STOP the tax hikes. With the Democrats in power in the House of Representatives and in the California legislature they are cooking up ways to raise taxes from all levels of government. In California alone the Democrats are looking at a "water tax", "gas tax" and now "soda tax." Enough is enough. STOP the tax hikes.
The last Congress lowered the corporate rate while also removing unnecessary special-interest deductions, resulting in wage and job growth. These free market principles have allowed small and medium sized businesses to expand industry, employ Americans and grow our economy. In order to lift the poor from poverty and increase middle class wages, we must stand for pro-growth policies. I will push to raise the state and local tax deduction to $20,000 from the current $10,000.
The elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about is that Social security is on its way to complete collapse. The Congressional Budget Office projects the Social Security trust fund to become insolvent by 2029. Without increasing revenue, benefits will be cut by 29% in 2029.
As the population continues aging and the ratio of workers to retirees decreases, the funds necessary to support Social Security face the threat of depletion. It is vital for Congress to address these issues with a solution that does not unexpectedly cut benefits for seniors, while also not placing an unnecessary tax burden on workers.
Our national debt has doubled since 2009 and is projected to exceed annual GDP by 2026. It is unacceptable to borrow from future generations. If our debt continues to increase, we face higher interest rates that will reduce investment and damper economic growth.
Our credit will also significantly suffer as foreign investors will be less likely to purchase our debt, causing the value of the U.S. dollar to collapse. It’s time to start making some common sense decisions about our nation’s financial obligations before it is too late.
I understand all too well the experience of being a patient in socialized medicine, both in the military and the VA. When no one is held accountable, there is no competition. When there is no competition, quality of care drastically suffers and prices skyrocket.
The same rings true for our nation’s healthcare system. We need a free market, patient-centered healthcare system. Obamacare was a massive government takeover of the healthcare system and it has failed the American people tremendously. Government takeover of healthcare has caused an increase in costs affiliated with healthcare, kicked millions of Americans off of their health insurance plans and increased taxes, all of which have been catastrophic to our healthcare system.
Medicaid also continues to grow exponentially without actually improving the health of Americans. Under Obamacare, Medicaid enrollees increased drastically, reducing the quality of care for our poor and the patients who need it most. The federal government may mean well, but it doesn’t perform well.
We must look at the insurance market from a new perspective. We must change incentives for hospitals and pharmaceutical companies so that free market forces can effectively reduce drug prices. We need more transparency in research and development costs, and we need the FDA to assess the effectiveness of new drugs compared to existing drugs.
This encourages free market forces to drive down costs. We should also seek solutions that get Emergency Room patients without real emergencies into primary care facilities instead, which would reduce overall costs. We also must remove regulatory barriers that discourage doctors from opening up their own primary care practice.
Suicide rates are catastrophic within the veteran community, currently around 20 per day in the United States. This is unacceptable. Our veterans are hurting, and elected officials have failed to address this crisis for decades. That must end now.
While the VA has made significant improvements, there are still key areas where we can do more to address major concerns. We must continue to explore outsourcing mechanisms and privatization services to allow VA doctors to focus on providing quality healthcare for our veterans, not compensation evaluations. Furthermore, as a nation we have an obligation to provide those who choose to serve with the best access to medical treatment and healthcare.
Border security leads to better immigration laws. Only once we have secured our border, can we address immigration reform.
America is still the beacon of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and we need legal immigrants who are assiduous, skilled and virtuous to come into our country. We also need immigrants to come to our country legally, and we should welcome them with open arms. Many of our nation’s greatest achievements have been done in conjuncture with those who have come to call the United States their home.
The United States is the only nation on earth that allows anyone from any background, to be welcome with open arms to join our American family. While that is true, it is also imperative that we must not let our welcoming spirit be infringed upon by those who seek to change our values, customs and traditions. When Democrats refuse to address concerns at the border, they are hurting legal immigrants who seek to enter our country and assimilate into the American family.
Politically motivated tactics such as “sanctuary cities” are an affront to our law enforcement and national security. It is common sense and should be encouraged for law enforcement agencies to cooperate with one another. When illegal immigrants commit crimes, it is our obligation to enforce criminal and immigration laws.
It is time to enforce our immigration laws, build infrastructure that prevents border crossings, and ramp up tech-savvy investments to secure our border. My background in national security makes me uniquely qualified to assess different proposals and find sustainable solutions.
The future of some of the foundational principles that make America a shining light of liberty are at stake. One of those issues is free speech. Our country is alarmingly close to violating our Constitution by allowing those on the far-left to shout-down and shutdown those who disagree with them. This happens frequently on college campuses across the nation.
From UC Irvine to Georgetown, leftist agitators “enforce” political correctness by shutting down speech that they disagree with. Even notable liberals are finding this problematic and anti-American. College is a place for the free and open exchange of ideas, not a place where groupthink reigns supreme. We must encourage and inspire young conservatives and libertarians to stand up to these far-left bully tactics that seek to quash debate that is critical of their policies or ideology. The future of our country is at stake, and this is a fight that I will not back down from.
Greg Raths is a retired member of the United States Marine Corps. Use of his military rank, job titles, and photographs in uniform does not imply endorsement by the Department of the Navy or the Department of Defense.