Candidates for Delaware’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives agree on the need to pare down the soaring national debt as a matter of national security in the face of a growing threat from China. They also agree on the need to create more jobs and to bring back the “Made in the U.S.A.” label. But John C. Carney Jr., 54, of Wilmington, and Glen Urquhart, 61, of Rehoboth Beach, sparred on how to achieve these lofty goals at a debate hosted by the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, Sept. 21.
Candidates for Delaware’s lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives agree on the need to pare down the soaring national debt as a matter of national security in the face of a growing threat from China.
They also agree on the need to create more jobs and to bring back the “Made in the U.S.A.” label. But John C. Carney Jr., 54, of Wilmington, and Glen Urquhart, 61, of Rehoboth Beach, sparred on how to achieve these lofty goals at a debate hosted by the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, Sept. 21.
WDEL 1150 AM News at Noon anchor Allan Loudell served as the moderator.
Carney, a Democrat who served two terms as lieutenant governor and prior to that was secretary of finance, said he is the man for the job because the country needs strong leaders who will put progress and economic growth above partisanship.
Urquhart, a Republican, said it’s good to want to create jobs but he actually knows how to do it as a successful small businessman and entrepreneur for 35 years. The real estate developer said that Carney is a career politician that is part of the problem of big government, not the solution.
With a national debt of $13.5 trillion, candidates were asked what steps should Congress take to lower the deficit and deficit spending.
Both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for the debt, Carney said. Under President Bush, the national debt increased nearly $5 trillion to $11 trillion with two wars not paid for, a prescription plan not paid for and tax cuts unpaid for, he said.
“Worse, these deficits are being funded through borrowing from countries around the world, some of which are adversaries,” Carney said. “This has got to stop. We’ve got to send leaders to Washington who are willing to work across party lines … on this problem … If we don’t, it’s going to be a tremendous drag politically.
“I have two sons. I don’t want to leave that kind of debt with my sons and their friends and my nieces and nephews,” he said. “We’ve got to do better.”
The United States can cut its debt if it cuts wasteful spending, Urquhart said. A planning commitee appointee under President Reagan, Urquhart said he saw the waste and duplication across government agencies.
Since 2006, when Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) became speaker of the House, the Democrats have controlled Congress, which has the power of the purse, Urquhart said.
“That’s why I say it’s Democrat debt,” he said. “And it ends badly when we don’t pay China [the United State’s largest creditor] and they say, ‘You can’t spend as much on your military.’ We’ve won two world wars, a Revolutionary War and a Civil War. If we buckle down and return to constitutional principles and free enterprise and liberty, we will unleash the economic genius of this country.”
Since some Americans consider China an adversary, candidates were asked to talk about this new superpower and its currency maneuvers.
When the U.S. began to do business with China, Americans saw this huge market open up to them, Carney said. But the reality is that America is losing that competition.
“The Chinese are making things that we used to make here in America,” Carney said. “They’re doing it with state-owned and state-sponsored businesses that underwrite capital costs and other investments that businesses have to make here in the U.S. It’s unfair competition. One of the things I hear from people up and down this state is the frustration at jobs moving overseas to low-wage countries like China.
“We need to confront China on this particularly issue in terms of the way they prop up their currency and the way they engage their competitive practices by underwriting the costs for their businesses. We need to start making things in America again,” he added.
The United States can compete with China, Urquhart said. But things like the Dodd-Frank bill, which he called “a monstrosity” that strangles businesses with unnecessary regulations, need to be repealed.
“We can create jobs here. We can create technological products in the United States if government would get out of the way. But like the previous attempt to make the world safe from Enron, Dodd-Frank is rife with unintended consequences. That’s Washington’s favorite word when there are costs. We’re driving jobs overseas with regulations that make it impossible to do businesses.”
But Carney compared regulations to officiating at a football game. During the 1990s, “the referees” were taken away from Wall Street with financial deregulation, with the belief that it could regulate itself. Then, the world financial system almost collapsed and almost took down the world economy with it, Carney said.
“If there was anything the government did, it abdicated its responsibility to set the rules and enforce the rules,” he said. “We need a set of rules; we need to put the referees back on the field so that risky Wall Street behavior … does not result in the kind of government bailouts Mr. Urquhart has complained about.”
But bad policy, such as the “ridiculous cap-and-tax bill China’s exempt from … ties a brick around both of our feet and a millstone around our neck, ” Urquhart said.
With the Bush tax cuts set to expire, the candidates were asked to explain where they stand on the capital gains tax and the death tax.
Urquhart supports the permanent extension of those tax cuts and no tax increases for capital gains, income or death, he said. He said increasing taxes destroys jobs and America is already the highest taxed industrial country in the world because of a movement toward statism, which includes the belief that government bureaucrats know how to spend people’s money better than the people themselves.
“If we cut taxes as Canada did, as Ronald Reagan did, as John Kennedy did, we will see the production of jobs, economic growth and pay down our debt,” Urquhart said. “We can restore the American dream and we can compete with China which is a major national security threat to us. [Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] Admiral Mullen said the greatest national security threat is debt. We’re already ceding some sovereignty to China.”
Carney supports extending the capital gains tax cut two or three years and taking that same time, as the economy recovers, to come up with a comprehensive plan to reduce the deficit in a bipartisan fashion, he said. But he would bring the estate tax back in a limited fashion.
“Extending the capital gains tax cut is important to encourage the kind of investment we need to get our economy going again,” he said. “I would bring the estate tax back, but with a high exclusion, say $3.5 or $5 million, and provisions to protect small businesses and farms so that businesses don’t have to sell productive assets and families don’t have to sell farmland just to pay an estate tax.”
Carney leads Republican Glen Urquhart 48 percent to 37 percent, in a recent poll conducted by Public Policy Polling. Election Day is Nov. 2.