Q: How should we hand the immigration problem with Mexico? What do you think of the Arizona law?
The border enforcement problem we have been facing for decades, is not really an “Immigration problem” - it’s a criminal alien problem. Immigrants are folks who immigrate to a country, folks who plan to make a life in their new country, assimilate to some extent and intend to become Americans. Those folks can still be proud of the old homeland, but expect to make their future as Americans. We are Blessed as a nation, that Freedom-loving people from every tribe and nation still want to come to these shores.
The people for whom the Arizona law is directed, are not those folks. Criminal aliens make their first impression upon the United States by breaking our laws, and have no intention of assimilating into our culture. I have no problem with folks wanting to become Americans, in fact I love it. I do have a problem with people trying to abuse the United States and the generosity of Americans.
I haven’t read the entire Arizona law yet, but it appears to be crafted to mirror existing federal law, only allowing law enforcement to ask legal status after being approached for something else. If so, it is entirely correct. Resident Aliens and visitors to the U.S. are already required to carry I.D. with them at all times while in the country, and anytime a citizen is stopped by law enforcement and questioned, it’s expected that we have to show I.D.
I agree that it’s a responsibility of the federal government to defend our national borders, The constitution requires the federal government to protect against invasion. “The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion... (Article 4 Section 4) Otherwise, the Constitution only really requires the federal government to “establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization” (Article 1, section 8)
Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a state cannot protect its own borders, in fact the assumption is that each state is sovereign and can work on its own behalf. I believe that in the Constitutional scheme of things, Arizona is fully within its sovereign rights to enforce its own border, and utilize for itself, existing federal laws for its own citizens welfare and protection.
Q: How can the Congress promote economic growth and jobs?
Restore manufacturing jobs, domestic energy, and lower taxes.
The single biggest force exporting jobs from the United States is the federal government and its overwhelming regulations and mandates (and taxes). We need to be encouraging manufacturing jobs here at home. How much of what you buy is still made in the USA? Not nearly as much as it was 30 years ago, I assure you. From light bulbs and wiper blades to appliances and sheetrock, much of what you buy is imported today, simply because it’s too expensive or even impossible to manufacture these items in the United States.
From the Zenith TV plant, here in Springfield, to textile plants, mining, the auto industry and all its suppliers are going overseas due to impossible overhead here in the states. The recent activity by the EPA over carbon dioxide is a key example. Moderate producers of carbon dioxide like small manufacturing companies are going to be treated as major polluters by the federal government. Small businesses will have to get permits and beg for the privilege of doing business. Energy-dependent industries such as agriculture, transportation and manufacturing will not be able to compete in a global economy, or in many cases even stay in business. We just cannot build things here as we used to, we need to build things here again if we are to grow our economy back to health.
Some industries have already seen the beginning of this unfolding tragedy. The EPA’s recently released, 125-page mandate on cement manufacturing regulation has all but locked down the industry in the United States. Cement companies have shut down plants due to the regulations that do not do anything for air or water quality above current regulations. As a result, hiring and investing will essentially be stopped, and imports of cement from overseas will increase.
If the upcoming greenhouse regulations are allowed to be put in place, any industry that relies on plants and factories that burn fuel will have to give up and relocate overseas for good. They will outsource what is left of our manufacturing economy not because of corporate greed but because Washington DC will have made it impossible to stay in business in the United States. Industries leave for Mexico or China, not because they want to, they leave because they cannot make a profit and compete when shackled by high taxes and often unreasonable regulations. I haven’t even gotten into the effects on agriculture, but these kinds of regulations will continue to drive our food supply overseas as well.
Today some people think that making a profit is somehow bad, but profit provides paychecks, raises, future growth for the company and dividends for your retirement accounts. Profits without morals is a bad thing, and States do have a legitimate duty to regulate, but we can have growth, without overbearing regulation, and need even less from the federal government.
We also need to be energy independent. There is simply no compelling reason to import as much oil as we do, and pay the going rate set by OPEC. We have all the necessary oil, coal and natural resources, as well as the best workforce in the world, and we squander it all by allowing the federal government to inject itself in areas that it does not have a clear Constitutional duty to do so. We need an “all of the above” energy policy to include coal, gas, nuclear, hydro and all the various other green sources where they make sense.
