Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich warned Thursday that President Obama and congressional Democrats appear to be on the verge of repeating the same mistakes that aggravated the Great Depression, adding that letting the Bush tax cuts expire would prove "very dangerous" for the nation's economy.
Speaking in an exclusive Newsmax interview, Gingrich sounded the alarm that raising taxes could cause serious damage to the economic recovery.
"If we have large tax increases in January," Gingrich told Newsmax.TV, "this economy will sink deeper into recession. There will be higher unemployment. The recovery will be longer.
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"This was exactly the mistake made in 1937 and 1938, and it created a second mini-depression. I think it's very dangerous, and I think the simple battle cry ought to be no tax increase in 2011, period. Keep current tax law exactly as it is through 2011," Gingrich said.
Gingrich charged that the high unemployment that continues to plague the economy stems from "an administration which consistently has been destroying American jobs."
He cited the financial reform legislation that the president recently signed into law as an example of "one more job-killing bill" Democrats have passed.
"The financial reform law increased the power of Washington, D.C., increased the power of bureaucracies, increased the amount of uncertainty, killed American jobs, and made it easier for Frankfurt, London, Tokyo, and Shanghai to become the financial centers of the world," Gingrich said.
When asked to give his recommendations for curing the nation's ongoing economic woes, the former speaker pointed to the five-point agenda on his AmericanSolutions.com Web site, which is included in the Economic Freedom Act recently submitted to Congress by Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah.
That legislation calls for:
- A 50 percent cut in the Social Security and Medicare tax, both for the employer and the employee
- Zero capital gains tax, which is the rate in China
- A 12.5 percent corporate tax rate, which is the rate in Ireland
- A 100 percent write-off annually for small businesses to buy new equipment, so workers have the best, most modern equipment
- Permanent elimination of the estate or "death" tax "so people have an incentive to work and save their entire lifetime.
"We think those five tax changes would dramatically accelerate economic growth and help the economy," Gingrich tells Newsmax.
For most of the interview Gingrich focused on national security, Islamic fundamentalism, and the recent publication of sensitive intelligence about the war in Afghanistan.
Among the other key points the former speaker made:
- Radical Islamists hope to impose Islamic law, called Shariah, in the United States, which Gingrich says "would end America as we know it."
- He called for a "serious inquiry" into the U.S. national security apparatus that has been unable to anticipate and thwart attacks such as the Christmas Day bomber and the attempted bombing in Time Square.
- If the United States could defeat radical Islam and compete economically with India and China, it "probably would have no major national security problem in the next 50 years."
- The United States would be much more secure today if authorities initially had identified the war on terrorism as being actually a struggle against radical Islam and the effort to impose Shariah.
- The leaks of the Wikileaks documents on Afghanistan should be considered an "unconscionable" act of treason. It isn't only that the documents were leaked, he said. "I think we should also be very, very strong in our condemnation of the newspapers that published them."
- Regarding the mosque controversy at ground zero, Gingrich urged the president and Congress to declare the area around the World Trade Center site a national military battlefield "because that was a battle and it's part of a real war." More Americans were killed at the World Trade Center than at any battle site in the United States since the Civil War. That justifies designating the area as a national battlefield, he said, where only "appropriate" buildings and uses would be allowed near the battlefield.
Gingrich also told Newsmax he will decide whether to run for president by March 2011, adding he is focused on trying to help as many Republicans as possible win in November.
Asked to evaluate President Barack Obama's performance in office, Gingrich said, "Well, I think he's very good at being a celebrity, and not very good at being president. He's perfect on The View but not too good in the Oval Office."
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