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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Los Angeles County, CA June 3, 2014 Election
Smart Voter

Vince Flaherty
Answers Questions

Candidate for
United States Representative; District 33


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 and budget deficits, what are the most important steps that should be taken to improve our nationís economy and sustain job creation?

Politicians talk about creating jobs. Creating jobs from what? Jobs are created by purchasing demand, which is created by people with purchasing power for affordable commodities. An economy as large as the United States can't recover unless it is supported by a robust "middle class". Moreover, enormous international corporate and financial trading enterprise interests, that bear no allegiance to America, are squeezing the economy through our legislators that they lobby and pressure. These international corporations, that make few decisions based upon what is good for our country, are effectively ensuring that fewer citizens will be able to maintain the cost of living, let alone earn disposable income that would sustain a demand for commodities and products and thereby require jobs to fill that demand.

Therefore, important steps to improve our nation's economy and sustain job creation could include;

1) Enacting an overall tax system on the transfer of money that lowers taxes for everyone while requiring that the highest earners also pay the same. 2) Re-enacting laws like the Glass-Steagall Acts to prohibit the international financial trading enterprise from unsupervised and unregulated monopoly power over the origination, sale, rating and securitization of debt instruments such as mortgages originated within the United States. 3) Enacting laws to provide effective oversight of shadow market derivatives transactions regarding international banks operating within the United States. 4) Lowering taxes on all citizens. 5) Enacting a flat income tax rate lower than that presently imposed on the middle class. 6) Enacting tax incentives. 7) Confronting each and every of the above-mentioned kinds of unfair international corporation and financial trading enterprise manipulated and corruption abetted oppressions upon the people, because any economic improvements gained by lowering taxes or enacting a flat income tax rate lower than that presently imposed on the middle class, including tax incentives, will not be enough by themselves to sufficiently eradicate government debt, lessen consumer debt, create sufficient buying power, and hence demand in the consumer markets, and the jobs to fill that demand for production.

2. What, if any, changes should be made to federal health care policies or programs?

Medical bills are the number two cause of bankruptcy in America, and notwithstanding the Affordable Care Act, 39 million Americans still do not have health care coverage. Millions more Americans are under-insured causing bankruptcy and tearing families apart when struck with a life threatening illness.

The American people wouldn't even be having a healthcare debate right now if Big Insurance and the medical industry hadn't been allowed to spend record amounts of contributions toward the election of our legislators, in order to stack the deck.

Sadly, like the situation with the financial trading enterprise dominated U.S. government, many of the laws on the books today, including the Affordable Care Act, have been written by attorneys from Big Insurance, at the expense of the people.

As such, the Affordable Care Act, while providing apparently low rates to start, is designed to eventually allow escalation of premiums and will at that point then offer hardly any affordable options at all for middle class families, unless they are working for government or large corporations that can foot the bill.

To allow middle class families to be gobbled up into bankruptcy because they cannot afford medical care is not only unethical, but it exacerbates a major financial drag on the United States economy. We need to envision the reality of legitimate healthcare reform, a national Optional healthcare program, as a safety net for Americans who work just as hard as those working for government or corporations. But one of the main arguments against it comes from Big Insurance, and their ability to capture the minds of those fortunate to be satisfied with their present insurance, sometimes because it is paid for by their corporate or government employers.

Those who dissent may rightly believe their existing corporate or government paid insurance programs are fine for them. They don't need or want any change, and so many can be persuaded to believe that their insurance would be threatened by a genuinely optional publicly funded insurance plan. But properly structured publicly funded insurance wouldn't force anyone to change carriers. If everyone had a first-hand experience of seeing just how low down, dirty and rotten Big Insurance can be, often willing to stop at nothing in order to worm their way out of legitimate claims for life-threatening illnesses, then many people would change their minds about the need for Healthcare Reform. President Obama appeared to be attempting to take a step in the right direction. The problem is that the administration is operating from a platform built upon a corrupted corporatocracy that can't help itself from increasing bureaucracy and deficit spending at a dangerously unsustainable rate.

It appears that the only option other than a national insurance safety net, is for government to properly regulate Big Insurance. But that has proved to be an insurmountable task for our corporately supported legislature, especially because Big Insurance's formidable lobby met with the president shortly after he entered office and agreed upon a system that mostly benefited them.

Still, we must pry Big Insurance from its mainstream stranglehold of our healthcare system. We need to persevere in instituting an optional type of American Healthcare, that doesn't discourage first class treatment, or encourage welfarism like the Socialist Marxist model. The last thing we need is the soft tyranny, authoritarianism and irrationality of more bureaucratic power. And again, we wouldn't even need healthcare reform right now, if it had been illegal for the Big Insurance and medical industry lobbies to pay record amounts of contributions to our legislators in the first place.

Turning to a related subject, America needs to improve the benefits and the physical and mental health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. It needs an honest single payer healthcare option to safeguard veterans from going bankrupt due to medical bills and catastrophic illness.

We need to step up and make sure that those who enlist in our armed forces, and thereby show their gratitude and allegiance to our country for the opportunities under a democracy can afford, are not forgotten but instead rewarded. We need to make sure not one more of our veterans is lost because they couldn't receive medical treatment in time.

Finally, Congress should be barred from the conflict of interest inherent in having a separate health care system than that is available to the American people.

