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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
Questions & Answers
1. In this time of high unemployment, what are the most important steps that should be taken to improve our nationís economy?
It is not the job of the federal government to intervene in the economy. In fact, government manipulation of the economy tends to make challenging economic circumstances worse.
Yet, our government does continually intervene in numerous ways, and it is complicating matters for all of us.
The only true economic duty of good government is simply to foster growth by staying out of the way to the greatest degree possible. Less regulation, lower taxes, and fair-minded, business-friendly policies are, together, the formula that allows business and industry to thrive, not just survive. And when business and industry thrive, a healthy economy results.
The following solutions would provide a solid policy foundation for rebuilding an environment for true economic recovery.
BOLD SOLUTION A: Pass a Balanced Budget Amendement
Legislators in Washington have plainly demonstrated that they need accountability when it comes to budgeting. We balance our books at home and at work. Our federal government ought to do the same thing so that we are not constantly straining under the weight of its irresponsibility.
I support the passage of a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution that includes, at minimum, the following requirements.
Outlay shall not exceed receipts in any fiscal year
Proposed presidential budgets must also balance
At least a three-fifths majority (preferably greater) of each chamber of Congress is required for:
Any outlays exceeding receipts
Increase in the national debt
Bills to increase revenue
Exceptions apply when war is constitutionally declared
BOLD SOLUTION B: Cut Spending Immediately and Significantly
Our economic problem is principally a spending problem. If we do not quickly get spending under control, our economy won't just continue to falter. It will actually collapse.
To date, Senator Rand Paul's Platform to Revitalize America is the single best plan I've seen to cut spending in an immediate and substantive way. It eliminates four unnecessary or failed government agencies; restores non-military spending to pre-2008 levels; balances the budget in five years; and achieves a $19 billion surplus by 2016.
I am a strong advocate of Senator Paul's plan and would support it in Washington.
BOLD SOLUTION C: Replace Our Antiquated Tax Code
Our voluminous, maze-like, antiquated tax code is an object lesson in how to stymie business, penalize families, kill job growth, and consequently, hobble the economy. Our federal government currently taxes too much and too often. The current U.S. tax code must be quickly scrapped and replaced with something simpler and fairer.
Of all the proposed tax plans I have assessed, I believe Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Plan would most immediately jumpstart the economy. I have publicly stated that I would work to advance 9-9-9 legislation in Washington.
For a detailed description of the 9-9-9 Plan and why I believe it is the right plan to embrace, please visit my Bold Solutions page on Tax Policy.
BOLD SOLUTION D: Roll Back Burdensome Restrictions and Red Tape
While some regulations serve a valuable purpose, too many regulations impose hardships on business and industry. Overregulation can make it difficult or impossible to start a business, expand, create jobs, change course nimbly, or even operate cost-effectively. Many of the laws on our federal books today have precisely this negative effect.
Unnecessary and over-burdesome regulation must be rolled back in order to provide desperately needed relief so that business and industry can grow again. To learn more about how I would address overregulation, visit my Bold Solutions page on Regulatory Reform (coming soon).
BOLD SOLUTION E: Advance Energy Independence
Energy is another crucial component of our economy. We all need it, and when energy costs are too high, or plentiful supplies are not available, the economy falters.
Our current damaging energy policy must be reversed. For further information on my ideas for reforming and reinvigorating this aspect of our economy, please visit my Bold Solutions page on Energy.
BOLD SOLUTION F: Audit the Federal Reserve
Whatever other valuable measures we take to right our economy, disaster will ensue if we do not have a sound currency.
The Federal Reserve has tremendous control over the value of our money. Though it functions as the central bank of the United States, the Federal Reserve has not once, since its establishment in 1913, been subject to a full audit on behalf of the American citizens it was ostensibly created to serve.
All other businesses in the U.S. are potentially subject to audit by the IRS, the Federal Reserve's collection arm. It is time that our central bank itself finally opened its books to a full and proper audit. The American people have a right, finally, to obtain a far more detailed view of how our currency is being handled and affected by the Federal Reserve's policies and transactions.
