Andy Harris discusses tax reform, health care
— The Cambridge Rotary Club hosted U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-1st, Thursday, Aug. 10, during his visit to the county.
Harris discussed several topics, including tax reform, health care and foreign policy. He said he believes President Donald Trump will unite the country and help the country grow by packaging several key reforms together in a “Big Deal” to allow for greater bipartisan support so everyone gets something that will benefit them.
He said one way to help the Eastern Shore economy grow would be to lower the corporate tax rate. He said the Eastern Shore would be the perfect location for worldclass manufacturing facilities because the area has a highly skilled workforce and reasonable cost of living.
“You won’t do that until you get our corporate tax rate policy right,” Harris said. “Our corporate tax rate is 35 percent, the highest among western nations. We are competing with Ireland, where the corporate tax rate is 13 percent.”
He said Google uses Ireland to post its profits because of the country’s lower tax rate compared to posting the profits in California.
“There is bipartisan agreement to fix this,” he said. “I think we are going to get there.”
Another business topic Harris discussed was the tax policy difference between PassThrough Entities and C corps.
He said Pass-Through Entities are sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs and S corporations, which are used by many small businesses, while C corps are separate taxable entities. He said three years ago, the tax rate for PassThrough Entities surpassed C corps.
“You are actually punished if you are a sole proprietor and you choose not to have a corporation,” he said. “That is not right. We should equalize those two. We have to tackle that this fall. The president wants to make America open for business again. We have to attract businesses back to the United States. We are going to do that.”
On the health care front, Harris said the topic continues to be a huge issue in Congress. He said before the Affordable Care Act, more than 40 million Americans were uninsured, and something had to change. He said the change, though, needs to be fixed because it did not work and is expensive.
He believes a single-payer system is not the answer.
“The only way those systems work to save money is you tell people here is the person you are going to see, and this is when you are going to see them, and if you need something, you are going to wait in line,” he said. “That is not the way Americans are. Americans just don’t accept that.”
Harris said the solution should be to drastically cut the profit cap for the insurance companies from the current level of 20 percent.
“Honestly, it should be just several percent,” he said. “What the president wants to do, and I agree with him, is you allow larger associations, as well.
“You want to assemble people into large pools that can self insure. Then you are not depending upon the insurance company. When the insurance company assembles the pool, then their profits are larger.”
He said purchasing in other states would be helpful because it allows for larger pools.
“The president strongly agrees in a multi-state market,” he said.
On the foreign policy front, with North Korea and Russian in the news each day, Harris believes America showing strength is vital.
“I do believe you achieve peace through strength in this world,” he said. “I think that is the way the world works. There are a lot of bullies in the world.
“They really only respond to one thing, and that is strength. That is how we won the Cold War. That is how we are going to prevail now.”
Harris said President Barack Obama experimented with the alternative, the diplomatic way, which included about 20 percent less spending for the military, but he believes the diplomatic way did not work.
“World peace is incredible important for our economy because we are the largest economy in the world,” he said. “We depend upon free trade throughout the world to keep our economy going. Free trade doesn’t occur when you don’t have peace in the world. We are seeing some of that now in the South China Sea.
“I think this president is going to have the right balance. You speak softly, but you’ve got to carry the big stick.”
U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, R-1st, speaks at the Cambridge Rotary Club Thursday, Aug. 10.