Issues

The issues that face our country are complex, and cannot all be solved with a simple “less government, lower taxes” attitude.

We need a Representative whose positions are based on more than just a campaign slogan .

We need a Representative whose positions are based on an understanding of the problems — and whose positions on the issues are supported by a demonstrated knowledge of the issues, not just partisan political rhetoric

I’m am not going to try to gain your support by telling you something I don’t believe, or promising you something I know I cannot do.

We won’t agree on everything, but you, the voters, have a right to know my starting position on the most important issues of the day. [You should also know that I am willing to change my position if I am presented with facts and a compelling argument, and I invite your comments in the box at the end of this page.]

There are far more issues facing the country than I could possibly address here.  In the following sections, I summarize my positions on the major issues, and what I believe we should do about them.

Issues Menu:

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM ECONOMY AND JOBS EDUCATION
ENERGY ENVIRONMENT FEDERAL SPENDING / DEBT
FOREIGN POLICY HEALTH CARE IMMIGRATION
INCOME/SOCIAL INEQUALITY LABOR RELATIONS NATIONAL SECURITY and VETERANS
PERSONAL FREEDOMS POLITICAL INTEGRITY PUBLIC ASSISTANCE
REGULATIONS SOCIAL SECURITY

A separate page of his website is devoted to a discussion of Taxes and Tax Reform.

[At the end of this page, you will be able to send me your comments on my positions.]

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM:

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM is essential if we are ever going to return control of government to the people.

We cannot allow Big Money to continue to determine who makes national policy. We cannot continue a system that makes our elected representatives captives to those who support their campaigns.

Congress must enact legislation to (a) provide federal funding on ALL campaigns for federal office, (b) overturn the Supreme Court’s permitting unlimited campaign contributions, (c) limit spending by Political Action Committees (PACs) and (d) limit total campaign spending.

Phil Roe says he doesn’t accept contributions from special interests. However, filings with the Federal Election Commission show that, for the 2012 election, Phil Roe has received contributions from the following Political Action Committees: American Academy of Head and Neck Surgery; American Hospital Association; American Meat Institute; Atmosenergy Corp, Branch Bank and Trust; Charter Communications; Cracker Barrel Old Country Store; Daiichi Sanyo; Massachusetts Mutual; National Assn. of Insurance and Financial Advisers; OSI Restaurant Partners — and these are only some of his contributors. [To review Phil Roe's complete list of contributors, go to the FEC page for Phil Roe's Contributors.

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ECONOMY AND JOBS:

A responsible policy for the ECONOMY AND JOBS means . . . promoting economic recovery and stability through policies and practices that assist the business of the private sector . . . retaining American control of the products of American research and development . . . promoting the expansion of small businesses ... building public/private partnerships to meet public needs that private business alone cannot address.

The economy is where it is, and blaming the Bush administration for the collapse doesn't help anyone. But we cannot forget (as much as the Republicans would like us to) that President Obama started in a deep hole. The Obama administration stopped the slide, and we are recovering, but not fast enough.

The Republicans will spend the 2012 election campaign blaming the Democrats and President Obama for high rates of unemployment. However ...

The Republicans have done nothing to help the unemployed, and have opposed every effort by the President to expand employment.

The Republicans would rather keep unemployment high -- and make it an issue in the 2012 election -- than make any effort to help those who are unemployed.

If we are going to remain competitive in the world economy, we must improve our infrastructure--roads, bridges, power grids, pipelines, internet access. Most of these improvements represent things private sector businesses cannot or will not do. But they are essential to our economy. They must be done sometime. The only question is when.

Delaying these improvements will only increase their cost. Simple economics tells us that the time to act is now--when construction costs are at their lowest, when borrowing costs are at their lowest, and when Americans need the jobs these projects will create. Failure to act now, when the costs are low and the jobs are urgently needed, is irresponsible.

Stop exporting technology -- especially the products of government-sponsored research, and use our technology to produce the things that the rest of the world wants and needs.

Stimulate a rebuilding of the American manufacturing base with a new government Buy American policy.

Promote American energy independence with investment in alternative energy sources -- and the infrastructure needed to make them commercially viable.

Make America a world leader in energy by promoting research in alternative means of energy production and energy efficiency appliances, machinery and buildings.

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EDUCATION:

A responsible policy for EDUCATION means . . . recognizing the Constitutional [11th Amendment] independence of States in matters that are traditionally subject to State (and local) control . . . providing appropriate assistance to States and localities consistent with national needs and goals.

