Jeb Bush on Budget & Economy

Republican FL Governor; V.P. prospect


Florida thrived under my leadership

BUSH: People are struggling -- 63 percent of Americans can't make a $500 car payment. Most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. We need someone who has a proven record of growing the economy.

TRUMP: Florida, he put so much debt on Florida. He put so much debt on Florida, and he increased spending so much that as soon as he got out of office, Florida crashed. I happened to be there. It's my second home. He didn't do a good job as governor. He loaded it up with debt, and his spending went through the roof. He was not a good governor.

BUSH: Here's the record. We led the nation in job growth seven out of eight years. When I left there was $9 billion of reserves, 35% of general revenue. No state came close to that. During my time, we were one of the two states to go to AAA bond rating. Personal income during my time went up by 4.4 percent.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

Dodd-Frank increased costs of community banking

We ought to raise capital requirements so banks aren't too big to fail. Dodd-Frank has done the opposite: banks have higher concentration of risk and capital requirements aren't high enough. I talked to a banker for a bank that had $125 million of assets. Their compliance costs because of Dodd-Frank went from $100,000 to $600,000 in a 2-year period. They knew their borrowers. They gave back to the community. Imagine America without community banks. That's what's happening because of Dodd-Frank.
Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Don't accept new norm of 2% growth; strategize for 4%

The new normal of 2% puts huge demands on government. The reason we have deficits is that more people are relying on government. A 4% growth strategy starts with tax reform. We eliminate a lot of deductions and cut the rates down. A corporate rate of 20% would create an explosion of investment. I'm going to make sure that we shift power away from Washington and simplify the tax code. If we don't do that, we're stuck with the "new normal" of 2% growth.
Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

2% growth hurts the middle class

Two percent growth means declining income for the middle class. It means more than 6 million people are stuck in poverty than the day that Barack Obama was inaugurated. In this economy, the disposable income of the great middle is down 2,300 bucks. Jobs are being created, but they're lower-income jobs than the jobs that were lost. And the net effect of this is we need to jump-start the economy.
Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

They called me "Veto Corleone" because I vetoed so much

Q: Governor Bush, you have insisted that you're your own man. You say you have a life experience uniquely your own. Not your father's, not your brother's. But there are several opponents on this stage who say, "the last thing the country needs is another Bush in the Oval Office." So do you understand the real concern in this country about dynastic politics?

BUSH: Absolutely, I do, and I'm gonna run hard, run with heart, and run to win. I'm gonna have to earn this. Maybe the bar's even higher for me. That's fine. I've got a record in Florida. I'm proud of my dad, and I'm certainly proud of my brother. In Florida, they called me Jeb, because I earned it. I cut taxes every year, totaling $19 billion. We balanced every budget. They called me Veto Corleone, because I vetoed 2,500 separate line-items in the budget. I am my own man. I governed as a conservative, and I governed effectively. And we left the state better off because I applied conservative principles in a purple state the right way

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

We've achieved 4% growth 27 times; I will make it 28

Q: You made a bold promise in your announcement: 4% economic growth and 19 million new jobs over 8 years. The last president to average 4% growth was Lyndon Johnson during the height of the Vietnam War. So how on Earth would you pull that off?

BUSH: We've done it 27 times since World War II. I think we need to lift our spirits and have high, lofty expectations for this great country of ours. The new normal of 2% that the left is saying you can't do anything about is so dangerous for our country. There's 6 million people living in poverty today, more than when Barack Obama got elected. 6.5 million people are working part-time, most of whom want to work full-time. We've created rules and taxes on top of every aspiration of people, and the net result is we're not growing fast, income is not growing. A 4% growth strategy means you fix a convoluted tax code. You get in and you change every aspect of regulations that are job killers. You get rid of ObamaCare.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

6-year recovery has been slower than other comebacks

Bush said he's worried about the slow pace of the six-year economic recovery in comparison with other comebacks since World War II, which has resulted in a drop in median income and millions of people giving up looking for a job. "The recovery has been everywhere but in the family paychecks," Bush said.

"The central question we face here in Detroit and across America is this: Can we restore that dream--that moral promise--that each generation can do better?" Bush outlined what he called a set of principles embracing "reform everywhere, especially in our government," giving more power to the states to solve problems and relying less on directives from the federal government.

