Candidate Q&A - Congress; Eric Van Oostrom

Sunday, November 3, 2002

1. What steps do you propose to spur the national economy and create jobs in Missouri?

Currently the United States tax rates are entirely too high and tax credits are given to corporations and individuals that do not stimulate the economy or too many imprecise and unenforceable laws for those that cheat the tax system are not enforced. I would therefore propose a sweeping flat tax that would eliminate both ineffective or unfair tax credits, requiring the federal government to be much more capable of making accurate projections and therefore more capable and accountable in its ability to balance the budget and virtually reduce the need for the unnecessary bulk of many government agencies that have to investigate corporate or individual fraud. This elimination of money sent to government would reduce the dependence upon the eternally inferior state-run agencies and would open up many new competitive private agencies in health care, education, infrastructure, retirement accounts, investment banking, research firms and many others.2. What measures would you endorse to avoid future corporate scandals?

The concept that corporate scandals are sweeping America in some wave that is either more heinous or more common than ever before is, in my opinion, more an issue of media sensationalism than one rooted in reality. It is sad that when middle- or upper-class Americans find themselves at the mercy of one who threatens them, the media makes it more of an issue than if it were a threat to the security of the less affluent. I am prepared for the criticism this answer will bring me, but too often floor time in the federal and state legislatures is wasted on issues that are flavors of the month in the minds of the media. Why is this kind of effort not focused upon the less affluent with less disposable income, on taxes for Social Security or health plans that produce little and public schools that fail them miserably?

While anyone who runs a public company and provides false financial earnings statements or falsifies accounting records is guilty of and should be punished for fraud, the crime is nothing more than that. The crime is that faith will be lost by potential investors in future stock speculations, but perhaps it will pave the way for those with disposable income to decrease monopolistic powers in America by destroying competition and investing in blue-chip stocks and instead perhaps invest in themselves and open a small business or invest in a smaller, local firm with which they will share a more mutual fiscal awareness and responsibility.3. What is your position on possible war with Iraq?

The Iraqi regime is indeed the creation of Saddam Hussein. I agree that all efforts need be made to remove him from power. Executing a head of state or destroying a regime is a dangerous way to make positive security changes.

Using Afghanistan as an example, it seems that Americans were too easily lulled into a false sense of long-term security by our military superiority. I am personally unconvinced the Bush administration has done everything to ensure that Afghanistan will be a nation with peaceful relations toward the United States, tolerant to its people and militarily potent enough to eliminate domestic and international security threats inside of its own borders. Applying this idea to Iraq, I believe that simply killing Saddam Hussein is not enough. A better solution to the failed economic sanctions that only cripple the innocent under any warlord, or risking high numbers of American lives and our international reputation via unilateral military force, would be our military and advisory support of the Iraqi National Congress.

The leader of the Iraqi National Congress, a Sunni Arab and Kurdish resistance group in Northern Iraq, has already vowed before to lead the fight to destroy Saddam Hussein's government and military, to institute a true democracy afterward and maintain security within Iraqi borders. Aiding a civil war is never a glamorous proposal yet it is with conviction that I suggest it as the world's best option .4. Describe your preferred plan for providing a prescription drug benefit to the elderly under Medicare?

5. Do you favor allowing American workers to invest a portion of their Social Security withholding in private investment accounts?

I would like to answer the questions about Medicare and Social Security together. Any state-run program that pays retirees a salary or provides medical care for the elderly needs be used only as an exception rather than the rule. The reason is not that these are not important needs but rather the federal government has routinely demonstrated its inability to think long term or to come up with creative solutions to make a constantly evolving system.

My proposal is this: Beginning the first of the year after this election I would tell all working-age Americans that if they have paid one cent into Social Security or Medicare then they will do so for life and we will not run a bankrupt system one year longer than we must. All other Americans who have not yet paid into either system will see it abolished, and in the future all Americans either individually or through a package with their employers can voluntarily choose to have money deducted from their paychecks for future retirement accounts or life-long medical aid plans. Competition will breed creativity and cost-effectiveness and the days of the government of the United States forcefully robbing Americans of money that many never live to see will come to an end.6. What is your position on farm subsidies?

Farm subsidies are an acceptable government expenditure when used properly and a heinous crime upon Americans when used poorly. Grants and low-interest loans are often in Americans' best interest when they stimulate the economy or save jobs by helping an entire failing industry transform into a viable one. Paying any American not to produce goods or services in America is nothing short of un-American. If supplies of any crop are expected to run too high then paying farmers not to grow it, as well as anything else, is simply ludicrous. However, providing a low-interest loan to help them change their crop to a product that will have a greater calling either nationally or abroad is a much better solution. Obviously, not all land is capable of producing everything but Southeast Missouri is filled with hundreds of success stories from farmers who like people in any other industry identified trends and changed some or all of their acreage to a less common crop. This type of solution is possible and practical, and if small amounts of targeted and justifiable amounts of loans or grants are required for crop renovation or the purchase of more specific farm machinery then even a candidate from a small-government party should not oppose this approach.7. In one paragraph, why should someone vote for you rather than your opponents?

There are three excellent reasons to vote for me. The first would be that you agree with the work that I intend to do in Washington, which I have attempted to explain here. The second reason is that I fully support the precepts that the democratic process embodies and voting for me is a sound message that the winner-take-all and single-party system in much of the region is alienating the majority of the constituency or providing the minority with no representation. I propose a system of proportional representation for the House of Representatives so that all Americans will have a voice. The third reason to vote for me is that if you have any reservations whatsoever about the other two candidates, one of which is so clearly the overwhelming favorite, then your vote will help to keep the Libertarian Party on the ticket for another five years. Vote Libertarian because it expresses the true meaning of what it is to live in a free-market democracy: To have as many choices as possible.

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