Giuliani on Taxes and Social Security

He would chop the federal workforce, make the Bush tax cuts permanent, and lower corporate rates.


What do you want to do about taxes beyond keeping the Bush tax cuts and eliminating the estate tax?

We're going to look over the next three or four months for more detailed proposals, and one of them is a more simplified tax form that makes it easier for people to file. Another is ... once you get past 2010, can we take a look at some prospect of further tax cuts? You'd have to, I believe—though I am open to looking at other possibilities—you would have to peg the individual and corporate rates at pretty much the same levels. If you brought one down, you'd have to bring the other down. So we'd have to look at how much room we had for that. But that's the kind of thing I would be looking at: Let's get it locked in where it's at and then look at how we can lower taxes.

What's your plan to deal with Social Security?

I'm going to say, and I mean this, Social Security is something we can straighten out if I get elected. I believe Social Security will be straightened out if almost anybody else gets elected. I don't think this is one of the critical things that only I can do, because I think Republicans and Democrats are willing to agree on Social Security once they get themselves out of a presidential race where Democrats are hoping to hear one of us say that we're going to reduce Social Security so they can do commercials saying we are going to hurt elderly people. And Republicans may be hoping the Democrats are going to say something where they can say they're going to bankrupt the country. And the reality is that neither one of us is going to do that. There are several solutions to Social Security that could get bipartisan support, but if either side comes out supporting it, it's going to get wiped out in all the political finger-pointing that's going on. There is too much history here. It should be done. Someone should get elected and put together five Democratic and five Republican senators and tell them, "Give me two options, three options, and then we'll negotiate it out."

Do you think the government should be doing anything to help homeowners affected by the subprime mortgage crisis?

Right now the president should be watching it very, very carefully, but what he should really be watching carefully is not only what's happening in the housing market but the fundamentals of the American economy and making sure they're all there and operating correctly. This would be a great time, if you wanted to stimulate the entire market, for Congress to agree to make the tax cuts permanent. You'd send a ripple effect of confidence through our markets that would be better than any bailout you could do for anybody. That would be bailing people out through strengthening the American economic system rather than weakening it.