Source: Detroit News, "Right-to-rise society" , Feb 4, 2015

$787B economic plan: whole lot of spending & not stimulative

A month before the election, George W. Bush had gotten fairly solid bipartisan support from the Congress for his TARP plan, which directed the Treasury Department to purchase up to $700 billion in troubled assets from some of America's largest banks. But when the new president took office and proposed a $787 billion economic-stimulus plan to jump-start the broader economy, that bipartisanship seemed to evaporate overnight.

The Obama stimulus plan didn't fit their theory of what government should do at a time of economic crisis, which seemed to add up to nothing at all. The unfettered market was supposed to solve everything.

Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p.154-157 , Feb 4, 2014

Stimulus more related to liberal agenda than stimulus

On Feb. 23, Jeb Bush called my support for the president's economic stimulus "unforgiveable." Jeb started sweetly. I was a "talented guy," he said, "about the nicest guy I've ever met in politics." Then he let loose.

"There's one thing that he has done that I just find unforgiveable. He is the only statewide political leader that I'm aware of, that embraced the stimulus package when Republicans were fighting to suggest an alternative."

Now, I do believe that some things in life are unforgiveable But accepting money from Washington to save jobs of teachers, police officers, and firefighters and help revive our economy? No, that's not one of them. Besides, almost every governor ended up taking some or all of the money. I was just the only Republican who was so up-front about it.

Jeb kept pounding on the stimulus, which he termed "a massive spending bill that is not related to stimulus. It is related to trying to carry out a liberal agenda."

Source: The Party's Over, by Charlie Crist, p.218-219 , Feb 4, 2014

Bipartisan compromise to reduce the deficit significantly

Jeb Bush seems to be bucking the trend. He is seeking to return the party to its ideological moorings--toward the centrism of his grandfather. Even before the GOP's ignominious defeat in November, Jeb was offering tough love to his party, suggesting that Republicans stand up to Grover Norquist and craft a bipartisan compromise to reduce the deficit significantly. But will Republicans listen? There are many reasons to believe they won't.

Hence, in evaluating Jeb's prescriptions for fiscal responsibility, today's Republicans should recall the Bushes' past political palm reading. While Jeb's prescriptions are in the party's long-term interest, they will be difficult to execute, given the strength of the party's coalition members.

Can Jeb sway a resistant party base? It's quite possible: His family's odyssey has reflected the party's shifts for 50 years, and he's uniquely positioned to convince his peers.

Source: Jeff Smith, CNN Opinion, "Sway the GOP on taxes" , Dec 11, 2012

Mortgage bankers got us into this mess; they should solve it

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush spoke before attendees of the Mortgage Bankers Association conference in Chicago. He advised advocacy: "Advocate and persuade. There is real hostility toward business in Washington. There's not a lot of love. In those kinds of circumstances, most business organizations go into a fetal position. That doesn't work," he said. Bush spoke against turning a blind eye, and instead encouraged proactivity.

"The problem that got us into this mess was the real estate problem, but there is very little going on to solve the real estate problems," he said. "Who better to advocate a policy to get us out of this mess? Why not defend your positions in the marketplace of ideas? Business has gotten way too timid. The natural inclination is to cower. I would encourage you to stand up."

Source: Elizabeth Ecker in Reverse Mortgage Daily , Oct 12, 2011

Florida budget grew by 27% during Bush's terms

In June 2006, the state had 43.6% more spending than when Bush took office and 46.5% more personal income. The state's total budget grew by more than 27% in constant dollars between 1999 when Bush took office and 2005. Ironically, this performance disappointed the governor's small government constituency and led some to call him a "big-government Republican." At the end of his term in 2006, the conservative Cato Institute criticized him for having overseen "explosive growth" and gave him a grade of "D" for controlling spending.

The Bush tax strategies facilitated his "starve the beast" spending policy and gave him an opportunity to make the kinds of choices in funding state government that he desired.

Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p.106 , Dec 11, 2009

Bank bailouts were needed to avoid financial unraveling

Q: Should McCain have opposed the bailout?

A: I don't know. Maybe if he had opposed the bailout based on some actual principles he could express, that would have shown leadership.

Q: You have defended the early bailouts, those implemented by your brother?

A: If there wasn't any support, given the intricate nature of all these credit-default swaps, you could have had an unraveling of the financial system. So I'm not sure there was another choice. There may have been a different means of doing it.

