Peter Theron for Congress

Second Congressional District

 

Renew America Agenda

Energy Agenda

The road to energy independence; Drill in America, pipeline in America, refine in America, research energy options in America, and export to the world.

Radio Ad: "Drill here; pipeline here."

Economic Foundation Is Energy

In many ways we find ourselves in a world shaped by the use of hydrocarbon energy. It is the foundation of modern life. It powers farm equipment, energizes manufacturing facilities, makes our computers work, runs the transportation systems, is vital to communications, builds buildings, works health care equipment and is used in thousands of other ways. Without it we would largely have to rely on animal and human muscle power. Our economy would collapse as would our way of life.

State of Energy

The Middle East has a large portion of the world’s oil reserve. If they were to cut off or greatly reduce sales, it would,at the very least, trigger a significant recession.

For the past forty years, the world has been held hostage to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), a monopolistic, price-fixing cartel. In 1973, in response to the US aiding Israel in the Yom Kippur War, OPEC declared an oil embargo against a number of Western Nations that were helping Israel including the US, Canada, Britain and Japan. The embargo resulted in an oil squeeze that imperiled the world economy.

During the four decades since, authoritarian Arab governments have earned huge oil revenues. The Arab-Israel conflicts and large impoverished populations have made this region inherently unstable. Arab oil revenues fund “refugee camps” near Israel, help fund the Iraq-Iran War, and fund terrorist organizations that fight Israel, each other, and now Western democracies. Arab countries do this to keep terrorists from trying to topple their own regimes.

Energy Dependence Means War, Terrorism, and Poor Economies

Because Middle East oil is so crucial to Western economies, the West is drawn into regional conflicts. Because the region is unstable, terrorism has grown up and obtained very sophisticated weapons and now have the means to spread terrorism worldwide. The area is awash with weapons and war. For too many, terrorism has become a way of life. Because energy prices are high, money flows out of Western countries. A significant portion of that money goes into weapons and conflicts.

Recently, Russia has resumed its post-WWII role as an aggressive, territory-grabbing nation. It has fought a series of wars, both civil and aggressive. Now its president, former KGB agent Vladimir Putin, is threatening to withhold energy sales to Europe in order to keep them out the Ukraine conflict.

Enough.

Energy Independence!

We must have a national goal to obtain complete energy independence for the United States and also Europe.

Exploit United States Energy Resources

The energy revolution going on in North Dakota and Texas today must be expanded throughout America.

  • While ensuring safe and clean exploration practices, we must accelerate energy development in the western states, offshore in the Gulf of Mexico and our other coasts, as well as in Alaska.
  • We need to revisit nuclear power. It is clean, unlimited, safe, and cost effective.
  • We need more refineries to ensure the flow of energy to U.S. consumers. They must be made safe, but we must have them.

Draw on Canadian Energy Resources

Canada has developed huge energy fields in its western regions and wants to ship that oil into the United States. We need to build the necessary pipelines now.

Explore Alternative Energy Options

We need to accelerate government-funded research for alternatives to current fuels. We need to find new, clean, abundant energy sources that are cost effective without being government subsidized. As we do, we can lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and Middle East energy.

Help Europe Reach Independence from Middle East and Russia Oil and Gas

While it will be more challenging, we need to free Europe from OPEC’s grip and from Russian threats. By increasing our energy production in North America, we can sell them energy.

Government Policies Agenda

Get our budget and expectations back in shape.

It’s time we combat inflation by capping federal spending.

Next, roll back federal regulations.

Radio Ad: "Taxes, overspending, and inflation."

Radio Ad: "Tax Freedom Day."

Two important government policies need to change in the next Congress: federal spending and excessive regulations. The federal government takes too much of America’s national earnings, retarding both the economy and job-creation. Excessive regulation of businesses, bureaucratic processes moving at a snail’s pace, and unnecessary regulations have slowed America’s business development, made it too expensive to expand, and have allowed other nations to catch up to us.

Federal Budget and Taxes

The United States, thanks to joint action in the 1990s by a Congress and President of each different parties, had the federal government generating surpluses rather than deficits.

Source Of High Federal Budgets

A combination of war and excessive domestic spending in the early 2000s set us on the path once again of huge borrowing and higher debt. The Great Recession exacerbated that. Our national debt now is roughly equal to our national income.

Today we face continuing war in the Middle East and large income support payments to people due to the weak economic recovery. In addition, since WWII, Americans have engaged in gratifying their desires through federal spending. The whole web of programs with their various constituencies further defies efforts to slow federal spending. We as a nation lack restraint.

Tackling Spending

Rather than trying to figure out what programs to cut and face Congressional battles between constituencies, we need to approach this from a budget management standpoint. The House of Representatives is where all budget bills start. If the money is not approved there, it cannot be spent.

We need a Congressional fiscal policy to

  • adopt a biennial budgeting process;
  • stop the practice of passing continuing resolutions;
  • set federal spending growth at 1% below the rate of inflation for the next decade. The budget would continue to grow, but less than inflation.

Why choose this route? Several reasons:

  • First, the War Against Terror is ongoing and is expensive.
  • Second, the economy is weak and may suffer another recession requiring income support payments to continue at higher levels.
  • Third, the government, over a decade and with some help from the Congress, can learn how to develop more efficiencies, work with fewer people (through attrition), and set better priorities.
  • Fourth, the American people need to get used to slightly less federal money being available and finding new ways to meet “public needs” such as looking to local and state governments, reducing the need, or picking up the slack in the private or non-profit sectors.

Tackling Taxes

A second way to bring down federal spending is to reduce the money that the government has to spend. In 2015 we need to approve immediately a 1% tax cut for lower- and middle-income taxpayers. It is a small amount of anyone’s taxes, but it ensures that the federal government begins to take spending restraint seriously.

Tackling Deficits

As we restore our economy, tax revenues will increase significantly even though the tax rate people pay dips slightly. If federal spending is restrained, the larger federal revenues will reduce the need for borrowing and the rate of deficits will decline.

Can We Move This Faster? Maybe. But first the government has to learn how to do with a little less. The American people need to be reassured that less spending is a benefit. Constituencies need to learn restraint in their demands for more money. And finally, the Congress needs to learn how to budget without using appropriations to “buy votes from constituencies”. Maybe this is the toughest problem of all. But if the American people are on board, the rest will follow.

Excessive Federal Regulations

The primary government policy must continue to be that regulations for the safety of the American people are mandatory.

However, many, many regulations are overly burdensome, unnecessary, sometimes political, and often subjective. Plus there are many duplicative regulatory bodies and sometimes there are conflicting regulations. Administrative bodies largely make regulations. The Congress has not reviewed these regulations for their appropriateness. And bureaucrats can be maddeningly slow.

