1. What is the most important issue facing Congress? What solutions would you propose?
The most important issue facing Congress is the continued failure of our health care system, a problem only exacerbated by the passage of the Affordable Care Act. While the goal of affordable health care for every American is a worthy goal, it is one that we should seek to attain by reducing the cost of health care through increased competition in a more responsive market. The Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land and its effects have been far reaching. Those effects have limited competition, inflated costs, and stagnated the market with mandates, restrictions, and taxes. It is too late to restore the status quo ante, with all of its flaws. The insurance plans the president promised you could keep have long since been discontinued. What we can do is reverse course and introduce real health care reform to this country by rolling back restrictions, expanding exemptions, and making mandates go away. By encouraging Americans to get the health care coverage that is right for them without interference from government bureaucrats, the American traditions of ingenuity, charity, and thrift are more than up to the task of caring for the sick without it.
2. How has President Obama handled foreign policy crises, including the recent and ongoing conflicts in Syria, Gaza and Ukraine?
He has probably handled them about as well as could be expected, but before he was called upon to handle them, the foreign policy of this administration and administrations from both of the major parties for the last 20 years have been infused with the tendency to engineer these crises as a result of heavy-handed, unrealistic, reckless behavior on the international stage. Before the crisis in Ukraine, State Department officials were recorded discussing upcoming elections with a callous disregard for the individual rights and dignity of Ukrainians. Muddled confusion of American policies in Syria has our intelligence community covertly arming and training rebels who spill over into Iraq to threaten the fragile stability painstakingly achieved in the aftermath of the 2003 invasion. In Gaza, the president rightly ignores Hamas propaganda, but compromises American neutrality between Israelis and Palestinians by arming the IDF at taxpayer expense. This serves both to limit Israeli freedom of action in setting its own policies and strategies, and give Palestinians the impression that we will not deal with them fairly. Congress should take a more active role and engage the American public in setting a clear, continuous, humble foreign policy that seeks peace and mutually respectful trade with all the peoples of the world, without interfering in the ancient and intractable struggles of others.
3. Would you support raising the federal minimum wage? Why or why not?
No. Not only do minimum wage laws contribute to inflation in the economy and increased prices, but they also contribute to unemployment, particularly in those segments of the labor market most susceptible to disruptions in their income and employment status. While every worker deserves to be treated with respect and paid a fair wage, minimum wage laws do not dictate to employers what they must pay. They only dictate to our most vulnerable employees what they must earn.
4. How would you judge the U.S. economy more than five years after the recession? As a member of Congress, what proposals would you offer to improve economic growth?
Economists can refer to abstractions for the US economy like its GDP and its stock market index value to declare the recession "over", but until average Americans feel secure in their jobs, free in their businesses, and confident in their investments, the trouble has not passed. The most important thing Congress can do is to reduce the tax burden on middle class families and protect the value of their investments, while otherwise steadfastly avoiding meddlesome intrusion into their daily decisions. When central bank printing presses and IRS bureaucrats are taxing every American, higher wages will not be enough, and saving for college or to buy a home becomes impossible. When Congress and administration bureaucrats decide which campaign contributors' insurance plan meet the approval of ACA mandates, no one gets to keep their health plan. Any proposals offered should roll back these destructive taxes, restrictions, and inflationary money pits.
5. Should the U.S. spend more on road, bridge and transportation system improvements? Would you vote to raise taxes to improve the nation's transportation infrastructure?
What little infrastructure exists that is truly national in scope, the current gasoline and other taxes assessed to fund their construction and maintenance is more than adequate. It is only when national transportation funds are diverted for the pet projects of local politicians on powerful committees that the revenue begins to lag behind the costs. If transportation fund disbursements were limited to the construction, maintenance, and repair of truly national transportation infrastructure instead of bridges to nowhere, taxes could more likely be reduced and the cost of fuel and transportation for everyday folks could be reduced as well.
6. Would you vote to lower U.S. corporate tax rates? Why or why not?
Yes. US corporate tax rates are among the highest in the world and only serve to discourage businesses from operating here. The large and well connected businesses that do operate here do so with the aid of custom-made tax loopholes that reduce their assessments to nothing or result in subsidies paid out of the taxes of the middle class to already wealthy and well connected elites.
7. What issues would you focus on as a member of Congress?
A primary focus of the next Congress should be true health care reform that sets individuals free to find the best health care solutions for them without government interference inflating the costs and limiting the choices. Further, in offering those reforms and in an effort to better secure the prosperity of all Americans, government should take less money from them and spend less on programs which only serve to regulate behavior and distort the economy at the expense of the many and the benefit of the few. As these struggles continue, Congress must remain vigilant that the laudable goal of protecting Americans from foreign aggression does not mutate into a paranoid struggle of all against all, where American intelligence agents not only spy on the leaders of allied nations but on average Americans without proper judicial oversight. By focusing on these issues and promoting results that increase freedom and personal responsibility, the United States of America can continue to serve as a beacon of liberty and prosperity to the world.