WASHINGTON — Several Republican presidential candidates called for a rollback of regulations on Thursday, saying that over-regulation is choking off job growth and the economy.
During the first debate of 2016 in South Carolina, financial policy was barely mentioned, but Ohio Governor John Kasich, a former Lehman Brothers executive, several times said the government needed to slash regulation.
"We should freeze all federal regulations for one year, except for health and safety," said Kasich, who is trailing in national polls but third in New Hampshire, according to Real Clear Politics.
"You have regulations — I mean, come on, they're affecting everybody here, particularly our small businesses."
Kasich also blamed wage stagnation on the Federal Reserve Board's low interest rate policies.
"When wages don't rise, and they haven't for a lot families for a number of years, it is very, very difficult for them," Kasich said. "Part of the reason it hasn't risen is sometimes we are not giving people the skills they need. … The Federal Reserve kept interest rates so low that the wealthy were able to invest in strong assets like the stock market when everybody was left behind."
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is fifth nationally and in Iowa according to some polls, said the Dodd-Frank Act represented what has "gone wrong in this country."
He also noted that President Obama made only one mention of financial policy during the State of the Union speech on Tuesday, which may have drawn the night's loudest applause when Obama called for reforming "outdated regulations" and cutting "red tape."
"With grandiose language the president talks about red lines and nothing to follow it up," Bush said, while criticizing the hallmark of Obama's speech that the economy is better off now than it was seven years ago.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is ranked third nationally and in Iowa according to Real Clear Politics, said he would reverse the "damage" caused by Obama in implementing regulatory reform. "Regulations in this country are out of control," Rubio said.
Bush also said he would prioritize cybersecurity, saying that the U.S. needs to "raise" its game and that the government should ensure that corporations do not face legal liability for sharing information about cyber threats.