Twenty-two years ago, former Senator George McGovern, who was very liberal and an anti-war Presidential candidate in 1972, wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal relating the woes of over-regulation of business. His remarks sum up the burden better than I can. He wrote:

In 1988, I invested most of the earnings from this lecture circuit acquiring the leasehold on Connecticut's Stratford Inn. Hotels, inns and restaurants have always held a special fascination for me. The Stratford Inn promised the realization of a longtime dream to own a combination hotel, restaurant and public conference facility -- complete with an experienced manager and staff.”

In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn's 43-year leasehold. I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.”

But my business associates and I also lived with federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc. While I never have doubted the worthiness of any of these goals, the concept that most often eludes legislators is: "Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape?" It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators.

In short, "one-size-fits-all" rules for business ignore the reality of the marketplace. And setting thresholds for regulatory guidelines at artificial levels -- e.g., 50 employees or more, $500,000 in sales -- takes no account of other realities, such as profit margins, labor intensive vs. capital intensive businesses, and local market economics.

The problem we face as legislators is: Where do we set the bar so that it is not too high to clear? I don't have the answer. I do know that we need to start raising these questions more often.

Tackling Excessive Regulations

This is such an overwhelming task it is hard to know where to begin. So let’s begin right here in south-central Wisconsin. We can start by first tackling those federal regulations that are difficult for our businesses.

Federal Regulations Review Council

We will set up a council to review regulations that businesses feel need to be changed. We will look at safety and welfare issues to see if the regulations should remain. Those regulations we feel should change, we will try to change.

Since changing regulations is very tough, we will need friends. We will promote the concept of Congressional-district-level councils everywhere in the country where people are willing to tackle this problem.

If there is enough interest, a full-time person could be hired in Washington to represent our council, backed by our Congressional staff working in partnership.

Holding Government Responsible

It is often heard that Representative so-and-so is a great constituent-Representative. This is an important service and I will render it. However, why is it that Members of Congress are doing the government’s work for them? It’s time that government does its work right the first time. Continuous quality improvement and customer service excellence must to be adopted by government departments. And Congress needs to hold agencies accountable and track their performance.

Military Agenda

We must rebuild our military, defeat terrrorism, and foster democracy.

As every child in the schoolyard knows, strength does not provoke bullies, weakness does. No one hassles the captain of the football team.

Radio Ad: "Jobs Reality Check"

The Cost of Peace Dividends

Every time the U.S. declares a “peace dividend” and reduces its military, the world becomes very unstable. Wars cost many, many times more than a right sized military in times of peace.

1st Peace Dividend

After the Cold War ended, the United States declared a peace dividend, reduced the military and reallocated the money within the federal budget, not reducing taxes. Suddenly, Iraq attacked Kuwait and the 1st Persian Gulf War began and the military was increased and billions spent on a war.

2nd Peace Dividend

After that war was ended, the United States again reduced the size of its military, another peace dividend. The government ignored the build up of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. The result was the attack on America on September 11, 2001. Again we went to war, this time in Afghanistan and then later again in Iraq, there enforcing the international orders to dismantle nuclear and chemical weapons of mass destruction.

Proposed 3rd Peace Dividend

The current administration was elected to end further involvement in those countries and pull out American forces. In Afghanistan, where the terrorists had reestablished themselves after the Iraqi War, the U.S. was forced to increase its military involvement with a “surge” to stabilize conditions in order to pull out.

Since pulling out, the Defense Department has proposed reducing the army to pre-WWII levels, the Navy to pre-WWI levels, and declaring another peace dividend. Now, within a few months a new terrorist nation, ISIS, has arisen out of portions of Iraq and Syria.

The world remains a dangerous place and the United States must always be prepared. "Peace through Strength" must again be our guide.

Our Military Must Be Rebuilt – It’s Cheap Insurance

We must upgrade our military. If we fail, we will lose our edge in war technology. Then, wars will come to us.

Radio Ad: "Renew American Military Policy"

A strong, flexible military is the best way to maintain the peace. It is cheaper than downsizing followed by hyper-expensive wars. The Russian Bear is prowling and conducting wars of aggression again. China is building towards a super-power military. ISIS is a new terrorist nation. The world is very dangerous still. These are steps to take;

  • We must grow our Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines;
  • Re-adopt the “one and one-half war” doctrine. During World War II and the Cold War the U.S. had a “two-war doctrine” intended to allow us to fight two full-fledged wars at the same time. The “one and one-half war” strategy allows one full-fledged war and one holding-action war at the same time;
  • We must maintain a superior technological edge against all potential enemies. This will be increasingly difficult;
  • We must develop new special weapons systems that will give us an edge in terrorist wars, while maintaining the ability to fight conventional wars;
  • We must develop some weapons anticipating the time when more compact weapons have a greater role;
  • We must train more special operations units that can carry out discrete missions with a high rate of success and forces able to fight in urban and hostile environments;
  • We must accelerate human intelligence gathering; and
  • We must expect to have forces that support friendly governments available immediately to meet a variety of contingencies. It is cheaper in financial and human terms to have standby forces that prevent or limit war than to fight wars.

Terrorism is Not Defeated

We must fight terrorism. We stopped and now there is the terrorist nation, ISIS.

Radio Ad: "Renew American Military Policy"

Winning the War and Not the Peace Leads to More War

America has a long record of winning the war and losing the peace. In Korea, we left a terrible communist regime in place that threatens Asian peace today. In Vietnam, many, many missteps resulted in losing the Republic of South Vietnam after nearly 60,000 Americans died. In the Persian Gulf I, we left a tyrant in place resulting in another war being fought. In Afghanistan we largely won, chasing many of the terrorists out of the country only to let them back since Persian Gulf II. We stabilized Iraq and then left, resulting in the growth of ISIS, a terrorist nation.

Terrorism Must Defeated

We have no choice. The legacy of 9-11 is that America, Europe, Israel, and other Middle Eastern countries are not safe from this murderous threat. The world must be a safe place and it will not be as long as terrorists roam.

It Must Be a World Response

The world must take responsibility for this threat. The actions of the current administration to involve the world, like the administration during Persian Gulf I, are appropriate. It is a complex problem, but the world cannot simply wait for an American solution. Getting nations on board will be a long process, but we must pursue it.

Oil Nations Must Stop Funding Terrorism

In the Middle East, our friends must start withholding money from terrorist organizations. It is not OK for them to take our money and transfer it to groups that fund terrorism.

U.S. Must Ensure Terrorism is Defeated

It is in the United States’ national interest to ensure terrorism is defeated and terrorists destroyed. That will mean military involvement. While we want to limit American involvement as much as possible, terrorism cannot succeed.

Democracy and Free Market

Our most powerful exports are still real Democracy and free markets. They empower people, give youth hope, and weaken tyrants.

