Q. What steps do you favor to reduce the federal deficit? Be specific about any spending cuts or tax increases you advocate.
A. Congress must quit talking about tough choices and start making them. I have stated my specific five-year plan to eliminate the deficit. I support a two-year hard freeze on all federal spending followed by a three-year soft freeze during which any spending increase must be accompanied by a corresponding spending cut somewhere else. I support a balance budget amendment which the incumbent voted against. I would give the president line item veto power. Cutting a few programs such as the B-2 or supercollider is not enough to balance a budget. I support no taxes unless Congress reforms itself and our budget system.
Q. What should be done to protect U.S. consumers and the U.S. economy from the danger of a cutoff in Mideast oil supplies? Do you favor the development of a national energy policy that would lessen the need for foreign oil?
A. One of the tragedies of the current Mideast situation is that our soldiers are in the danger they are partly due to our government's failure to develop an energy policy during the cheap-oil era of the 1980s. During this time the incumbent wasted eight years on the House Energy Committee. We must now develop a comprehensive energy policy which encourages domestic production of oil and gas and, more importantly, provides emphasis to advancing alternative energy resources. An oil import fee, with revenues funding alternative energy research grants, makes much more sense to me than a gasoline tax.
Q. What will be your top three legislative priorities if you are elected?
A. My top three priorities are: 1. Eliminating the deficit, 2. eliminating the deficit and 3. eliminating the deficit. The environment, education, health care and child care are all extremely important. But until we learn to live within our means and quit trying to be all things to all people, we will not have the resources necessary to adequately address our nation's problems.
We waste $260 billion each year paying on our debt. This money could provide badly needed services without raising taxes one penny. A $3 trillion debt is shameful. If people want to change Congress, they need to change their congressman.
Q. What is your position regarding some type of national health insurance and why?
A. I have not yet found a national health insurance plan I support. However, we must find some solution because our current means of providing health care is woefully inadequate. A modified version of the Canadian health plan intrigues me but I fear that our society differs too much from Canada for such a plan to work. The current piecemeal method in which Congress addresses health care is unacceptable. We cannot deal separately with "rural health care" or "health care for children." Our approach must be comprehensive.
Q. What changes, if any, do you favor regarding the regulation of savings and loan institutions? Be as specific as possible.
A. The first specific change I support is a change in the Congress that sat by while this debacle developed through the 1980s. I also question why the incumbent joined Jim Wright in fighting efforts to fully fund the FSLIC in the mid-1980s. Such funding would have saved billions by allowing early takeovers of troubled S&Ls. Beyond that Congress should have already lowered the amount of deposits the government insures from its current $100,000.
However, regulators must be careful not to bring down otherwise healthy S&Ls in their haste to correct past errors.