I’m Bill Redpath, Libertarian Party nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in Illinois’ 6th Congressional District for 2020. My platform combines conservative stances on economic issues and generally liberal positions on social issues. My core philosophy: people should be able to live their own lives as they choose, without interference, as long as they do not harm other people or their property. To that end, my campaign calls for reduced government spending, lower taxes and real respect for civil liberties. That is the philosophy behind the positions I take on the issues of this election.
Economic freedom in the United States has declined over the past 20 years. There is a direct and causal link between economic freedom and prosperity. It is time to enact new policies in Washington that will reverse this trend that has already adversely affected our economy and eroded our personal and political freedoms.
Reduce Federal Government Spending
The economic policy of the federal government should focus on economic growth and prosperity, which can best be fostered by reducing the size of government. Government spending, not taxes, is the real burden of government to the economy. I want to significantly reduce federal government spending, not just reduce its rate of growth. I support the cuts to discretionary federal government spending as listed on the Cato Institute’s website. This website lists over $780 billion in annual savings, including elimination of the Departments of Education, Energy and Housing & Urban Development, and major expenditure reductions in other departments.
All corporate welfare and farm subsidies should end immediately.
Fundamental Tax Reform
I endorse the Hall-Rabushka Flat Tax, which will reduce Federal tax rates, greatly simplify our tax code and foster great entrepreneurship in the US..
If, after Federal spending has been cut, the 19% tax rate proposed by Hall & Rabushka produces a Federal surplus, the tax rate should be cut to what the Congressional Budget Office thinks the tax rate that would balance the Federal budget would be.
Health care is not a right, because it requires the talents and resources of other people. The federal government is not empowered by the U.S. Constitution to provide health care. Health care for the poor should be treated as a welfare issue and handled by the states.
I would repeal the Affordable Care Act. I agree with John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis, who proposes that, instead of our current system of numerous subsidies and tax breaks affecting health insurance, there should be refundable tax credits to individuals that are available only if health insurance is purchased. A tax credit for $2,500 for every adult and $8,000 for every family of four would replace the subsidies in the Obamacare exchanges and substitute for the regressive way employer-provided coverage is subsidized.
We must move away from our system of employer-based health insurance, which would happen with the Hall-Rabushka Flat Tax, as employee fringe benefits would not be deductible for businesses. We need deregulation in the delivery of medical services and a more consumer-driven health care system, which will not happen until Third Party Payers become less dominant in US health care. Third parties financed 86% of health care in 2001, up from 56% in 1965. We should allow interstate purchases of health insurance and move the public away from first dollar or small co-pay coverage to purchases of catastrophic health insurance.
The plan to replace Obamacare should have choice for consumers, fairness, universality, portability, transparency and real insurance.
The entire concept of Social Security as “social insurance” is ridiculous. Aging is not an insurable risk. We all get older, and it is “better than the alternative,” as the saying goes. And, people qualify for Social Security regardless of their current income level. But, probably the most important problem with Social Security is that people have no property rights in future Social Security payments. Congress can change Social Security payments at any time. What defenders of the Social Security system are really saying is that they would rather forcibly extract Social Security taxes from workers, including teens and parents raising families, instead of having older people (who tend to be wealthier) provide for themselves after a lifetime of work.
I support “Cato’s 6.2% Plan for Social Security.”
More details on this plan can be read here.
Currently, seniors cannot opt out of Medicare without losing their Social Security benefits; that should change. The prescription drug program passed in 2003, which was fiscal insanity, should be repealed. Medicare should be overhauled to subsidize seniors directly. Medicare should be moved from its current system of defined benefits to a system of defined contributions. Beneficiaries should be given vouchers that they can take into the medical marketplace or saved in a Health Savings Account for use in future years. It is almost certain that Medicare benefits will be cut by Congress in the future. Giving seniors control over their Medicare benefits would allow them to retain the benefits that mean most to them, rather than having that decided through the political process.
