FIVE STEPS TO A RETURN TO LIMITED GOVERNMENT
The federal government must be returned to the limited scope envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. To reverse the vicious cycle of expansion, Congress should follow five critical steps outlined below.
END DEFICIT SPENDING
Deficit spending facilitates the continuing growth of the federal government. It is far too tempting to shift the cost of today’s federal expansion to future generations. Until we require Congress to operate under a balanced budget, that expansion will continue. A balanced budget amendment is essential to restoring the original, proper role of the federal government.
STRENGTHEN NATIONAL SECURITY
A core constitutional function of the federal government is to “insure domestic tranquility” by protecting our country. We maintain peace and freedom when our national defense is strong. We must continue to develop sophisticated, cutting-edge tools and weaponry to defend our citizens from threats of terrorism. We must have clear objectives when we place our brave men and women of the Armed Forces in harm's way. Once engaged, we cannot tie the hands of our military with unnecessary rules of engagement. When our objectives are achieved, we must bring our troops home.
REFORM THE TAX SYSTEM
With 50% of wage earners paying little or no taxes, too many voters have no “skin in the game”—and no reason to question new government programs that are funded by the real taxpayers. Until we reform the tax code to give all Americans a stake in their government (through the fair or flat tax), Congress will continue to adopt new entitlements, new bailouts, and new relief programs.
REDUCE GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS
The answer to an economic downturn is not a government stimulus, but a reduction in government regulation and bureaucracy to allow the natural forces of our private enterprise system to rebound without undue interference.
END THE ERA OF THE LIFETIME POLITICIAN
The runaway growth of the federal government will continue as long as we retain a system that assures the existence of lifetime politicians. A career member of Congress inevitably will come to believe that that body has the answer to all social problems. The Constitution should be amended to limit service in each house of Congress to 12 years.
More Key Issues
The Constitution makes clear that the federal government is responsible for making and enforcing laws governing immigration. The federal government has dropped the ball in this area, allowing—and in some instances even encouraging—tens of millions of people to enter our borders illegally. Congress needs to fix this problem by:
- Investing in the technology, personnel, and physical infrastructure necessary to secure the southern border
- Enforcing existing immigration laws
- Improving and promoting the use of E-Verify—a nationwide immigration-status verification system designed to enable employers to ascertain quickly and accurately whether would-be employees are authorized to work in the United States;
- Mandating and enforcing the denial of federal and state welfare benefits to illegal immigrants;
- Clarify the original intent of the citizenship clause through legislation specifying that children born to illegal-alien parents in the United States are not entitled to automatic citizenship; and
- Making clear that illegal aliens will not receive amnesty in any form, and must return to their own countries before applying for a visa; illegal aliens should receive no benefit from having entered the United States illegally, and should not be granted guest-worker visas or the opportunity to “purchase” lawful immigration status.
First and foremost, we must work to defund and repeal Obamacare. Every possible means must be applied within Congress as well as through the application of the Constitution and the law to stop full implementation of this legislation. We must also support meaningful solutions to health care reform which increase the portability of insurance for individuals, allow individuals and small businesses to fully claim the same tax deductions large corporations currently enjoy, ease limitations on health savings accounts (HSAs), put an end to outrageous malpractice damage awards, and allow for communities and groups to unite in associated health plans. Enabling free market forces to work by allowing insurance companies to sell policies across state lines will also help drive down costs through positive price competition. Health care reform must never give government the authority to force Americans to buy health insurance, redistribute wealth to satisfy government mandates, or overburden small businesses which would contribute to job losses. The real solution to our current health care challenge is found in less government involvement in the process -- not more.
U.S. - Israeli Relations
Israel is our closest ally in the Middle East, providing the United States with a stable and dependable partner in a hostile region of the world. Israel faces many of the same threats confronting the United States and we share a common interest in eradicating threats to peace worldwide. For these and other reasons, the United States has an undeniably strong interest in defending Israel’s national sovereignty and security.
As a member of the U.S. Senate, I will support Israel’s right to defend itself against threats to its national sovereignty and security. I will also support U.S. efforts to protect Israel, given the close connection between Israel’s national security and our own. I strongly support the maintenance of Israel's qualitative military edge and recognize the important role the United States plays in assuring that this military superiority is maintained. In the Senate, I would support security assistance for Israel to enable Israel to maintain this critical edge. Such security assistance to Israel plays an important role in helping to maintain our own national security.
The government currently ruling in Iran presents a threat to the security of both the United States and Israel. I will therefore support efforts to place pressure on the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, with an eye toward persuading Iran to abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions. Should those efforts prove unsuccessful, military action would be justified.
