Jerry Bader: "I know there are a lot of things that you want to address, but I’m gonna start with the latest, and that is that Grover Norquist — and for those who aren’t aware — Grover Norquist and his organization have gone to Republican candidates, conservative candidates, and asked them to sign a no tax increase pledge. There are those on the left who say it’s that pledge that’s responsible for the gridlock in Washington. They say it’s made Republicans who signed it inflexible, they can’t negotiate, they can’t moderate, they can’t reach across the aisle. The other three men in this race have signed, including the one perceived by many as the moderate, Tommy Thompson. If it was good enough for them, Eric, why isn’t it good enough for you?"
Eric Hovde: "Because the problem with the Grover Norquist pledge [is] it locks in high rates and doesn’t get rid of corporate welfare. Behind the story with Grover Norquist is he’s funded by giant corporations that have created loopholes in our tax system. I’ve ran ads talking about [how] we have the highest corporate tax rate, at 35%, in the world. We are the most uncompetitive country from our tax system. We need to lower the rates, but we also have to get rid of the corporate welfare. How is a small business going to compete if they’re trying to compete against General Electric, that in some years, GE pays nothing because they can buy off Washington politicians. Or how about Apple Computer? [If] you want to be the next Apple Computer — small company to go up and compete — Apple’s paying 9%; you’re paying 35%. President Reagan would never sign that pledge because he talked about tax expenditures and corporate welfare. He’s the last one who gave us meaningful tax reform. I believe we need to lower rates, which that pledge does not talk about. My pledge that I went around the state — two months ago, I was up, actually, at Brown County Taxpayers Association talking about the fact that we need to lower rates and get rid of the crony capitalism and corporate welfare in the system. And these guys just sign off on it, they check a box, and they don’t even understand [that] what they’re doing is locking in special favors for those that have access to Washington politicians."
Jerry Bader: "What do you say to those, though, Eric, who say that 'closing tax loopholes’ is liberal code for ‘raising taxes on corporations?’"
Eric Hovde: "Listen, as long as you’re lowering the rates and getting rid of those deductions — Jerry, let me just give you a few different examples. [Did] you know that you can depreciate a thoroughbred racehorse that’s under two years old in our tax code? Now, who bought off that one? Goldman Sachs, the Wall Street firm that just abused the American public, has 84 offshore corporations, can make billions of dollars and pay nothing in tax. Why should they get away with that when small and medium-sized businesses, which are job creators, are paying at 35%? My belief: you lower the rate from 35% to 25% — hopefully lower — and you get rid of all the corporate welfare. It’s very easy to fix. But — the reason — the dirty little secret in Washington, D.C. — and behind Grover Norquist — and the dirty little secret is that it’s giant companies and special interests that want to keep the tax code this way, and politicians want it because that’s how they get their campaign contributions."