Source: Tucker Carlson interview of Jeb Bush in Esquire , Aug 1, 2009

OpEd: 1990 S&L bailout included $4M to Jeb

Jeb and his partner Armondo Codina purchased 1390 Brickell Avenue, a downtown office building, in 1984. The two found an insurance company to lend them $7 million, and J. Edward Houston put up another $4.6 million, borrowed from Broward Federal Savings and Loan.

Broward , having made a number of these sweetheart loans, collapsed in the national savings and loan crisis. Federal regulators negotiated a deal that Jeb and Codina keep the building by closing out the $4.6 million Broward liability for a mere $505,000. The two partners had to pay $1.3 million in income tax on the forgiven loan.

The question here is not whether Jeb turned a profit. The question is the 7-figure contribution that US taxpayers made to Jeb's net worth. How do we know there was a 7-figure contribution? Because Jeb and Codina paid $1.3 million in income tax on it. Asked if they were aware that the funds for the repayment of the Broward loans came from the taxpayers, Jeb phrased it, "Helllllll, no. Absolutely not."

Source: America's Next Bush, by S.V. Date, p. 89-91 , Feb 15, 2007

1988: Lost $4M in taxpayer bailout of failed Savings & Loan

Jeb Bush and one of his business partners, Cuban-American developer Armando Codina, borrowed money from Broward Federal Savings and Loan in Sunrise, Florida for an office building. When the thrift collapsed in 1988 with $285 million in bad loans, federal regulators discovered the Bush-Codina partnership had defaulted on a $4.6 million loan. According to the negotiated deal with the government, Bush and Codina wrote a check for $505,000 to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the government agency in turn allowed the two men to retain possession of their office building while taxpayers absorbed the $4 million loss.
Source: Fortunate Son, by J.H.Hatfield, p.111 , Aug 17, 1999

Supports constitutional balanced budget amendment

Q: Would you support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring an annual balanced federal budget?

A: Yes

Q: Do you support providing immunity from civil liability to persons who are participating in the process of government?

A: No.

Source: 1998 Florida Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1998

Bankruptcy reform: limit Chapter 7; protect states' role.

Bush adopted the National Governors Association policy:

    The Governors are particularly concerned that bankruptcy reform legislation address the following issues:
  1. Prevent Chapter 7 Use by Those with the Ability to Pay: Present bankruptcy law does not prevent use of Chapter 7 by those with ability to repay, nor does it require that debtors use Chapter 13, which would require them to repay creditors what the debtor can afford. The Governors strongly support federal efforts to prevent debtors from using Chapter 7 when they are financially able to pay some or all of their unsecured debts.
  2. Encourage Payment of Domestic Support Obligations: Bankruptcy interferes significantly with states’ ability to assist citizens owed domestic support and to collect unpaid domestic support owed them. The Governors strongly encourage Congress to ensure that any federal bankruptcy reform requires that domestic support obligations have the highest possible repayment priority, that all domestic support obligations be nondischargeable, and that commencement of bankruptcy not prevent the continued collection of child and other support obligations.
  3. Give State Claims Parity with Federal Claims in Bankruptcy: Today, bankruptcy rightly gives certain preferences in payment to federal claims against the bankruptcy estate, but similar treatment is not always accorded state claims. The Governors strongly support congressional efforts to reform the treatment of state claims in bankruptcy to provide parity of treatment with federal claims.
  4. Protect the State Role: The Governors oppose efforts to preempt state authority to determine exemptions under state bankruptcy law. Currently, debtors have a right to choose between federal and state exemptions. The Governors support efforts to shape bankruptcy reform policy that protects the rights of states to determine their own standards instead of having uniform federal regulations imposed without regard for individual state needs.
Source: NGA Economic Development Policy EDC-21: Bankruptcy Reform 01-NGA2 on Feb 15, 2001

Uphold commitments to states before other spending.

Bush adopted the National Governors Association position paper:

The Issue

The major budget issue will be over the surplus and how big of a surplus there will be. How much will be dedicated to paying down the national debt, how much to tax cuts, how much to increase defense spending, what to do about key discretionary spending programs, and whether and how to change key entitlement programs, such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security? How these decisions are made could have significant impacts on the federal-state partnership, especially as they affect vital health and human services programs. What will happen to funding for priority state domestic discretionary programs for the federal fiscal year? When will Congress act?

NGA’s Position

Before considering new spending initiatives or tax cuts, the federal government must first uphold its current commitments to the states.
Source: National Governors Association "Issues / Positions" 01-NGA8 on Sep 14, 2001

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Page last updated: Aug 18, 2016