I support direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority based on the fundamental principals that Israel should remain (and be recognized by the Palestinians as) a Jewish state, Israel must have safe and secure borders and the ability to monitor and protect those borders, and any peace treaty must bring a permanent end to any and all claims of the Palestinians. If there are differences between the U.S. and Israel regarding the peace process, those differences should be discussed and resolved in private, as is befitting the close relationship between two great democratic allies. No country, including the United States, should seek to impose any agreement upon Israel.
My policy on Afghanistan is simple: our troops are there to take out military targets—i.e., things that present a clear and present threat to our national security—and should be brought home as soon as possible after all such targets have been destroyed or neutralized and the Afghan National Army has been trained sufficiently to protect their own land from further Taliban incursion. Our duty to those who protect us, and to those they protect, requires nothing less.
When we send our troops into harm’s way, it is critical that we support them in their assignments before, during, and after their deployment. These extraordinary men and women and their families—who daily encounter “the last full test of true devotion”—deserve the very best from the country they defend and the people they protect. They also deserve to serve under rules of engagement that enable them to do what they are there to do without undue interference from Washington. As your U.S. Senator, I will make sure that they have whatever support they need to achieve their critical objectives.
Three entitlement programs—Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—are on a course that is as disturbing as it is unsustainable. Through these programs, Congress has promised to provide roughly $50 trillion in “unfunded” benefits to Americans who are alive today—that is, benefits for which Congress lacks the financial means to pay. This is irresponsible. While current Social Security beneficiaries must be held harmless, there needs to be a systemic overhaul to these programs, lest they bankrupt the country. To do so, people will need to realize that the benefits those older generations have had, may not be available in the future. But to not overhaul these programs cannot be postponed or overlooked any longer like the problem is going to go away.
Our nation’s public education system functions best when critical decisions regarding our schools are made by parents, teachers, and other experts at the local level. Outside of the District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, and certain federal enclaves, Congress has no business regulating our nation’s public education system, and has created problems whenever it has attempted to do so.
Deficit spending facilitates government growth. Like most state and local governments and nearly all households, the federal government should not spend more money in a particular year than it receives. We need a constitutional amendment requiring Congress to balance its budget each year. Under that amendment, deficit spending should be permitted only where (1) two thirds of the members in both houses of Congress agree that a specified amount of deficit spending is essential to the well-being of the country, and (2) that decision is ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the States.
SANCTITY OF LIFE
Governments exist for the purpose of protecting life, liberty, and property. Few could dispute that, among these essential interests, the need to protect life is paramount. The Constitution says nothing that can plausibly be read to suggest—as the Supreme Court concluded in Roe v. Wade—that States are essentially powerless to protect unborn human life. This power to protect the most vulnerable members of society needs to be returned to the States.
Second Amendment Rights
The second amendment protects the individual right to bear arms. I will vigorously oppose any effort to undermine this right.
FEDERAL PUBLIC LANDS
Roughly 70% of the land in Utah is owned by the federal government, and therefore cannot be taxed or otherwise regulated by the State. Utah’s economy—as well as the State’s public education system—suffers as a result. Much of this suffering is unnecessary. Consistent with Article I, Section 8, Clause 17 of the Constitution, Congress should enact legislation providing that, except where Congress acquires land “by the consent of the State legislature,” federal land within a State is subject to taxation and land-use regulation by the host State. In this and other areas of the law, Congress should not be content to rely on Supreme Court precedent that cannot fairly be reconciled with the text of the Constitution. If Congress doesn’t want federal land to be taxed, it should either (1) acquire such land with the consent of the host State’s legislature, or (2) sell the land and use the revenue to pay down the national debt.
Roughly two-thirds of all crude oil used in the United States is imported from other countries. Consequently, Americans send hundreds of billions of dollars each year to countries that, to say the least, do not always have the best interests of the United States in mind. It doesn’t need to be this way. Congress needs to authorize oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (“ANWR”). Congress also needs to direct the U.S. Department of the Interior to promulgate its long-awaited oil shale leasing program, which has the potential to unlock hundreds of billions of barrels of shale oil. In Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming, there are over one trillion barrels of proven, recoverable oil shale reserves. (That’s more oil than the combined petroleum reserves of the world’s top-ten oil producing countries.) But because much of that oil shale is tied up in federal lands, shale oil will continue to be known as “the fuel of the future” until such time as the federal government is willing to lease federal lands for the purpose of shale-oil production. That needs to happen now. To ensure that we have an adequate supply of clean, reliable energy, we need to develop all available energy resources. No single source will prove sufficient; we need to rely on nuclear power, clean coal, petroleum oil, natural gas, oil shale, solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric power.