Candidate Full Name: John Hartman
Office: U. S. House of Representatives U. S. Congressional District 13
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web Site: www.hartman2012.com
Campaign Office Mailing Address: Hartman for Congress, 410 Plum Street, Edwardsville, IL 62025
Survey Questions (Character limit of 2,000 per response)
1. Do you support abolishing earmarks? If not, why?
The Office of Management and Budget defines earmarks as legislation that "circumvents otherwise applicable merit-based or competitive allocation processes". They should be abolished.
2. Does the country need immigration reform? If so, what are your plans?
We need to give an objective group of economists the task of determining the employment needs of our economy, from the high tech employees powering our software leadership to the agricultural employees helping to provide our fruits and vegetables. We should then base the number of immigrants on our economic needs, along with a due respect for our nation's identity and heritage of welcoming others.
Once our immigration targets are set, we need to enforce the rule of law on both employers and employees. It behooves us all to be a nation that respects the law, and we have had inexcusably lax enforcement of our existing immigration laws. Once the new targets are set, the law should be enforced vigorously, and employers as well as illegal immigrants should pay a stiff price for transgressions, including prison terms or deportation for illegally entering. We need to uphold the rule of law in such a way that reflects the values of our society; this involves a special cognizance of the charged atmosphere surrounding immigration issues. As we respect the law, we should respect each other, and that goes for all people.
We should make an effort to identify the immigrants that are here illegally and they should pay a fine for breaking the law. Our lax enforcement of the laws, especially on employers, has contributed to the current situation. Mass deportations are impractical and would offend our values for those family members who have done nothing wrong. Children of immigrants who have done nothing wrong naturally feel this is their country. If they want to make a contribution to our society by going to college or serving in the military, we should permit them. I support the DREAM Act.
3. Can the budget deficit be controlled only by spending cuts or does the federal government need to raise more revenue? If you favor more revenue, should there be a general tax hike?
That we had budget policies in 1999 and 2000 which broke a string of perennial deficits met with almost universal approval from all sectors of society. The logical thing to do is reinstitute those policies. Back then there was respect for pay-as-you-go legislation, where you had to include how you would pay for the bill you introduced in the legislation itself.
The "fiscal cliff" policies go a long way to reinstituting those fiscal policies by allowing the Bush tax cuts to be completed and finish their designed, legal course. The fiscal cliff policies already provide a solution to the biggest obstacle to reducing the deficit: agreement of the two parties.
We have had four straight years of deficits over $1 trillion. The Congressional Budget Office states that the fiscal cliff policies will reduce the deficit to $641 billion in fiscal 2013.
The CBO also projects that the effect of the austere fiscal cliff policies will serve to contract the economy and result in a temporary period of recession. We have experience with the consequences of austerity measures, including in the U.S. in 1937, and the current austerity policies being enacted in Europe, especially in Britain.
We are flirting with disaster if we continue to allow trillion dollar deficits, because are creditors may start to question our ability to pay them back and could start to charge us higher interest rates, like they have done with debtor nations of Greece and Spain.
It is also very much worth mentioning that we should not accept that there is something deficient in us that makes us unable to pay our own way, and that we therefore need assistance from future taxpayers on the assumption that they will not only be able to pay their own way, but, on top of that, make up for our shortcomings by paying for our deficits with interest.
So, it appears the proper balance of long run and short run policies would be to allow the fiscal cliff policies to run their legal course to get us on a trajectory for long run sustainability, while enacting new legislation with short term stimulus, such as a new 2% reduction in payroll taxes to spur consumer spending. However, we need to regain the wisdom of the pay-as-you-go policy, so include in the new legislation tax increases to begin 2 or 3 years after the fiscal cliff starts and run for 6 to 8 years to completely pay off the deficit spending of the stimulus.
4. Do you favor President Obama's planned 2014 military withdrawal from Afghanistan? Why or why not?
Our goal in Afghanistan should be to exit in a way that gives the Afghan people the most solid opportunity for stable institutions of government that will reflect the will of the people for years to come. To do that, our efforts should be supportive of those elements in Afghan society that seek to resolve disagreements through a civil, non-violent process, principally through respected legislative councils and through a system of justice that is supported by as much of the population as possible. We should make explicit that we want to end our military stay in a way that promotes respect for the indigenous, existing institutions within Afghan society that are solving problems for the people. Ultimately, of course, the way that Afghans are going to get along with each other is up to them.
5. Do you believe there is global warming? If so, is any of it man made and can we do anything about it?
Our ethical responsibilities call on us to give due acknowledgment to reports that we are adding CO2 and other emissions into the atmosphere at a rate that is changing the global climate. These reports come from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Academy of Sciences, The National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Clearly, one aspect of moral behavior is consideration of how our actions affect others. If our leading scientific institutions are telling us that there is likely to be harm to others from our actions, we need to change course. We need to change our behavior to act as if others mattered.
The most market friendly manner that meets our responsibilities is a cap and trade system. Cap and trade has the ability to work for climate changing emissions just as it did successfully with acid rain in the northeast U.S. However, climate change is a global problem, and while we need to implement policies ourselves as the world's leading nation, we need to also do everything within our powers to convince others of the facts of climate change and the moral obligations springing from them.
If the United States government cannot agree on a cap and trade system, and would support a direct tax on emissions, including vehicle emissions, I would support the direct taxes as the right thing to do.
6. How will you balance your personal views and beliefs with those of your constituents and the need to compromise for legislation to pass?
My clear obligation is to do what I think is right. Of course, I value listening to people and easily recognize that I am human and fallible. But that does not permit me to be a follower of what my constituents want to serve my basic goal to be elected or re-elected. I will take the action that I believe is best, even if unpopular.
Ethical stances only do good if they are matched with factual circumstances. And the fact of the matter in Congress is there are 434 other members who are all pushing and pulling in different directions. If elected, I will be trying my hardest to convince members to compromise along with me so that we can start to provide solutions to our many problems. A key to compromise is building a foundation of objective facts that can form the basis of agreement and even indicate the solution.