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Steve Forbes on Government Reform

2000 Republican Primary Candidate for President


Negative ads are OK if they tell the truth

Q: [to Bush & Forbes]: Will you agree not to run any negative ads against each other?

FORBES. The answer is if being negative is telling the truth I will continue to tell the truth. People deserve it, we deserve an honest and open and vigorous debate. And if a man breaks a pledge [re 1997 tax cuts], the voters ought to know it.

BUSH: I’ll run positive ads. Listen, I cut taxes as the governor. That’s a fact. That is the bottom line. The people of my state know my record and they endorsed it with an election. And yet if you look at [Forbes’] ads it doesn’t say that. I don’t mind debates. I do mind Republicans tearing each other down.

FORBES. You’re not going to win the White House by making pledges that are then broken. We’ve been through that before, particularly on taxes. A pledge made should be a pledge kept. And in Texas it was your own party that saved you from breaking that pledge. You tried to break it, they blocked you.

Source: (cross-ref to Bush) GOP Debate in Michigan , Jan 10, 2000

Remove gov’t from health care, retirement, & education

I’m running for president because I believe it’s important for somebody to step forward and deal honestly and openly with the American people. These are the things I will do as president
Source: Television advertisement in NH & Iowa , Dec 30, 1999

Drain the tax code swamp to kill lobbyist mosquitoes

FORBES [to McCain]: Passing laws against lobbyists is sort of like passing laws against mosquitoes. Washington attracts mosquitoes the way swamps attract mosquitoes. Special interests go there. Don’t we need to drain the swamp first to get the mosquitoes out of the way. And don’t we have to get rid of the tax code first?

McCAIN: The fact is if you want to drain the swamp, you take the big money away from the big-time K Street lobbyists and that way they lose their power and their influence. Look, anybody who wants the status quo in Washington, they don’t want John McCain. Because there ain’t going to be the status quo when I’m president of the United States. You take away the big money, you’re going to take away their power and you’re going to break that iron triangle of lobbyists, big money and influence over the legislative process which has so badly embarrassed so many of us and it is the gateway to draining the swamp.

Source: (cross-ref. to McCain) Phoenix Arizona GOP Debate , Dec 7, 1999

Remove excess regulations, a hidden tax

We must encourage American businesses and farmers by weeding out the excessive red tape that Washington has been creating over the past decade. Regulations act as a hidden tax, and if we are not careful, they can begin to suffocate small businesses, destroy jobs, and choke off economic growth.
Source: “A New Birth of Freedom,” p. 176 , Nov 9, 1999

Tort reform to end frivolous lawsuits

We need real tort reform. Our courts are suffocating under the weight of frivolous lawsuits designed by greedy trial lawyers that bog down our legal system, drive up the cost of doing business, and hinder our economic competitiveness.
Source: “A New Birth of Freedom,” p. 177 , Nov 9, 1999

Unlimited campaign gifts, with full disclosure

We should have a system in America where individuals can give as much as they want to a candidate as long as there is full and prompt disclosure. The establishment loves the current rules because, unless you are blessed like me with independent resources, they have ways of shutting you out! [The establishment considers the primaries to be] a coronation, not a real contest. And that’s fundamentally wrong.
Source: Republican Debate at Dartmouth College , Oct 29, 1999

Eliminate tax code instead of soft money

The Forbes camp rejected eliminating “soft money” in campaigns. “We believe the best reform is to eliminate the tax code,” said Forbes’ campaign manager, who added Forbes also supports increased personal contribution limits, disclosure and term limits.
Source: Matthew Fordahl, Associated Press , Jul 7, 1999

Appoint judges who are not social activists

Appoint judges and Supreme Court Justices who respect the moral outlook that produced the Constitution they are interpreting. Such judges will not imagine themselves philosopher-kings who can dispense with centuries of ethical tradition, or singlehandedly determine difficult social questions for an entire nation.
Source: www.forbes2000.com “Moral Compass” , May 21, 1999

End of Cold War is opportunity to shrink government

How did we justify federal aid to education? The initial rationale was national security. Federal aid for the space program? National security. If government could mobilize resources to fight external enemies, it could solve an array of domestic problems: hence, the “War on Poverty.” Now that the Cold War is over, we no longer need such a massive, centralized federal government. We now [should] downsize Washington & shift money, power & control back to individuals, families & local communities.
Source: www.forbes2000.com “Moral Compass” , May 21, 1999

Supports Term Limits

Forbes has long believed that the freedoms of the American people would be better protected by putting an end to the permanent political class in Washington. Term limits are the will of the people. They make sense. Steve will support their passage as President.
Source: www.forbes2000.com “Personal Security” , May 21, 1999

Refuses PAC money; opposes banning soft money

Steve supports giving the American people more political freedom. That’s why he [supports] efforts to substantially raise or abolish the caps on personal giving to a political campaign, provided there is prompt and full disclosure on the Internet. Steve strongly opposes any effort to take away any person or organization’s right to free speech, [& opposes] the McCain-Feingold bill. Steve refuses to take taxpayer funds for his presidential campaign, and refuses to accept special interest PAC money.
Source: www.forbes2000.com “Personal Security” , May 21, 1999

Eliminate Commerce Dept, FCC, & other ‘alphabet agencies’

All of [my] proposals and themes have the common thread of allowing you to have more power, more opportunity and more responsibility. We have to reduce the size of government. There’s several departments, starting with the Commerce Department that can be tossed out. Some of the alphabet agencies can be done away with, I think. Like the Federal Communications Commission, created when the spectrum was scarce. Spectrum is not scarce today, thanks to technology. It’s outlived its usefulness.
Source: Speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government , Nov 27, 1995

  • Click here for 4 older quotations from Steve Forbes on Government Reform.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Government Reform.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Steve Forbes.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Steve Forbes.
Other candidates on Government Reform: Steve Forbes on other issues:
Former Presidents:
George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)

Former Contenders:
V.P.Al Gore
Pat Buchanan
V.P.Dick Cheney
Sen.Bob Dole
Ralph Nader
Gov.Sarah Palin

Political Thinkers:
Noam Chomsky
Milton Friedman
Arianna Huffington
Rush Limbaugh
Tea Party
Ayn Rand
Secy.Robert Reich
Donald Trump
Gov.Jesse Ventura
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Page last updated: Oct 09, 2013