Radio Ad: "Renew American Military Policy"

The Incubator of Many Wars is Poverty

It is especially true in the Middle East where poverty is a major motivator of people joining terrorist movements. In the oil-rich Middle East, national populations do not largely benefit, as they should, from huge oil revenues. The United States needs to work towards changing it.

In the Middle East, the Principles of Democracy Must Take Root

While it is an enormously complex problem, the principles of Democracy need to be promoted. While this is extraordinarily difficult, it can and must begin. The old models of tribal, monarchical, and dictatorial governments must change. Safety, peace, and prosperity depend on it.

Free Markets are a Potent Force for Change

Even authoritarian governments can foster relatively free markets in their countries. While ultimately, democracy will be required for those markets to truly prosper, free markets can make headway. China has an authoritarian communist government and it has been developing freer markets to the benefit of its people. Poverty lessens the more that free markets are adopted. Lessening poverty reduces terrorism.

Cyber-Warfare

China, Russia and others are threatening our computer/internet infrastructure with cyber attacks. This is unacceptable. We need to protect our computer/internet infrastructure as well as make it a matter of foreign policy to stop these attacks.

EMP Attacks

Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) from a solar event or small nuclear explosion could destroy our computer systems and as a result much of our economy, potentially affecting our military. The United States must embark on a $32 billion program of hardening our infrastructure against an EMP event and begin building into our economic system such hardening capability as warranted. Everything runs on computers; they must be protected.

Health Care Agenda

Renew America Health Care Coverage

Obamacare is an awful law, marketed with untruths, ruining our health-care. It must be replaced.

We need to repeal Obamacare and start over. Only complete repeal will stop this bleeding.

Radio Ad: "Health-Care Reality Check"

Radio Ad: "Is your health care better than it was four years ago?"

Radio Ad: "Obamacare hurts working families."

Where We Stand

Remember last October when the Affordable Care Act website was launched and crashed almost immediately. This year the enrollment period has been postponed until November 15, after the election. Interesting. What surprises await us next month? Higher rates, fewer choices, changed plans, more bureaucracy?

Employer-Sponsored Insurance

Since the outset of World War II, Americans have come to rely on employer-sponsored health insurance. It was a good deal for employees because the companies paid for all of the insurance. It was a good deal for doctors and hospitals because they got lots of patients and patients were more willing to use health services. It kept costs reasonable because company-hiring decisions established the “risk pools” and resulted in both healthier and sicker people in the group.

Added Benefits and Health Costs Increase Burden

By the 1970s, the additional health care benefits and rising health costs made them more costly. HMOs, health maintenance organizations, were introduced to control cost better. These plans also had more and more benefits added. By the 1990s, health care costs pressured companies to downgrade plans, change plans, require cost sharing by employees, or drop plans all together. By the late 1990s and since, economic downturns and changing business practices broke the “life-time relationship” between companies and their employees. Health insurance dependability took a hit along with employee careers. More Americans were hit with the issues of insurance, uninsurable due to a pre-existing condition, the high costs of individual insurance, and jobs with companies no longer providing health insurance.

Affordable Care Act

Health insurance became a national issue. The first result was the Massachusetts largely public comprehensive health plan known as “Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority” Approved by then Republican Governor Mitt Romney, it because the first general government health insurance plan.

With the election of the current President, a full court press was instituted to approve a national comprehensive, government health care plan. The result was the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has Many, Many Problems

It didn’t help Medicare because it transferred away over $700 billion to pay for ACA hurting older Americans. It didn’t help Medicaid because it transferred millions of uninsured to Medicaid and lowered payments for medical services hurting low-income Americans. It is an approximately $2 trillion new entitlement program and that’s for starters.
It uses price controls and rationing to compensate for inadequate resources. It is bureaucratic and severely challenged operationally (remember the rollout). It uses a non-elected, 15-person committee to make decisions on medical care authority without any appeal. This means your fate in this government health program will be arbitrary and impersonal.
It intends to control the medical industry with an iron hand by the controlling doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, drug companies, and other services. Its plans include higher than expected premiums, lower services, and very high deductibles. It forces its will on citizens as well as organizations using taxes, fines, penalties, regulations, and other devices.
In short, it will become “big brother medicine”. And it will leave tens of millions of people still uninsured in its wake – the very problem it was trying to solve in the first place. Boondoggle.

Getting Started

Principles of Health Care Protection

In order to replace the Affordable Care Act, we will have to have programs that are superior and get even better over time. In order to do that, we will need a coherent system that will lead to coverage for most Americans. The program Health Care Coverage for America is the start. It will go a long ways to insuring working Americans, older Americans, and those in challenging situations have covered access to health care. Our over-arching principles are these:

  • Doctors – You can actually keep your doctor, period;
  • Choice – Individuals must have as much say in their health care choices has possible;
  • Individual Empowerment – Individuals must be empowered with additional health care options;
  • Certainty – Health-care cost certainty is vital to businesses and their job creating decisions and health care available certainty is vital to Americans;
  • Private Insurance – Most insurance plans must be by private insurance companies;
  • Competitive – The private insurance market must become much more competitive;
  • Insurance Options – New insurance options, that are sound, must become legal;
  • Insurance Affordability – Insurance affordability must be a priority; insurance programs are affordable that cover the basic health needs leaving optional coverages to individual choice;
  • Employer-Sponsored – Most health-care plans for working Americans must be through an enhanced employer-sponsored model;
  • Pay-as-We-Go – The health care is not an unexpected need for Americans, therefore revenue streams to pay for health care must be embedded into our lives;
  • Health Care Access – We must figure out ways to insure that Americans have access to care and also take responsibility for their own coverage;
  • Catastrophic - Insurance programs must be portable, cover pre-existing conditions, and capable of handling catastrophic illness; Public backstopping catastrophic illness is appropriate to keep insurance cost reasonable;
  • Illegal Foreign Workers Costs – The cost of foreign workers who use emergency rooms and other health care services most not be charged to insurance programs;
  • Government's Role – The government's role must be limited, as much as possible, to providing those health services not available in the private sector;
  • Research and New Medical Products - Research into medical advances must be accelerated and new medical products brought to market safely but quicker.

These are a lot of principles, but health care involving the government requires carefully structuring and guidelines that will make things better now and in the long run.

Repeal

The first order of business is the repeal the Affordable Care Act. It is bad public policy that will be hugely expensive, politically managed, and, when it can no longer carry the load, will result in rationing of health care – with government playing God.

Renew American Health Coverage

#1 Restore Employee-Sponsored Plans

After repealing the Affordable Care Act, our first job will be to revitalize the employer-sponsored health-care plans that had covered most working Americans. Change the law so small businesses through associations can offer their employees health benefits like larger companies and get the same tax deduction.

