"Face the Nation" transcript: September 4, 2011
Will veterans have to pay taxes on their disability checks and their benefits?
HUNTSMAN: Bob, what I'm asking for is a complete remake of our tax code. And in order to get where this country needs to be, in a position for the rest of the 21st century, given where of our other competitor nations have come since 1986 tax reform, which I thought was very successful under President Reagan -- we forget we just haven't made a whole lot of progress in the last 30 years.
HUNTSMAN: All the while you have a lot of our competitor nations in the world who have made tremendous strides towards becoming more competitive.
We're sitting kind of a little bit fat, dumb, and happy as still 25 percent of the world's GDP without having made the steps necessary to get us back in the game. So I'm calling for that which is bold.
I know it's going to be politically controversial, but I think it is absolutely needed at this point in our nation's history.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me ask you this...
HUNTSMAN: Clearing out the cobwebs, clearing out the cobwebs, clearing out the deductions, the corporate welfare, the subsidies, buying down the rate. And when I hear people saying you can take it down to zero, all I'm saying is you have got to be real about the math here. You have got to raise some revenue and you've got to be able to buy down a rate to a level that mathematically makes sense.
SCHIEFFER: Well, what about what Sarah Palin said yesterday, let's just do away with corporate taxes. Do you think -- would you be willing to go that far?
HUNTSMAN: Listen, that's a great political bromide. And everybody would love to go down to zero in terms of corporate taxes. How do you do it? How do you make the numbers work? All I'm telling you is I have been there and I've done that. I have worked on tax reform, the most sweeping tax reform we ever saw in the history of our state, the kind of tax reform where people like Art Laffer and others came into our state and said, this is exactly what needs to happen in every other state, effectively creating a flat tax.
I've been there and I've done that. I know how difficult it is to make the numbers work. You have got to find the revenues somewhere that you can reinvest back in the tax code to bring down the rate for everybody.
I've looked very carefully at the numbers. I've looked at what the Simpson-Bowles Commission report did. And this was a bipartisan group of very thoughtful people who looked at our tax code. I looked at their work. I thought it was outstanding.
I took their work and built upon it, I think made it even better. So I believe that ours is based on the real world and where we can make the numbers actually work. SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about something else in the real world, Governor. You have styled yourself as the moderate in this race. But when I look at these polls I see Rick Perry now getting 26, 27 percent of the Republicans favoring him.
You heard Congresswoman Bachmann. She's scoring 10 to 16 percent favoring her. Ron Paul getting 10 percent in some polls. Now Palin getting in with another 10 percent or so. That means that at least 50 percent, perhaps 60 percent of the Republican electorate seems to favor very, very conservative candidates.
Do you think you can keep on styling yourself as a moderate? Or are you going to have to move to the right here?
HUNTSMAN: Well, let me just say, everybody kind of gets a label slapped on their forehead, which I think is unfortunate. All you have to do is look up at my record. My record is what it is. I'm running proudly on my record. I am who I am as a politician and as a human being.
And when people look at my record, they're going to see that I'm pro-life. I'm pro Second Amendment. I'm pro growth. We've created the largest environment for tax cuts and economic rejuvenation in our state.
When people look at my record, they're going to find a lot to like about it. But the early polls, Bob, are absolute nonsense at this point in the game.
SCHIEFFER: All right.
HUNTSMAN: I mean, if we had gone by the polls back in 2008, Fred Thompson would be president. Howard Dean back in 2004. I believe we've always had -- we've already had about four frontrunners in the race so far.
SCHIEFFER: All right. Clock just ran out.
HUNTSMAN: So stay tuned. There's a lot to play out this fall season.
SCHIEFFER: The clock just ran out, Governor. I'm very sorry. Thank you so much and good luck down the trail, and see you again.
HUNTSMAN: Thanks again from "American Gothic." I appreciate it.
SCHIEFFER: Finally today, 49 years ago this week, I got out of the Air Force after serving three years on active duty. I got out on the same day I went in, 7 September. It's the one day I always put the date first and then the month because that's how the Air Force did it. It just pops up in my memory that way.
I didn't join for noble reasons. I enrolled in ROTC in college because I didn't want to be drafted, but I learned more in those three years than I ever did in any school.
One of the first lessons was when I came up with some crazy idea and my boss told me, that might work but first learn to do it our way, then you can try it your way. Remarkably, it turned out the Air Force had figured out several things that had never dawned on me at age 22.
That saved me a lot of trouble down the line. This revelation that others might have ideas just as good or better than mine. The Air Force gave me the pride that comes from being part of something larger than myself and the knowledge that comes from working and learning from others on a team.
Maybe it's unfair, but as I watch the mess we've made of our politics I find myself asking, do you suppose these people were ever on a team, ever sat down and really listened to what someone else was saying? Ever had anything on their minds but themselves?
I know. I already said it's unfair. But I keep wondering and thinking how much I learned after 7 September.
Back in a minute.
SCHIEFFER: That's it for us. See you next week.
- Gitmo closing: Time for rhetoric has passed, says Amnesty leader
- President at a crossroads
- Gates knocks "cartoonish" Benghazi criticism
- Drones have not "made us any safer," argues Amnesty leader
- AP president blasts "unconstitutional" phone records probe
- Roberts switched views to uphold health care law
- Bob Schieffer on "dumb and dumber" in Washington
- Face the facts: A fact check on gas prices
- Noonan: Petraeus resignation "mysterious"
- Face the Nation transcripts May 19, 2013: Pfeiffer, Cornyn, Chaffetz & Pruitt
- Adviser on White House scandals: "Partisan fishing expeditions" won't distract Obama
- May 19: Pfeiffer, Cornyn, Chaffetz & Pruitt
- Drones have not "made us any safer," argues Amnesty leader
- Official: We knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack "from the get-go"
- Face In the News: Pfeiffer defends Obama administration
- Maya Angelou recalls her childhood on Mother's Day