In the long run, we need to move away from the “Pay As You Go” Medicare system, which, as with Social Security, means that today’s benefits for the elderly are financed by taxes paid by today’s workers. We need to move to a system of prepaid Medicare benefits, much like a 401(k), that allows workers to accumulate assets during their working years to spend for medical care in their later years. This needs to be done as soon as possible, and certainly while the bulk of the baby boomers are still in the workforce.
The federal government currently pays 57% of total Medicaid expenditures to the states on a matching grant basis. Medicaid spending is exploding and cannot be sustained. Medicaid should be converted to a block grant program to the states, without conditions from the federal government. Federal contributions to Medicaid should be phased out over time, and the program should become totally financed by state and local governments.
The United States spends too much for its defense. The Department of Defense will spend about $720 billion in the Fiscal Year ending September 30, 2020. The US is subsidizing its rich allies, with 3.7% of US GDP spent on defense versus 1.3%, on average, by NATO countries. We are slowly bankrupting ourselves to pay for the defense of other nations that can afford to defend themselves.
This must stop. I agree with Barry R. Posen, who, in his new book, Restraint: A New Foundation for US Grand Strategy, writes that he thinks an expenditure of 2.5% of US Gross Domestic Product would be sufficient for a more restrained national defense posture that requires more of our allies. With a current US annual GDP of about $20 trillion, that would mean an annual defense budget of about $500 billion per year. That should be more than sufficient for a strong defense of the United States and responses to actual threats abroad to the US.
Also, it is long past time for the War Power to return to the Congress. Unless the US has been attacked or immediate action is necessary to defend against a potential attack, all military engagements should be approved by the Congress. The President should not act alone in these weighty decisions.
The US should unilaterally end trade restrictions and tariffs in order to improve the standard of living to US consumers and to set an example by bolstering free trade around the world. Free trade is extremely important in the cause of international peace.
I think we should have open, but regulated, immigration into the United States. If someone does not have a criminal background, does not have a serious communicable disease or cannot be reasonably deemed a security threat, they should be able to immigrate to the US, with a path toward citizenship, although that is not as important as allowing immigrants work visas. There should be no federal welfare benefits for immigrants. The states may, and should, have the same policy.
The surveillance capabilities of the Federal government show how important it is that we live in a libertarian society. The overcriminalization of the law, combined with government surveillance capabilities, is what really threatens the freedoms of the American people.
Any government surveillance program needs to 1) have transparency, 2) have legal authority, 3) target real threats to society, and 4) track its effectiveness. These points are from a column written by Nick Gillespie of the Reason Foundation.
Repeal all Federal laws regarding consensual crimes. As with the end of alcohol prohibition, the Federal government should end its drug prohibition and allow the states to address this issue. Also, the Federal government should repeal its prohibition of online gambling and allow Americans the freedom to gamble, if they so choose, from the privacy of their own homes.
While I may be accused of being a “spoiler” candidate in this election, that is not why I am running. There should be a Libertarian voice in every campaign, and this one is no exception. Unfortunately, with our Single Member Plurality (single member district, candidate with the most votes wins) voting system, too many voters feel boxed into voting for the “lesser of two evils.”It doesn’t have to be that way. I call upon the Illinois legislature to adopt Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) for all single winner elections in Illinois, whereby voters rank candidates in order of their preference. This is how Instant Runoff Voting works. http://www.fairvote.org/reforms/instant-runoff-voting/what-is-irv/. Instant Runoff Voting is already used many places in the United States and around the world. Bills to adopt RCV have been introduced in the Illinois General Assembly. RCV should be used for every single winner election in Illinois, and a system of proportional representation should be used to elect members of the Illinois House & Senate.I also call upon the US Congress to repeal its 1966 law mandating single member districts for all elections to the US House. The US had a long history of multi-member districts in US House elections before then. While it would be up to each state to decide how to elect its US House members after repeal of that law, I support FairVote’s plan to develop multi-member US House districts in states for which that is possible, which would greatly increase voter choice and the ability of each voter to elect a representative with whom he or she agrees. Read more, here.
The best plan, however, would be for Congress to mandate an election system called “Personally Accountable Representation” (PAR) which is summarized here. A more in-depth explanation of PAR can be seen here.