Radio Ad: "Health Care for Working Americans"

Expand Health Savings Accounts, so all Americans can save money, tax-free, for routine medical expenses. We can put you in charge by expanding Health Savings Accounts.

Radio Ad: "Is your health care better than it was four years ago?"

Employer-Sponsored Plans – Medium to Large Employers

Working Americans will have employer-sponsored health-care plans restored. These plans will be basic general health insurance that cover regular health maintenance and care as well as hospitalization. Advanced insurance with extra benefits will be available at the discretion of the employer, but will cost more. Employees may participate in the cost as now depending on the plan the employer selects. A more favorable tax treatment may be considered to insure these plans are restored.

Employer-Sponsored Plans – Small Employers

The law will change to allow small business the same favorable tax treatment of their plans as larger businesses. The change will permit business associations to offer group insurance plans with large and diverse employee groups so that the “insurance risk” will not adversely affect the insurance companies.

Portable Plans, Pre-Existing Conditions Coverage

Employer-sponsored plans will be portable. The plan can be carried over to another employer and exchanged for their plan. Or if no plan available or the person is unemployed that plan can also be continued after termination up to two years under the same plan terms and costs with the former employee paying the premiums. Any employer or individual plan will accept pre-existing conditions. Note: the cost of these benefits is included in the costs of the health plans.

Catastrophic Coverage

States will provide catastrophic re-insurance pools (many currently do) with annual federal contributions required to aid them. Catastrophic re-insurance helps insurance companies pay for illnesses that last for a very long time, use very costly medical treatments, or result from unusual medical situations.

Expanded Health Savings Accounts

Health Savings Accounts now are only available with high-deductible health plans. Expanded Health Savings Accounts will allow individuals to saving up to $5,000 per year and families up to $8,500 per year tax-free. The money, once deposited through payroll deductions or automatic money transfers, would remain in the account during the person’s lifetime and could be spent on any legitimate medical expense. The amount deposited can be varied from year to year. This will help pay deductibles, co-pays, elected services, non-covered costs, and any other expense. The account follows the person.

Interstate Insurance Competition

Laws will be changed to permit interstate health-insurance competition like auto insurance. This will be true for individual policies, individual risk pools, and group insurances. This will bring down the cost of health insurance, give people and businesses more choices, and create price competition.

Renew American Health Coverage

#2 Covering Uninsured, Underinsured

We can expand options with interstate insurance competition. And increase competition by making health insurance purchases, like auto insurance purchases, legal across state-lines.

If you are not covered by an employer plan or Medicare/Medicaid, you will get a health-care tax credit. Refundable like the Homestead tax credit - - - it will help you buy private insurance. Together with an expanded Health Savings Account, this credit will help you save money for uncovered health-care costs.

Pre-existing conditions will be covered and states, with federal help, will create catastrophic illness risk pools. The cost of foreign workers using our hospitals will be charged against our foreign aid to their country of origin.

Radio Ad: "Is your health care better than it was four years ago?"

Radio Ad: "Health Care for Working Americans"

Radio Ad: "Refundable Health-Insurance Tax Credit"

Health Care Tax Credits

The biggest problem with health care is uninsured or underinsured people. It is primarily the lack of group insurance along with usually lower incomes. Group insurance is successful when the participants are represent a broad combination of people who are not an “adverse risk” to insurance companies. That is that the group is random and has both sick and health people.
To tackle this problem, a new Health Care Tax Credit is created that will provide money for the purchase of insurance to anyone not in an employer-sponsored plan, college-sponsored plan, or parent insurance plan, Medicaid, or Medicare. It is a refundable tax credit that works like a Homestead Tax Credit.
Conceived by the 2017 Project in Washington, D. C., this unique program would provide a credit of between $1,200 for young adults to $3,000 for older adults. The Health Care Tax Credit could only be used to buy health insurance from the private market. It would cover basic health costs. Someone could by more insurance if they choose from their own funds.

Expanded Health Savings Accounts

The same as the Expanded Health Savings Accounts above, these allow someone to save additional money tax-free to cover additional expenses. When combined with the Health Care Tax Credit, it gives uninsured or underinsured persons the tools they need to provide insurance for themselves.

College-Sponsored Plans

Colleges would be able to offer health plans to their student populations on a group basis. Those plans would be required to provide portability, transfer without regard to pre-existing conditions, and the ability to remain on the plan for up to two years after college if an individual pays the premiums.

Affinity Groups

People who are buying insurance as individuals with Health Care Tax Credits and Expand Health Savings Accounts will have access to Affinity Groups. These are “risk pools” developed by private insures to include a broad range of risks so that the “insured risks” are reasonable and spread over both health and sick people in the pool. This keeps cost down. Insurance-sponsored Affinity Groups will need to have cooperative re-insurance agreements so that unusual claims experience can be cover by such companies as a whole.

Illegal Foreign Workers

Illegal foreign workers using emergency rooms or other health care facilities, which they are allowed to do by law, will have the cost of that service charged to the foreign aid of their country of origin. This will control a key cost while the issue of illegal foreign workers is addressed in an immigration bill.

Renew American Health Coverage

#3 Controlling Health Costs

We can cut costs and boost quality by reducing federal health-care meddling. Allow insurers to sell health insurance across state lines. This will increase competition and lower costs. Expand Health Savings Accounts so people have more control and can demand quality health care at a reasonable cost. Charge the health care given to illegal foreign workers to their county's foreign aid. Encourage tort reform so that medical damage claims are paid in full, but excessive punishment awards end.

Radio Ad: "Is your health care better than it was four years ago?"

Radio Ad: "Mending the Health-Care Safety Net"

Costs

Keys to sustaining a health-care system over the long haul are controlling costs and providing sufficient revenues mostly from the people using mostly group insurance models.

Individuals In Charge

When individuals are in charge of their health care to the extent possible, costs are controlled. As people continue to be able to choose their doctors, clinics, and hospitals the competition for health consumers keeps prices in check. By individuals participating in costs, through co-pays and some direct payments, health systems will respond to their questions and their needs. Expanded Health Savings Accounts will permit those co-pays and payments to be made with money saved tax free.

With people outside of employer-sponsored plans able to purchase insurance from the individual market from any insurer in the country, choose favorably priced Affinity Groups, and use both Health Care Tax Credit and Expanded Health Savings Accounts, the competition will keep costs responsible and restrained costs in the long run. When the public gets to know health care prices and makes choices according, health care services will look for cheaper ways to provide those services.

Private Sector Competition

When most of the insurance is provided by private companies, competition among those companies keeps costs responsible. An example is the results of the implementation of Medicare Part D drug program. Originally intended to be a government program, the President and Congress, changed it to use private providers. The result was costs far below projections. The Department of Veterans Affairs further reduced costs by bidding out the costs of various drugs. Their costs are below Medicare.