We also have serious infrastructure needs all over the United States. We need to be replacing power lines and gas lines for example. Utilities, governments and insurance companies spend billions each year on storm damage to power lines, I suggest that we encourage burying lines as much as possible, to avert storm damage, and even protect against possible attacks. This would create jobs for quite a while, and save money for years to come, as well as keep the power on for folks in times of need. We are Americans, and we can still do great things, but we don’t want or need the federal government to do it.
The House might start with lowering taxes on those that produce jobs, and lower taxes on those that work those jobs. Eliminating the many layers of regulatory agencies and bureaucracies would be another step in the right direction.
I would further suggest that repealing the 16th Amendment and replacing it with a consumption tax (such as the Fairtax), would go a long way towards working off our enormous debt and trade imbalance as well. Our current system is highly inefficient, and costly. It costs Americans Billions each year to comply with, and Trillions more in lost commerce and productivity. High taxes always stop or slow the affected activity, so why would you want to tax hard work? By taxing items only at the point of sale on new items, it allows families to decide when and where to pay their taxes, or to reduce their taxes by buying used items instead. I would oppose any VAT tax however, as it is regressive as well, and would be implemented on top of our current income tax.
Q: What can Congress do to make our education system more effective?
The federal government needs to get out of the education business altogether. At the most, it should perhaps establish grade level standards in association with the states, and administer a cheat-proof standardized test at various times during student’s educational career so parents can accurately judge their student’s education against other districts and states. The states need to administer education in conjunction with local schools and educators. Federal involvement in education has been a disastrous mistaken experiment, and has sentenced several generations of gifted Americans to a lower standard of living than they would have had otherwise. It has supported failing schools and beaurocrats and burdened the good schools unnecessarily as well.
As a former private school teacher, I have seen what a good student-parent-teacher relationship can produce, and what government top-down bureaucracy can produce. I think most parents want better for their kids than they are getting now, and most teachers do as well. Local control of schools puts the power where the interested parties are located, parents, students, local teachers and administrators.
A good teacher is a national treasure, and a resource not to be wasted. We spend about $9,300 per student per year nationally (about $235k per classroom of 25 kids) do you think we are getting our money’s worth? Do you like selling cookie dough and chocolate? I like my kid’s current schools here in Spokane, but how much better could they be if they had that money to use there on campus? Moreover, how much better could bad local schools get if parents and teachers had access to that amount at the campus level? It can be done better and cheaper, it happens every day in private schools all across the country. The school I taught at had an advertised tuition of $3500/yr, and many didn’t even pay that, yet with little money we outscored well funded government schools around us every year.
Currently our education system is over controlled, and under educating. We have smaller classes, bigger budgets and poorer results. Teachers and parents here at home know what works for their students, and should be the defining power, not bureaucrats in Virginia.
Q: Earmarks: what do you think about them and why?
I do not support creating winners and losers with custom tailored regulations or with the tax code. An earmark is a legislative provision that directs funds to specific projects or that directs specific exemptions from taxes or mandated fees. While they are not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, creating regulations that favor one state over another is mentioned and prohibited. (Article 1, Section 9, Clause 6) “No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another. Clause 7: No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.”
I understand that this is how members of Congress bring home the pork for their home district, and that many people think it’s ok if their district benefits, but ALL Americans pay for these projects. Projects necessary to the United States need to be in the benefit of all of us, and if the best solution happens to be in your district, then great, we all benefit. I further understand that I may not bring home the pork to the 7th District as some may expect, but if we cut the special projects, everybody will benefit. Here in the 7th District we have so many great resources that don’t need back room deals to “help us out”.
I also support the idea of single-issue bills, no omnibus bills or add-on earmarks. All additions and amendments would have to have a direct and clear relation to the subject bill. All additions and amendments should also be clearly identifiable by author. Each congress has the ability and responsibility to set the rules for each session of congress, so I would support those kinds of rules..
I support the enumerated powers act, which would require every bill to show where in the Constitution that particular bill or idea is permitted. In Article 1 Section 8, the duties and responsibilities of the federal government are clearly spelled out, About 18 things. The general welfare clause and the supremacy clause also give the government some exclusive room to move on these things, but the 10th Amendment clearly limits the government to these things, and these things only. If we were focused on just these things, we would not be Trillions in debt.
I support the balanced budget Amendment, which would greatly limit spending sprees on our dime as well.
Q: Health care: where do we go from here now that the U.S. has reformed health care?
