DEBATE INTRODUCTION for Texas Congressional District 19 Debates by Dr. Richard “Chip” Peterson Oct. 12 &14, 2004
Hello, I’m Chip Peterson, candidate for Congress in District 19 for the Libertarian Party. You may want to know something more about me, why I’m running, and what Libertarians stand for. I will do as much as I can to answer those questions tonight. First, let me assure you that I could do the job if elected. I have held a number of responsible jobs, including an endowed chair in bank management and professorship in finance at Tech for 17 years and a stint in Washington on the staff of the Federal Reserve Board. I have prepared Congressional testimony in several jobs and have many friends and past acquaintances in Washington who either hold or have recently held high level positions, and could provide helpful advice and insights for me and my constituents. I urge you to see my website at www.chippeterson.com to find out more about me and my positions. You can also visit the www.KCBD.com website to see film clips of my positions In addition, I’ll also be glad to talks to groups of 30 or more if you call and leave a message for me at 806-799-6032.
The Libertarian Party is a political party formed in 1971 to try to ensure that our government followed the principles established by our nation’s founding fathers. It looks to the U.S. Constitution to define the appropriate scope of governmental activity. Libertarians strongly believe, as the founding fathers of our nation did, that the U.S. government should be the servant of the people, and the people should not be viewed as servants of the government. Unfortunately, our government has deviated from those principles in recent years. In general, the Libertarian Party favors: Lower, Simpler Taxes: Smaller, Less-meddlesome government; and individuals’ Constitutional Rights and Personal Freedoms. It also believes in free market solutions to economic problems wherever possible. You can find out more about the Libertarian Party and Libertarian policies on Libertarian websites at www.LP.org or www.lptexas.org and you can find out more about Libertarians and the large number of famous and influential Libertarians at a related website, www. theadvocates.org.
In case you wonder why I am running, the answer lies in the fact that I recently wrote a book so the general public could understand social security (you can get a free copy in the lobby since it is now a bit dated). If you read the book you will learn that our government has badly misinformed us about the financial health of social security and the value of its trust fund, and that many proposals to fix social security, by raising taxes, for instance, will only make the problems worse.
I also recently read a book entitled, “Who Will Tell the People?, and decided that I will try my best to “tell the people” before it’s too late that social security is insolvent, medicare is in even worse shape, and that our federal government is abusing its powers and deviating from the goals sought by our nation’s founding fathers. I want any future district 19 representative to pledge to honestly try to DO something about these problems.
There are a number of pledges (preferably on a Bible) that I would like our future district 19 representative to make. First, we are losing a number of the constitutional rights and protections that our nation’s founding fathers fought and died to obtain. Most recently, a number of our constitutional rights and protections have been taken away by the misnamed “Patriot Act’ (the true Patriots who started this country would roll over in their graves if they saw the provisions of this act, and over 350 state and local governments have voted to repudiate it). The act comes up for renewal next year, and I want any potential District 19 representative to promise to vote against all unconstitutional provisions in that act. The ACLU will be happy to point out the most unconstitutional provisions to all concerned parties.
Second, there have been bills introduced in both houses of Congress that would impose 2 years of “national service” on all U.S. 20 year-olds. Our country was started so that the government would be the servant of the people, not the people the servants of the government. I want any potential district 19 representative to pledge to vote against any bill that would require people to perform national service or would reinstate a military draft.
Third, the estate tax is morally reprehensible since it assumes (like communism) that all property potentially belongs to the government so the government has the right to take up to half of all property a person owned just because they died. I want our potential district 19 representative to pledge to let the estate tax expire as scheduled.
I also want to elicit pledges from our district 19 representative to work for a simpler federal tax system with lower marginal rates (a flat tax or value added tax), to vote against wasteful government spending wherever possible, to try to make social security and medicare fiscally solvent, and to defend our constitutional rights wherever possible. I will be more specific
in my closing remarks.