2. How should the federal budget deficit be addressed, now and into the future? How should budget priorities for defense and domestic programs be adjusted?
For starters, we should pass a balanced budget amendment. That amendment or related legislation should stipulate that each chamber of Congress must produce a budget plan within a specified period or forfeit the salaries of its members.
In addition, it is time to stop mob-style bookkeeping in Washington, D.C. The federal government should keep one set of books, using GAAP accounting principles. Standard practices that keep the rest of us out of jail ought to be standard practice for our federal government.
Everything on the table!
3. What are your priorities with respect to our nationís energy policy? Should there be an emphasis on clean energy and reducing carbon emissions, and/or on reducing our dependence on foreign sources?
Could we do worse than current U.S. energy policy?
Energy is a fundamental component of our economy. Business and industry need it to operate. We all need it to survive. Yet, our federal government continues to pursue ill-conceived energy policies that unnecessarily compromise accessibility, inflate prices, stymie business, and make it harder for already strapped families to afford heating, housing, food, and everything else.
It is imperative that we chart a wiser and more productive course.
When we adopt better energy policy, many of the enormous economic challenges we're facing will quickly begin to resolve. We'll create jobs, grow the economy, and begin to make life far more affordable for everyone again.
Wiser energy policy will also ensure preparedness and strengthen national security. While approximately a quarter of our oil currently comes from our neighbor and ally, Canada, we also purchase a good deal of oil from nations that are not nearly so stable. Some of those suppliers are even unfriendly. By relying so heavily on foreign sources, we leave ourselves vulnerable to price manipulations and shortages. We even potentially open ourselves to various forms of attack, financed with the money we have paid for oil.
To responsibly grow our economy and ensure national security, we must finally now do what we should have done long ago: increase access to plentiful energy resources that lie within U.S. borders.
BOLD SOLUTION A: Get Government out of the Way
Federal policy hostile to energy development and/or use lies at the root of much of our current debacle. In fact, a good portion of the reason we're dependent on foreign sources of energy stems from the fact that federal regulations have made it so difficult and costly to develop or access a wide variety of important energy options within our own borders. It is time to roll back over-burdensome regulations that bind the hands of the energy industry so that it can finally produce and provide stable, affordable energy products.
BOLD SOLUTION B: End Energy Subsidies and Let the Free Market Work
Energy subsidies are no different than any other subsidy. They wrongly allow the government to play favorites, resulting in artificial winners and losers in the marketplace. They also frequently result in cartels and price fixing. Moreover, subsidies stifle healthy incentive to compete and innovate within an industry. None of these outcomes benefits the U.S. economy or consumers like you and me.
It's time to end energy subsidies and let the free market work.
Removing taxpayer dollars from the equation creates a reason for energy producers to battle for market share. It also ensures that those battles will rightly be won or lost based on proof of concept, investor confidence, product viability, and value to consumers.
The Founders' intent was never to protect and stagnate business and industry. Rather they wanted business and industry to be completely free to strive for excellence; to create true value; to extend that value through products and services; and, subsequently, to benefit from and propagate prosperity. It is a system that is historically proven. It works brilliantly...when we let it. Leveraging true competition in relationship to consumer demand will powerfully reinvigorate the energy industry and provide a diverse and far more affordable array of real energy solutions.
In this way, the U.S. can move toward an "all-of-the-above" energy policy that acknowledges and leverages the best of the best from among:
Traditional, efficient, and highly stable energy options, such as:
Long ignored but increasingly cost-effective energy solutions, such as:
Renewable energy options, such as:
In Washington, I will advance precisely this sort of diverse, market-driven energy approach. A comprehensive energy plan and policy will help us move toward energy independence, prepare for the future, improve our economic outlook, and remain good stewards of the environment+all while improving national security.