States should nullify it as it is clearly beyond the scope of the federal government’s power, and then it should be repealed by a future congress, (despite Speaker Pelosi’s “cannot repeal” clause).
Healthcare should be between you and your doctor. Prices could be better controlled by several means, competition is one, listing prices for common procedures, and allowing people to change plans outside of open enrollment, as well as tort reform would do much more to control costs, this current plan will only reduce care, and increase costs. We also need to educate people on the difference between health insurance for catastrophic illnesses, and routine healthcare. Nobody is denied emergency care, and people without insurance do have the ability to pay for services on their own (which is sometimes cheaper anyway) Forcing citizens to buy insurance under penalty of fines and jail is moronic.
Q: What is your opinion of drilling for oil in national park land and how do you prevent another Gulf oil slick?
Yes, drill anywhere it can be done cleanly, and with regard to state input. If we were drilling more on land, we wouldn’t need to drill in 5000 ft of water. We have trillions of barrels of oil on shore, and hundreds or thousands of years of natural resources on tap here, but since Congress has put most of it off-limits, oil companies must drill offshore where it’s harder and more expensive, the risk of disaster is also much higher. I don’t know how to prevent this from happening again. We have been drilling in the gulf for decades; this is our first incident of this scope. The rigs are supposed to have “Christmas trees” that cut the flow of oil in case of trouble; this was an exploratory drill I hear, so perhaps it wasn’t installed yet? This spill will have ramifications for decades to come, and must be addressed, it should have been ringed within hours, and a plan implemented to cap the well. At the time of this writing, the government and BP have both appeared to act horribly slow in this event.
Q: Discuss the balance between personal privacy and individual freedoms versus protection from terrorists.
75% of the Patriot Act is a blatant violation of the 4th Amendment, and should be repealed and nullified. Any attempt to read emails or tap into communications of any American citizen, should follow the guidance of the Constitution and 4th Amendment. However, I do not think that the 4th Amendment applies to criminal aliens, some foreign nationals, and terrorists in particular. The Constitution applies to U.S. citizens, legal visitors, and guests, Illegal visitors and enemy combatants do not have full Constitutional rights, they do have basic human rights, just not Constitutional rights.
That said, there is no right to get on an airplane, but the public has every reason to feel safe in a public place within the United States. Airport body scanners are a terrible invasion of personal privacy, and unnecessary if we would use common sense and proper use of profiling passengers.
The aversion to “profiling” is absurd, if Catholic nuns were blowing up planes, I wouldn’t support frisking the Amish. I understand that Muslims would be upset with being singled out, but I would be more sympathetic if they were more outraged by terrorist acts within their ranks. Flying Imams and dancing in the streets after 9-11 really isn’t helping their case. If Baptists were blowing up planes, I would understand it when I was stopped and checked at the airport. But stopping everyone so as not to offend one group I cannot tolerate.
If people enjoy their personal freedoms, they should realize that freedom comes with responsibility. However the real issue is not just freedom, its liberty. The liberties of any American citizen should never be infringed without the protections of Constitutional due process. Freedom and liberty are not free, they have been paid for with a very high price, and are worth defending. I am also opposed to a national ID, and any ID with biometric information included in it. I’m opposed to OBD III in our cars and any other mandatory tracking technology.
Q: How can our government realistically cut the federal debt?
Cut federal spending and grow the economy.
We realistically can only grow out of the hole we are in. This hole was dug pretty deep by many factors, but most of them had the government and bad policy in common. From Fannie and Freddie encouraging bad loans with our money, to the EPA running many manufacturing industries overseas and government agencies contracting out for $1800 hammers and $200 textbooks.
We need to drastically cut federal spending and eliminate entire federal agencies. The states are fully able to take on many of these activities, and in many cases are already doing many things concurrently with the federal government.
The people of the United States need lower taxes so the economy can grow; we need our manufacturing jobs to return to the United States, we need access to OUR stable domestic energy. Government jobs do not grow the economy; I understand that over a lifetime, a typical federal job requires 11 typical taxpayers to pay for it, which is simply not sustainable.
The federal government only has about 18 Constitutional responsibilities, if we were only doing 18 things, instead of 18,000 we wouldn’t be bankrupt. The 10th Amendment says that everything beyond those delegated to the federal government, are the responsibility of the states, or the people. As screwed up as Jeff City is, we have more control of the Public servants there, than we do the ones in Washington D.C.