You, the audience, and I can have an effect on future public policy in this election. You can do so either with your vote, or with your responses to the pollsters who will be calling you after this debate. You can do so by saying that you intend to vote Libertarian, or by actually voting Libertarian, if the other candidates in this race will not make the following pledges.
(1) First, I want any potential representative to pledge to try to minimize our taxes and wasteful government spending. Since it is well known that government spends peoples’ money less carefully and less efficiently than people spend their own money, I want our district representative to promise to support low spending and low taxes. Among other things, higher taxes and/or wasteful spending now will hurt our nation’s ability to pay social security benefits in the future. (See my book for a “proof.”)
At present, the National Taxpayers Union rates all Congressmen based on their votes on key tax and spending issues. On more than 200 recorded votes last year, Congressman Ron Paul of Houston, who formerly ran for President as a Libertarian, received an “A” from the National Taxpayers Union. However, Congressman Stenholm rated a “D,” and Congressman Neugebauer only rated a “C” on the votes for which he was present. Clearly, both of them have a long way to improve. I would like them to pledge to try to earn at least a “B” from the National Taxpayers Union in future years. IF THE OTHER CANDIDATES WON’T MAKE A PLEDGE TO EARN AT LEAST A “B” FROM THE NATIONAL TAXPAYERS UNION, TELL THE POLLSTERS THAT YOU WILL VOTE LIBERTARIAN
Other pledges I would like them to make include:
(2) Pledge to oppose any bill that would reimpose an estate tax after it expires in 2010. State taxes implicitly assume, like Communists do, that all property belongs to the government, not the people who own it, so the government has the right to claim all property (or nearly half of it) just because a person died and can no longer defend his or her property.
IF THE OTHER CANDIDATES WON’T PLEDGE TO LET THE ESTATE TAX EXPIRE, TELL THE POLLSTERS THAT YOU WILL VOTE LIBERTARIAN
(3) Pledge to support tax simplification and lower marginal tax rates by supporting either a flat tax or a value added tax in lieu of our present overly complex income tax structure. At present the average person spends 30 hours per year just doing their federal income tax, more than 60% of all people have to pay a preparer to do their taxes, and marginal tax rates are sufficiently high that corporations are transferring business offshore and many citizens do not start new ventures because the marginal tax bite is too high.
IF THE OTHER CANDIDATES WON’T PLEDGE TO SUPPORT SIMPLER TAXES WITH A MAXIMUM MARGINAL PERSONAL INCOME TAX RATE OF NO MORE THAN 20%, TELL THE POLLSTERS THAT YOU WILL VOTE LIBERTARIAN
(4) Pledge to vote against permanent status for all of the unconstitutional provisions incorporated in the misnamed “Patriot Act” when it comes up for renewal next year. The ACLU has a list of the provisions that should be abolished. These include: (i) the “Sneak and Peak” provisions that allow law authorities to sneak into a person’s home or office, peek at or copy that person’s computer files and records, and not even have to tell the person that they had entered the property for up to 90 days , (ii) the use of search warrants not authorized by regular courts or grand juries, (iii) search warrants issued based not on “probable cause,” as is usually the case , but rather merely on the “suspicion,” of administration investigators, (iv) provisions for trial in special government courts where not all lawyers may practice, and (v) infringement on the rights of free speech of librarians, financial service providers, and others who have been asked to provide information on customers. Many of the Patriot Act’s provisions would be found reprehensible by the true Patriots who founded our nation.
(5) Pledge to vote against all other unconstitutional provisions that have been enacted or are proposed. That includes many of the provisions included in the discredited “Patriot Act II,” that some people keep trying to sneak into law, as well as provisions that provide for the “forfeiture” of a person’s personal property without a trial---as required by our Constitution.
IF THE OTHER CANDIDATES WON’T PLEDGE TO VOTE AGAINST”FORFEITURE LAWS” AND ALL UNCONSTITUTIONAL PROPOSALS, TELL THE POLLSTERS THAT YOU WILL VOTE LIBERTARIAN
(6) Recently, in House Bill HR10, provisions were made for a de facto national ID card, by standardizing all states drivers’ licenses with biometric information. I have seen national ID cards used to restrict internal travel of people in other countries. They also could be used to deny people access to jobs, credit, etc.,
IF THE OTHER CANDIDATES WON’T PLEDGE TO VOTE AGAINST ANY “DE FACTO” NATIONAL ID CARD, TELL THE POLLSTERS THAT YOU WILL VOTE LIBERTARIAN
(7) Pledge to support our second amendment rights to keep and bear arms, and to vote against gun ownership registration that would let some future despotic government confiscate people’s guns-- thereby making it easier for a future despotic government to seize citizens’ property or to send them to a concentration camp...
IF THE OTHER CANDIDATES WON’T MAKE PLEDGE TO SUPPORT GUN OWNERSHIP RIGHTS, TELL THE POLLSTERS THAT YOU WILL VOTE LIBERTARIAN
(8) Pledge to support states 10th amendment rights to pass and enforce laws in areas not specifically reserved for the U.S. government or prohibited to the states by the U.S. Constitution.
For instance, the Justice Department has prosecuted people in California who have complied with that state’s “Medical Marijuana laws,” and have not let the defendants introduce the fact that they had complied with applicable state law in their defense. Similarly, the Justice Department has prosecuted people who have complied with Oregon’s assisted suicide laws. These are but two well-publicized examples of unconstitutional overreaching by our power-hungry Federal government.
IF THE OTHER CANDIDATES WON’T MAKE PLEDGE TO SUPPORT STATE LAWS IN AREAS WHERE POWER HAS NEITHER BEEN GRANTED TO THE U.S. GOVERNMENT BY THE CONSTITUTION NOR PROHIBITED TO THE STATES, TELL THE POLLSTERS THAT YOU WILL VOTE LIBERTARIAN
(9) Pledge to vote against any spending proposal that exceeds budgetary limits established by the Congress or proposed spending limits established by the administration. We don’t have a new highway bill this year because congress keeps trying to exceed the administration’s budget request by adding “pork barrel” lard to the bill.
IF THE OTHER CANDIDATES WON’T PLEDGE TO VOTE AGAINST ANY BILL THAT VIOLATES CONGRESSIONAL OR ADMINISTRATION SPENDING LIMITS, TELL THE POLLSTERS THAT YOU WILL VOTE LIBERTARIAN
(10) Pledge to not include extra “earmarked” spending in spending bills and to vote against budget bills that contain earmarked spending that had not been vetted and approved through the regular budget process. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Bill last year, which wasn’t passed until this year, was well over $100 billion over budget, much of which was added through “earmarked” spending “pork” added as a favor to individual congressmen or senators without going through the full budget process for approval. Such wasteful spending does not add to our national productivity. Furthermore, wasted resources now will make it more difficult for our economy to pay for its social security and Medicare promises in the future.
IF THE OTHER CANDIDATES WON’T PLEDGE TO FORESWEAR ADDING “EARMARKED” SPENDING TO BILLS, TELL THE POLLSTERS THAT YOU WILL VOTE LIBERTARIAN
(11) Pledge to oppose any bill that would reinstate the draft or impose any other mandatory national service requirement on our nation’s young people. Such bills assume that citizens are essentially servants of the government, not the other way around.
IF THE OTHER CANDIDATES WON’T PLEDGE TO OPPOSE A NATIONAL SERVICE REQUIREMENT OR MILITARY DRAFT, TELL THE POLLSTERS THAT YOU WILL VOTE LIBERTARIAN
Finally, if we come to Nov. 2, and the other candidates still haven’t made the pledges that I recited above, then go ahead and vote Libertarian. I assure you, I can do the job.