Friday, June 04, 2010

Where Jeff Wisdom stands on 9 key issues

Q: How should we hand the immigration problem with Mexico?  What do you think of the Arizona law?
We must defend and enforce our borders. I would support a crackdown on businesses who hire illegal workers. Those here illegally should be deported immediately to their home of origin. I would put National Guard troops along the Mexican border to assist Border Patrol agents with the defense of our national sovereignty.

I would create two new modern "Ellis Island" locations in Tucson, Arizona and El Paso, Texas. Those wishing to enter the United States to work - legally - would be processed quickly at these facilities. These processing stations would be operated by the Border Patrol and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Individuals would be picked up at specific locations along the border and transported to these locations. These stations would conduct background checks and medical exams to approve these individuals for possible work visas in the United States. They would provide basic living accommodations to these individuals while they undergo processing.

I support the state of Arizona in enforcing immigration laws already on the books. The federal government has not effectively protected the southern border. Therefore, the state is simply exercising its authority and responsibility to enforce the law.

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

Congress can facilitate economic growth and prosperity by reducing the tax and regulatory burden on entrepreneurship, especially with small businesses. Tax reform is paramount. Income taxes inhibit productivity. They are oppressive and stifle job creation. It is my belief that Congress should eliminate all income and payroll taxes, replacing them with the fair tax - a national consumption tax paid at the point of purchase.

As an alternative to the current system, I have proposed an economic plan that would end federal taxation of individuals and businesses. Americans would pay taxes only at the state and local level, thereby keeping revenue in local communities where it is badly needed and most effective. Under this system, funding for the federal government would come from taxation of each state as one complete entity using a formula derived from an array of economic criteria, such as state population and per capita income.

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

The single most effective action Congress can take to improve the American educational system is the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education. The teaching of our children should be a function of state and local governments, period. Our federal government has no constitutional authority or responsibility over education. Decisions regarding the education of children should be determined by educational leaders in the local communities, not bureaucrats in Washington.

Q:  Earmarks: what do you think about them and why?
Although Congress is granted the power to appropriate funds in the federal budget, I am opposed to earmarks. The earmarking process in Congress has been corrupted. Earmarks rely essentially on a "quid pro quo" environment where members of Congress vote to fund projects for colleagues in return for funding of their own pet projects. I see earmarking as a way for members of Congress to "bribe" constituents.
Under an economic plan that I have proposed, tax revenues would be collected and held by the state and local governments. This would eliminate the need for earmarks or grants from the federal government for a local project. The money would already be in the local communities. It makes no sense to send taxes to Washington, DC, in order for bureaucrats to decide where to spend the money. Let the people in the states and local communities determine that.
Q: Health care: where do we go from here now that the U.S. has reformed health care?
Obamacare, the health care reform plan passed by Congress back in March, spells nothing but economic disaster for the American economy and the quality of care in the United States. It places an unconstitutional mandate on individuals - the requirement for every individual to purchase a health care policy.

My preference would be to repeal Obamacare and work to enact common sense and practical approaches to health care reform that are founded in free market ideals and principles. Allow individuals to purchase coverage across state boundaries. Impose pragmatic limitations on punitive damages imposed on health care practioners and facilities to lower malpractice insurance costs.

The federal government could provide catastrophic care coverage under a public/private partnership that would lessen the risk undertaken by private insurance companies. If health insurance companies carried only risk for basic health care services (doctor visits, emergency room treatment, etc.) up to a limit of $25,000, health care premiums would be significantly lower. This would make coverage affordable for all.

Q: What is your opinion of drilling for oil in national park land and how do you prevent another Gulf oil slick?
I support drilling for oil on U.S. soil and offshore, including national parks such as ANWR. We must become more self-sufficient in our supply of energy and less dependent on foreign sources of oil. Our reliance on foreign sources of energy makes the United States economically vulnerable to international political events.

The prevention of another oil slick, such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico, should be a priority of both the public and private sector. There is inherently a risk involved anytime we drill for oil or mine a fossil fuel such as coal. Nonetheless, it is in our vital political and economic interest to pursue energy independence. Appropriate safety protocols must be developed and followed.

Q: Discuss the balance between personal privacy and individual freedoms versus protection from terrorists.
One thing is certain - there are ruthless enemies of the United States who wish to harm or kill our citizens. Therefore, we must be vigilant and diligent in the prevention of terrorist activities against our people, our sovereignty, and our economic interests. That being said, if we compromise our liberties and personal freedoms then terrorists have succeeded in interrupting our daily lives. I do not support mirandizing terrorists. Foreign terrorists who carry out, or attempt to carry out, an act against the citizens of the United States should be dealt with swiftly and harshly. The battlefield of terrorists is virtually anywhere, including Times Square, Fort Hood, or an in-bound airliner.

There are key elements of the Patriot Act that I support, such as the monitoring of cell phone conversations between suspected operatives in the United States and known terrorist networks abroad. Law enforcement officials must also be able to scrutinize financial records of individuals funneling monies to terror cells. The Patriot Act has enhanced our security and kept our country safe from another large-scale attack for almost a decade.
Q: How can our government realistically cut the federal debt?    
The only means by which the federal government can realistically cut the national debt is through a balanced budget requirement, something to which virtually all state and local governments must constitutionally adhere. Congress should have its credit card privileges revoked. It has lived well beyond its means for far too long, placing a significant debt burden on future generations of taxpayers.

My economic plan would shift power over monetary resources and tax revenues to the states and the people as the founding fathers envisioned. Tax revenue would be collected from individuals only at the state and local level. Funding of the federal budget would require monies collected from each of the fifty states. A funding formula based on several key economic criteria would determine the tax revenue each state would appropriate toward the federal budget.

If the 17th Amendment is repealed, returning the selection of U.S. senators back to the state governments, it would become feasible to rein in the size and scope of federal spending. Senators, acting in the interests of the states, could then curtail the level of spending at the federal level to ensure more tax revenue remains in the states to fund local projects deemed appropriate and necessary by the people, such as schools and road construction.
Q: How can the federal government reform Social Security?
Although the reform of Social Security is a volatile issue with many voters, the reality is that the viability of the system, as well as the Medicare and Medicaid programs, depends on significant changes and restructuring. Within the coming years, the Social Security system will become insolvent. Major reform is the only alternative to save the system from collapse.

Younger workers under the age of 45 must be phased out of the system. This could occur in stages through a buy-out according to birth year. The taxes paid to Social Security by these workers could be transferred to a private investment account of the individual's choosing (i.e. a Roth IRA). Those between the ages of 46-55 could be given an optional buy-out in return for a reduction or elimination of benefits. Those who opt to remain in the system will have their retirement ages increased and/or benefits recalculated. Individuals 56 and older would be guaranteed retirement benefits under the current system. We must uphold our nation's commitment and promise to these individuals.

I would support an optional buy-out for those 56 and over who meet higher retirement income criteria, minus any benefits they have already received from the system. Funding for all proposed buy-outs could be acquired from a number of sources, including the elimination of unnecessary, ineffective, and unconstitutional programs in the discretionary budget. One more note, any individual accepting a buy-out option would pay no federal income taxes on the monies received or reinvested. These were initially tax revenue collections, so to tax them as income would constitute double taxation.

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