Where Do I Stand?
Non-partisan candidates don't have a party line to judge them by, so I know you will be interested in what I stand for. Below you will find a list of issues that will grow over time as people ask for my position about specific topics. If there is something you want to see that is missing from the list, let me know. I also encourage you to reach out to me, especially if you have an opposing viewpoint on my positions. Help me understand your perspective.
Both of my businesses put me in constant contact with business owners, executives, consultants and sales people who are concerned about the economy and their ability to create or save jobs. They have all seen sharp drops in the numbers of clients and opportunities available to them over the last few years.
Government claims to know the answer to the problem: Spend more to stimulate the economy. One problem with stimulus spending is that more government “investment” inevitably means more taxes to pay for the money Washington borrows to “stimulate” the economy. The other problem is that the first couple of stimulus and bailout programs haven’t worked. The government has proven, yet again, that it has no idea where to invest money to generate U.S. jobs. Need evidence? Look up Solyndra, Fisker, SunPower, GM, Chrysler, TARP, or any of the other government bailout or loan boondoggles where cronies were repaid for political favors with taxpayer money.
Adding more burdens on small and mid-sized businesses, such as additional regulations, taxes and healthcare mandates won’t cut it either. Small businesses produce 70% of the country’s jobs, but they can’t do it if they are in constant fear of new regulations, increasing costs and a worsening economy. They need predictability. They also need new customers to justify hiring new employees.
The solution to the continual assault on the job creators in the country is to have people in Washington DC who have actual experience in the small business community. Congress needs people who understand how the legislation it writes will affect Main Street. I possess that understanding.
Our Government is out of control. Whether we’re talking about spending, size, corruption, or picking winners and losers, one of my highest priorities is the reduction and re-alignment of government.
Our elected (and unelected) officials are now so brazen that they brag publicly about the deals they have struck - often to the tune of 100s of millions of dollars for their states. They use public funds to repay personal favors. They regularly pass major bills in the middle of the night, over holidays, or on weekends without reading or understanding them first when they think the public isn’t paying attention.
It is time that politicians go back to reading, understanding, and then voting for bills based on the merit of the bill versus the bribes or “sweeteners” they have received for their votes.
For the majority of 2001, my family lived in the Washington DC area. Part of my role was to facilitate sales opportunities for my company. Government opportunities were a priority for us. As I began to network my way around the District, I began to see familiar faces. There were government employees that would regularly attend meetings and trade shows. They showed up late and fell asleep immediately after getting comfortable. They attended tradeshows with personal shopping carts – not asking questions about the products or services being offered, but asking what was being given away.
There are also issues with the way government purchases products and services. Purchasing agents and the agencies they serve operate under the philosophy that they must spend every dollar they are budgeted or they will lose the money for the following year. This is at direct odds with reducing the federal budget or curtailing spending.
Too many in government have forgotten whom they serve and whose money they are spending. We can not as a nation afford to support the federal government in its current state. We must trim the bureaucracy, reduce duplicated functions and cut unnecessary spending.
At the same time as government budgets are expanding, employees and ex-employees of private-sector businesses have felt the pains of fewer hours, dollars and opportunities. How do we cope? By spending less, learning the difference between “want” and “need,” reducing the use of credit, and saving when we can.
But the government response has been the exact opposite. Spending has increased, credit use has increased and social programs have been planned that we simply cannot afford. Our dollar is declining and we are losing financial credibility on a global scale.
The world of finance does not operate differently in Washington, DC than it does on the rest of the planet. The time is approaching when our debts will come due. We need to make hard choices now to avoid calamity later. It is time for our politicians to understand that private jets, unnecessary expenditures and building monuments to themselves with taxpayers’ dollars will no longer be tolerated.
If the majority of taxpayers saw how their money was really being spent, they would fight tooth and nail to keep every penny they could from being squandered in government hands.
The free market system is not perfect, but it is the best in the world. When left to operate with as little interference as possible, it is self-regulating and self-correcting. Some people cite the recent housing bubble and banking fiasco as evidence the free market system doesn’t work. I would argue they are evidence of what happens when government interferes in areas it has no place interfering but does so anyway on behalf of special interests.