Public Education:

It is in the national interest for the federal government to help local schools, but it is not the role of the federal government to dictate what state and local education agencies must do. Public schools need to be freed from the dictates of Federal and State agencies so that they can be accountable to the communities they serve. But government can help by providing funds for school modernization

We need a major national effort to expand vocational-technical education in our secondary schools.

Higher Education:

To compete in the world economy, we need many more workers with higher education. The cost of higher education is increasingly limiting the ability of many qualified students to attend college and graduate school.

We need a major expansion of federal loan and grant programs for higher education.

Student loan repayment plans should be restructured to (a) defer all payments until the student is employed, (b) limit payments to a fixed percentage of income and (c) limit loan interest rates to no more than the current rate on U.S. Treasury bonds.

Continuing and Adult Education:

Education is a lifelong need. We need a major expansion on our national capability to provide adult education — including basic literacy education for adults and English as a Second Language.

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ENERGY

A responsible ENERGY policy means . . . setting a national goal of energy independence–and formulating a cohesive policy based on that goal, not merely taking the isolated actions that address only parts of the problem . . . allocating resources to research and capital investments consistent with a clear national goal.

Alternative sources of energy are not now economically competitive with fossil fuels—but they soon will be. Building the capacity we will need in the future will never be less expensive than it is now, and the investments we make now will pay off in the future.

I favor a major investment in wind-power as a source of electricity and natural gas and electric power as the primary fuel for vehicles of the future.

Government should promote these energy sources by building the infrastructure needed to make them viable and leasing the infrastructure (in contemplation of eventual sale) to utilities and energy companies.

Tax incentives are also an appropriate means of promoting energy conservation efforts, and a properly administered program of subsidies for building retrofitting will pay major dividends–both now and in the future.

We need to set a national goal of making America a world leader in energy by promoting research in alternative means of energy production and energy efficient appliances, machinery and buildings.

As important as it is to develop alternative sources of energy, we must also emphasize a reduction in our energy demands. High efficiency appliances and business equipment and energy efficient buildings can dramatically reduce our consumption of energy–and bring large cost savings to businesses, consumers, and governments. A major investment in retrofitting government buildings will both reduce future costs and create jobs now. Investments in the companies that manufacture energy efficient components will also me a major job creating activity.

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ENVIRONMENT:

A responsible policy for protecting the ENVIRONMENT means . . . protecting the environment and our natural resources in a responsible way . . . balancing the need for environmental protection and against the cost of protecting and preserving the natural environment . . . addressing world-wide environmental policies in co-operation with other countries . . . promoting the most cost-effective solutions to environmental concerns

Environmental regulations need to be limited to setting reasonable environmental standards while leaving business free to determine the most cost effective ways of achieving those standards.

We must also recognize that protecting the environmental is a global issue and requires actions that we cannot take alone. We must work with the global community to control the environmental impact of practices worldwide, and we must enforce the provisions of trade agreements that require our trading partners to act on environment damaging practices by business in their own countries.

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FEDERAL SPENDING / DEBT:

A responsible approach to managing FEDERAL SPENDING and the NATIONAL DEBT means … limiting federal spending to solving only real problems … eliminating programs that have outlived their usefulness … raising the revenues needed to support necessary government programs.

Abraham Lincoln said that the role of government is to do those things that are necessary but that business cannot or will not do.  I agree.

We aren’t always going to agree on what the federal government should and should not be doing. But we can all agree that we cannot continue spending money we do not have. We should also all be able to agree that if a government program or service is appropriate, we must raise the revenues to finance it.

We must learn to prioritize federal spending — and devote our limited resources only to our highest priority needs.

We must fully fund programs that are truly needed – and end programs that are ineffective or wasteful or that we cannot afford.

We must conduct a cost-benefit analysis of ALL federal spending programs — and only appropriate funds to programs that provide more benefits than they cost.

We must implement stringent fiscal controls over federal programs (and contractors) and eliminate waste (and politics) from federal spending.

We must increase federal revenues–but in a way that is both socially and fiscally responsible. [See separate page on "Taxes and Tax Reform."]

ALL Americans must share the burden of balancing the budget. We cannot ask millions of Americans to bear the burden of eliminating federal programs without asking a few of the wealthiest Americans to bear the burden of additional taxes.

In the 1990′s, Democratic President Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress worked together to balance the budget — and when Clinton left office we had a budget surplus and a plan for reducing the federal debt.

Question: What Happened?

