Where he stands: Jeb Bush

John Ellis “Jeb” Bush (born Feb. 11, 1953, in Midland, Texas), a Republican, served as the 43rd governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. The nickname “Jeb” is composed of his initials.

Bush, who grew up in Houston, is the second son of former President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, and a brother of former President George W. Bush, who is seven years older. He earned a degree in Latin American affairs from the University of Texas. He played on the Texas Longhorns varsity tennis team in 1973.

In 1980, he moved to Florida and pursued a career in real estate development, and was Florida’s secretary of commerce in 1986-88. In 1994, Bush made his first run for office, losing the election for governor by less than two percentage points to the incumbent, Lawton Chiles. Bush ran again in 1998 and defeated Lt. Gov. Buddy MacKay. He won re-election in 2002 to become Florida’s first two-term Republican governor.


Reform and growth

Restoring the right to rise in America requires accelerating growth, and that can’t be done without a complete overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

In early September I unveiled the plan that, as president, I will submit to Congress and sign into law as the Reform and Growth Act of 2017. My plan centers on accomplishing three major goals:

First, I want to lower taxes and make the tax code simple, fair and clear. We will cut individual rates from seven brackets to three: 28%, 25% and 10%.

With this reform in place, roughly 15 million Americans will no longer bear any income-tax liability. The plan nearly doubles the standard deduction now taken by roughly two-thirds of all filers. It eliminates the marriage penalty, expands the Earned Income Tax Credit, ends the death tax, retires the Alternative Minimum Tax and ends the employee’s share of the Social Security tax on earnings for workers older than 67.

Second, I want to eliminate loopholes in the code. We will retain the deductibility of charitable contributions but cap the deductions used by the wealthy and Washington special interests, enabling tax-rate cuts across the board for everyone. And while we’re doing that, we will treat all noninvestment income the same, so unless you stake capital in an investment, you won’t be able to claim the capital-gains tax rate on your market gains.

Third, I believe that the tax code should no longer be an impediment to the nation’s competitiveness with China, Europe and the rest of the world. To stop American companies from moving out of the country, I will cut the corporate tax rate from 35% — the highest in the industrial world — to 20%, which is five percentage points below China’s.

Border security

I believe that for those already in the country, we need to put in place a rigorous path that requires individuals to pass a thorough criminal background check, pay fines, pay taxes, learn English, obtain a provisional work permit and work, not receive federal government assistance, and over an extended period of time earn legal status. But any plan to address the status of illegal immigrants must be accompanied by a robust strategy to improve border security.

The following proposals offer concrete steps that the federal government should take to help secure the border and enforce our immigration laws.

  1. A border patrol with the flexibility to deploy resources to meet threats.
  2. Use new technologies to achieve continuous surveillance of the border.
  3. Bolster border infrastructure and improve access to federal lands.
  4. Require electronic verification of employment eligibility.
  5. Identify and send home the people who are overstaying their visas or otherwise violating the terms of their admission.
  6. Crack down on sanctuary cities that undermine efforts to enforce immigration laws.

Energy policy

1. Lift restrictions on exports of oil and natural gas.

Current law bans the export of crude oil and makes it difficult to export natural gas to non-Free Trade Agreement countries such as Japan, China and the European Union.

Lifting the ban on crude oil exports and liberalizing natural gas exports would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and significantly lower net energy costs within two years. For instance, estimates from various studies indicate retail gasoline prices would drop by about 6 cents a gallon within two to three years of lifting the crude oil ban.

2. Approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

Its approval would increase GDP by more than $3 billion and support 42,000 jobs while the pipeline is under construction. Once built, it will be an essential piece of infrastructure more safely and cheaply moving both Canadian and U.S. resources to consumers.

3. Reduce overregulation.

Some rules, such as overwriting state and tribal standards for hydraulic fracturing operations, discourage investment in domestic oil and gas operations. Other, broader regulations, such as Obama’s Carbon Rule, attempt to impose the President’s conception of how everyone should produce and consume energy.

4. Defer to willing states and tribes.

Alaskans overwhelmingly want to develop onshore and offshore energy resources in or near their state. Yet the President has severely limited the extent to which these lands can be explored and developed. Washington should generally defer to the will of states and tribes. Their citizens and leaders are best able to weigh the benefits and costs of oil and gas development.

