U.S. House District 3: Jon Golnik on the issues
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JOBS & THE ECONOMY
Wall Street may have stabilized, however, the problems on Main Street continue. By the beginning of 2012, nearly 13 million people had lost their jobs, and our unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at over 8%. Since January of 2007, Massachusetts unemployment has increased from 4.6% to 6.5%. Here in the District, we see Lawrence with an unemployment rate of 14.5%, Lowell’s unemployment at 8.8% and Haverhill and Methuen sitting at near 9.0%.
The $787 billion stimulus package didn’t solve unemployment in this country. Jobs created via pork-filled stimulus packages are not sustainable. The White House estimates that 3.5 million jobs were created or “saved” (whatever a “saved job” means). Even if we use these questionable numbers that means that each job created or saved cost the taxpayers $225,000.
President Obama attempted another round of stimulus spending via his September 2011 Jobs Plan and this past November, Representative Tsongas proposed a 21st Century New Deal government hiring program with no mention of the cost to taxpayers or the number of jobs it would create. We are witnessing a “jobless recovery” and this will be a drag on our economy for years to come. Washington DC jobs summits are great, however, we need jobs now. The private sector driven by small businesses are the engine of job creation in this country. But currently they are reluctant to hire.
Because business do not have any visibility with regard to future government policies and this uncertainlty is stifling job creation: healthcare, cap and trade, card check, increased regulatory burdens, and the looming repeal of the across-the-board bipartisan tax cuts benefiting all taxpayers that were adopted under the prior administration.
This uncertainly won’t be resolved soon so how do we overcome this?
I propose the following:
- Lower the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% -- currently our corporate tax rate is the highest in the developed world; Businesses do not relocate overseas due to lower wages, they relocate to take advantage of business friendly regulatory and tax regimes.
- Impose a 1 year moratorium on the implementation of any new job-killing regulations.
- Permanently extend the existing temporary tax cuts--which even the Democrat controlled House extended in 2010.
- Repeal the disastrous and costly health care reform bill.
- Disavow any and all tax increases because that will only serve to stifle job growth. (You can’t tell an employer you are going to raise taxes and expect he or she to hire more employees.)
- Incent business growth by offering tax credits to companies who are expanding.
- Maintain current levels of personal income tax rates. People simply cannot afford to give more away.
DEBT AND SPENDING
Our current fiscal policy is unsustainable.
Current levels of government spending cannot be financed at today’s level of taxation. Raising revenue, a code word for raising our taxes is unacceptable. We do not have a revenue problem in this country, we have a spending problem. How much more can we as taxpayers take? As individuals we have been forced to live within our means and the federal government should be no exception. A report by US Senator Tom Coburn identified $3 billion in wasteful spending in just one agency which spent tax dollars on necessities such as studying shrimp on a treadmill, jell-o wrestling in Antarctica and a robot who folds laundry. This is where your tax dollars are going and Niki Tsongas and this Administration say they want more. Representative Tsongas and this administration believe that the citizens of our country are the federal government’s ATMs. This is nonsense.
We need to stop the nonsense spending and pay off our debts. We will be able to increase our revenues in Washington by simply improving the economy. When more people are working, spending and being taxed money will flow back into the economy.
The government needs to encourage the long-term goal of promoting economic growth through more adequate saving and investment. We can’t borrow our way to sustainable prosperity any more than the housing bubble could sustain itself on perpetually growing debt.
Whether or not you think new spending will stimulate the economy, the one undeniable truth is that this money has to come from somewhere, which means that it is borrowed or taxed from the private economy. The recent rate of spending all but guaranteeing huge future tax increases, and anyone who thinks only "the rich" will pay is living an illusion.
The Healthcare Reform bill that passed Congress (Obamacare) does nothing to lower the skyrocketing cost of healthcare. One only needs to look at his or her premium and deductible increases over the past 2 years. More recently, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office doubled the implementation cost of the Healthcare Reform legislation for $940 billion to more than $1.7 trillion.
We have the best quality healthcare in the world. But it is also the most expensive. Why? The inefficiencies- costs need to be lowered while quality maintained.
I propose the following:
- Permit individuals to purchase insurance across state lines. This will force insurance companies to compete for business via lower premiums by still maintaining the quality of care.
- Permit individuals equal tax treatment for healthcare costs as businesses. Business get a tax deduction for healthcare costs so should individuals.
- End healthcare mandates, which forces individuals to be covered for tests many will never use, thereby driving up insurance costs.
