Q&A with Michael Firsching, Republican, Moro, candidate for 13th District, U.S. House.
1. Do you favor repeal of the Affordable Care Act? If so, should Congress move quickly to approve an alternate health care program that would cover all or most Americans? What kind of provisions, coverage do you think it should include?
Any healthcare program where people must enroll is a bad idea. Any healthcare program must be self sustainable. In spite of the Supreme Court decision, I view the Affordable Care Act to be unconstitutional simply (though there are other reasons) because government can not demand people buy a product.
A state program, while still a bad idea, would not be unconstitutional. An opt out state healthcare plan may be a good choice for some. We should continue to help the lowest ten per cent of society. The rest of us can manage on our own better than being dependent upon national government.
2. Would you support a "single payer" health care program?
No. Government runs business poorly. It will damage freedom to have a majority force others to accept a program they do not wish to be part of.
3. In view of the mounting federal debt, do you believe it is practical to call only for spending cuts? What share of federal deficit reduction should come from spending cuts and revenue increases? Please be specific about those shares, and about where you think cuts must be made and where revenue increases should be made?
Cutting spending to match revenue is not only practical but exactly what should always be. Government should not spend more money than it takes in, period.
The only expenditure area where I can see not cutting is veteran's benefits. Expenditures must be reduced in all other areas. Some entire departments such as commerce, education, energy can be eliminated.
4. Do you support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline through the United States?
I have a Keystone pipeline going through my own property. Construction of the XL pipeline should not be blocked. Keystone has to negotiate with all property owners for the right of way. Keystone must be held liable for any damages through construction or operations.
5. Would you support increasing the use of nuclear power for electricity generation?
The situation in Japan does expose a potential catastrophic problem. I would skeptically support some projects.
6. Would you support repealing the federal death penalty?
Frankly, the federal government should not have jurisdiction in many death penalty cases. Federal laws have greatly exceeded the original reach of the federal government.
7. Do you think there is a need to further regulate federal campaign finance laws? If so, what kind of legislation would you propose? Would you favor a constitutional amendment to regulate campaign financing?
There are too many regulations on running for office. Still, I would not mind a restriction of only individuals being able to donate and having a cap. Most of the paperwork should be thrown out.
8. Would you support a federal flat tax?
I would support a flat rate income tax with a single deduction of $50,000. Corporate taxes should end. All business profits should be allocated to owners individually to be taxed as individuals.
9. Should Congress do anything to regulate the use of drones, either by the government or by private citizens?
This should be an issue for the states. Certainly, the use of drones by the federal government should be managed properly to not break state laws.
The right of citizens to be safe and secure on their own property is an issue which must be addressed when considering drones.
10. Under what circumstances would you be wiling to commit U.S. troops to foreign wars?
When citizens in our country are attacked or in imminent threat of an attack.
11. Do you support eliminating the estate tax?
12. Is there a need to restrict the National Security Agency? How?
The NSA might need to go away. It has no respect for the 4th amendment. People's communications should not be an open book for the NSA to gather and invade.
13. Do you believe that federal sentencing rules for non-violent drug offenders are too harsh and that judges should have more leeway in setting sentences?
The drug wars should end. There does not need to be any federal drug laws.
14. What should the United States do to revise its immigration system? Do you favor granting amnesty to illegal immigrants already here?
We need to have a different philosophy when it comes to immigration. It is normal and natural for people to travel. It is also normal and natural for people to take jobs for pay. Neither travel nor work should be discouraged unnecessarily.
I would like to have a definition of citizenship to mean you have the right to vote and only citizens are eligible for government benefit programs.
With these ideas as the basis, I expect we could have proper immigration reform with much less regulation, bureaucracy and criminalization.
15. As the 13th Congressional District representative, what would you do to block disposal of PCBs and other hazardous chemicals at the Clinton landfill?
State laws should lead to compensation for damages to life and property due to improper disposal of chemicals.
16. Do you believe in climate change/global warming, and if so would you vote for legislation that would mandate reductions in levels of global warming pollution by 2020 or 2025?
Increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does lead to warmer temperatures. How much warmer has not been predictable. Controlling carbon emissions in foreign lands is not feasible. A good political solution is not apparent. Continued science investigation may lead to a solution.
17. Is a constitutional amendment needed to define marriage as only between one man and one woman?
It should be no business of government if you are married or not. I would not support such an amendment.
18. Should the federal government continue to provide production tax credits for clean energy projects, such as wind energy?
No. Investments should come from private sources or local government.
19. Do you think the federal government has gone too far in trying to protect the United States in the aftermath of 9/11? If so, what should be done?
Definitely too far.
The TSA should be shut down. Protecting the cockpit of commercial aircraft was needed, not invasion of our bodies when we are not criminals.
Police should be the form of organized government response to dangerous people.
20. Are you willing to vote for an increase in the federal gasoline tax to fund more infrastructure improvements? If not, how else can we afford to pay for needed highway, mass transit, railroad and airport improvements?
I would prefer toll roads where people who use a road pay for it. Private roads should be explored as an alternative to present funding.
21. What do you think your Number One priority, as the representative of the broad and varied central Illinois district, is in Congress?
To make sure we have sound money. If this country loses it currency because government has allowed the Federal Reserve to exist would be an unfortunate shame. If we do not have sound money we have a crippled market, a crippled economy, and a continued loss of freedom.
Nothing will be easy when the value of the dollar is destroyed under the constant increasing attack from the Federal Reserve.
I will bring my understanding of economics. I will also bring my understanding that government should be based upon a limiting Constitution which defines the role of government to be an instrument to defend our unalienable rights.
No longer should a simple majority be dictating actions of others nor imposing values upon other citizens via a strong central government.