EAU CLAIRE — U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy said the issue of taxes separates him from his Democratic challenger in the Nov. 6 election, Pat Kreitlow.
“He has voted to increase taxes substantially in Wisconsin. I voted to make the tax system fairer, simpler,” Duffy said during an interview in Eau Claire.
“I voted to lower taxes on everybody while taking out the loophole preferences,” Duffy said. “(State) Sen. Kreitlow voted for the largest tax increase in Wisconsin history.”
By removing loopholes, Duffy said small businesses will have more money to invest in research, employees and machinery. Getting people back into the tax system, he added, takes out crony capitalism that has been built into the tax code.
Duffy, 41, is seeking a second term in Congress. The Republican from Weston was elected in 2010, succeeding Democratic U.S. Rep. Dave Obey, who was in Congress for 41 years. Independent candidate Dale C. Lehner of Chetek is also running in the Nov. 6 election.
Duffy proposes capping spending at what he termed pre-bailout and stimulus levels. He noted the county is $16 trillion in debt.
“The philosophy of big borrowing and spending is catastrophic for the country,” he said.
On preserving Medicare, Duffy supports a plan that guarantees the current Medicare coverage to everyone now age 55 and over. Those age 54 and younger would have the option of traditional Medicare or picking one of several plans approved by Medicare.
“The poorer you are and sicker you are, the more support you get. And the wealthier you are, you get less,” Duffy said.
“If you do that, you will actually get to save Medicare,” he added, noting that the Congressional Budget Office estimates the program will be out of money in roughly 10 years if no action is taken.
Duffy also said he called for a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan a year ago, putting him at odds with other Republicans.
“Our young men and women are dying. And I’m saying, ‘For what?’”
Congress has also failed to pass a new farm bill. Duffy said he talked with Republican leadership in the House and argued for getting the farm bill done sooner, but didn’t prevail in that argument.
The holdup in the bill has to do with something other than farms, according to Duffy.
“They are being held hostage in a way because of the disagreement (over) the increase in food stamp spending,” he said.
Duffy said pursuing more American energy will also give the country a competitive advantage.
“The whole American energy revolution has come home right here with the frac sand (industry),” he said.
He said the country needs policies to make it the most competitive of any nation.
“This trickle down government has been a killer on the economy,” Duffy said.