Santorum defends tax reform plan, says it's 'not social engineering'

Rick Santorum pushed back on Sunday against conservative criticism of his tax plan, saying the U.S. needed to do more to promote manufacturing and families.

The former Pennsylvania senator called the disparagement of his plan “outrageous,” adding that U.S. manufacturers were in a tough fight with competitors around the world.

Santorum also said that it was crucial to U.S. national security to keep manufacturing jobs at home.

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“We do need to have a different rate of tax to compete against the Chinas and the Mexicos,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Some conservative analysts have bashed Santorum’s plan, which would drop the tax rate for manufacturers to zero percent while taxing other corporations at 17.5 percent. The former two-term senator would also triple the deduction taxpayers receive for each dependent child. 

The analysts have charged that Santorum is promoting social engineering through the tax code, and that his plan to tax manufacturers at different rates would invite distortions, as companies push to get classified as manufacturers for tax purposes.

But Santorum declared that support for families in the tax code has taken a comparative tumble in recent years. He also said that Europe was in a “demographic winter” because countries on that continent were not doing enough to promote families. 

“If it wasn’t for immigration, our population would be declining,” Santorum said. “The federal government over the years has year by year by year decreased support for families.”

“This is not social engineering,” Santorum said about his plan. “What’s social engineering is the policies of the last 30 years that have robbed the family of the support that they used to have in the tax code.”