Simply put, Rep. Lankford has wasted our time and money. The House has spent its time repealing the same piece of legislation, in the health care law, more than thirty times. They’ve passed the minting of a Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coin. They voted to keep our national motto, even though no one ever proposed we change it. Representative Lankford hasn’t fought for a smaller federal government, especially when he suggested we close local Poison Control centers and replace them with one large federally run center.
What are the three most pressing problems in the United States today and how would you address those problems?
(2) The economy. That’s tough, to explain exactly how to address it. It’s the foundation of everything we do, and so it has to be addressed from many, many sides. Encouraging new American jobs and production, as mentioned above, is vital. But it’s not enough.
We also have this idea that we have to pursue free trade. We continue signing these “free trade” agreements with other countries. And why not? It sounds so American doesn’t it? Free Trade? The sad truth is, though, nothing could be further from the truth. We remove tariffs on imported goods, making us a consumer nation and not a producer nation (that’s jobs, by the way.) These practices are little more than overseas outsourcing made easier. What makes us think countries like South Korea, Japan, France, anyone have our best interest at heart more than we do? They don’t.
(3) National Security is the last of my top three. We can do this more efficiently, and with a smaller defense budget. We’ve scattered the Taliban and Al Qaeda. We’ve removed Saddam. We even got Osama bin Laden. We’ve completed our objectives. Now, it’s time to bring Homeland Security back to the Homeland. Our borders and ports are our greatest weaknesses. A fraction of our imports are inspected, and illegal immigrants cross into this country every day. Simple logic dictates that shoring up our own borders and ports is cheaper than military occupation of the other side of the globe. Yet, again, very little is being done in this regard. That needs to change.
Our own borders see infiltration on a daily basis. A shockingly low percentage of the goods coming into our ports are inspected. Customs officials have all but confirmed we’ve had weapons of mass effect brought to this country. (SeeYouTube video San Diego Port Security Says WMD Found on American Soil) These weaknesses allow us to come under threat. There can be no doubt that our borders and ports are our greatest weakness from a Homeland Security point of view. By ceasing operations on the other side of the globe and conducting Homeland Security here in the Homeland, the cost savings are obvious.
One thing that has been brought to me is a suggestion to abolish the Federal Reserve. I supported Rep. Paul’s call to ‘audit the Fed’, but we’re not in a period of financial stability. And we would have to be in order to implement anything as radical as a complete financial restructuring.
I’m concerned about it. On paper, I can certainly see the appeal. But I think it brings with it a number of caveats that haven’t been fully explored, yet.
I’ve yet to see any firm numbers that indicate we won’t be drastically cutting government income. And when you’re in a situation like this, where you’ve got more money going out than you do coming in, you don’t take a huge pay cut as one of the first orders of business. I also worry that the purchasing power of the middle class becomes limited in certain areas. On smaller purchases, yes, the middle class might notice a savings. But for larger purchases, such as homes or cars, things get a little trickier.
For example… a $25,000 car loan with 23% consumption tax would come to a tax of 5,750. That’s on top of any required money down on the loan. Tax also can’t be rolled into the loan, and has to be paid up front. Let’s look at something bigger, like a home. A $200,000 home would require a whopping $46,000 in taxes… again, something that can’t be rolled into a mortgage. Money upfront.
We’re in a financially precarious time. We need to be in a period of financial stability before we begin implementing such drastically different systems. I’m not saying it might not work one day… but for now, my plan is simplification of the tax code and eliminating loopholes. This is the same reason I don’t believe in abolishing the Fed at this time, though I do support an audit and transparency.
Having said that, though… I’m deeply concerned. I’m concerned by the fact that it’s around 2,700 pages long and still very few people, if anyone, understand fully what it does even to this day. I’m concerned by the fact that it seems as though taxes for the poor may increase as a result. I think most conservative-thinking Americans believe the same thing, and I’ve even heard from registered Democrats who aren’t satisfied either. But this is where the Republican-controlled House and I differ on things.
They’ve sought to outright repeal the ACA. They’ve done this with no plan to address the original problems in our health care system. Rather, they’ve just been looking for a reset button. That failed, and I think rightly so. It’s irresponsible to pass legislation that’s 2,700 pages long… it’s irresponsible to pass it without reading it. It’s irresponsible to implement it without knowing the full ramifications. But it’s equally irresponsible to simply yank it all out by the roots without a proper plan to replace it. And you can’t responsibly replace it without first reading and understanding it… do you begin to see the problem, here?
So they tried to repeal it. The repeal failed. They did this more than thirty times, because they were unsuccessful in moving it through the Senate. They repeal it… the repeal fails. Again and again. Not only does this waste tax-payer dollars, it wastes valuable time that could be used to see us through these troubling times. It’s one reason this Congress has accomplished less than any other congress in modern history. The U.S. House is not a place for carrying out a symbolic political statement. It’s a place to get work done for the American people.
I want to see consumer protection embraced by both sides of the fence. I want to see choices in medical care. But I want a clear understanding of what our laws actually do, and what impact they’ll have on all of us. I want to be certain that we’re encouraging the market without vastly increasing government involvement in our lives and wallets. I want to be certain that anything we change is changed because a better idea can be put into practice, not because I want to defeat an opponent. And that’s what the people of Oklahoma want, too. This isn’t the practice we’ve adopted toward health care, and it’s something I intend to push heavily in Washington.
What are your thoughts on legalizing drugs and your thoughts on the War on Drugs in general?
I think there’s some middle ground here, as there is with many things.
If we look at alcohol, it’s easy to realize it has the potential to be harmful. But it’s not illegal, in so far as it doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others. We choose to regulate it and tax it. Looking at certain illegal drugs, like marijuana, I see very little reason we couldn’t do the same thing.
But I am not a proponent of simply legalizing all drugs, as some have suggested. I do believe that there are substances out there, like Meth or the cannibalism-inducing “bath salts”, which we’re simply better off without.
The War on Drugs seems more directed against marijuana than it does other substances, it’s certainly the higher volume of drug-related “crimes” committed. As a general rule, I think we can stand to examine the way we’re pursuing it by legalizing certain substances, or at the very least reclassifying them under a different schedule. In many cases, the sentence is disproportionate to the crime. In many cases, we lock up people for years over a fairly harmless and non-vilolent offense. That needs to change… But as I said, I’m not going to propose we simply give up on trying to control on other more volatile substances.