Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says Greece is an example of where the U.S. could go under a President Hillary Clinton or President Bernie Sanders.
BAIER: A look outside the Beltway at Cleveland, Ohio, site of the first Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News a little more than three weeks from now.
One of the candidates vying to be on that stage, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who would first have to overcome a big deficit in the polls. Governor Jindal joins us from Iowa. Governor, thank you for being here.
JINDAL: Bret, thank you for having me.
BAIER: Governor, first, I want to first start with the breaking news out of Vienna. The diplomats are suggesting that there may be a deal here that could be announced as soon as tomorrow, an Iran nuclear deal. Your reaction?
JINDAL: Look, I think a bad deal is worse than no deal. What we’re hearing is that we’re not going to get any time, anywhere inspections. What we’re hearing is Iran will keep thousands of centrifuges. I fear this administration could start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Sunni countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, are likely to going to want their own nuclear capabilities. May buy that from Pakistan. This would be a threat to Israel, to Europe, to America. I hope Secretary Clinton will evolve her views as she has evolved on other issues, and come against this very bad deal. I know she’s the architect of President Obama’s failed foreign policy, but this has to transcend partisan politics. We’re talking about an existential threat to the region, to the United States. Never mind the fact that we’re not even asking Iran to recognize Israel, to cut off ties to terrorism, to release American prisoners. I’m just talking about giving up enriched uranium, giving up all their centrifuges, anytime, anywhere inspections. Those are the basic tenants of a basic deal. And it doesn’t look like we’re getting any of those things.
BAIER: Governor, you spend a lot of time talking about Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. You’re out with a prebuttal of her economic speech this week. You said last week if you want to peek into the future with Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, then look at what’s happening to Greece today. Seeing what’s happening to Greece today, do you really believe that Hillary Clinton wants the U.S. to become Greece?
JINDAL: Bret, look, a couple of things. She’ll unveil her plans tomorrow. We already know what it is going to say. It is going to be more taxes, more government spending, more regulations. It’s feeding a greedier and greedier government that’s going to swallow up the private sector economy. There’s never enough money or power for the government, according to the left.
Give Bernie Sanders credit. At least he’s willing to call himself a socialist. Hillary and President Obama are taking us down that same path, turning the American dream into the European nightmare.
You look at Greece. So they have too high taxes, too many regulations, underfunded pension systems, a slow growth in the private sector economy. That’s what we have under President Obama. That’s what we’d have under Secretary Clinton.
Bill Clinton said the era of big government was over. That was the most dangerous lie he told, much more dangerous than anything he ever said about Monica Lewinsky. So yes, I do worry that Secretary Clinton’s policies are more of the same we’ve seen under President Obama. And Greece gave us democracy, and now they’re showing us how to kill it. Let’s not follow their path.
BAIER: Governor, you have economic problems at home. Your approval rating in Louisiana has hovered around 30 percent, stemming largely from how you handled a deficit of about $1.6 billion, a budget shortfall. And you are waiting to hear whether Louisiana will lose some of its credit rating, will be downgraded a bit. Why should anyone look at your economic record and say that’s what I want for the nation?
JINDAL: Well, Bret, we actually measure prosperity on how people are doing in the real world, not the government sector. So in Louisiana, we have balanced our budget eight years in a row without raising taxes. Largest tax cut in our state’s history. Income tax cut. Secondly, we have cut our state budget 26 percent, $9 billion. Cut over 30,000 fewer state government bureaucrats. We’ve actually had eight credit upgrades. Our highest credit rating in decades. We’ve got more people working than ever before in Louisiana’s history, earning a higher income than ever before. We reversed 25 years of out-migration, seven years in a row of in-migration. Actually, you look at Louisiana’s economy, we have got $60 billion, 90,000 jobs coming into our state because of economic development wins.
You’re right, the left doesn’t like what I’ve done because they say we’ve cut too much in government. Prosperity is measured in the real world, not the government world, and that’s the choice we face in 2016.