Answer: George Bush, and a conservative Republican Congress that put the interests of the wealthy ahead of needs of average Americans.

We can balance the budget and reduce the national debt — but only if we stop sending political extremists to Washington.

There has recently been much talk about enacting a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The idea sounds good, and it may be politically popular. But it should not be done.

There are simply too many true emergencies – such as war, a major natural disaster, a medical epidemic –. to provide for in the language of a balanced budget amendment. Language that is broad enough the meet all emergencies would render a balanced budget meaningless, and language that is narrowly drafted would not provide government action without a prolonged delay while waiting for Congressional approval before acting.

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FOREIGN POLICY:

A responsible FOREIGN POLICY means . . . having a foreign policy that is consistent and represents an appropriate role for America in the world community . . . promoting Americas interests through negotiation and co-operation, not force . . . protecting the interests of American citizens . . . recognizing the sovereign rights of other countries.

Foreign policy must be based on an understanding that America is part of a world community. We cannot allow our foreign policy to be dictated by the concerns of other nations. But we also cannot ignore the concerns of other countries and dictate terms to other countries.

We cannot afford–either financially or strategically — to go it alone in any matter of foreign policy. We must make diplomacy–not military or economic might — the principle tool of foreign policy.

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HEALTH CARE:

Having a responsible policy for addressing the crisis in HEALTH CARE means . . . addressing national needs with solutions that make the fullest use of existing, private sector, service-providers . . . containing the costs of health care … not exposing the federal government, and the national treasury, to uncontrolled liabilities . . . assuring that insured patients receive all the benefits they bargained for … leaving health care decisions in the hands of doctors.

The Affordable Care Act represents an important, and necessary, start to solving the crisis of health care. It contains many good and valuable features. But it also contains many features I disagree with.

I do NOT favor repealing the Affordable Care Act.

I DO favor amending the Affordable Care Act to focus on containing the rapidly rising cost of health care.

The biggest problem with the Affordable Care Act is that it tries to provide everyone with more insurance than they need. Studies have shown that 10% of the population accounts for 70% of health care spending, and that the sickest 1% of the population accounts for over 25% of all spending. We should have health insurance for all. But there is no justification for providing everyone with “Cadillac” coverage. A program that ensures that all Americans access to basic health care, and that emphasizes early diagnosis and disease management, can provide the care that is really required by the vast majority of Americans—and for a fraction of the cost of “comprehensive” insurance.

We should also act to reduce the effect of Obamacare on the cost of obtaining (or providing) health insurance by limiting “mandated” coverage to comprehensive primary care and limited coverage for emergency and long-term care–while requiring insurance companies to offer policies covering more extensive case to any individual or company that wants to provide it. Such a “Two-Tier” system will dramatically reduce the cost of all the insurance that 90% of all Americans will ever need, while making individuals who want it responsible for obtaining more extensive insurance.

Having health insurance for basic care means little if we don’t have enough primary care physicians. However, more and more medical school graduates are electing to pursue careers in more lucrative specialties — if for no other reason than that they have to pay off huge medical school loans.

We need a major expansion of grant programs for medical school students who are willing to pursue careers in primary care.

Medicare:

The Medicare system works–and it must be preserved.

Phil Roe voted for the Republican plan to end Medicare and turn it into a voucher program that would only pay a portion of the cost of insurance for seniors. Meanwhile, at the same time he is claiming that Medicare is in financial trouble, he wants to increase Medicare payments to doctors.

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IMMIGRATION:

Developing a responsible IMMIGRATION POLICY means . . . legislating based on facts, not unjustified fears and prejudices . . . understanding history, and the fact that almost all of us are the descendants of immigrants . . . considering all the consequences of a proposal before acting.

We do NOT have an “immigration problem.” We have crime problems. We have welfare problems. We have terrorism problems. We have economic problems. But these are not immigration issues. Rather, they are issues of social policy, and they are issues of economic policy, and trade policy and a myriad of other policy questions that are affected by immigration policy and that must be addressed with a cohesive, integrated plan that reflects the needs of all citizens. Unfortunately, too many politicians seek to advance their own political interests by blaming these problems on undocumented immigrants.

Those who argue for immigration reform often couch their arguments in terms of the unfairness of permitting undocumented immigrant to take advantage of public services for which they have not paid.

The problem is not that undocumented immigrants do not pay for the services they receive. The problem is with our public assistance policies and laws dealing with the eligibility for social services. Limiting immigration will not solve these problems, and arguments that restricting immigration is necessary because immigrants take advantage of our social programs is nothing but a political red herring.

