Republican Karl Snow and Democrat Bill Orton had few good things to say about each other Thursday in a Hinckley Institute of Politics debate at the University of Utah.
The 3rd District candidates both said they'd attempt to shake Congress into balancing the budget and reducing the deficit, although they'd go about it different ways.Snow said new taxes aren't needed, and Congress can't be trusted with them. "Every time we've raised taxes by $1, Congress increased spending by $1.50." He says federal revenues grow naturally by $75 billion each year, about 6 percent. House Republicans suggest "freezing" federal spending at 4 percent a year, leaving 2 percent to reduce the deficit. "In six or seven years, there is no longer a budget deficit. But we have to freeze federal hiring as well," said Snow.
Orton says that's a simplistic solution that won't work. "It is David Stockman's trickle down theory." He suggests a three-prong approach: severe budget reform that includes multiyear budgeting so programs can't be approved one year and then funded the next; huge cuts in defense spending, some entitlement program cuts; take the huge deficit interest payments "off-budget" and adopt a new transfer tax on money exchanges that would go to pay the trillion-dollar debt. Within 15 years the debt would be paid and the tax could end.
The transfer tax is a terrible idea, says Snow. "That is really a value added tax, a national sales tax. It would mean starting a whole new system to collect and monitor it, very costly and inflationary."
They differed also on the 1990 Civil Rights Act. Orton, while not liking parts of the bill, would have voted for it and voted to override President Bush's veto. Snow would not have voted for it, would have sustained the veto.
"There is much to criticize in my party," said Orton. "But much to criticize in the other as well. What I'm saying is that I'd go to Congress with new ideas, solutions that will work, and not be afraid to stand up to my party or anyone (to get those solutions before the body)."
Countered Snow: "It is hinted that I'm old, with old ideas. I have old ideas - they're a proven base, and understanding how the system works, experience. I have new ideas also. I say old men can be visionary."
"I have nothing to gain in going to Washington other than working for better government," said Orton. "That's why I got in this race, the only reason."