This is the fourth in a series of conversations with the 2020 Fifth district congressional candidates. Each week, the Rappahannock News will give Republican Bob Good and Democrat Cameron Webb an opportunity to present their views on a single issue. In Part IV, Webb and Good share their approaches to taxes and the economy. Webb and Good responded to identical written questions.
On Trump’s Tax Reform Plan
Webb: I believe we must create a tax system where everyone pays their fair share. Unfortunately, the 2017 Republican Tax Bill made our system less fair and increased the burden on middle class Americans. It greatly undermined healthcare in America and benefitted corporations and the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the vast majority of taxpayers.
There are two portions of the bill which I think were successful and I’d build upon: simplifying the tax code and expanding child tax credits. Beyond that, the bill has largely hurt middle class Americans. As a result of the tax bill, most taxpayers saw their tax refunds decrease by nearly 10 percent in its first year.
In the long term, more than 85 percent of the benefits from the bill will go to the top one percent, while millions of middle-class Americans will see their taxes go up. This is unacceptable and must be rewritten and improved upon to ensure a system where everyone, especially international corporations, pay their fair share.
Good: A crucial aspect of the President's America First policy is his Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This legislation has been a tremendous success and advancing similar legislative action will help our economy recover faster from the COVID pandemic and grow our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We need to put the money of American workers back in their hands. Creating permanent individual and corporate tax cuts while getting our spending under control is absolutely necessary as we move forward.
On Stimulating the Economy
Webb: It is critical that Congress provides a lifeline to our communities and small businesses as they are struggling to survive during the economic downturn created by the COVID-19 pandemic. For as long as the pandemic is still undermining our economy, we must do everything in our power to support businesses, families, and our communities so folks can stay afloat until we are able to safely start returning to normal.
No economic stimulus will be sufficient unless we first get the virus under control. To do so, I support policies to help us get through this crisis like: direct stimulus payments, the Paycheck Protection Program and other aid to small businesses, and protections from evictions and loan defaults. Once we are through the worst of this and most businesses are able to begin operating at full capacity again, I believe the best way to stimulate economic growth is through investment in economic opportunity.
For VA-05, I believe the priorities for doing so are by expanding rural broadband, investing in job training and apprenticeship programs, and ensuring our children have access to a high quality education. These are investments in our future that will attract businesses and jobs to the district and ensure every Virginian has access to opportunities for success.
Good: Continuing to reduce regulations on businesses and eliminating useless red tape, while empowering the American entrepreneurial spirit, is crucial for economic freedom and prosperity, especially as we pull out of this pandemic.
On Party Differences
Webb: Overall, I share Joe Biden’s vision for an economy that creates opportunity for all Americans. From Biden’s proposals to reinvigorate American manufacturing to his plan to expand vocational job training and apprenticeships, I believe Vice President Biden’s vision for the American economy will put us on the right path to recover from COVID and grow our economy in a way that creates opportunities for everyone.
There are a few areas where my vision for the economy includes aspects of President Trump’s agenda and vision. For example, I support the general concept of simplifying regulations we place on small businesses whenever possible to allow economic growth without harming the health or safety of our communities.
I also agree with President Trump that we must hold China accountable for their abuses of intellectual property, trade practices, lack of transparency over COVID-19 and more. While I will pursue different strategies for holding China accountable by better including our allies in the fight, I firmly agree with President Trump that bad actors in the global community must be held accountable. Lastly, I believe the President has done the right thing by pushing to lower the cost of prescription drugs, including through the use of an international pricing index.
Good: I fully support President Trump’s economic policies of low taxes, deregulation, affordable plentiful energy produced in America, and fair trade. We are completely on the same page and I really look forward to working with him in Washington as we progress in the Great American Comeback.
On Black and Latino Business Opportunities
Webb: The disproportionate lack of access to government support programs by Black and Latino businesses is yet another example of larger, structural inequality impacting communities of color. The root of that inequality is systemic racism. Research has shown that the historic exclusion of people of color from access to financial institutions and the ongoing lack of access to banking in communities of color has furthered economic disparities.
I have seen first-hand the potential for bipartisan consensus in addressing these systemic inequities. In both the Obama and Trump Administrations, I was honored to work on initiatives to expand economic opportunity for everyone. Both Administrations understood that through thoughtful, targeted investment, we can overcome historic and systemic barriers.
We must invest in education and job training, pursue comprehensive criminal justice reform, and utilize targeted grants (e.g. opportunity zones) to ensure opportunities exist for communities in need. All these policies have bipartisan support and a track record of success. We must keep pursuing them to ensure every American has access to opportunity.
Good: Without knowing the facts of each case [where a Black or Latino business was rejected from receiving COVID-19 related aid], or the reasons why these businesses were rejected, there is no real way to know. Racism of any kind should not be tolerated and if evidence exists in this matter, it should certainly be investigated.
More Q&As on the issues:
This is the first in a series of conversations with the 2020 Fifth district congressional candidates. Each week, the Rappahannock News will gi…
Each week, the Rappahannock News will give Republican Bob Good and Democrat Cameron Webb an opportunity to present their views on a single issue
This is the third in a series of conversations with the 2020 Fifth district congressional candidates. Each week, the Rappahannock News will give Republican Bob Good and Democrat Cameron Webb an opportunity to present their views on a single issue.
This is the third in a series of conversations with the 2020 Fifth district congressional candidates. Each week, the Rappahannock News will give Republican Bob Good and Democrat Cameron Webb an opportunity to present their views on a single issue. In a continuation of Part III from last week, Webb and Good share their approaches to the concerns of rural voters.