BOLD SOLUTION C: Restore Federal Lands to the States
It's a simple fact: The more land government controls, the less free Americans are. Right now the federal government owns approximately 650 million acres, or about one third of all U.S. lands. It prevents energy production on most of these holdings.
Taxpayers, then, do not, in general, benefit economically from most federal lands. Rather, they pay to have the use of these lands withheld from them.
As energy prices grow and our economy shrinks, we can no longer afford to allow useful lands to sit idle. We are crippling ourselves.
In Congress, I will fully support a restoration of federal lands to the states in which they lie. In this way, citizens, though their state representatives, will have greater power to determine what should be done with those lands. In particular, many of these lands could subsequently be sold (or at the very least leased) by the state in order to facilitate energy production and other valuable outcomes. Such a solution would move us toward several crucial goals:
Constitutional limitation of the federal government's scope and authority
Restoration to the states and the people of their proper authority under the 10th Amendment
4. What, if any, changes should be made to federal health care policies or programs?
BOLD SOLUTION A: Repeal Obamacare
The Affordable Care Act of 2009 (ACA), or Obamacare, is the centerpiece of a socialist agenda that I am fully committed to fight. I have four top reasons for taking this position:
1. OBAMACARE LEADS TO FINANCIAL RUIN.
Facts are facts: America is broke. Obamacare, the most massive and reckless entitlement in the history of our nation, will seal our destruction.
On March 13th, 2012, The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released revised projections on Obamacare's total cost over 10 years. The revised figure is a breathtaking $1.76 TRILLION, doubling the previous $940 billion estimate. Click here for the CBO's full report.
2. OBAMACARE KILLS JOBS.
A February 2012 Gallup poll found that 85 percent of small businesses are not currently hiring. Half of all respondents cited uncertainty about the impact of the federal health care law among their reasons. Small business has created approximately two-thirds of all American jobs over the last 15 years. to turn our economy around, we must encourage small business, not inhibit it.
In addition, Obamacare will decimate the private insurance industry, costing thousands more valuable private sector jobs across the country. High health care costs stem largely from government mandates on what insurers must cover. Each new mandate raises the risks and the potential costs that those insurers must bear, giving them little choice but to increase prices. Obamacare intensifies this problem by creating a glut of new mandates and making it increasingly difficult for consumers to afford the prices that private insurers are forced to charge. This reality will ultimately force most private insurers out of business.
3. OBAMACARE HURTS FAMILIES.
The title of President Obama's health care law alone is a cruel joke on America. Far from making health care more affordable, Obamacare significantly raises the cost of care+and the cost of living+for everyone. Paying for your family's health care might still be manageable. Pile on the health care costs of thousands of others, and the concept of affordability disappears altogether.
Moreover, the same mandate mechanism that will drive private insurers out of business will eliminate competition and choice for consumers. Competition and choice are direct contributors to keeping costs low.
Individuals and families are facing enough challenges in a difficult economy without piling on more expense and hardship.
4. OBAMACARE DESTROYS INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.
Obamacare grants the federal government control of our most personal decisions, laying the groundwork to violate the privacy of not only your personal records but also the relationship between you and your doctor. It further provides for the establishment of protocols to determine the regimen of care you can receive.
The United States Constitution is clear. The federal government has exceeded its limited powers. Obamacare has nothing to do with the self-determination our Founding Fathers had in mind. BOLD SOLUTION B: Roll Back Other Regulatory Health Care Mandates
In addition to repealing Obamacare, we must unleash the free-market to solve the problem of high health care costs.
To facilitate this process, it is crucial to roll back health care coverage mandates and other related regulations that drive up health care costs. Many of these mandates were created at the state level and must be addressed there. However, those mandates that do exist at the federal level should be promptly addressed in order to give the market the freedom it needs to develop the products and services that consumers actually want at prices they can truly afford.
5. What, if any, changes should be made to federal rules on campaign financing?
Repeal McCain-Feingold and Restore the First Amendment!
Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League. Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. References to opponents are not permitted.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
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