U. S. Senate hopeful Chris Murphy was kind enough to join the MetroHartford Alliance at the Hartford Club on October 8th for a Luncheon to discuss his policies, goals, and campaign. He opened by imploring the audience to not cast their vote based upon “30 second ads.” Instead he hopes that each Connecticut voter will do independent research and find the candidate that they closely identify with and they feel would best represent their interests.
With the goal of leaving plenty of time for questions and answers, Murphy simply went over five important issues he believes Congress needs to take on:
1) Simplify the tax code.
Murphy realizes that many of the largest businesses and corporations are not paying their fair share. They have the resources to hire full time accountants to search for loop holes and savings in the overly complicated tax laws and Murphy wants to put an end to that by simplifying the tax code. He also doesn’t believe that we should be taxing labor so heavily and not detrimental things like pollution. If we are trying to truly jump-start the economy we need to get the wealth back into the middle classes hands so they can spend it at local small businesses.
2) Focus on manufacturing.
Murphy explained to the audience that we cannot continue to grow this country’s economy through maintaining our retail and service focus. We need to encourage manufacturing and export quality American products to foreign nations. He gave a great example of Germany’s focus on manufacturing and how their country has thrived because of it. Germany does not have any less stringent environmental laws or much different wage rates than us, yet they’re enjoying economic success. This is because of exporting.
While it’s great to be sending our products all around the globe, Murphy believes that it is important to keep jobs here on American soil. He explained that he would like to offer tax breaks to company who resource back here and refuse to offshore American jobs.
3) Focus on infrastructure.
When someone lands in LaGuardia Airport, the area all around it “looks like a third world country.” Not only that, if they are traveling to Connecticut, it will take anywhere between 1 to 3 hours to arrive. If we are to start seriously exporting goods then we need a major overhaul of our roads and bridges. In their current state they are impeding business and economic growth. Another investment that this country greatly needs is a high speed rail, which will allow us to safely and quickly move passengers and freight across great distances. Murphy shocked the audience when he raised the point that “Every $1.00 we send to the Federal Government for transportation gets us $1.60 back.” This could allow us to put people back to work through road and bridge construction at a discount to our tax payers.
4) Focus on education.
America (and Connecticut in particular) is not the cheapest place to make a “widget” so Murphy believes we need to be the smartest at making it. In order to remain competitive in this global economy we need to make sure our population is one of the best educated, which means making education accessible to everyone. Murphy would end the Bush tax cuts and use the extra revenue to both pay down the debt and fund education. He plans to make college more affordable for Connecticut residents who otherwise would have little hope of ever obtaining a college degree.
5) Become a global leader in renewable energies
Murphy expressed concern with the fact that other countries are so far ahead of us in renewable energy technologies. These new industries are creating jobs that America and Connecticut in particular could benefit from. One reason for the industries success abroad is due to the demand in other countries. A Torrington based company called Fuel Cell Energy sells 70% of its product to South Korea. Murphy fears that someday the company may be forced to move production abroad in order to fulfill customer demand. He wants to see demand for renewable energy to grow at home, which will lead to an influx in production and more Connecticut jobs.
Responding to an audience members question regarding whether he would decrease federal spending, Murphy mentioned that he has advocated for years shrinking the Federal Government’s Discretionary Spending Budget by 1% a year. He also mentioned his plans to cut subsidies to Midwestern agriculture conglomerates and oil companies as well as tax breaks given to companies sending jobs overseas. He pointed out McMahon’s campaign has yet to specify one cut she would make.
Another major expenditure Murphy would fight to end is the war in Afghanistan. We are currently spending $2 billion a week to fund a war that hasn’t shown any real signs of ending since it started 11 years ago. During a visit Murphy saw just how out of hand this occupation has become. He visited a poppy farm that was funding the Taliban, yet protected by American soldiers. He was adamant that Afghanistan is a war we cannot win and that it is time to bring our troops home.
Murphy ended the luncheon by fielding a question asking the difference between himself and McMahon. He explained that you need to look at ones past to predict who they will be. McMahon has a past history of not compromising and has even publicly stated her unwillingness to compromise on important issues. Murphy touted his past history of being policy driven, detail orientated and his ability to find compromises for the continued advancement of Connecticut.