WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Potential Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie on Tuesday sharply criticized the policies of President Barack Obama and the Federal Reserve, saying they had widened the gulf between the rich and poor in the United States.
The governor of New Jersey, Christie said Obama's failure to curb spending and his regulatory policies had led to stagnant growth. While middle-class families struggled, the Fed's "easy money" policies had boosted stock prices and helped the rich acquire even more wealth, he said.
"Bottom line: the Fed’s easy money policies and the president’s anti-growth policies have made the rich even richer and made our middle class work longer and harder for less pay and less promise for the future," Christie said in excerpts of a speech he planned to deliver in the afternoon in New Hampshire, an early voting state in the presidential nominating contest.
Christie, who has yet to say whether he will run for president in the November 2016 election, detailed a five-point economic plan he said would simplify the tax system, lower tax rates for corporations, and eliminate the payroll tax for those over the age of 62 and under the age of 21.
He said he favored revoking many rules and executive orders issued by Obama that Christie deems "egregious and unlawful." A Democrat, Obama cannot seek another term as president.
The blunt-spoken Christie was considered a Republican favorite until the "Bridgegate" scandal in which transportation and state officials allegedly engineered a traffic jam as political punishment. Lately he has been lagging other Republicans, including former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Additional reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Howard Goller)