Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., came to Sarasota’s on Beneva Road on Sunday afternoon to spread her gospel of smaller government, lower taxes and corporate incentives.
“We can’t just be about politics anymore,” she told a crowd estimated at 1,500. “I know what happens up there. Somebody has to say ‘enough, stop.’ ”
She repeated now-familiar refrains. Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency (“the job-killing agency of America”). Eliminate the Department of Education (“another department that can easily go”). And repeal the new health care legislation, she dubbed “Obama-care.”
“So many of these programs will help America if we get rid of them,” she said. “I’ve done everything I can do to fight this system in Washington, not to build it up.”
Bachmann, founder of the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, brought a sense of urgency to her fight. “The United States is on the cusp of deciding should we remain the number one [military] superpower? Should we be the number one economic superpower? And we have to make a decision on socialized medicine.”
Bachmann’s campaign leaped earlier this month when she came in first in an Iowa straw poll, the first woman ever to do so.
“I will not rest until we repeal Obama-care,” she said. “We have only one chance to do it, and that’s in 2012.” After that, she indicated, the fiscal and legal mechanics of the legislation make it increasingly difficult to tear down.
While most of her address was about what she would cut or eliminate, she offered one suggestion — another cut — that could stimulate job creation in the U.S. by corporations. She urged a reduction in the “repatriation tax” corporations pay to bring overseas profits back to the U.S.
American companies today have $1.5 trillion stashed overseas to avoid a 35 percent domestic tax rate, she said. The money was earned from overseas sales, and remains offshore. A “repatriation holiday” was tried in 2004 by the George W. Bush administration, but was considered a failure because it had little impact on the economy.
Bachmann did not endorse a “repatriation holiday” while in Sarasota, but said a reduction in the tax rate could provide incentives to bring the money back home. “It just sits there, because the tax is so high” she said. “It would be so easy to bring over $1 trillion into this country.”
The idea is also being considered by the current administration. Reuters reported on Aug. 24, “Most of the money brought back six years ago went to shareholder dividends and stock buybacks, the [National Bureau of Economic Research] found.”
As is obligatory for a presidential candidate, she slammed the incumbent. She, however, never mentioned any of her Republican competitors vying for the nomination. “We need jobs, not class-warfare rhetoric from the president,” said Bachmann.
The event was sponsored by the Republican Parties of Sarasota, Hardee and Charlotte counties, Englewood’s “Taking Back our Country,” Tea Party Manatee, Sarasota Patriots and Venice 912.
“This is going to be a very tough slog,” said Bachmann. “I know we can do this. I know it. And I need you to make this happen. I need you to sign up, and volunteer and vote and donate.”
At 35 minutes, the speech was a bit longer than the usual presidential candidate pep rally. Bachmann used no notes or teleprompter, speaking off the cuff. She also spent about half an hour in the Sahib Temple shaking hands and signing autographs before getting back on her campaign bus for the next stop.