Health care

  1. Promote innovation.
  2. Modernize the Food and Drug Administration’s regulatory morass and increase funding and accountability at the National Institutes of Health.
  3. Promote private-sector leadership of health information technology adoption and improve access to patient Medicare and Medicaid claims data.
  4. Establish a comprehensive review of regulatory barriers to health innovation.
  5. Lower costs.
  6. Provide a tax credit for the purchase of affordable, portable health plans that protect Americans from high-cost medical events.
  7. Increase contribution limits and uses for health savings accounts (HSAs) to help with out-of-pocket costs.
  8. Facilitate transparency on costs and outcomes.
  9. Cap the employer tax exclusion to lower insurance premiums.
  10. Allow employers to use financial incentives to encourage wellness programs.
  11. Enable small businesses to make tax-free contributions to their workers’ individual portable health plans.
  12. Take health care control out of Washington and return it to states.

    a. Make their insurance markets more competitive.This will include enabling access to affordable catastrophic plans in their states; a continuous coverage guarantee for individuals with pre-existing conditions; access to affordable care and improved health outcomes in their state; lower health care cost growth, including medical liability reform; and a transition plan for the 17 million individuals entangled in Obamacare.

    b. Strengthen the health care safety net.To achieve this, states may use a number of strategies: individualized, community-based benefit designs; coordinated care for individuals with behavioral health conditions and the disabled; tailored care delivery to reflect the diversity of state populations; personalized care solutions for high-risk individuals with proven data analytics; work requirements for able-bodied individuals; premium assistance for individual and employer-provided coverage; and consolidated funding from various programs to better coordinate care.


1. Place a command focus on cybersecurity.

2. Restore accountability within the federal government.

3. Increase U.S. intelligence and law enforcement cybersecurity capabilities, and strengthen international cooperation.

4. Create public-private partnerships to improve cybersecurity in the public and private sectors.

5. Remove barriers to innovation in the tech industry.

States’ rights

  1. Strictly adhere to the constitution’s limits on federal power. America must return to the idea of a limited federal government. I will veto legislation that exceeds federal authority and nominate judges who will vigorously enforce the Constitution’s limits on federal authority.
  2. Nominate and appoint agency officials committed to federalism. For key positions, I will nominate and appoint people with proven experience in the states over Washington insiders and academics.
  3. Reform the regulatory process. Repeal and, where necessary, replace regulations to restore the proper role of state governments in our constitutional system.
  4. Enhance state enforcement of federal immigration policies. Empower states to enforce laws that promote the goals of federal immigration law without allowing states to create their own immigration regimes.
  5. Promote state-driven labor and employment policies. Ensure that federal labor regulations do not unduly restrict state flexibility in responding to the workforce demands of our new digital economy.

Welfare reform

1.    Give control back to the states. I will eliminate ineffective programs including the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called food stamps), housing assistance programs and the nation’s cash welfare program (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF). These programs may temporarily alleviate need, but they trap families in perpetual poverty.

Instead, states will be given Right to Rise grants. These grants will allow states to meet the needs of poor families in the way that makes most sense in each state.

2.    Promote work. Full-time employment is key to permanently exiting poverty. That is why Right to Rise grants will include work requirements and time limits for able-bodied adults.

But emphasizing work is only half the answer. We must make sure work pays for all Americans. Along with cutting taxes for low- and middle-class families, my tax plan will double the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers and expand the credit to younger workers.

3.    Cut waste and abuse. My EITC expansion will be paired with reforms requiring the IRS to verify a tax filer’s income before they can receive the credit. We will leverage new technology and better record-keeping under the Right to Rise grants to make sure recipients receive only the credit they deserve.

4.    Strengthen families. As president, I will join with other political leaders, educators and civic leaders to promote marriage as the most reliable route to family stability and resources. States will be encouraged to find ways to promote parenthood and successful marriages.

To further that goal, my plan will promote skill development, family involvement and employment among young men so that they can be better fathers.

Finally, parents must take responsibility for their children’s well-being. That means single parents with custody of their children need financial support from the absent parent. In Florida, I led efforts to double child support collections in the state. As president, I will refocus the child support enforcement system on its core mission: the collection of child support payments.

Tomorrow: Ben Carson


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