After rightfully and successfully intervening in Afghanistan to remove the Taliban government and destroy al-Quaeda, our original goals have largely been achieved. The men and women who have served during the conflict have done a fantastic job and served honorably. They should be commended for their achievements.
Given this progress, it is the right time to initiate a sizeable and sustained reduction in forces. Afghanistan remains a priority for our national security as we transition from a counterinsurgency strategy to a counterterrorism strategy. Responsibility over local and regional conflicts should be transferred over to the Afghan government while we concentrate our efforts on ensuring Afghanistan does not again become a haven for terrorist organizations.
Balanced Budget Amendment
Washington must take aggressive steps to address our growing national debt, in order to reverse the damaging economic consequences we are experiencing as a result, and prevent the inevitable and difficult decisions that will have to be made if we do not change course. No single act of Congress would have greater impact on eliminating the country’s annual deficits and reducing our national debt than a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.
Year after year, the federal government fails to make fiscally responsible choices. Despite overtaxing the American people, Washington routinely spends much more than it takes in. Statutory restraints, such as the failed Gramm-Rudman-Hollings legislation and “PAYGO” rules, have proven ineffective and impossible to enforce because simple majorities in Congress can alter, weaken, dismantle, and ultimately discard fiscal reforms.
Because the Constitution requires two-thirds of Congress and three-quarters of the states to amend, only a constitutional amendment will force Congress to make fiscally responsible decisions year after year, prioritize spending appropriately, use taxpayer money wisely, and eliminate future deficits. It is the only legislative tool that credibly guarantees permanent enforcement of spending restraints.
Decisions regarding the education of our children are best made at the local level. Teachers, parents and other experts close to the community better understand the specific needs of students and are better equipped to make critical decisions pertaining to the classroom. The federal government is currently too involved in making decisions regarding our public schools, yet are too far removed from the communities directly impacted by such decisions. Tax dollars should be returned to the states where they can be distributed most effectively.
The federal government runs massive deficits not because it taxes too little, but because it spends too much. The current system encourages overspending and lacks enforceable spending restraints that require the politicians in Washington to prioritize our constitutional obligations and make tough decisions. Furthermore, most in Congress believe we can continue to borrow trillions of dollars to pay for everything rather than reform, cut, and eliminate wasteful programs.
The only way to get federal spending under control is with a strong, structural, and enforceable restraint like a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Only then will Republicans and Democrats be forced to prioritize the nation’s constitutional obligations and put the country on a path to fiscal sustainability.
Under the principle of fiscal responsibility, the federal government should spend no more than it takes in, and only run deficits in very limited, specific circumstances. Washington should use reasonable budget projections to forecast future revenue and only spend money on its constitutional obligations. Budget deficits should require Congress to prioritize spending and make necessary cuts to wasteful, duplicative, and ineffective programs.
Unfortunately, Washington rarely, if ever, operates under the principles of fiscal responsibility. The current system is set up to spend too much and borrow more It is a downward spiral with only negative economic consequences.
Simple reforms like spending caps, deficit targets, and “pay-as-you-go” have proven ineffective at forcing fiscal responsibility in Congress. I believe we must operate under the framework of a balanced budget amendment so that Congress is unable to spend beyond its means unless it is truly necessary.
A balanced budget amendment would not dictate where we direct specific resources or tell the federal government where to reduce spending. Future Congresses would still determine our spending priorities. However, it would force Washington to act fiscally responsible way with those limited taxpayer resources and bring greater accountability to government.
The United States maintains strong economic and national security partnerships with its allies around the world. From free trade pacts, to defense agreements, to our membership in organizations like NATO, the United States is the key actor on the world’s stage. As such, we have a responsibility to promote the democratic values of individual liberty, popular sovereignty, the peaceful transfer of power, and the rule of law.
The Second Amendment grants individuals the right to keep and bear arms. The text is clear and I would not support attempts to impose further regulations on the right of law-abiding citizens.
Honoring Our Veterans
America owes its veterans an enormous debt of gratitude for putting themselves at risk to protect our way of life. Some have made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may live in a safe and free country, and for that, Americans will be forever grateful.
Immigration is a vital component that helped found our country and continues to make it great. We must insist that those who enter our country do so through the appropriate legal channels to ensure order and our national security. The federal government has failed in its responsibility to properly implement and enforce such laws, which has resulted in a burden on the States and taxpayers. I am committed to securing the border, verifying the employment status of all employees, amending birthright citizenship, and reforming our visa process to end needless delays.
Providing for the common defense is one of the federal government’s primary constitutional obligations. Both the President and Congress have significant responsibilities in this area to set the policies that keep our country safe.
Broadly, we must evaluate our most pressing national security goals and put forth the appropriate resources necessary to achieve those objectives. And where we commit resources, especially with regard to putting our men and women in harm’s way, we must have a clear national security interest, a well-articulated purpose, an understanding of the potential costs involved, and a responsible plan for success.
The federal government imposes an enormous regulatory burden on businesses and individuals that makes it harder for Americans to get ahead. Washington’s interference into the daily lives of the country’s citizens distorts the free market, creates odd incentives, and stifles innovation. The government should get off the back of hard working Americans and support the quintessential American value of entrepreneurism that made this the greatest country in the world.
The current federal tax code is an abomination. It is too complex, too expensive to comply with, discourages productivity, picks winners and losers in certain industries, provides poor economic incentives, and relies too heavily on too few taxpayers to fund government activities. We need fundamental tax reform to fix the inefficiencies in how the federal government raises revenue.
There are a number of proposals I agree with in principle that would simplify the federal tax code. For example, a consumption tax and a flat income tax would vastly reduce the compliance burden on taxpayers. Also, these plans would also remove the disincentives for businesses and individuals to be more productive and lead to greater economic growth, prosperity and job creation.
Any tax reform, however, must be coupled with an insistence that the federal government also spend taxpayer money wisely and only on those things for which it has explicit constitutional authority.