- Enact Tort reform: $54 billion in direct savings over 10 years that Harry Reid dismissed this as a drop in the bucket but the real savings will be when doctors stop the practice of defensive medicine.
Encourage use of Health Savings Accounts. People are much more careful spending their own money than someone elses.
We need to make sure we are doing everything we can for our veterans, our active military members and be properly prepared for those that will be coming home over the next several years from Afghanistan and Iraq. But we face serious problems. The Department of Veterans Affairs faces a backlog of 897,566 disability claims with more than 65% pending for more than 125 days. This is not acceptable and is demonstrative of what happens when we are spending our tax dollars in the wrong places.
The Military Tricare Health Plan is not living up to the needs and expectations of our service men and women. Tricare enrollment fee’s and deductible hikes and increased co-pay for pharmaceutical etc. by military retirees and their families is expected to save $23B phased in over ten years with most of the increases being borne by the retiree’s. (Even larger saving’s-$28B-over the same period if the use of alternative prescription providers was passed.) Tricare is used as an inducement for service personnel to remain in the military. In fact, the entire military pension and benefits system represents a contractual obligation incurred by the government to retain skilled military personnel who would have been lost to higher paying civilian jobs if this re-up option wasn’t in place. We need to stop spending so much. But we don’t need to do it by shaving a half trillion out of defense spending, leaving our military members with unkept promises.
The men and women who voluntarily don a uniform are doing so for us, let’s live up to the expectations they have when you are wearing the uniform of the greatest country on Earth.
I will work very hard to restore necessary funding to programs for the health, safety and well being of active military as well as retires.
We must protect our environment from the harmful effects of pollution and pursue opportunities for alternative sources of energy such as wind, solar, and nuclear power.
I do not believe that the government should “encourage” the use of new technology via the use of punitive taxes on older, less efficient technology or by forcing consumers to purchase vastly more expensive forms of energy. Instead, the free market should determine how and when these sources are brought to market, not the heavy hand of the government.
The clean energy sector could be a dynamic growth engine for our economy with the potential to create thousands of jobs. The growth of this industry will create a virtuous circle in which sustainable jobs are created, energy costs decline and our dependence on foreign energy sources diminished. The government can help facilitate such innovation via tax code changes, modified capital gains tax and increased investment tax credits.
However, we must continue to preserve our current supply of energy while we allow for these new technologies to emerge, mature and become commercialized. These alternative energy concepts are, however, not something that will solve our immediate energy needs or reduce the soaring gas prices. We are a nation that currently relies heavily on fossil fuels. Our immediate priority should be to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil when we have opportunities right here in the US to supplement it. The Keystone pipeline project would have created thousands of jobs and weaned us from foreign sources of oil.
In addition, we also must look at drilling off our coasts in safe and environmentally sounds manners, the use of shale exploration and to our other natural resources such as ANWR.
I believe that citizens have the right to keep and bear arms. I believe that the government should not intrude in a right so clearly guaranteed by our forefathers in the Constitution and I will fight to uphold every attempt to diminish this right.
I support the use of the death penalty in the extreme and horrific cases where it is justified.
An Administration official said this spring of 2012 that the “War on Terror” is over. This is a frightening glimpse at the lack of understanding this Administration has of the world in which we live. The terrorists still exist and seek to end our way of life. We find ourselves the target of terrorist groups throughout the world. We must fully fund our nation's military and ensure the men and women in uniform have the tools, training, and care they need and deserve. Decisions should include guidance from the expertise of the Generals on the ground who see every day what is needed and what threats face us. Cuts to the military as established by the default spending debacle in the fall of 2011 create a danger for our troops serving and potentially for we in the Homeland.
Killing Americans on US soil is no different than killing Americans in the field of battle. These enemy combatants are not entitled to the protection of the United States Constitution. They should be held by the military and tried in military tribunals. Further, enemy combatants should be housed at military prisons on secure military installations and not in the public correctional facilities of our country.
Ronald Reagan signed comprehensive immigration reform in 1986. Almost 3 million illegal immigrants were given a path to citizenship. The legislation failed and now more than 25 years later, we find ourselves with four times as many illegals immigrants in the country. The 1986 reform failed because we failed to secure our border and we failed to enforce the laws prohibiting the hiring of undocumented workers.
Before we make any attempt at additional reform we must enforce existing laws:
- Secure our borders
- Remove the magnets for illegal immigration: Impose strict penalties on any employers who hire undocumented workers; eliminate government entitlements and benefits for illegal immigrants.
Information provided by Jon Golnik's website. For more information click here.