Portability and Sickness Plus Catastrophic Protection

When insurance plans are portable – that is they can be moved and exchanged for other employer-sponsored or affinity group plans, or exchanged for individual insurance coverage – the reliable revenue streams and insurance pricing for these privileges keeps rates reasonable. Sickness protection – that is acceptance of pre-existing conditions – insures that people will maintain their insurance, keeping revenues flowing to insurance companies. Catastrophic protection by the states with federal help – for extreme illness by individuals or general crisis-illness within a populations such as Ebola – back insurance companies for extreme risk and permits them to keep premiums reasonable. Uninsured. Uninsured people have contributed to the high costs of medical coverage by using emergency rooms and other health care services, many times without the ability to pay. It is really how general government health care began. With the advent of Health Care Tax Credits uninsured persons will be able to by basic health care policies. When Expanded Health Savings Accounts are added, allowing people to save money to be spent on health care tax-free, formerly uninsured persons will have health care protection.

Illegal Foreign Workers Costs Moved

Illegal foreign workers have contributed to the high costs of medical coverage by using emergency rooms and other health care services, many times without the ability to pay. Hospital have compensated by raising their prices to make up the difference, thereby passing the costs on to paying customers, that is health insurance plans. Charging those costs to the foreign aid of the country of origin keeps hospital prices down and insurance premiums reasonable.

Excessive Court Awards Stopped

One important reason health costs are high is excessive damage awards in medical malpractice cases. Proviso: any patient affected by malpractice should receive ALL of their costs for medical errors including future costs and appropriate awards for pain, suffering, and lost of productive work. However, “punitive” judgments by courts intended to “punish” a doctor or health-care provider to serve as a “deterrent to others” must be eliminated. This is tort reform. The impact of punitive or punishment awards is twofold. First, they raise the costs to health-care providers, which is passed along to all of us. Second, in order to avoid getting sued, doctors have instituted all kinds of extra “preventative” tests which raises the cost of health care even more and delays treatment. By instituting tort reform, we can control costs.

Research and Medical Products

A key to healthier lives and more effective treatments is research. Research needs to be increased by improving the tax treatment and creating less red tape. Safety must not be compromised! Excessive bureaucracy and long periods of waiting to bring new medicines and medical procedures to market raises costs and delays patient care.

Government as an Umpire not a Provider

The government can be a good umpire, but it is a poor provider. Why? Governments are political and therefore make political decisions, which inevitably benefit the politically favorable and the connected. They are big bureaucracies that become more and more insensitive and arrogant. They care for themselves first. They are not innovators. They respond to problems and issues by putting up more obstacles. They are not good at self-examination. They can resist any patient, any Congress, any President, and media’s effort to change them. They have deep pockets and can drag corrective court cases out beyond most people’s ability to sue.

Post the Prices

Medical institutions would have to post their prices on standard procedures on line. Transparency is the best policy of people and the best way to lower costs.

Renew American Health Coverage

#4 Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Hospitals

Americans rely on Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately costs will bankrupt these programs. What can we do? First, restore the $750 billion raided from Medicare by the Administration for the Affordable Care Act. Second, reinvigorate the Medicare Advantage program. Third, permit those eligible for Medicare or Medicaid to opt for Health Care Tax Credits and Expanded Health Saving Accounts.

Radio Ad: "Mending the Health-Care Safety Net"

The principle federal health care programs, prior to 2010, were Veterans Hospitals, first developed during the 1930s, Medicaid for qualifying low-income persons approved in 1965, and Medicare for older Americans, also approved in 1965. All three programs have challenges; Medicaid and Medicare have the most serious challenges. These programs must be strengthened, especially if the Affordable Care Act is repealed as I propose.

Veterans Hospitals

Since the founding of our nation, over 1,300,000 Americans have died in combat for our freedoms. Additional Americans were wounded in battle. Our Veterans Hospitals are one way we can pay them back, a little bit, for their sacrifice. There can be no compromise in their health care.

2014 Scandal

Veterans Hospitals are under the care of the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It is government health care for Veterans. This April, there was a major scandal concerning the Vet Hospitals. Over 120,000 Veterans were on waiting list for care and at least 40 died while in line. “Hurry up and wait” might be OK while on active duty in the armed forces, but it is never – never OK in Veterans Hospitals.

Finally there is a new Department Secretary and at least some concerns have been addressed. However, it is likely that there is more undiscovered problems within the Veterans Hospitals. In 2015, there must be a Congressional bi-partisan investigation of all aspects of health care in Veterans Hospitals. We have to make sure that this part of government health care is always excellent. I will participate in that investigation and involve Veterans in south-central Wisconsin so that we aren’t just relying on “experts” to evaluate service.

Medicaid

Medicaid is the federal government health care program for low-income families and individuals. In Wisconsin, it is administered through Badger Care. The program traditionally was a safety net for persons unable to get covered in any other way.

Medicaid Medical Care Quality Needs to be Examined

There are questions about the quality of medical coverage received by Medicaid patients. With low payments to doctors and clinics by Medicaid, patients often do not get the best care. A reexamination of the Medicaid program’s financial funding must include an examination of benefits.

A New Tool for Lower-Income Americans

Permit, but not require, Medicaid recipients to choose the new refundable Health Care Tax Credits combined with tax-free Expanded Health Saving Accounts to purchase private insurance. This will reduce the burden on the Medicaid system, improve peoples’ quality of service, and give low-income persons more control of their health plan choices.

Future Funding Problems

Medicaid is one of the major entitlement programs (entitlement means that persons meeting certain qualifications are entitle to enroll) that is threatened with a financial crash in the future if we do not take steps now. I recommend creating a Congressional Bi-partisan Commission to study both the future short fall in Medicaid funding and Medicaid quality. This commission would report within 12 months and prior to the 2016 elections so you can make decisions on their recommendations.

States Not Feds

A reform proposal that is now being considered should be examined. That idea would take all the Medicaid money and block grant it back to the states to run their own programs. The resulting program would have both state and federal funding as now and minimal federal mandates. The states, closer to the public, would be more responsive, less bureaucratic, operate at lower costs, and become more innovative.

Medicare

Medicare is the federal government health care program for older Americans. It is a companion program to Social Security. It is paid for by a combination of methods including payroll taxes. It came into being in order to cover persons retiring and losing their employer-sponsored health plans.

Basic Medicare covers about 80% of doctor services, hospitalization, some nursing facility care, most drugs, and some other services. Catastrophic illness may exceed Medicare limits. Many people have private “supplemental” or “medigap” insurance to cover the other 20% of the cost and catastrophic illness.

