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Jon Huntsman's Political Views
The former governor of Utah and United States ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman was one of many candidates running for the Republican nomination for President in 2012 before dropping out of the race in January after he only finished third in the 2012 New Hampshire Primary. This hub will attempt to take an unbiased look at those views to cut through the punditry and see what Huntsman really believes on the key issues that voters are considering in choosing the potential nominee, and, come November, our next president.
Huntsman on the Issues
1. Jobs and Economic Growth: Huntsman proposes to spur economic growth through a combination of tax cuts and regulatory reforms, which puts him largely in sync with many of the other candidates running for the Republican nomination. Specifically, he proposes cutting the corporate tax rate to 25% from 35%, eliminating taxes on capital gains and dividends, privatizing Freddie Mae and Fannie Mac, pursuing greater trade opportunities, and "dramatically reining in the FDA." These proposals largely match with Huntsman's record as governor of Utah, where he cut taxes while receiving an "A" from the conservative Cato Institute in tax policy.
2. Tax Reform and Budget Deficits: As outlined above, Huntsman's tax proposals largely match up with the other Republican candidates, as Huntsman has proposed lowering marginal tax rates to 23%, 14%, and 8% while eliminating deductions for things like mortgage payments (according to Huntsman's website, this idea was inspired by the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan). Huntsman has refused to signed Grover Norquist's no tax increase pledge, making him the only Republican candidate for President to do so. Huntsman has made largely generic statements about closing the budget deficit through a combination of economic growth and tax cuts, though most mainstream economists and budget expert believe that some tax raises may be necessary to solve the structural deficit long term.
3. Foreign Policy: In one of the presidential nomination debates in November 2011, Huntsman called for troops to be brought home from Afghanistan, telling the audience "I think it's time to come home. I say this nation has achieved its key objectives in Afghanistan: We had free elections in 2004, we uprooted the Taliban, we have dismantled Al Qaeda, and we killed Osama bin Laden." This contrasts sharply with many of the Republicans running against Huntsman (with the notable exception of Ron Paul, who has strongly and consistently called for ending the war there). Huntsman also opposed the NATO led and U.S. assisted intervention in Libya for budgetary reasons, telling reporters in August 2011 "I would have chosen from the beginning not to intervene in Libya. I would say that is not core to our national security interest." Huntsman has expressed strong support for Israel and touts his diplomatic experience as US trade representative and ambassador to China as proof that his foreign policy credentials outweigh his opponents.
4. Global Warming and Environmental Issues: Huntsman believes in human caused global warming and has criticized his fellow nominees for being on the "wrong side of science. In August 2011, Huntsman stated "When we take a position that basically runs counter to what 98 of 100 climate scientists have said, what the National Academy of Science has said about what is causing climate change and man's contribution to it, I think we find ourselves on the wrong side of science, and, therefore, in a losing position." However, in recent months Huntsman has made somewhat ambigious statements about the issue, telling reporters in December 2011 "I would say the scientific community owes us more." Huntsman is a strong supporter of the keystone XL pipeline that would import oil from tar sands in Alberta and criticized President OBama's decision to delay approval of the pipeline, which he believes will create "100,000 American Jobs." This seems to have been somewhat overstated, as TransCanada's (the company which will build and operate the pipeline) CEO Russ Girling stated that the pipeline would put "20,000 US workers to work."
5. Immigration Reform: Huntsman has called for a comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policy, calling the current system "broken" and stating his belief in a "pathway to citizenship" for immigrants. He also has called for an expansion of the H-1B visa program which grants work visas to skilled immigrants in critical professions. As governor of Utah, Huntsman threatened to veto a measure repealing in-state college tuition for illegal immigrants. Generally, Huntsman is somewhat more moderate in his beliefs on immigration than many of the other candidates, as he believes increased immigration will help spur economic growth and increased trade.
6. Social Issues: Huntsman is very pro-life and anti-choice, having banned second trimester abortions while governor of Utah and expressed support to a right-to-life amendment. Huntsman is far more moderate regarding gay rights, having come out in support of civil unions for same-sex couples in 2009. In August 2011, he explained his position on gay marriage and civil unions to Wolf Blitzer, stating "I'm for civil unions. I came out for civil unions a while ago. I think we can do a better job as it relates to overall equality, specifically as it relates to reciprocal beneficiary rights." Huntsman has also criticized other candidates (specifically Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry) for their beliefs on evolution, tweeting "To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy."
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