Election 2012 Analysis: John Archer vs. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa


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Congressman Dave Loebsack (D)

Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, said on Sept. 28 that he is confident in his campaign and looks forward to the opportunity to continue serving Iowans on a national level in an interview with The Daily Iowan.

Job Creation

Loebsack said he is focused on promoting job growth and thinks that said that education a critical component.

“And I’m not just saying that to a group of college students,” he said. “This is absolutely critical moving forward.”

Loebsack said any plan that cuts funding to education, in his opinion, will only lead to more problems in the long run.

The congressman is correct. The American education system needs support, not cuts. A better-educated population will make for a more productive workforce.

Loebsack further suggested that it is essential to close tax loopholes that provide incentives for businesses to move overseas. He also voted against the Free Trade Agreement.

“We have to rebuild manufacturing capabilities in America — and get tougher with China,” Loebsack said.

For Iowa specifically, Loebsack fully supports wind-energy tax credits saying that the credits only allow for a level playing field and that they are a “no-brainer.”

Federal Deficit

Loebsack expressed his concerned with the federal budget and said that he thinks the United States must pass a Balanced Budget Amendment, which he voted for in November 2011.

The Balanced Budget Amendment would have required the federal government to only spend as much as it receives through revenue, except during war or in the event that specific spending is allowed and passed by a Congressional majority.

However, passing an amendment is a long-term solution. In the short-term, Loebsack suggested correcting government inefficiencies.

Specifically, Loebsack said, the Defense Department needs budget cuts, and he noted that such programs as Medicare can become more efficient and less costly.

Health Care

Loebsack fully supports the Affordable Care Act and has voted twice against repealing the act. He also said that he thinks it’s important to continue seeing reform in health care so that states such as Iowa are rewarded for excellence.


In order for Loebsack to remain an Iowa representative, Iowans need to demand that he works harder to force Congress to complete its tasks before taking recesses.

As for now, Iowans are waiting for decisions that may extend the Bush era tax credits and the wind-energy tax credits, and are instead being bombarded by campaigns.

Loebsack’s views on the issues reflect the most appropriate ways of handling the current economic crisis, but his views and votes are worth little if he does not prominently make Iowa voices heard by ensuring that legislation gets passed.

John Archer (R)

Republican Congressional challenger John Archer sat down with The Daily Iowan on Sept. 27 to offer his economic vision for the state of Iowa and the country as a whole, emphasizing the role of bipartisanship in effective legislating. Archer blamed both parties in Congress for their failure to adequately address the major problems of the day.   

Job Creation

Archer’s broad economic plan centers on the creation of a friendlier environment in which private business, and the American economy by extension, can grow. Archer cites uncertainty caused by federal regulation and an oversized tax burden as the primary obstacles to growth, obstacles he would eliminate by streamlining and eliminating some existing laws, including the Affordable Care Act, and lowering the corporate tax rate.

While it is true that streamlining and solidifying government regulation would allow businesses to operate with a clearer view of the future, it is unclear that Archer’s plan to lower the corporate tax rate would have any effect at all on economic performance. In 2001, the total corporate tax rate, including federal and sub-federal taxes, was 39.3 percent in the United States and 40.5 percent in Canada. The corresponding 2012 rates are 39.1 percent in the United States and 26.1 in Canada.

While Canada’s corporate tax rate fell every single year between 2001 and 2012, their GDP growth was virtually indistinguishable from that of the United States over the same period.

Federal Deficit    

As a solution to the twin crises of the national debt and deficit, Archer argues that the solution to the problem is to cut spending by reforming Social Security and Medicare and eliminating government fraud and waste.

Archer does not believe that tax revenue should be increased as part of a deficit-reduction package, arguing that higher taxes would have a net negative economic impact.     

Wind Energy

On the subject of the continuation of federal tax subsidies for wind energy, a major source of power in Iowa, Archer broke from the national conservative orthodoxy and aligned himself with his fellow Iowa Republicans and Democrats in support of the subsidy. Many Iowa Republicans, including Gov. Terry Branstad and Sen. Chuck Grassley, have come out in favor of the wind-energy subsidy, despite opposition from Mitt Romney at the top of this year’s GOP ticket.

An extension of the wind-energy tax cuts would help the industry remain competitive in the markets and provide job security for more than 3,000 Iowa workers employed by the wind sector.


Archer’s economic message dovetails nicely with the “government-as-business” narrative being written across the country by the GOP, but over the next few weeks he will have to prove that his commitment to effective legislation and solving problems trumps the pure partisanship that has rendered Congress ineffective and unpopular.

Archer has shown promise by bucking the national party line in favor of joining the “Iowa Consensus” on wind energy, but it remains to be seen whether Archer’s bipartisan message is just an appealing rhetorical flourish or a sign of a legislative pragmatism capable of withstanding the partisan pressures of the House.

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