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Greg Bluestein

David Perdue and the ‘reality’ of increasing federal revenue

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An interesting interaction played about between Senate candidate David Perdue and the Macon Telegraph’s editorial board this week where the Republican seemed to do what few GOPers dare: hint at support for a tax increase.

Perdue, in Macon as part of a statewide tour, sat down with the Telegraph’s editorial board for more than an hour. Their wide-ranging discussion included this snippet on the nation’s deficit, which you can find near the 49-minute mark.021914 senate debate kdj09

A Telegraph editorial board member asked Perdue whether it would be better to get out of the economic “ditch” by curbing the growth of spending or increasing revenue.

“Both,” Perdue quickly answered.

The questioner then declared, “And that’s a euphemism for some kind of tax increase, of course.”

Perdue responded with a chuckle, and then answered thusly:

“Well here’s the reality: If you go into a business, and I keep coming back to my background, it’s how I know how to relate is to refer back to it — I was never able to turn around a company just by cutting spending. You had to figure out a way to get revenue growing. And what I just said, there are five people in the U.S. Senate who understand what I just said. You know revenue is not something they think about.”

The campaign of Perdue, a former Fortune 500 executive who is running on his business experience, pointed out that he signed a pledge not to raise taxes. Perdue spokesman Derrick Dickey said he was talking about growing the economy in general. Said Dickey:

“David was stating a simple economic principle: If the economy is growing and more people were working, it generates more revenue. Tax increases hinder economic growth and destroy jobs. David wants to get government off our backs and our economy back on track.”

Interestingly, the man Perdue is seeking to replace has made similar suggestions about raising revenue. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, a member of the bipartisan Gang of Six that tried to broker a comprehensive debt-reducing deal, noted in a policy paper this month that a tax code riddled with lucrative breaks is at the center of the nation’s fiscal ills. Wrote Chambliss:

“Now, no one is suggesting we remove all expenditures, but the point is illustrative: you don’t have to raise rates to raise revenue. Even if we preserve, in some capacity, expenditures like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), child tax credit, and modified deductions for mortgage interest of first homes, charitable giving, and healthcare, we can lower rates and generate more revenue.”

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