Now that the 2022 election is in the rear-view mirror, everyone’s attention has shifted to 2024. At the time of publication, it’s expected that President Joe Biden will seek reelection, clearing the field on the Democratic side. Joining the growing list of GOP primary candidates hoping to take on Biden in 2024 is former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey.
Laffey told The Anchor in a recent interview that one of the main motivations for his candidacy is ensuring there’s a future for young people in this country.
“We as Americans have to finally directly confront our problems, or you people will not have a future,” Laffey said. “I have six children, and they’re going to be fine, but most kids in America are not.”
Some of the main issues he plans to focus on while campaigning are lowering the national debt, fixing Social Security and educational reforms such as school choice.
On the issue of Social Security, Laffey explained his plan, which is available on his website, and is called “The Purple Fix.”
“People already in Social Security are sort of grandfathered in, so now we can stop the conversation about cuts,” Laffey said when explaining the plan. “You freeze the current number for everybody else. So say you’re 40, you paid in for 20 years, you’re in the old system for whatever it says you’re going to get, and now we get you to the new system. Under 60, the new plan in addition to where you’re frozen above, you pay about 10% into the account and it gets invested in a worldwide basket of stocks, bonds, real estate and so forth. If you end up getting divorced, half goes to your wife, half goes to you, it’s really your account – you die, your heirs get it. You get to be like 61 years old and we start buying either annuities or TIPs or whatever it might be until you’re 70. Whoever makes it to 70, you get money.”
There are a couple of areas Laffey said that must be looked into to achieve the goals of balancing the budget and reducing the national debt. One area is the tax system.
A tax plan Laffey supports is the 9-9-9 tax plan introduced by the late Herman Cain during his 2012 presidential campaign.
“The 9-9-9 plan by Herman Cain back in 2011, who became a friend of mine, was widely popular,” Laffey said. “We all knew it provided fairness, we all knew it was efficient. It was simple, we didn’t need the IRS. Watch the debate in 2011, why do you think Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney attacked him so viciously? Because they were the establishment people, they get their money from wealthy people who get around the tax code.”
Healthcare is another area of focus Laffey mentioned during the conversation of balancing the budget. He cited how the United States spends “40% more per person than Switzerland.”
“Our healthcare system is maybe the biggest place we can get a trillion dollars out of just by getting people healthier with better care. So, there’s a lot of places to go, but to say we’re not going to do anything about things, that’s the opposite of what I’m saying,” Laffey added.
One educational reform Laffey favors is phasing out the public schools over a 10-year period.
He said, “Over a 10-year period, we’ve got to pull more kids out, until we get them all out. I don’t know who would disagree with this. Which parent sitting in Providence, Rhode Island is like “my kids are doing okay at Mt. Pleasant?” Who?”
In lieu of the public schools, Laffey explained he’s in favor of giving the parents a choice, with options such as charter schools, private schools or even homeschooling.
“Let parents decide,” Laffey added. “They can get their kid to that charter school, they can get a check for homeschooling themselves, they can go to LaSalle if they decide to, with a check to go there that’s a third of what it costs in Providence. What do I care? Why don’t we just let the parents decide?”
During the campaign, Laffey says that he’s “going to live in New Hampshire.” New Hampshire is one of the early and crucial primaries that all the GOP candidates will be campaigning in alongside Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada.
As for what his base of operations looks like, Laffey has people on his team and is operating a grassroots style campaign.