Improve the Medicare Advantage Program

One of Medicare's major programs is called Medicare Advantage (MA), approved in 2003. MA is an option where Medicare recipients choose to have their Medicare pay for one of a limited number of approved private health plans. People choosing this plan will usually pay higher premiums. These programs cover all the same services as Medicare and usually some additional services as well such as drugs and catastrophic illnesses. (Medigap or supplemental insurance isn’t needed when a person has MA.)

We need to make MA as attractive as possible to as older Americans as possible. Why? The increased competition by private insurance providers will improve medical services while lowering costs. Here’s how:

  1. Stop the erosion of payments to doctors and medical facilities (as proposed to fund the Affordable Care Act costs);
  2. Allow insurance companies to bid competitively based on market conditions;
  3. Increase health plan choices people can make through MA;
  4. Eliminate the need the additional purchase of supplemental or medigap insurance;
  5. Eliminate the need for separate drug insurance; and
  6. Likely produce higher quality services as is the experience with MA now shows.

Future Funding Problems

Medicare is one of the major entitlement programs (entitlement means that persons meeting certain qualifications are entitle to enroll) that is threatened with a financial crash in the future if we do not take steps now. I recommend a Congressional Bi-partisan Commission to study the future short fall in Medicare funding and tackle the problem now. This commission would report within 12 months and prior to the 2016 elections so you can make decisions on their results. (This commission could be combined with the one I recommend for Medicaid.)

The Future Development of Health Care

The Renew America Health Care Agenda will replace government-based heath care with a private-powered health-care system. It is, however, only the beginning of health-care reform. We must work continuously on our health-care system to make it better and improve it each year. Here are some considerations:

Pay-As-We-Go

We have to find ways to provide the revenues that pay for health care throughout our lives. The insurance principle is that large groups of people insured each other so that the unfortunate that need insurance, because of illness, will have it. Entitlement programs intend to provide specific benefits but don’t have specific funding plans.

Cutting Costs

The medical system needs to become more efficient and productive while not abandoning quality care. To achieve that, citizens must know the costs of services and make choices accordingly. Employers, individuals, and persons using Veterans Hospitals, Medicaid and Medicare can help accomplish this through insurance choices. They also help accomplish this co-pays and limited deductibles. Just like users of smart phones affect company’s decisions to create services, equipment, and prices, so it is the same with insurance.

Individual Choice

Health programs need to be tailored for choice. People expect choices in the rest of their lives. Of course, health plans must be financial sound, but a wide range of choices and citizen involvement in their insurance will benefit them and make the system work.

More Private, More Competition

As much as possible, health plans must use private insurance. Employer-sponsored plans are private. Individuals purchasing insurance with the new Health Tax Credits and the new Expanded Health Saving Accounts would use private insurance. Medicaid users need the option to purchase private insurance using both the Health Tax Credits and Expanded Health Saving Accounts funds. Medicare Advantage users use private insurance and those choices must be increased. Competition between insurance companies improves efficiency, controls and lowers costs, increases choices, and responds better to customer needs.

Private Practices

We must be careful about only building big health-care structures in government or in the private sector. Bigger is not always better. Innovation often comes from smaller, nimbler systems. Doctors must continue be able to set up private practices if they wish and be connected to hospitals.

More Local, More Personal

As we create new health-care options, we need to both personalize and localize them. Individual choices, local options, and local medical responsibility make health care responsive. Ultimately, health care is citizens and their doctors. It must remain as local as possible. We need also to create special patient-guide professionals, paid separately from health systems, to assist persons facing life-altering medical conditions. People who become ill and their families or caring close friends need a way to evaluate what is happening to them and how to make choices.

More Inspection

Health services have become a maze that few understand and fewer can inspect. We need new ways that legislators, investigators, patient associations, medical evaluators, media, and the public can inspect and evaluate medical operations. Medicine must not be a mystery. Only with full public understanding will we have health services that meet our needs in the ways we want.

Electives

Medical electives built into basic insurances have made health care more expensive. We must examine how medical electives fit into our health care system in the future and how they are separately paid for.

Health Care Debates

Americans must have a real debate about health care down to the neighborhood level. That examination must be a permanent part of our public life during the next decade or two as we refashion health care. We must welcome that debate and profit from it. It must not be a debate among “experts” but an American debate. As your Member of Congress, I will more than happy to provide a forum for some of that debate to occur. I am not afraid of a debate, I am only afraid of not having one.

Foreign Policy Agenda

Keeping Our Word To The World

We must restore our prestige by following through on our promises and warnings.

Radio Ad: "Renew American Foreign Policy"

America has lost the respect of much of the world. We left Iraq without America military forces in reserve to guarantee stability. We are doing the same thing in Afghanistan. We designated a “red line” concerning weapons of mass destruction, weaponized poison-gas, in Syria and failed to act after their use. Much of our military strength is at pre-World War I levels.

We must say what we mean and mean what we say. When we threaten consequences, there must be consequences.

As a member of Congress, I will be a voice for American integrity in south-central Wisconsin, in the Halls of Congress, and in Washington. I will seek bi-partisan support in Congress for clear foreign policy strategies. When the government fails to back its word, except in unusual circumstances, I will be a voice demanding we have a national spine.

Until the Vietnam-era, partisanship about foreign policy stopped at the “water’s edge”. It was good policy then and it would be good policy now. We cannot be foolish about war nor cavalier about the fate of nations. Neither can we be timid.

Economic Strength is Trump in Foreign Policy

We must restore our economy – it powers world prosperity.

The United States won the Civil War 150-years ago next April-in large part because it was economically stronger. The United States won the War against Japan, and the War against German in Western Europe because of economic strength. Economic superiority is the foundation of success in both foreign and domestic affairs.

Our nation is enduring a fragile economic state associated with the Great Recession. That must be remedied. While we will have divided government during the next two years, Americans must mobilized to restore our economy. Every setback in the economy will create an opportunity to change government’s role. I will take those opportunities to find others in Congress and here in Wisconsin that will bring about public pressure for improvement.

Energy Must not Continue to Dominate War and Peace Decisions

We must develop our energy resources. This will decrease world oil prices, decrease inflation, and foster economic development worldwide. We must encourage energy research.

Modern economies must have energy to survive. It has to be clean, plentiful, low-cost, and reliable. A big chunk of the world’s energy resources are in the Middle East and Russia. The transfer of money from western economies to the Middle East ends up funding terrorism and compelling U. S. military intervention. It’s high time that changes.

The United States must become energy independent. We now have the energy resources on the North American continent to make that happen shortly. We must accelerate development of those resources in a safe manner.

We must help Europe become energy self-sufficient also.

War on Terrorism is not Over

The American people, tired of the war, elected a new President in 2008. Frankly, the prior administration waited too long to apply the “Surge” in Iraq, largely because of political reasons. And the War on Terrorism was largely won at that point. But wars do not stay won unless the conditions that precipitated the war are also resolved. The terrorists moved back into Afghanistan and the current administration also waited too long before applying a “Surge” of its own. Then it declared success and set deadlines for withdrawal.

