Speaking before the Club for Growth conference today, Rudy Giuliani emphasized many of the themes of his economic agenda: lower taxes, spending restraint, less regulation, and legal reform. As he has done in the past, he has said that unlike other politiciians who talk about fiscal conservative principles, he actually has a record to back it up.
Much of the interesting discussion came in the question and answer session.
On the heels of his recent back and forth with the Giuliani campaign over payroll tax rates, CFG President Pat Toomey asked Giuliani himself to clarify his position.
Giuliani left no doubt about where he stood on raising payroll tax rates as part of an effort to reform Social Security. “I would rule out a tax increase for that purpose or for any other purpose,” he said. Giuliani noted that the reason why he supports a bipartisan commission on Social Security reform is that any proposal by Republicans would be “like putting out your chin for Demcrats to sucker punch you” by saying you want to deny benefits to senior citizens. But he said in addition to ruling out tax increases, he would insist on at least the beginnings of private accounts.
Toomey also asked Giuliani about his past support for McCain-Feingold. “It is one of many occasions in which I can point out to you that I’m not perfect, that I’ve made mistakes,” Giuliani acknowledged. “And that has turned out to be a big mistake.” He spoke about the restrictions it has placed on free speech as well as the problems with 527s and said he now realizes that the best system would be one in which you ditched the focus on spending limits in favor of more transparency.