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Herman Cain Bets On Main Street

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

If some think that Donald Trump and Mitt Romney best represent the hopes of Wall Street for America, some think that if Herman Cain is elected president he will best represent the interests of Main Street.

Cain is the host of “The Herman Cain Show” broadcast out of Atlanta, although he’s taken a hiatus from the show as he explores a run for the White House.

Cain is also a retired C-level executive who’s worked for Pillsbury, Coca-Cola, Burger King and Godfather’s Pizza. He’s known as a hands-on manager, who is not afraid to get into the details of business. In fact, he’s always insisted in learning whatever business he’s working for from the ground up.

While Cain is not a candidate for president yet- he’s still in the exploratory stage- Cain already has a program that he thinks can put Americans back to work while getting rid of the reckless and wasteful spending in Washington. In doing so, Cain hopes to start a revival of American business that will bring to Main Street real, high-paying jobs. 

“The current administration’s hostility towards the job creators of America, from small businesses to our biggest corporations,” Cain told Townhall Finance, “is based on the fact that only 7 percent of President Obama’s administration has ever held a job in the private sector.”

The results have skewed America government ideologically, which has become fundamentally hostile to business. The result is that taxpayers and middle-Americans get squeezed in both their paychecks and their wallets.   

“Their agenda and its resulting legislation has created higher taxes, more regulation,” says Cain about the Obama progressives, “and more uncertainty that hinders job growth and economic recovery.”

Cain says he would use smarter tax policies, establish accountability in government and lower the regulatory burden that kills job creation in the U.S in order to lead an American renaissance.

For example, federal tax law penalizes U.S. companies that decide to bring overseas profits back to the U.S.

As the Wall Street Journal pointed out last fall: “This means that U.S. companies can, without significant consequence, use their foreign earnings to invest in any country in the world—except here.”

At a time when the government has literally borrowed trillions to try to create jobs, with disappointing results, Cain thinks that it’s time to create a more “business-friendly environment.”   

“For decades Democrats have insisted on taxing profits generated by U.S. companies in foreign countries,” Cain wrote in an editorial in Investor’s Business Daily, “because they thought it would force businesses to keep the investments in the U.S.” Cain says that it’s had the opposite effect, costing jobs here at home. 

The Wall Street Journal reckoned last fall that U.S. companies could bring $1 trillion per year back to the U.S. for investment if the tax on overseas profits were lifted.

“To achieve bold economic growth, we need bold changes in our tax code,’ Cain says.

“Significantly lowering the top corporate tax rate, reducing the capital gains tax rate to zero, suspending the tax on repatriated foreign profits, making the tax rates permanent, and a one-year payroll tax holiday for employees and employers would be a good start.”

He says that in addition to changing how the government collects revenue, we have to change how the government spends money too. Right now it spends too much and the federal government needs to make both “horizontal and vertical” cuts in its budget

Cain would first look at across the board reductions of between ten and fifteen percent in federal spending for all departments and programs. Cabinet members who couldn’t make the cuts would be sent walking.

After that Cain would institute a comprehensive review of government, eliminating some programs or departments entirely. While Cain is mum on which departments he would chop, grassroots conservatives would like to see the elimination of the EPA, the Department of Energy and the Department of Education, along with de-funding the United Nations in any potential downsizing of government.  

Legislation that is costly to implement and kills jobs would also go on the chopping block.

The General Accounting Office estimates, for example, that the banking reform bill known as Dodd-Frank, will cost $2.9 billion in direct costs over five years for the government to implement. Cain favors repealing Dodd-Frank not just because of the cost to the government, but because it stops markets from being able to create jobs.

“We've got more economic potential that's easy to get to,” Cain told the Atlantic Monthly’s senior editor Joshua Greene in February, “we just don't have the leadership in the administration or in Washington DC, that knows how to unleash it.” 

Cain think he knows how. And he’s looking at ways he can bring that experience on Main Street America to the White House where he reckons it's sorely lacking. 

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