On the Issues
It is not the government’s responsibility to create jobs. It is, however, the government’s responsibility to create a suitable environment for the private sector to succeed. In today’s America, this means that the federal government needs to loosen the shackles it has placed on businesses by lowering taxes and eliminating the regulatory barriers that are obstacles to entrepreneurs everywhere.
As a long-time small business owner, I understand exactly what American industries need in this difficult economic time: less interference and lower taxes. Over regulation has forced the private sector to divert resources toward dealing with excessive government intrusion instead of investing in their business and hiring more employees. At the same time, excessive taxes have stripped down the resources businesses need to pay their current employees. This double-edged sword cuts at the very heart of American prosperity.
On the Current Federal Debt Levels and a Balanced Budget Amendment
Our nation is over $16 trillion dollars in debt. Not only is the total amount of debt incomprehensible, it’s unsustainable. I continue to support reining in government spending and enacting a Balanced Budget Amendment. The Balanced Budget Amendment would forbid the federal government from spending outside its means. No more credit cards for Uncle Sam. The state of Michigan already has a Balanced Budget found in Article V Section 18 of our Constitution. We need to do the same in D.C., and make sure we stick by it. During my time in Washington and Lansing, I have voted against countless spending increases and tax hikes. The solution to solve our debt crisis does not rest in higher taxes. The answer is simply to eliminate spending, and the Balanced Budget Amendment will help us do so. Of course, safeguards need to be established so that the federal government could spend in times of war and cases of extreme national emergency. Spending outside a national emergency would need to fall within the tax structure.
Reforming the Tax Code
I am a strong advocate of a Flat Tax system. Today’s tax system is an accounting disaster that limits investment, taxes death, and hampers business. A flat tax would greatly simplify the tax system, improving the efficiency of American businesses. This is an especially timely issue that we cannot afford to postpone any longer. At the end of 2012, tax rates are scheduled to skyrocket. So this election will have an immediate impact on the events that follow it.
Let me give you an idea of what is in store for us. Each income tax bracket is set to rise 3 to 5%, the marriage penalty will return, child credits will drop, the capital gains tax will jump, the dividends tax will nearly triple, the death tax will rob inheritors of 55% of all capital over one million dollars, bracket creep will force millions of Americans into paying the Alternative Minimum Tax, charitable contributions will be slashed, and given the demands of ObamaCare this might only be the beginning.
When the government overtaxes our capital, they also drain our spirit. I want to protect the American spirit from a runaway bureaucracy and I believe that a flat tax is one of the best means of doing so.
On Reforming Social Security and Medicare
Social Security is not sustainable without significant reform. No reforms or changes will affect anyone over the age of 55. Future benefits cannot be paid under current taxation levels. And, raising taxes to pay for an unsustainable system will only make the problem worse. The latest report from the Social Security Trustees projects that the trust funds will be exhausted by 2033. At that point, beneficiaries will only be able to receive 75% of the annual benefits. Today, we only have 2.9 workers supporting each beneficiary, whereas there were 5.1 workers in 1960. Without restricting the program for those currently in their working years, we will be forced to raise taxes or cut benefits, neither of which are preferred options.
There are a limited number of options for addressing this actuarial time bomb. We can increase the retirement age, raise tax rates, or increase the cap on earnings subject to taxes. The sooner adjustments are made, the smaller the adjustments need to be. The federal government must honor its promises to protect retirees and those nearing retirement. But a long term fix should include the option of a personal retirement account that younger workers can count on as their own individual asset. I will vote to ensure that Congress quickly reforms the program, making it workable for all generation.
When it comes to Medicare, I look forward to an on-going, fact-based conversation between myself, my colleagues in Congress, and the people I represent who would be most affected by both any potential changes to the program as well as by Medicare’s impending bankruptcy, currently predicted for 2020.
Necessary reforms to Medicare, such as those I have supported since being in Washington, must strengthen the program for future generations while at the same time ensuring that those currently over the age of 55 are not impacted. I will continue to advocate for common-sense reforms to Medicare that eliminate waste, reduce inefficiencies and lower costs by giving beneficiaries more control over their own healthcare benefits and decisions.
When I ran for Congress in 2010, I made it clear that fighting to protect the unborn would be among my top priorities. Shortly after being elected, I joined the Congressional Prayer Caucus, the Values Action Team, and the Bipartisan Pro-Life Caucus. I immediately began to fight for the House of Representatives to take many important votes such as the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act and the Protect Life Act, which amends ObamaCare to stop your tax-payer dollars from being used to pay for abortions and protects doctors from having to participate in a procedure that they do not want to do.
I have also introduced H.R. 5646, the Homeland Security Respect for Life Act, which closes a loop hole that allows taxpayer funded abortions for detainees. The language from my bill was inserted into the appropriations package that provides funding for the Department of Homeland Security and it successfully passed the House of Representatives.
