Tim Scott: Blacks vote Democratic because of past, not future

theGRIO Q&A - Scott has made headlines because he is the first black Republican elected to Congress from South Carolina since Reconstruction...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

In the 1939 film classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Sen. Jefferson Smith (played by Hollywood icon Jimmy Stewart) is a young man, bent on reforming Washington, but he quickly finds himself up against greed, corruption and power in opposition to his idealistic agenda.

The same fate is unlikely for the newly-elected Tim Scott of South Carolina. Scott has made headlines because he is the first black Republican elected to Congress from South Carolina since Reconstruction and he defeated the son of the late segregationist Senator Strom Thurmond in the GOP primary.

Recently, Scott was invited to join the historic Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, but he turned them down because he thinks such organizations are no longer needed.

Yes, the gentleman from South Carolina is no naive Mr. Smith coming to Washington. Instead, he is a rising GOP star — a true conservative with southern roots, and a triumphant life story that many will find inspirational. TheGrio had an opportunity to speak with him on Tuesday evening and get his views on a number of issues facing the nation including: the incoming GOP majority in the House and his role as a newly elected member of Congress.

theGrio: Tell me what you think about the tax cut deal brokered by the president and Republicans in the last 48 hours?

I think it is a step in the right direction, but it does not create the kind of long term investment strategy and security that investors like to see in order to create jobs. I certainly think that dealing with the tax cut issue now eases the burden on persons making $60,000 a year or less and it also does the same for those earning above that middle income level.

Tax cutting relates to the whole soul of economic freedom in this country. Bottom line: I hope it will encourage spending and increase investment in the American economy. Unfortunately, it will be a great wedge issue in 2012 election because we will have to decide if we keep the tax cuts permanently or let them expire once again.

Are there any issues on which you are willing to compromise with President Obama and Democrats?

The most important thing for me to do as a new member of Congress is to represent my district. We must slow spending to save us from the brink of bankruptcy. If we can find a place to shrink government working across the aisle that is a great place to start. If we can collaborate and build consensus on how we help strengthen our country I am in.

On foreign affairs, I will be better prepared and better briefed on this as the weeks progress — but we have to be prepared as a united Congress to talk about Iran and their nuclear program; China being now the second largest economy in the world — growing at 10 percent and we are at 2 percent. We are going to have to sit down and talk about the reality of hyper inflation and inflation. So I think If we can find common ground here we will do so.

We need to build consensus on some of these challenges before us as a nation — we need private sector solutions in collaboration with government — including cyber challenges, our borders, the drug war, terrorism and the potential for domestic terror challenges. My point — yes, there are areas that I think we must work together as Democrats and Republicans.

Why do African-Americans continue to overwhelmingly support Democrats over Republicans?

That is a very good question. I think African-Americans vote for Democrats based on a historical view; versus voting on the future. We as black people may not think alike but ultimately we vote alike.

We are a very complex diverse group of people — there is no monolithic — I think we will have to change over the next 10 years if the black vote is to remain relevant it must become diverse. If we do not become diverse we will become more and more irrelevant — we need to start looking at the future and how we get there as a community.

Does the GOP need to do a better job reaching out to black voters?

I think we as black people and as Republicans need to have a mutually honest dialogue on the issues that includes us leaving our baggage and history at the door, so that we can have a meaningful and constructive conversation — until we do that outreach alone will not work in an impactful way.

What do you as the GOP have to accomplish by 2012 to remain in the majority and expand it even up to the White House?

From [my] perspective we have to reign in spending and not grow government at a pace that outpaces the average American family income. Second, we need a job creation package that puts the emphasis in the private sector — and we need to define what is government’s proper role. If we do those three things and understand that the systemic nature of poverty is linked directly to educational opportunities early in one’s life — then we can begin to make a positive impact.

How do we as a nation get unemployment under control?

We need an environment that simply says that having $2 trillion dollars of potential investment capital sitting on the sidelines while the federal government has spent almost $5 trillion trying to create jobs — is unacceptable.

As you know there is almost 2 million in private sector in reserve since the bailouts of 2008/2009. But we must address financial regulations, energy policy, environmental regulations, the housing crisis and the like if we are going to create jobs once again.

The problem is we have shipped jobs out, but what most people don’t know is that America is either #1 or #3 in manufacturing jobs in the world. The real challenge is that our tax structure and regulatory structures does not allow America to be globally competitive.

Our debt structure as a nation is a challenge — there are no incentives for corporations to stay here and create jobs here for our people — our corporate tax structure is the worst in the world. Japan was worse, but once they will tweak theirs as they are now doing — America will be left standing alone. If we don’t stop taxing the revenue that comes back to our country we will not be competitive.

Consider this 27 out of 30 of our competitors have reduced their overall tax burdens — leaving us at the bottom.This has to change or we will continue to see high unemployment in America.