Monday, June 07, 2010

Where Billy Long stands on 9 key issues

Q: How should we hand the immigration problem with Mexico?  What do you think of the Arizona law?
The first thing that we must do is secure the border with Mexico.  If the border is not secured against illegal entry then any other policy solution will be temporary at best and ultimately ineffective.  In order to secure the borders, America should deploy every tool available to us, including the construction of a border fence and increasing the number of border patrol agents along the border. If necessary, we should deploy national guard troops to make sure it is secure. Having a porous border is also a threat to our national security and we need to take it seriously.

The law in Arizona is a common sense reaction to a lack of leadership from Washington. When police encounter a situation where they believe that illegal immigration is a factor they should be able to take action. Right now the federal government either cannot, or will not, enforce its own immigration laws.  That has to change or individual states will continue to pass their own laws.

Q: How can the Congress promote economic growth and  jobs?

Jobs are created by private businesses, not by the government.  What the national government can do is create an environment where the free market can flourish naturally through measures such as low taxes on business and the elimination of the capital gains tax, which will encourage people to invest money in job producing activities.

Congress can also ease its regulatory burden to reduce the cost of creating a new job.  Since our economy runs on energy the government can lift restrictions on exploration and recovery that would channel more energy resources into the economy. 

Q: What can Congress do to make our education system more effective?

The best way that Congress can make our education system more effective is by sending power back to the states, the local school districts, and ultimately to the parents themselves.  No one is more vested in providing for the education of a child than the child's parents and the dedicated teachers who work with the child on a daily basis.  Local teachers and parents should be free to educate their children without interference from a bureaucrat located in some distant federal department.  Each child is different, as is each school district, and as a result no single solution imposed from the top down will be the best solution for every one of the diverse districts across a nation as vast as America.

Q:  Earmarks: what do you think about them and why?
I have made a firm pledge not to take any earmarks.  Earmarks are a corrupting influence on the legislative process and they should be completely eliminated.  They are a preferred way to bestow favor on political supporters and for Congressmen to engage in vote buying by bringing pet projects back to their districts.  We need to stop pork spending whenever possible and earmarks are a part of that problem.
Additionally, as a matter of principle, the government should allocate spending through a merit based process that evaluates each item of spending to determine if it is the best use of public resources.  We should not be allocating resources based on the seniority of the Congressman requesting the spending.
Q: Health care: where do we go from here now that the U.S. has reformed health care?
The health care reform bill that recently passed Congress should be repealed immediately.  Health care needs reform, but all the Congressional health care bill did was add a new tangle of bureaucracy on top of a system that was already weighed down under the burden of too much government.
Congress should work on tort reform, to limit excessive recoveries that drive up costs.  Congress should exercise its power over commerce to insist that the free market be allowed to work with insurance policies by requiring such products to be available for sale across state lines.  Congress should allow individuals to save money in tax free accounts to pay for future medical expenses and it should work to eliminate the waste that exists in current health care programs.
Q: What is your opinion of drilling for oil in national park land and how do you prevent another Gulf oil slick?
I support a "Drill Here, Drill Now" policy that provides for oil exploration wherever it is economically viable to do so.  We need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. America also has a record as one of the cleanest, safest oil producers in the world.  We have high standards and the best technology in the world. We will learn the lessons from this disaster to reduce the chance of future oil spills.
Q: Discuss the balance between personal privacy and individual freedoms versus protection from terrorists.
I believe deeply in our civil liberties and they should be fully protected. The purpose of America, our Constitution, and our government, is to make and keep us all free.  However, we can preserve freedom while pursuing terrorists. I believe we should aggressively monitor terrorist threats in this country and abroad.  I do not agree with those who would extend our rights and privileges that we enjoy as Americans to terrorists.

Q: How can our government realistically cut the federal debt?    
The best way, and only way in my view, to cut the federal debt is to stop spending money. In an over three trillion dollar budget there is plenty of waste, fraud and abuse. We should also eliminate earmark funding and stop bailing out Wall Street banks and private companies. Ronald Reagan was right when he said that Washington does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. However, the career politicians in Washington do not seem to have the will to make tough choices. I will.

Q: How can the federal government reform Social Security?
Social Security as it currently exists has become unsustainable and reform is urgently needed.  We must keep the promises that we have made and that means we must firmly guarantee the Social Security benefits for all seniors.  In contemplating reform for the future, the first thing that Congress must do is stop spending trust fund money.  Unfortunately, Congress has severely mismanaged Social Security by spending the vast sums of excess money that was collected for decades to pay for future retirees.  We cannot recover the funds that were spent, but we can at least stop the last horse from leaving the barn by not wasting any more of the Social Security money that we're still taking in.  Congress' abysmal record in safeguarding retiree funds makes clear the need for additional protections on future retirement money. 

However, the only way we can reform social security is to work on a bi-partisan solution. This is not a Republican problem, or an Democrat problem; it is an American problem. We cannot have partisan solutions when an issue is this important. There are many good proposals out there, but we need to take the politics out of it. We all want the same thing: we want social security to be there when we need it. I would work to make sure that Social Security will be there when we need it.

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