The War on Terrorism is not over. Because of its policy, the administration did not respond the civil war in Syria, even when poison-gas was used in combat. Out of that neglect and the withdrawal of U. S. forces from Iraq, terrorists are bolder than ever.

Now we have a Terrorist Nation in the Middle East.

Terrorism must be defeated. If it is not, we will be fighting ever-larger wars. We will have to fight, because the war will be brought to our shores again. Like the World War II fight against Japan, terrorists will have to be totally defeated.

War is a last resort. And wars must not be political inside America. The fight against terrorism must be international. But if we fight, we fight to win.

The Russian Bear Prowls Again

When the Berlin Wall fell, a post-Cold War world emerged. A democratic Russia developed. Eastern Europe became free and mostly democratic. Former Soviet Republics gained their independence. The specter of a nuclear war receded. And hope abounded.

Then Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer, entered the picture during the chaos of President Boris Yeltsin’s administration and because acting President in 1999. Being elected President in 2000, he has been President or Prime Minister since. Under Putin, Russia has become authoritarian once more.

Russia has fought a war inside Georgia and is involved in a civil war of sorts inside Ukraine. Russia has also seized the Crimea by force after a local “referendum” on the matter. Russia has been involved in harshly conducted military operations in Chechnya.

The seizing of the Crimea, based on “traditional” rights of Russian-speaking inhabitants, is unacceptable. Russia’s assault on Ukraine’s eastern regions is also a violation of international law.

Russia must be opposed when it uses wars of aggression to gain territories by force. The Crimea must be returned to Ukraine. Russia must not threaten her neighbors. The world led by the United States must halt the spread of Russia imperialism.

Emergence of Chinese Economic and Military Power

While America has been focused on the Middle East since “9-11” China has been building its military capacity with the purpose of becoming a military superpower.

China’s military growth will be powered by advanced technological development and is designed to exploit U. S. weaknesses. While America is China’s second largest trading partner, U. S.-China trade represents only 18% of China’s trade with its top-10 trading nations. China can afford the costs to challenge us in Southern and Southeastern Asia. Within 10 years, they will likely have a significant naval capacity, state-of-the-art missile fleet, and competitive air force.

The U. S. will need to re-build its military capacity to remain unchallengeable. The biggest peace dividend we can have is the strongest military, which is how the peace is maintained.

In addition, China intends to become an economic superpower and the world’s largest economy. China’s economy, like that of Japan, will suffer from overheated growth and will eventually be subject to a great restructuring. But grow it will.

It is imperative that the United States restart its economic engine and become a true economic leader again. That will mean developing a robust domestic economy, regaining our world leadership in research and development, pursuing policies of free trade, opening new markets and reducing the size of our national debt. China currently owns a Trillion dollars of U. S. national debt, making us vulnerable to political pressure.

Stable Europe is Critical to a Stable World

In the last century, Europe was the source of the world’s woes, causing two world wars. Since WWII, the communist menace was limited to Eastern Europe and then dissolved, Germany became a full-fledge democracy, national wars in Europe are no longer a threat, and European economic agreements have drawn Europe closer.

But, Europe’s economic situation is unstable. Many nations such as Spain, Italy, and Greece are in deep financial trouble. The United States has as much of a national interest in a financially secure Europe, as we have in our own country. Europe as a whole is our largest trading partner. America must work with Europe to solve its financial problems. And we must help Europe become energy-independent of Russia and less energy-reliant on the Middle East.

Now that the Russian Bear is prowling again, Europe also must share the military burden for stopping Russia’s designs on former soviet states and former “client” states of Eastern Europe. That means strengthening NATO’s capability, including eastern European military ability, and the willingness to deploy it.

Additionally, Europe must join with us in the War against Terror. It affects them even more so because it’s in their neighborhood. It is not OK for them to stand on the sidelines and wait for the U. S. to provide military answers. While it is not a NATO task, it is a task of Europeans together.

Opportunity in the Southern Hemisphere: Central/South America and Africa

There are two continents largely lagging behind the rest of the world, Central/South American and Africa. They are behind economically and politically. Africa, in particular, is afflicted by terrible political tragedies that result in vast suffering by its people. We need a long-term commitment to change those conditions. And Europe, the source of much colonization, must partner with us.

There is a strong economic motive for us in this hemisphere. Our largest trading market is North America/Mexico. The balance of South America can become a strong market in the future.

Most of the problems of these two continents stem from the effects of colonial rule, bad national maps that did not respect ethnic groups and tribes, and authoritarian or military rule.

Democracy, broad economic opportunity, dependable rule of law for all citizens, accessible education, and respect for the rights of individuals will improve those societies. Potentially some national maps will change, but only with the consent of those affected.

The United States should not pour large amounts of money into those countries or intervene inappropriately. But, every opportunity for improvement should be sought out and embraced. While respecting national and regional cultures, the United States should promote democracy and economic growth.

Economic Agenda

Unleashing the Economy: Tax Changes

Change our tax code to encourage businesses to invest profits here, and create jobs for Americans. Lower our corporate tax rate to the level of Canada’s, so companies can create jobs for Americans.

Radio Ad: "Renew American Job Creation"

If you tax something more, you will get less of it. If you tax something less, you will get more of it.

The often-quoted aphorism teaches a good lesson. One of the important things holding back our economy is poor tax policy.

Why are Taxes Important?

First, the United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, which puts U. S. companies at a disadvantage. If U. S. companies bring earnings from abroad their taxes are higher. Second, if U. S. companies transfer their headquarters to a foreign country, which many are doing, they save on total taxes.

Are American companies just being selfish? Taxes affect the cost of goods and services sold, making for higher prices. Higher prices, less competitive. Less competitive, less earnings. Less earnings, fewer jobs. Fewer jobs, then more unemployment, underemployment, and “stopped looking for work” permanently unemployed.

Isn’t Taxing “Rich” Companies a Good Ideas?

The problem is that companies “don’t really pay taxes”. Why? Because all costs a company has such as, manufacturing/development costs, real estate, employee’s paychecks, marketing, taxes, etc., are passed along to consumers in the form of prices. And the surplus/profit after costs go to reserves to protect the company, re-investing in the company, and dividends to stockholders and owners. Stockholders and owners that receive surplus/profit pay taxes, as does the company.

Lower the Corporate Tax Rate

U.S. Corporate tax rate is 35%. If we lower that to Canada’s level, 26%, we become more competitive for two reasons. First, American products and services will have lower, more competitive prices and be more attractive worldwide. Second, American companies will be willing to take more innovative risks, expand their product/service lines, and expand their markets. This creates many more jobs, improves business, and builds a stronger economy.