3. What are your priorities with respect to our nationís energy policy?

About 86% of all types of energy used in the United States is derived from burning fossil fuels. While the administration of President Obama purports to propose aggressive energy policy reform, including proposed reduction of CO2 emissions, with a cap and trade program, in order to encourage more clean renewable, sustainable energy development, the United States of America still has no comprehensive long-term energy policy whatsoever.

Meanwhile, no matter what the level of human responsibility for adverse climate change or deadly radiological sources, when compared to other factors such as natural under-sea volcanoes or naturally occurring radiation, it still remains, aside from overriding economic concerns to phase out dirty energy without penalizing the worldwide economic network, that we must nonetheless act responsibly and aggressively to phase out man-made poisons in our environment, particularly the toxic by-products of coal, oil and nuclear fission.

The world's leading science journals report that atmospheric greenhouse gases have reached levels not seen for millions of years. Glaciers are melting ten times faster than previously thought, the Rio Grande no longer consistently makes it to the ocean, and species are vanishing as a result of climate change. In California, we are in the throes of a seventeen year drought that has become progressively worse. If this drought continues at its present pace for another ten years, Lake Mead will be dry, leaving 4,000,000 citizens of the greater San Diego megalopolis without water. Marine life is losing the struggle to survive as the oceans are awash with heavy metals like Mercury, and nuclear by-products such as Cesium and Strontium. It appears we are experiencing an ever increasing succession of extreme weather events, long-term droughts, and rising sea levels. Clearly, further catastrophic events and consequences will continue to occur if no action is taken.

Several CEOs of coal, oil and nuclear corporations maintain they have changed their minds from a few years ago. They say they now believe that global warming or the stockpiling of radioactive waste may be a threat. They say they are phasing their corporations to become green, or more safe. But actions speak louder than advertisements. Those same corporations are aggressively building new plants. They have additional plants on the drawing board, and very little green alternatives by comparison. Meanwhile, the oil, coal and nuclear lobbies are allowed to continue showering money and favor upon regulators, legislators, and the public media.

In fact, many of our most bombastic politicians have repeatedly disregarded the appearance of propriety by appointing representatives from the oil, lumber, pharmaceutical, nuclear and financial trading corporations in charge of the federal regulatory agencies that were designed to protect the people and the environment from the greed of those very entities. The good news again is that big business has always guided the direction of, and been protected by, the countries wherein it operates. History tells us that government exist in large part to protect corporations, and that the direction of nations is guided by the decisions of their corporations.

After the Second World War there was a genuine motive for the U.S. government to work in the interests of America's international corporations because all their interests were aligned.

But a time is upon us where many of the international industrial corporations like British Petroleum, and the financial trading enterprise composed of entities like the Bank of America, Inc. make fewer and fewer decisions based upon what is good for our country, and more decisions based upon their own short sighted profitability.

Legislation is sorely needed so that the representatives of the United States Senate and Congress can make sure that the same level of government protection for corporate powers is afforded to the American people. The representative to Congress from District 33 should be the district's representative to the federal government, and it is unconstitutional for it to be the other way around.

Sadly, disgracefully, for the sake of money, many of the bureaucrats and elected officials entrusted to protect us, have historically conspired with lobbyists to keep America burning the filthiest, most poisonous, most expensive fuels on the planet. For the sake of money, they still conspire to cut down our forests, pollute our water and the air we breathe, and sell us further down the river to the financial trading enterprise.

They repeatedly cover up the pollution and the injuries caused by the production of toxic chemicals like Thimerosal, an abundance of oil based poisons, or the radioactive by-products of nuclear fission. Even if the burning of fossil fuels and the production of radioactive waste had nothing to do with damaging the environment, which it grievously does, the creation of phthalates and synthetic estrogenic chemicals from the production of the vast array of fossil fuel based plastics, and the heavy metals produced by nuclear technologies has been scientifically proven to be causing serious problems in the human reproductive cycle.

It need not be cost prohibitive to produce oil based products responsibly and safely. Reasonably drafted legislation can pave the way. Conversely, the squandering of corporate funding for deceptive propaganda, and the ratification by elected officials and media executives of the repeated cover-up of ongoing damage to the planet and the people, is actionable under federal and state law.

I have taken the time to examine reasonable proposals for implementation of green energy alternatives, and because of the unprecedented enormous worldwide demand for fossil fuel energy I have developed working plans to accomplish the shift to a healthier planet over the long term without impacting American jobs, corporate profitability, or disrupting the national economy.

4. What, if any, changes should be made with respect to our nationís security, including our national defense or anti-terrorism measures?

While I am outraged by the loss of personal privacy exacerbated technological advances, I would have to be briefed by the CIA, FBI, military intelligence, scholars and other experts before forming any opinions regarding specific changes to our nation's security, including our national defense and anti-terrorism measures.

5. What is your position on the issue of immigration reform? What, if any, changes to legislation or policy would you support?

Present immigration policy is a failure and in need of bold reform along the lines of the various Dream Acts which reward immigrants of good moral character who have crossed the border as children and chosen to give back to America for college degrees received and military service. We need to step up and make sure that those who graduate school and provide commitments and service to the community, or enlist and are honorably discharged from our armed forces, and who have thereby shown their gratitude and allegiance, are not forgotten but instead rewarded for their faith in democracy.

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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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 15, 2014 19:47
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