As to the problem of immigrants taking unfair advantage of services for which they have not paid—this is a total fallacy. Employed undocumented immigrants do pay employment taxes. They also pay sales takes and, whether directly or indirectly, real estate taxes. At least one study has determined that, when taken as a whole, the financial contributions made by illegal immigrants exceeds the cost of services they used.

I favor limited amnesty. There should be a statute of limitations beyond which persons who have not violated any non-immigration laws can obtain a “Permanent Resident Visa” — with no automatic path to citizenship, but with the right seek citizenship through ordinary procedures..

I favor an immigration policy that eliminates the “country of origin” quota system and bases immigration on factors that include: education; English language proficiency; skill, and the financial ability to provide for themselves.

The history of America is one of welcoming immigrants. The inscription on the Statue of Liberty says it best: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

How many of those who favor an exclusionary immigration policy would even be here if the policies they advocate had been in place when their ancestors arrived?

Those who favor mass deportation of undocumented non-citizens fail to understand the implication of such efforts. Such efforts will only divert scarce financial resources from more important problems and impose excessive burdens on our judicial system. As a result, real criminals, who have a constitutional right to a “speedy trial” are being released on society.

Thousands of foreign students come to America each year to study at our colleges and universities–many of which are taxpayer funded.  But we force trained and talented students to leave thew country when they have completed their education

We must reform our immigration laws to make it easier for these students to remain in America and contribute to the American economy.

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INCOME/SOCIAL INEQUALITY:

Reducing INCOME AND SOCIAL INEQUITY means … enacting policies and programs that benefit all Americans … ensuring that ALL Americans have an equal opportunity to succeed.

Government policies must reflect the needs of all citizens. They should not favor one class of citizen over another, and they must also not penalize one class of citizen for the benefit of another.

Since 1980, the Consumer Price Index has more than doubled, but that increase is not reflected in the wages of workers. But between 1979 and 2006:

The poorest Americans saw their (inflation adjusted) income rise by 11 percent.

Middle-income Americans saw their (inflation adjusted) income rise by 21 percent

The top one percent of Americans saw their (inflation adjusted) income rise by 256 percent.

Top income earners have not been working harder or smarter. Rather, they, and the corporations they control, have broken the social contract that produced American’s great economic growth and enabled all Americans to enjoy the highest standard of living in the world. Now:

Corporations answer to Wall Street, and put profits (and dividends for their wealthy investors) ahead of the interests, and needs of their dwindling number of employees.

Executives put their own bonuses ahead of the good of their employees.

Today, the top executives of large corporations receive multimillion dollar bonuses — even when their companies are losing money and laying off workers. But those same executives want families living in poverty to pay more taxes.

Those who have succeeded by their own efforts deserve to be will compensated. But it is not the proper role of government to establish policies that favor the wealthiest Americans.

A large, and broad-based middle class is essential to the American economy. Policies that care for Americans who are truly need and cannot care for themselves are not charity–or the product of “class warfare.” It is the American way.

Government must represent the interests of ALL Americans.

All legislative enactments must strike the proper balance between allowing success to be rewarded and assuring that the success of the wealthiest does not come at the expense of the rest of society.

Phil Roesays he is for “People, Not Politics.” But he has voted the way the Republican Party leaders have told him to vote on virtually every piece of legislationincluding legislation to create much needed jobs. He has also voted against every proposal to raise taxes on those who can best afford it and to preserve virtually every tax break for the wealthiest Americans and corporations.

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LABOR RELATIONS:

A responsible policy for LABOR RELATIONS means . . . protecting and preserving the rights of workers … “leveling the playing field” for business and employees … reinvigorating the economy by promoting the interests of workers (and consumers.)

The “middle class” has long been the foundation of the American economy. I do not dispute the proposition that giving labor unions too much power is bad for business. But giving business too much power over workers is equally bad for the economy. A healthy and vigorous economy requires that workers have to power bargain on an equal footing with business

I am especially concerned about the trend of state legislatures to limit the rights of workers who provide vital public services–teachers, firefighters, policemen and emergency responders. The work performed by these public servants is critical to our national well-being–and we cannot afford to put the health, safety and education of all of us in the unfettered hands of legislators and bureaucrats for whom budgets are more important than the needs of all citizens.

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NATIONAL SECURITY / VETERANS:

A responsible policy for assuring our NATIONAL SECURITY and caring for our VETERANS means . . . assuring that we have a military capable of deterring aggression and defending our nation from attack . . . rewarding those who have served … giving those who have been injured all the possible case.