BAIER: Governor, the way you’ve done that, you’ve tried to pass a plan — you passed a plan that many looked at as a way to keep a presidential campaign promise by not raising taxes. In consultation with Grover Norquist, with the Americans for Tax Reform. The Citizens for Tax Justice explained it this way, where the revenue came from. How a governor can raise taxes without violating a no-tax pledge. “Governor Jindal has created a Rube Goldberg-like budget gimmick. Governor Jindal passed a massive increase in college fees, which he then exactly offset with the new tax credit, resulting in no actual increase in costs for students. Because college fee increases do not technically count as a tax under Grover Norquist’s formula, Governor Jindal could claim that the tax credit, half of his plan, was a substantial new tax cut. Jindal could then sign an increase in the actual taxes, including cigarette taxes and other levies, without violating the pledge under the dubious claim that the tax portion of this package was revenue neutral.”
Isn’t that, Governor, the kind of stuff that Republicans hate about Washington?
JINDAL: Bret, a couple of things. One, I’m proud that we found a tax credit, a tax cut for working families paying tuition. Look, in a lot of states, tuition is going up. In Louisiana, we have the second lowest tuition in the South. We’re one of the best states when it comes to students graduating with student debt. This is a huge problem nationally.
Secondly, I would match my record against anybody in terms of actually cutting government. We’re not slowing the growth rate. We’ve actually cut government. Our budget is 9 billion smaller than when we took office. We’re not talking about 30,000 positions. 30,000 fewer people working for state government than the day I took office. In D.C., even the Republicans talk about just slowing the growth rate of government. We’ve actually cut the size of government. We’ve actually grown the private sector economy. I know the left always wants to raise taxes. That’s not the way to answer our problems. In Louisiana, we privatized our state charity hospital system. We’ve got statewide school choice, where the dollars follow the child instead of the child following the dollars. In New Orleans, nearly 100 percent of our kids are in charter schools. Doubling the number doing reading and math on grade level in five years. I think those are the kinds of conservative reforms — we need a doer, not a talker. There are a lot of Republicans that talk about —
BAIER: I understand that. I (inaudible) go to the specifics, and some of it people glaze over. But when it’s budget specifics and you are doing one thing and talking about one thing, just so that you can say that you didn’t raise a tax, but it’s a fee, isn’t that stuff that Republicans hate?
JINDAL: Bret, no, there’s actually a tax credit — there’s a tax cut for families whose kids are going to universities in Louisiana. That’s an actual tax credit. That’s a tax cut. Bottom line is, the record is clear. Our budget is smaller than when we started. We have cut taxes, not raised taxes. We have got more people working in the private sector. What we don’t see happening in D.C. is look, they said give us the Republican majority and they would repeal Obamacare, balance the budget, and cut federal spending. That’s not happening in D.C.
BAIER: One last thing, Governor. How do you break through? Because you’re at the bottom of the polls now. How do you break through to get on that stage, for example, in Cleveland?
JINDAL: Look, I think we’ve got to embrace our principles, run on our conservative principles. The reality is, Jeb Bush says we have got to be willing to lose the primary in order to win the general. I disagree with that. That is the left telling us that we can’t be conservatives, we’ve got to get the left and the media to like us. That’s the establishment telling us we’ve got to get the left and the media to like us. That doesn’t work. Why not say we’re going to secure the border, repeal Obamacare, shrink the size of the government, grow the private sector economy, invest in our military, stand with Israel. Let’s embrace our principles. Let’s give people a real alternative to this path toward socialism, this path toward turning the American dream into the European nightmare, and let’s elect a doer, not a talker. We’ve already got a first-term senator in the White House. Let’s elect someone who has actually done things. I’ve done that in Louisiana. I’ll do it in D.C. I’ll do and say the things you’re not supposed to be able to do and say.
BAIER: Governor Jindal, thanks for joining us from Iowa.
JINDAL: Thank you, Bret.
BAIER: When we come back, Donald Trump is drawing scrutiny for his comments on immigration, but also drawing large crowds on the campaign trail. We’ll bring back the panel to discuss the Trump effect on the GOP next.
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