With growth of jobs and the economy stagnating in the United States, how to address these intertwined issues has been at the forefront of the campaign to become the 2012 GOP presidential nominee. Although some of the candidates' positions are alike, including a distaste for taxes and federal regulations, there are some differences, albeit subtle in some cases.
Below are some highlights of the Republican candidates' jobs and economic proposals, based on information from the candidates' websites and National Journal articles. Although not comprehensive summations of all of what they are proposing, the list gives an idea of where each stands.
Mitt Romney: While some other of the GOP presidential candidates have attached themselves to flat-tax proposals, Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, hasn't been a vocal supporter of such plans, but he hasn't been an opponent either. He supports a "fundamental redesign" of the tax system, including simplifying the tax code; eliminating taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains for low- and middle-income taxpayers; and reduce corporate tax rates. He'd also seeking to repeal the Obama health care law as well as the Dodd-Frank financial law, arguing that both have propagated regulations that have affected job creation(Chet Susslin)
Michele Bachmann: On her campaign website, the Minnesota congresswoman calls President Obama's record on job creation "abysmal." In particular, she signals out government spending and debt, a weakened dollar, a "threat of new tax increases," and the "burdens" on small businesses imposed by "Obamacare," among other actions, as the sources of the lack of job growth in the country. As president, Bachmann would push to eliminate the Internal Revenue Code and "counterproductive" federal regulations, and push for lower taxes.(AP IMAGES)
Herman Cain: Cain extolls his 9-9-9 plan as the reform needed to boost the nation's economy out its current slump. The plan calls for 9 percent corporate, individual, and sales flat tax rates across the board, which Cain says would boost GDP, employment, and business investment. A former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, Cain touts his corporate experience as an example of how the government can implement "serious but responsible belt tightening," including "modernizing or eliminating" entitlement programs. He'd also eliminate government subsidies and "special" corporate tax breaks.(AP Photo/Mike Carlson)
Newt Gingrich: The former House speaker has contributed to this election season's flat-tax fever by calling for an optional 15 percent flat tax that would keep deductions for charitable giving and "home ownership," with a personal deduction of $12,000. He'd also eliminate the capital gains tax and cut the corporate income tax to 12.5 percent. He'd also push for repealing laws related to financial regulations and dismantling the EPA in favor of a new agency. These and other proposals would create an atmosphere conducive to job creation.(Chet Susslin)
Jon Huntsman: As with the other GOP presidential candidates, the former Utah governor is no fan of taxes, calling the tax system's complexity a hindrance to American competitiveness, according to his website. As president, he would push for tax reform along the lines of President Reagan's 1986 tax-reform package. In part by simplifying the tax code, including eliminating all deductions and credits in favor of three rates, and eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends, economic growth, and job creation would follow.(AP IMAGES)
Ron Paul: The Texas congressman is nothing if not consistent in vocalizing his libertarian views on economic policy and job creation. He is a strong opponent of monetary policy, calling for the abolition of the Federal Reserve and for the implementation of a return to a gold standard, and calls on his website the federal government's intervention to address the 2008 crisis an "excuse to expand government intervention and power on an unprecedented level." Paul's prescription for improving the nation's jobs outlook is simple: "Government destroys jobs; markets create them," he said at the Sept. 22 GOP presidential debate.(Chet Susslin)
Rick Perry: Until recently, Perry's main economic platform has been based on his record as Texas governor, including his record of signing state budgets balanced through spending cuts, not tax increases. On Oct. 24, though, Perry released a much more comprehensive economic plan, which includes a call for a voluntary 20 percent flat-tax, a cap on federal spending at 18 percent of the country's GDP, and an ability for young workers to privatize their Social Security accounts. He also would eliminate many tax breaks, which "will renew incentives for entrepreneurial risk-taking and investment that creates jobs, inspires Americans to work hard, and forms the foundation of a strong economy."(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Rick Santorum: Like the other candidates, the former Pennsylvania senator favors lower taxes, especially for corporations. Rather than a point-by-point plan, Santorum casts himself as a "defender of the taxpayer," who, as a senator, backed the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. He was also a vocal opponent of both the Bush and Obama administrations' Wall Street bailout and stimulus programs. In explaining why he backed the 1996 Welfare Reform law, his campaign website calls the federal entitlement programs a "cancer to the long-term fiscal health of the nation."(JIM COLE/AP PHOTO)