Our economy is stronger than it has been in years, and unemployment is at historic lows. We need to keep the American economy vibrant and growing, and we need to make sure that everyone both contributes to economic growth and benefits from the fruits of that growth.
- Access to Education. Education is the key to individual prosperity. All Americans should have access to a great K-12 education, and a great advanced education after graduation, whether it be a 4-year college degree or vocational training for a skilled, well-paying job. Congress should do more to reduce the cost of college, lower the burden of student loans on our graduates, and give our k-12 teachers and students the resources they need to be successful. Additionally, we need to invest in vocational education to provide a range of opportunities to our students. I am a proud graduate of DW Daniel High School in Central, SC and Clemson University in 1986. As a product of public schools who sent his own children to public schools, I am a firm supporter of public education.
- A Living Wage & Affordable Housing. Everyone who works should be paid what they are worth and everyone who works is worth a wage that will give them at least a decent living. This means raising the federal minimum wage to a level that will allow a person to support himself or herself and a couple to support a family and then indexing it to increase with inflation. It also means ensuring that housing is affordable to the workforce. One of the best ways to ensure housing is affordable is to make sure people can earn enough to pay for decent housing.
- Affordable Healthcare. America is too rich for any American to fail to have access to affordable healthcare. We need to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and make it work well rather than trying to break it. President Trump ran on the promise that he would come up with something cheaper, better and that would cover more people. He didn’t. Republican congressional leaders have for years called for repealing and replacing Obamacare with something better. When they had a chance, they didn’t. We need both parties to work together to make the Affordable Care Act work instead of one party doing everything they can to break it.
- Protecting Social Security and Medicare. Everyone who works a full career should be certain they can retire at a reasonable age secure in the knowledge they will have enough money to live on for the rest of their lives and access to the healthcare they need. I will work for measures that strengthen Social Security and Medicare to make sure it’s there today for our retirees and that it is still there decades from now when young people who are just starting to pay into it now retire.
- Free Trade. Free trade is critical to South Carolina’s and America’s prosperity. Protectionism promotes inefficiency and increases prices ultimately hurting everyone – consumers, business and workers. If elected, I will support free trade and oppose restraints on free trade. I oppose the Trump administration’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. These tariffs will increase the cost of goods manufactured with steel and aluminum, like the BMWs and BMW parts manufactured in Greenville and Spartanburg counties, which will hurt our industry, our workers and our taxpayers. Tariffs are likely to start trade wars, which will hurt the economies of both America and our trading partners and increase the cost of living for all Americans.
- Infrastructure. We need a federal infrastructure plan but a federal infrastructure plan should be financed primarily with federal funding, not primarily with state and local funding. The Trump Administration’s proposed infrastructure plan contemplates that only $200 million of a $1.5 trillion plan comes from new federal money.
- The Export-Import Bank. The Ex-Im Bank is good for U.S. business and good for U.S. jobs. It helps finance the export of U.S. manufactured goods and services by guarantying loans needed by foreign entities to purchase U.S. goods. If elected, I will generally support actions that allow the Ex-Im Bank to continue to operate as it has historically, including voting to renew its charter after 2019 and voting to ensure that it has either a board quorum – with, importantly, board members who believe in and support its mission – or full authority to approve loans without a quorum.
- Shrink Deficit and Debt. We need to quit thinking that tax cuts are the cure for everything that ails us economically. Some aspects of last December’s tax reform were good in that they aided working families and small businesses. Unfortunately, most of the tax cuts went to people and entities that did not need them at a time when the stock market was strong and unemployment was low. Such tax cuts will primarily, and unnecessarily, balloon the federal deficit and therefore the national debt. The Congressional Budget Office just issued a report projecting that (a) the December 2017 Tax Reform will increase the 11-year projection (2018-2028) of the cumulative federal deficit by about $1.9 trillion, (b) after a couple of years of relatively quick growth, economic growth will slow, (c) federal debt will soar to an amount equal to nearly 100% of GDP by 2028, and (d) the federal deficit will be $804 billion for 2018 and exceed $1 trillion starting in 2020. We need to adopt a responsible tax policy that will reduce and ultimately eliminate the federal deficit and start paying down the federal debt. This will require a balanced approach similar to the deal that Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich struck in the 1990s that resulted in the only federal budget surpluses in my lifetime at the end of the Clinton administration and the first year of the George W. Bush administration.
 See the CBO’s April 9, 2018 Report titled “The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2018 to 2028 at https://www.cbo.gov/publication/53651#section2 and https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/53651-outlook.pdf. The specific numbers cited above are at pages 1, 80, 81, 86 and 106 of the second link.