Q. What steps do you favor to reduce the federal deficit? Be specific about any spending cuts or tax increases you advocate.
A. We should cut the military budget by at least 50 percent. Bring the troops home from Europe and Japan, kill Star Wars and the stealth bomber. Raise taxes for the rich through a graduated income tax. Abolish sales tax and those excise taxes specifically aimed at the poor. Reduce waste and fraud in government and industry through legislation protecting whistle-blowers. Offer a bounty of 1 percent on all scams uncovered for example, the person who saves the government $10 million would keep $100,000 as a reward.
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. Mideast oil supplies are best protected by international peace founded on even-handed justice for all. Wars of aggression should be stopped in Kuwait, Lebanon and the West Bank and Gaza. Democratic institutions should be encouraged throughout the region. Energy conservation and research on alternative energy sources should be encouraged through taxes and tax incentives.
Q. What will be your top three legislative priorities if you are elected?
A. 1. Campaign reform is the key to getting anything else done. I favor a 12-year limit in office for senators, public financing of campaigns, and a limit on campaign expenses. I oppose PACs, honoraria and franking privileges.
2. National health insurance offering comprehensive coverage and universal access would save us money and give us better health. The present patchwork system is inefficient and unfair.
3. Huge corporations do more to control our lives, for good and bad, than big government. Corporate accountability for the interests of communities, workers, suppliers and consumers should be promoted through expanded disclosure standardized by the SEC. This could replace much burdensome regulation.
Q. What is your position regarding some type of national health insurance and why?
A. See No. 2 in previous answer. The U.S. pays more per capita for health care than any other country in the world, and yet we are 21st in infant mortality and 48th in polio immunization. A centralized payment center through national health insurance would save money in two ways: (1) less paperwork and duplication of effort, and (2) unified negotiation with health providers to keep costs down. Also, comprehensive coverage would allow us to treat problems while they are still small rather than waiting until they get big.
Q. What changes, if any, do you favor regarding the regulation of savings and loan institutions? Be as specific as possible.
A. We should change the laws back the way they were before this legalized scam got started: require S&Ls; to build homes for people of modest means instead of wildly speculative "deals''; limit insured accounts to $40,000 maximum and only one insured account per customer. For the bailout, make those who had the party pay the bill and right away. We shouldn't double or triple the amount through interest payments over the next couple of generations. It wasn't our grandkids' fault. Rep. Joe Kennedy II's bill before the House is a good start in the right direction.