We are not the world’s policeman. It is not our place, or responsibility, to defend all countries — especially those who are unwilling to commit their own resources to their own defense.

We must maintain our military superiority in a fiscally responsible manner. America spends more money on defense that all of our friends and foes combined. While we are facing a budget crisis, there is no justification for giving the military a ” check.”

We must provide our military with the equipment it needs, not what some Congressman wants. Appropriations that benefit a Congressman’s district, but are not required by the Pentagon, do not represent responsible government.

We must maintain the ability to collect all the intelligence needed to prevent aggression against our country and our citizens– but not at the expense of our own freedom and privacy rights.

We must pay the men and women in our military an appropriate wage.

We must provide our injured veterans with every necessary medical service.

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PERSONAL FREEDOMS:

Ensuring that all Americans enjoy all of the PERSONAL FREEDOMS guaranteed by the Constitution means … limiting both state and federal government intervention into matters of personal conduct.

The federal government should not be permitted to regulate any aspect of our personal lives. While extreme conservatives say they agree with this proposition, they still want to regulate abortion and gay marriage.

Those who advocate for government regulation of matters of personal choice need to consider the implications of such regulation for what else it means that government can do. For instance:

If government can regulate abortion —and tell a woman that she must bear a child, it can also tell a woman that she cannot have a child. [I cannot help wondering how those who want to limit abortion would feel if the government enacted a law (as the Chinese have done) limiting families to only one child.]

If government can place limits on who someone marry, it can also place limits on who someone can divorce.

Once we give government the power to regulate one aspect of our personal lives, there is nothing to stop them from regulating others.  I oppose all government efforts to regulate our personal lives.

I realize that many voters have strong feelings about social issues. But the nation has many more important problems, and we cannot afford to be distracted, and divided, by these issues.

Drug Policy:

For half a century we have tried to stop illegal drugs—and we have failed. We have failed to stop the flow of drugs, and we have ruined the lives of potentially productive citizens by saddling them with a prison record for even the smallest offense.

Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent each year on drug interdiction and the prosecution and incarceration of offenders. [The cost of keeping a drug offender in prison for one year is more than the cost of sending a student to college for a year.] That money can be better used in addressing problems we can solve. Instead of making the war on drugs an expense to the government, we should recognize the realities of the world and turn an expense into a source of revenues. I believe that:

The possession and use of all drugs in their natural form should be legalized

The sale of all drugs in their natural form should be regulated and taxed

Gun Control:

Ownership of guns for recreational purposes and self-defense should NOT be limited. If the purpose of gun regulation is to deter criminal conduct, we should address the problem directly and deter the use of guns by making the use of a gun in any crime subject to an absolute, non-negotiable term of imprisonment.

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POLITICAL INTEGRITY:

Elected representatives having POLITICAL INTEGRITY are a necessary feature of a Responsible Government. Unfortunately, we have too few such elected representatives in Congress.

Politicians who lie about the issues have no Political Integrity.

Politicians who lie about their opponents have no Political integrity.

Politicians who say one thing and do the opposite have no Political integrity.

Having a core political philosophy is a good thing. But there is a difference between having a political philosophy and refusing to compromise when the needs of the country are at stake. Responsible governing requires compromise. Refusing to seek compromise when action is needed is not Political Integrity— it is mere stubbornness.Refusing to consider a proposal, merely because it came from a member of “the other” party is not Political Integrity—it is a betrayal if constitutional duty. Doing whatever their party leaders tell them to do is not Political Integrity—it is putting politics ahead of the needs of the country.

My philosophy of government is summarized in a separate page under “About Alan.”

I will listen to all arguments and seek the common ground — regardless of differences in political philosophy

I will seek out, and work with, anyone who has a good idea — regardless of their party affiliation

I will always vote on issues based on what I think is best for the country — regardless of what my party leaders may want.

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PUBLIC ASSISTANCE [WELFARE]:

Having a responsible program of PUBLIC ASSISTANCE means . . . addressing the problems of poverty as economic problems, not social problems . . . eliminating “feel good” programs and concentrating on programs that address real problems with solutions that actually work . . . expecting more from those who receive assistance and giving them all the help they need to succeed on their own.

No one is entitled to public assistance. We provide assistance because it is in the national interest to do so–within limits.

We SHOULD assist those who are truly in need.

We MUST expect those who receive public assistance to participate–to the full extent of their ability–in programs that will enable them to improve their own conditions.

