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Americans Elect Responses

Americans Elect Responses

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This document responds to the 15 questions posed by the election committee for the Americans Elect primary
This document responds to the 15 questions posed by the election committee for the Americans Elect primary

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Published by: Michael D. Ballantine on Apr 11, 2012
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AMERICANS ELECT
Response to questions
Economy, Healthcare, Education, Energy, andForeign Policy
Mike Ballantine4/11/2012
These are the responses to 15 questions posed by Americans Elect. A youtube video will be issued torespond to them as well in the very near future.
 
What do you think are the most important steps government can take to promote job creation?
Paul Krugman and other noted economists from the PERI Institute indicate that for every $100,000 ingovernment spending, we create 1 job. They show that spending in education creates the most jobs andspending in defense creates the fewest. I propose that we begin construction of a nationwide high-speed rail system, begin the mining of rare-earth minerals on the moon, rebuild our decrepit roads andbridges, and begin construction of 5 new ultra-modern urban centers to house the more than 100million new Americans that will come to our nation over the next 40 years. By borrowing funds throughan infrastructure bank and issuing loan guarantees for new clean-energy power plants we can create 20million jobs over a three-year period. These jobs will not be in competition with the Chinese or Indiansand will pay a real-living wage. Job creation is not only critical to getting our economy turned around, itprovides the motivation for our youth to work hard and stay in school. Many pundits and politicalleaders believe that only the private sector can create jobs, that is, simply not true. When the private-sector fails to create the jobs America needs, then it is incumbent on the government to step-in andtake the necessary steps to create jobs. I cannot accept the notion that American workers should beabandoned and forgotten because political ideologues are not willing to compromise.
How would you reform the Federal Tax System?
For the past 30 years beginning with President Reagan, America has steadily cut taxes for the wealthy.This was done because some believe lower taxes boost growth and that by boosting growth, everybodywins. The truth is that the only winners have been the wealthy; whereas, the rest of America has gonein reverse. Middle-class incomes have stagnated and despite the rhetoric, income for most peoplecontinues to fall. The biggest consequence of this march to lower taxes has been an explosion in thedeficit. Congress has been unable to control its addiction to spending and we need to bite the bulletand reverse this thirty-year trend. The first step we need to do is reverse the Bush Tax cuts. The secondstep is to eliminate all deductions and simplify the tax code. By eliminating deductions, we stop thedistortion that exists in the tax code. When we make this change, we will need to reduce the tax ratesand we propose 7 brackets eliminating taxes for people earning less than $20,000 and increasing the taxrate progressively up to $500,000 in income per year. To help solve the current deficit issue until oureconomy regains its legs, we propose a surtax on income of 10% for all earned income above $500,000for a period of 5 years. Finally, we propose a corporate flat tax of 15% and the elimination of industryspecific deductions like the oil and gas industry currently enjoy.
Do you believe corporations should be more heavily regulated, even if it means higher compliancecosts?
More regulation does not mean that corporations will become better citizens and less regulation doesnot mean that our economy will improve. With the deregulation of the banking industry, Americaexperienced its worst economic downturn since the great depression. I believe we need to reinstate a
 
modern version of Glass-Steagall that encompasses the Internet, derivatives, CDOs and hedge funds.We need to eliminate the possibility that banks are too big to fail reversing the stranglehold that thefinancial industry has upon our economy. Additionally, we need to implement balanced regulations forthe natural gas industry to protect the environment and ensure clean water for residents in the frackingzones. As we transition from a fossil fuel based economy to one based on renewables, we will need toimplement appropriate regulations to encourage a speedy transition. Obviously, common sense has toenter into the discussion and all regulations should have sunset provisions to allow periodic reviews tomodernize them. Where we need to reduce regulations is when they impact small businesses and Ithink we need to exempt family farms from most regulations and accept the occasional problem asbeing just a part of life. The current effort by the Federal government to shut-down family farmsthrough regulation in favor of big agricultural concerns flies in the face of what it means to be anAmerican.
How do you propose we reduce the national debt, and how should the national debt be considered ineconomic recovery plans?
As things stand, the national debt is unpayable. If one were to amortize a debt of $16 trillion over 30years at 5% interest, the payments would run in the neighborhood of $1 trillion per year. That wouldrequire us to nearly double the personal tax rates. When a business borrows money, it must pay thedebt back with profits. When a government borrows money, it must pay it back with future taxrevenues. If one were crazy enough to double taxes, it would severely impact our economy resulting ina serious downturn and possibly even a new great depression. While I am sympathetic with those thatdemand fiscal probity, we have to find another way. Instead, I propose a National Energy company toexploit the proven oil reserves in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah currently existing on public lands. Wecan process the oil shale in an environmentally friendly manner producing 10 million barrels a day toreplace much of the oil we import. The anticipated production costs are somewhere between $45 and$47 a barrel. I propose we place a $25/barrel tax on this oil and over a 20 year period, we could reducethe national debt by 50%. Paying off the debt this way will require cooperation among environmentalgroups, the oil industry, and Congress but it can be done if we have the will. Given the alternative of doubling the personal income tax, I think we should consider this option.
What role should the federal government play in the healthcare industry? Is healthcare a right?
According to the Kaiser Foundation, the government already pays over 63% of healthcare costs. Wehave approximately 50 million out of 155 million working adults currently uninsured. With the numberof working adults currently stagnant and the population continuing to grow, the burden of healthcarefalls on a smaller number of workers. Further, as the burden grows heavier so do the premiums paid byprivate companies. These expenses directly impact the competitiveness of American companies andhamper their ability to market American products overseas. We can solve these problems by doing twothings: first, we extend Medicare to all Americans; second, we stop paying for it through payroll

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