Former Florida governor Jeb Bush yesterday proposed ways to create an economic climate for sustainable growth in the US, bring “peace and stability to the world” and promote “liberty and freedom.”
As the US economy grows, the world is not “delinked” from the US as some people thought, believing that “China is now the dominant player and that the axis of influence and power will move to Asia,” Bush said in Taipei, in a speech entitled How to restore sustained economic growth in the US.
“This is important not only for the US, but also for the world because a weakened US economically means that the US will pull back from its commitments around the world because it will have not have the capability and resources to fulfill its pledges,” he said.
Bush, who has been touted as a potential running mate of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, advocated “long-haul strategies” to deal with “serious challenges” and “structural problems” facing the country in four aspects.
He advocated a “patriotic energy policy” to create more energy security and promote economic progress based on US innovation, as well as US and North American resources, to save the country US$300 billion a year from importing half the oil it needs from countries that are hostile to the US or are unstable sources.
If the US cuts energy imports in half by using its own resources, in addition to Canadian and Mexican oil and gas, it would create US$150 billion in additional economic activities every year, roughly 1 percent of GDP, he said.
“The US$300 billion that doesn’t go to Mexico or Canada then requires us to spend maximum amounts of money to protect the West and the US’ interests around the world. I honestly do not believe that we will be spending a hundred billion dollars a year in Afghanistan if we were energy secure,” he said.
He also proposed an immigration policy “faithful to US heritage” that will “dramatically open up our country to dreamers, to achievers, the scientists, entrepreneurs and anyone meeting certain criteria to come to the US to pursue their dreams.”
Bush pushed for “a complete overhaul of the rule-making process and regulatory climate,” saying that complex systems make it difficult to attract foreign investors.
He also advocated transforming the country’s education system to focus on building capacity for young people to be successful in life.
Taking questions from the audience, Bush said that economic growth and job creation were the “overriding” issues that would drive the presidential election, while other issues recently addressed by US President Barack Obama such as sexual preference and the European debt crisis were “distractions” to the bigger issues.
Saying Obama should have focused more on economic issues, Bush added: “Had he [Obama] taken advantage of his election, which is an historical election, he probably could have built strong support for economic growth, but he focused on things that were highly partisan [matters.]”
Bush concluded his three-day “private visit” in Taipei yesterday, during which he met with President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九), Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) and attended to his financial consulting businesses.
In a meeting with Bush on Thursday, Ma said he hoped the nation’s 145 F-16A/B jet fighters would have the capability to perform on a par with the more advanced model after the retrofit offered by the US in September is completed.