For your liberty!
1. End Hostilities in Iraq
I promise to do everything I can as your representative to end the hostilities and to end the heavy reliance on military approaches in Iraq. The goal is to transition to regional diplomacy as the primary way to address the economic and political challenges facing the Iraqi people as they develop their own solutions.
Situation: In many respects government policies actually encourage polluting and inefficient resource use.
Solution: I will work to eliminate government laws and subsidies that encourage inefficiency and pollution - and there are many. I will also seek new policies and legislation to hold polluters accountable for actual harm caused. Please see my environment talking points for details.
Situation: Perhaps as many as 50% of new jobs are created by small businesses.1 The federal government must focus on reducing the overwhelming labyrinth of rules, regulations, compliance costs and taxes that stifle small business' ability to innovate, to compete in the global economy, and to create jobs.
Solution: I promise to actively pursue reduced federal regulatory burdens, income tax, and tax compliance costs for small and medium sized business to enable that most important part of our economy. I will not support any new law, regulation, or program that increases the tax or regulatory compliance burden on small business. Among other actions I will pursue “one year write-off” (for income tax purposes) for capital equipment up to $10 Million. I will seek out and actively oppose special treatment and corporate welfare for companies or industries that engage in “special interest” politics, to the detriment of small business (i.e., creating an “unlevel” playing field.)
4. Privacy Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Situation: Most people do not realize that the U.S. Constitution does not provide for a right to privacy. I believe that the time has come to change that.
Solution: The following proposed amendment to the Constitution serves two purposes: 1) it actually declares that the right to privacy exists, and 2) it provides a specific characterization of the boundaries of privacy. In simplest terms: your privacy ends where another person’s privacy and liberty begin.
The right of citizens of the United States to privacy shall not be denied or abridged: no citizen shall be subject to invasive surveillance, to searches of person or of private property, or to arrest, for actions or possessions; but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, that includes describing how such private actions or possessions 1. infringe directly upon the liberty of another person, 2. harm and/or endanger another person, 3. result in theft or fraud, or 4. cause damage to public or private property.
In addition to the constitutional amendment, there is also a critical need for legislative action at the federal level, primarily to reduce the federal government’s scope, powers, and increasing general disregard for the limited privacy-related provisions in the Constitution. I am determined to do whatever possible to oppose all but the few rational elements of the USA PATRIOT Act and to oppose legislation reflecting an overreaction to the threat of terrorism.
5. Reassert Peoples’ and States’ Powers
Situation: The federal government’s scope has grown way beyond that provided for in the Constitution. One effect is that the federal government has taken power that is supposed to remain with the people and with the states, as described in the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
This happens for many reasons, some are: 1) more than half of eligible citizens do not vote, making them easy to ignore, 2) politicians always seem to have a need to do something to show “success” for fundraising, re-election, prestige, photo-ops, etc., and 3) the growth of influence given to non-voting "interest" groups at the expense of voters and taxpayers. Of course, bigger government allows politicians to do even more for special interests, other politicians, and supporters.
Solution: I will do everything I can to encourage efforts in California and among states to take back powers granted to states and to the people by the Constitution. I will oppose new laws that reduce individual liberty or that transfer authority from people or states to the federal government.
6. U.S. House of Representatives Rules
Situation: The rules under which Congress operates are developed by whichever fox is guarding the hen house. Many negative effects result. Among them, the party in power and individual committee chairpersons from that party have too much power.
Without significant changes to those fundamental rules-of-the-road for Congress, representation of your needs and preferences will diminish so that the needs of politicians and non-voting organizations can be served.
Solution: I will ardently advocate House rules that are based on the following criteria:
7. Framework to Gauge Effectiveness of Federal Laws, Regulations, and Programs
Situation: The way that our leaders decide which laws and programs to support is far too "opaque." The considerations and logic used are often not stated. Individual programs or legislation are often bundled with other totally unrelated programs and legislation. Often legislation is just too complex to understand (even for those that must approve it). In many cases individual politicians wield far too much influence. Many programs only serve the very narrow interests of a specific legislator, at the expense of all taxpayers.
Solution: When developing new laws, regulations and programs, I will fight for use of specific, reasonable and auditable “success criteria” with which to gauge effectiveness.
Specifically, I will not vote for any federal law, regulation or program unless legislation specifies: 1) what success is, 2) when success will occur, 3) conditions that indicate success, and 4) ways to measure success (metrics).
I will propose a framework for periodic reviews of federal laws, regulations and programs, to gauge success and to consider unintended consequences.
Any new laws, regulations or programs that I support must include sunset clauses that specify when the legislation expires (if not re-approved) and must indicate what happens if success is not achieved.
Attractive side effects of the above approach include: