Let's face it. Many have been hurt by the lack of jobs, college debt and too much government red tape. We all see the empty storefronts. The middle class is shrinking. College graduates frequently find few or no jobs in their industry and often have to face having to take two part-time jobs without benefits, just to make ends meet.
I will fight hard to bring jobs and businesses into our communities, starting by working together to reduce the burden of government regulations to make our district more desirable.
I will stand for reducing the debt, ending and keeping our country out of unnecessary wars, and restoring our civil liberties. The Patriot Act and domestic spying on our phone calls, emails, and web usage must stop.
In 1992, I was 18 years old, and very excited to be able to vote for the first time. I was reading everything I could about the three main presidential candidates, and yes, I even watched independent candidate Ross Perot's 30-minute infomercial where he showed charts and graphs depicting the state of the economy. One chart in particular haunted me: Total federal debt. It was $4.1 trillion. Now, 22 years later, it's over $17.5 trillion.
Let's write that out: $17,500,000,000,000.00.
Let's say you make $15 an hour, working 40 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. It would take you over 560 million years to personally pay off that debt! (Even longer taking interest into account.) There was no life on land 560 million years ago, and even fish only sprung up about 500 million years ago.
The United States needs a balanced budget ASAP. This gigantic debt cannot continue to grow without bounds, or eventually, the interest payments on the debt will become such a major component of spending that the country may have to declare insolvency. My opponent has voted against a Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment.
Balancing the budget will not be easy. Just cutting so-called "wasteful spending" won't be enough. Cuts in social programs and military spending will both be necessary. Because people are living longer, the minimum age for eligibility to Social Security and Medicare may need to increase.
Revenue needs to be examined more closely, too. Income tax loopholes and exemptions are pervasive throughout the current tax code's 74,000 pages. One way to address this problem is to implement The Fair Tax Act, which would abolish the IRS and income tax, and replace it with a consumption tax on only new goods and services. Everyone would pay their fair share of taxes when making purchases. And "everyone" really means everyone: legal and illegal. Illegal immigrants would not receive the Fair Tax "prebate" that offsets the taxes paid on basic necessities that all legal citizens would receive monthly. Without the prebate, the cost of illegally living in the U.S. becomes too high, prompting decisions to return home.
Republicans often get a bad rap on environmental issues, but many forget that in 1988, one of George H.W. Bush's campaign promises was to be the "environmental president." He kept his promise and signed the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 into law (with overwhelming bipartisan support) and greatly reduced the acid rain threat. The original Clean Air Act and National Environmental Policy Act had been signed by Richard Nixon in 1970, who also formed the EPA and NOAA.
Global warming is real. I'm not afraid to say it. I consider myself to be a science geek, and the data is just unmistakable. Responsible action is needed to combat the change, but without destroying the economy. A comprehensive plan can solve this by utilizing cleaner energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal and nuclear.
I personally try to do my part for the environment. I purchased a Nissan Leaf in 2012, and previously owned a Toyota Prius since 2005. This summer, I am having solar panels installed on my house. I am against the Cherry Point coal terminal because I am concerned about the additional traffic problems it will bring to areas that have at-grade railroad crossings.
I will bring listening, reason and innovation to our community. I ask and thank you for your powerful vote.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
This is one of a series of commentaries from candidates in the Aug. 5 primary election. B.J. Guillot, R., is a candidate for U.S. Representative for the 2nd Congressional District. The top two vote getters in the primary will be on the Nov. 4 general election ballot. The 2nd District includes parts of Bellingham, Sudden Valley, San Juan County, Island County and portions of Skagit and Snohomish counties.