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Nikki Haley unveils economic proposal while slamming both parties over government spending

<i>Brian Snyder/Reuters</i><br/>Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event in Hampton
Brian Snyder/Reuters
Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley speaks at a campaign event in Hampton

By Ebony Davis, CNN

(CNN) — Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley on Friday unveiled her economic proposal – which includes cutting middle-class taxes, tackling inflation and reducing federal government control – while calling out both Democrats and Republicans over what she referred to as “reckless” federal spending.

“Joe Biden is proving that reckless spending is the road to socialism. But he’s not the only culprit. Joe Biden, Donald Trump and Barack Obama added more to our national debt than the previous 42 presidents combined. They tripled the debt from $10 trillion to $33 trillion,” Haley, who served under Trump as his ambassador to the United Nations, said in remarks at St. Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester.

“We’re now adding a trillion more every year, with no end in sight. Our children will never forgive us for this,” the former South Carolian governor said Friday, as a potential government shutdown looms with lawmakers in Washington yet to reach a deal to extend funding past the September 30 deadline.

Haley’s remarks came just days ahead of the second Republican presidential debate in California, with the 2024 contender seeing a bump in GOP primary polling since her performance at the first debate in Milwaukee last month.

On the campaign trail, Haley has sought to seek a balance between criticism and praise for her onetime boss.

While she called Trump the right president for the right time at a recent campaign stop in New Hampshire, she criticized his handling of the economy while in office, asserting that he “didn’t do anything on fiscal policy and really spent a lot of money, and we’re all paying the price for it.”

Haley’s proposal unveiled Friday is part of her larger plan to revive America’s middle class and an attempt to reverse the Biden administration’s economic policies, dubbed by the White House as “Bidenomics.”

“Joe Biden has created a political subsidy economy. That’s what Bidenomics really is. The government is taking money from the middle class and giving it to everyone else. The well-connected are getting wealthier through corporate welfare, while the poor get trapped in regular welfare,” Haley told the New Hampshire audience.

Dubbed “The Freedom Plan,” Haley’s proposal would eliminate the federal gas and reduce income tax rates, make small-business tax relief permanent, and end certain tax deductions such as the deduction for state and local income taxes, also known as SALT.

Haley, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Clemson University, often touts her financial background on the campaign trail, telling voters, “It’s time to put an accountant in the White House.”

“My tax cuts will put thousands of dollars in middle-class families’ pockets,” she said Friday.

Haley believes funding for infrastructure projects should come from general revenues, forcing them to compete with other spending priorities. Additionally, her plan would place a limit on federal spending, linked to a percentage of the economy.

Since launching her presidential campaign in February, Haley has often vowed that if elected, she will “stop the spending” and “stop the borrowing,” while emphasizing her plans to “claw back” $500 billion of unspent Covid-19 funds.

Under her proposal, Haley would veto any budget that doesn’t contribute to reducing the US economy to pre-Covid spending levels, eliminate $500 billion in green energy subsidies and implement mandatory zero-based budgeting. The plan would also implement Social Security and Medicare reforms for younger generations.

In her remarks Friday, Haley called for term limits for politicians and said “bureaucrats” would not be able to hold the same position for more than five years, under her plan. She also pledged to meet with governors once a quarter and to encourage states on ways to empower their communities.

Haley reflected on her time as South Carolina governor, ticking off economic statistics that she said earned her state the moniker “Beast of the Southeast” by trade magazines.

“If we did it there, we can do it across our entire country. We just need vision, discipline and determination,” she said.

This story and headline have been updated.

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