The seeds of the housing bubble began when the federal government, under a Democrat-run Congress during the Carter administration, required banks to lend to people who had no capability to repay the loans. Subsequent “improvements” by the Clinton and both Bush administrations expanded this ill-conceived legislation. The combination of the technology boom, then bust and the expansion of provisions under Bush caused an “easy money” effect in our financial system which artificially drove up housing prices, compounding the problem. Subsequently, the risky banking behaviors occurred when laws were changed to allow the creation of hedge funds and derivatives.
The stimulus, bailout, and “nationalization” programs have been poorly run and should not have been executed in the first place. Not only have they have set a bad precedent, these government programs have driven prices higher, increased financing scarcity and rewarded unnecessarily risky behavior.
The end result will be the lengthening of the recession and a longer period before companies will return to hiring.
None of these practices is encouraging economic growth. Instead, the government is setting the example that success will be punished and mediocrity or poverty should be encouraged.
I believe our health care system is the best in the world, but it does have its share of problems. Costs are high, and we need to make it more affordable for people to get the care they need. The solution, however, is not to create a single-payer system in which the government would be the only provider of health insurance coverage. Massachusetts has already tried something very similar and the result has been higher cost, lower quality of services and unhappy residents.
I realize health care reform is a contentious issue. It is actually one of the reasons I began to get more politically involved. Instead of believing the hype coming from the Democrats and the Republicans about what was or was not in the original 1700+ page Health Care Reform bill from the middle of 2009, I began reading it for myself.
What I read shocked me. I was hearing that people could keep the insurance plans they had, but the actual words in the healthcare bill told me it was only technically true. If an insurer changed a plan, it might no longer be available to the individual. I heard illegal aliens would not be covered, but I read that hospitals were not allowed to verify immigration status. I saw that doctors’ salaries could be limited or set by the government, and doctors who did not treat patients according to government directives risked not getting paid. I also saw incentives for doctors who billed for fewer services. (Read: rationing of care.) I also learned $500 billion would be removed from Medicare to pay the bill!
When I did research on who was writing this legislation, I discovered it wasn’t always our elected officials. In fact, some of the groups behind the legislation raised huge concerns for me. When I researched parts of HR3200 I found mandates for bioethics, comparative effectiveness research and lots of references to studying health disparities between various ethnic groups. These are all very progressive concepts that have their roots in the early 20th century eugenics movement – concepts that are integrated into the newly-passed health care law that will determine who lives and who dies based on perceived value to society. They have no place in our national health care agenda.
Giving so much control to our federal government is a bad idea. We can’t afford the types of controls the government would try to use to manipulate 1/6th of our economy. We also can’t afford the decrease in health care quality that has been seen in all of the other countries that have attempted to socialize their health care systems.
Every one of us could hit hard times at one point or another in our lives. The great thing about this country is we are one of the most generous societies in the world when it comes to getting individuals, communities or countries back on their feet.
We have proven time and again that individuals will organize and give of their time, skills and wealth to help others in need. This is only possible because we are allowed to operate in a free market system where we are allowed to accumulate wealth and skills to share.
Unfortunately, we are creating a society where wealth is demonized and the state and federal governments, through excessive taxation and regulation, are reducing our ability to help others. At the same time, these government entities are creating a dependence upon social programs.
These social programs are packed with corruption, fraud and inefficiencies. That being said, I do believe they are necessary – but only as a short term fix, not as a lifestyle choice.
I believe we should help the helpless, but I don’t believe in using social programs as an “opiate for the masses” or for creating a dependence upon government funds.
The easiest way to reverse this trend is to first allow the free market to work more freely and provide more tax breaks and incentives to people who provide time, service and wealth to organizations that help the less fortunate. Less money will be lost on bureaucracy, more people can be efficiently helped, and we can reduce deficits at the state and federal levels. This will allow us to extend the amount of time we can offer these nearly bankrupt programs to the people who really need them.
Would you like to learn about more positions? You can also read my thoughts on gun control, national security and immigration here.
Email me with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paid for by Chris Pareja for Congress ©2010-2012 Chris Pareja