ultimate, independent arbiter of monetary policy. It is essential that its appointees are highly qualified individuals who understand that stable, low inflation is an input - not an impediment - to durable economic expansion and stronger economic growth. The Fed should function more like a compass than a weather vane, setting direction rather than shifting with the wind.
When economic policies are built on the four pillars of prosperity, economic growth, upward mobility and more efficient government are the result. That is our goal. Good business leaders always look for ways to cut costs and improve the delivery of services. Government should apply the same principles by measuring the real value of our investments. To do that, the next president needs to put the "M" back in the OMB. Fiscally conservative leadership will help restore the confidence of our shareholders: the American people.
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