The sanctity of life is close to my heart and dear to my family. Protecting life beginning with conception is a value that cannot be compromised and something that I will continue to fight for as your voice in Washington, D.C.
Agriculture is one of the strongest economic drivers in West Michigan. In fact, the impact of food and agriculture on Michigan’s economy is estimated at $91.4 billion, and accounts for nearly 1 in 4 jobs. The Second District is one of the most agriculturally diverse in Michigan and is a leader in livestock, poultry, pork, fruit, nursery, greenhouse, and floriculture production. While in Congress, I have consistently stood up for the hard working business owners in agriculture.
Our immigration laws are broken. I will continue to advocate for immigration reform that respects the rule of law, protects our borders, and does not provide amnesty. We should not reward those that have broken the law with citizenship. We need a reasonable, practical, and legal guest worker program for those who want to come to the U.S. for a limited time in order to gain employment and return home when the work is done. I recognize that foreign workers play a role in Michigan’s economy, particularly in the agricultural community, and we need to provide a method of enforcing the law and documenting the movement of temporary workers over the border.
In an age in which an individual’s right to choose their own health care is seemingly under constant attack, it is crucial that Congress continue exploring ways to further build a strong free-market health care system and improve access to affordable care through various private sector options.
While I remain fundamentally opposed to President Obama’s health care law, I stand ready to address the cost of health care through an incremental approach of common-sense solutions that puts patients, not Washington bureaucrats, in charge of their own health care decisions and allows employers the flexibility they require to provide coverage.
We need to introduce market-based solutions to controlling health care costs, like allowing health insurance to be purchased over state lines, enacting tort reform to limit doctor’s liability, encouraging the use of health savings accounts, allowing small businesses to pool their resources to purchase insurance, and cutting excessive taxes and regulations imposed on the pharmaceutical industry. Lastly, individuals should be able to deduct the cost of purchasing health insurance from their taxes, making it more affordable. I believe in allowing individuals and their doctors to make decisions about their healthcare.
As a longtime gun-owner, I support the right of all law-abiding citizens to exercise their constitutional right to own firearms and use firearms for lawful purposes.
I am an active member of various hunting clubs and have been trained in using firearms safely. One piece of gun rights legislation that I have supported is a national “Right-to-Carry” law. This law is already on the books in 40 states. While I applaud the efforts of these states, their legislation is confusing for travelers, who have to check the books every time they pass an interstate line. We have an obligation to preserve our Second Amendment rights for future generations.
Over the years, the federal government has taken an increasingly active role in our nation’s education system that I believe has gone too far. Programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top constitute an unwarranted and unhelpful intrusion into matters that the people of Michigan and other states can decide on their own. Only by returning the federal government to its constitutional role and expanding educational opportunities will we get our nation’s education system back on track.
As a father of five young children and someone who has worked in education at the local level, it is clear to me that parents, teachers and local administrators know what is best for their children’s education, not bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. Moving forward, I will continue to oppose further mandates on our state and local schools and advocate that they receive the flexibility from Washington that they require to properly educate West Michigan’s children.
While I strongly support the use and development of all forms of energy, we must move our nation away from market-distorting incentives that simply pick winners and losers in the energy industry. All too often this practice results in astronomical losses such as the bankruptcy of failed solar company Solyndra, which President Obama backed with 500 million in hard earned taxpayer dollars.
I remain committed to enacting a true all-of-the-above approach to our nation’s energy policy. In the House I have voted repeatedly to move in this direction by working to enact policies that would eliminate overly-burdensome regulations and bureaucratic red tape hindering access to our abundant domestic energy sources. I will also continue to join with our friends in Canada to strongly advocate for approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline project. In addition to dramatically increasing our nation’s energy security Keystone XL would lead to the creation of thousands of good paying jobs at no expense to the taxpayer.
Residents of West Michigan have long understood the importance of the Great Lakes as well as the impact fresh water and clean air have on the economic and physical health of their communities.
As a member of the bipartisan Great Lakes Task Force, I continue to work closely with my Great Lakes colleagues to fight the introduction of non-native species. I remain committed to building a better defense for the Great Lakes against new invasive species by vigorously employing the most effective tools available, while also pursuing a complete ecological separation from the Mississippi River basin as soon as technically feasible.
Lastly, while protecting our natural resources for future generations is vital, in a time of stagnant economic growth, I will continue to oppose a seemingly endless amount of new overly-burdensome regulations coming out of President Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency. I believe there is a role for the federal government in protecting the environment; however I will strongly oppose efforts by this administration that I believe go too far and would create an uneven playing field, penalizing Michigan’s job-creators by increasing the cost of energy for all businesses and consumers.
As the son of a disabled World War II veteran, I not only grew up around veterans but also understand the importance of treating them with the dignity and respect they have earned. I will fight during my time in Congress to make sure the men and women that have served, are serving, and will serve receive the benefits and services they need and deserve.
Bill enjoys answering questions on where he stands on all issues. If you have a question concerning any of his positions, please feel free to email email@example.com.