We SHOULD expand public works projects that provide income and training opportunities while receiving a public benefit for the public investment.

We MUST require that those who receive public assistance remain drug-free and participate fully in the opportunities made available to them.

We SHOULD eliminate failed and failing programs and expand successful programs.

We MUST consolidate programs, reduce the bureaucracy of public assistance and maximize the money reaching the agencies (including non-governmental agencies) and individuals intended to benefit from public funding.

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REGULATIONS:

Responsible REGULATION of personal and business activities mean … regulating individual and business activities only when the activity poses a real risk to other individuals, to the economy, or to the environment … not imposing more regulation than is necessary … balancing the cost of regulatory compliance with the burden imposed on individuals, business and the economy.

No one likes to be regulated—especially not by government. But anyone who opposes all regulation is either a fool or a hypocrite.

I am an ardent believer in a free-market economy. I believe that business should be mostly free of government regulation, but I do not believe that it should be wholly free of regulation.

The issue is not “regulation” versus “no regulation”. The issue is how much regulation is necessary—and how much is too much?

Today, there are many members of Congress who want to free business from all “job killing” regulations. These congressmen seem to have forgotten what happens when business in free to “regulate” itself.

In the early 1900′s, business was largely unregulated, and the great “robber barons”–John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan to name a few–amassed great fortunes. Today, we admire them as great businessmen, but we forget why they were so successful.

At the time, there were no environmental regulations, no unions, no labor laws, no regulations on business practices and no regulations of financial markets. The robber barons were so successful because they were free to pollute out rivers and lakes, make their employees (including children) work long hours, in toxic and dangerous workplaces, for pitiful wages and completely control the market price for their products by driving out competitors.

Financial markets were also completely free of regulation, and the Great Depression was the direct consequence of that lack of regulation.

As a result of the abusive business practices of the time, Congress finally acted by implementing the child labor laws, wage and hour laws, workplace safety laws, anti-trust laws and securities and banking laws.

Now, there are members of Congress who want to return us to the past.

I readily concede that many businesses are over-regulated and compliance costs impose great burdens on business. But, as history has shown, under-regulation is bad for society and the economy as a whole.

Regulations should be limited to conduct that affects the physical or financial health or safety of the people—individually and collectively—and preventing the exploitation of those who lack power by those who have power.

We must also recognize that the regulatory bureaucracy often imposes burdens, and costs, on businesses that are more harmful to the economy than the regulations themselves. We must minimize these burdens by making the regulatory approval process more efficient. For instance, we might consider enacting a “default approval” system under which a proposed action is deemed approved if not acted on by the regulatory agency within a specified period of time.

In the current political climate, it has become popular for Republicans to blame the President for the problem of over-regulation. But this argument puts the blame in the wrong place. The agencies of the executive branch—from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Department of Defense—have only the powers that Congress gives them. They cannot do what Congress prohibits, and they must do what Congress mandates. When an agency publishes regulations, it is only doing what Congress, through the relevant legislation, has instructed it to do.

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SOCIAL SECURITY:

Making the SOCIAL SECURITY system fiscally sound means . . . eliminating politics from the national retirement system and ending the disconnect between social security funding and benefits determinations . . . ending the practice of using social security contributions as a source of cheap money for general governmental functions . . . guaranteeing workers the retirement benefits they have been promised.

The Social Security system is in financial trouble because Congress, for purely political reasons, keeps raising benefits without increasing the revenues to fund the benefits.

We MUST stop allowing the government to borrow from the Social Security Trust Fund at below market interest.

We MUST revise the system of social security benefits to guarantee that all workers receive all the benefits to which their own contributions entitle them.

We MUST stop increasing the benefits funded by the social security system without increasing the revenues to the system.

Privatizing Social Security:

For years, the Republicans have advocated privatizing Social Security – and letting workers invest their Social Security account in Wall Street.

The idea sounds good in principle. Workers get the benefit of stock market advances — which make it attractive to workers. And Wall Street money managers get trillions of dollars to invest – which is what the Republicans really want.

There is only one problem. IT’S IMPOSSIBLE:

For individual workers to be able to invest in “their accounts,” there must be money in the so-called Trust Fund for them to invest.

The Social Security “Trust Fund” has no money – because the government has already borrowed it.

To replenish the “Trust Fund” — so that there is money to invest — the government would have to borrow trillions of dollars.

Borrowing money to replenish the Trust Fund” will dramatically increase the national debt – and the Republicans will not let this happen.

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