Reduce Double-Taxation

Corporate profits are taxed once by the corporate tax code and money paid out as dividends to shareholders is taxed again as income tax. Reducing dividend tax rates to the same rate as long-term capital gains put more money into the hands of shareholders. That means personal investment and pension savings will grow faster, investors will have more to invest in other companies, and people will have move money to spend. All of that encourages business and economic growth and more jobs.

Bring the Money Home

Trillions are held aboard by corporations rather than subject those funds to U.S. taxes. Investment occurs aboard rather than creating jobs here. Change the tax laws to permit corporations to bring those trillions here. Investment here will create jobs here and strengthen the U. S. economy. Businesses will become more aggressive when they are flush with the extra cash. If we want to bring back jobs from overseas, it will have to start by bring corporate funds here.

Unleashing the Economy: Regulatory Changes

Reduce unnecessary regulations so entrepreneurs can create jobs for Americans. We must lighten the regulatory burden on small companies. Too often regulation is used to kill competition.

Radio Ad: "Renew American Job Creation"

Radio Ad: "Renew American Foreign Policy"

22 years ago, former Senator George McGovern, who was very liberal and an anti-war Presidential candidate in 1972, wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal relating the woes of over-regulation of business. His remarks sum up better than I can the burden. He wrote:

In 1988, I invested most of the earnings from this lecture circuit acquiring the leasehold on Connecticut's Stratford Inn. Hotels, inns and restaurants have always held a special fascination for me. The Stratford Inn promised the realization of a longtime dream to own a combination hotel, restaurant and public conference facility -- complete with an experienced manager and staff.

In retrospect, I wish I had known more about the hazards and difficulties of such a business, especially during a recession of the kind that hit New England just as I was acquiring the inn's 43-year leasehold. I also wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties business people face every day. That knowledge would have made me a better U.S. senator and a more understanding presidential contender.

But my business associates and I also lived with federal, state and local rules that were all passed with the objective of helping employees, protecting the environment, raising tax dollars for schools, protecting our customers from fire hazards, etc. While I never have doubted the worthiness of any of these goals, the concept that most often eludes legislators is: "Can we make consumers pay the higher prices for the increased operating costs that accompany public regulation and government reporting requirements with reams of red tape." It is a simple concern that is nonetheless often ignored by legislators.

In short, "one-size-fits-all" rules for business ignore the reality of the marketplace. And setting thresholds for regulatory guidelines at artificial levels -- e.g., 50 employees or more, $500,000 in sales -- takes no account of other realities, such as profit margins, labor intensive vs. capital intensive businesses, and local market economics.

The problem we face as legislators is: Where do we set the bar so that it is not too high to clear? I don't have the answer. I do know that we need to start raising these questions more often.

Unleashing the Economy: Health Care Certainty

Bring certainty to health care and end the part-time job economy. Repealing Obamacare improves our business climate.

Radio Ad: "Renew American Job Creation"

Radio Ad: "Jumpstarting Jobs"

Business Uncertainty About Health Care Retards the Economy

One of the biggest drawbacks to unleashing the economy is uncertainty about future health-care costs. Adding employees, especially full-time 30+ hours-per-week employees, carries with it the possibility of significant health-care costs.

Because of this businesses, especially small businesses that create most of the jobs, are reluctant to add employees unless absolutely necessary. They also are reluctant to go into new markets, add new product/service lines; keep margins products/services, or take business risks.

The result is underemployment-type-under-30-hours-per-week jobs, unemployment due to few jobs, some hiring of illegal foreign workers, hiring low-cost legal immigrants, and lack of promotions.

Returning to a Largely Private Health-Care Economy Will Help Unleash Job Creation

In my Health Care agenda, I outline my plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. That is the most important thing we can do for the economy starting in 2015. Once businesses have certainty about their health care costs, they will be able to grow, expand, and take reasonable risks introducing new products/services and entering new markets.

Unleashing the Economy: Jobs Congress for Regional Action

As your representative, each year I will convene a two-day Jobs Congress here in South-central Wisconsin. We'll listen to job development experts and those of you who have created jobs. We'll invite ideas from everyone. We'll post the best on a website. It will be non-partisan. Our goal will be to foster cooperation among people and institutions to create jobs of all kinds here. As your representative, I'll champion the needed federal changes.

Radio Ad: "Jobs Congress"

Let's Take Charge of What We Can Influence

In America, we have gotten into a bad habit of waiting for someone else to solve our problems. The basis of a free republic and a free enterprise system is for us to help ourselves. It not sufficient for your member of Congress to simply go to Washington to vote on whatever is put in from of her or him and then complain in the media when things are bad. I plan to be an activist in constructive ways.

Representatives Have a Regional Constituency and Role

Your member of Congress in the 2nd District is the only public official elected on a regional basis. As such, that member can take a more active role in public affairs, not stepping on a lot of toes, but rather to help the potential of south-central Wisconsin grow.

The Jobs Congress – Bring People Together, Then Unleashing Them

In cooperation with local and state governments’ economic development arms, job-creating businesses, investors and financial institutions, economic and representative associations, academics, and idea people, along with invited citizens, I will convene a two-day Jobs Congress in 2015.

The purpose of the congress will be to generate ideas and form interpersonal relations between people leading to job-creation throughout this region. The congress will put together people in to learn, discuss, share, and plan. The product will be people working together as they discover each other and common interests. It will be in your hands, the people of this region, and I will work with you as needed.

Opportunity Creation

There is a second goal here to conduct sessions on creating opportunity for people climbing the economic ladder regardless of background or stage in life. This includes young adults, unemployed, underemployed, those who “stopped looking for work” and are out of the workforce, new legal residents, people overcoming difficult backgrounds, and older citizens.

Putting people together, including affected people, in an organized way to reenergize old ideas and find new solutions to make opportunity available is critical to refreshing America and reconstructing the our economy here. It might be difficult, but doing the difficult is the job of public servants. I feel we can succeed.

Ideas Welcome

The Jobs Congress will welcome ideas from anyone and the best will be published on-line to share with everyone.This Will Be Non-Partisan. We will leave politics at the door and concentration on economic success.

2nd Annual Jobs Congress

The second session of the Jobs Congress in 2016 will review what happened in the intervening year and then plan next steps.

Federal Opportunities and Obstacles

My job in Washington, in part, will be to seek out federal help and resources and work to overcome federal obstacles to our success. It also will be to look for private-sector help wherever it can be found.

Unleashing the Economy: Energy Independence

Let’s unleash our economy by pursuing energy independence. We’ll use proven fuels, while we research alternatives. Dependence on Middle East and Russian oil needs to end.

Radio Ad: "Jumpstarting Jobs"

Energy Availability Risks

Uncertainty about energy supplies has been a drag on the economy since September 11, 2001. Mideast Wars put oil fields in jeopardy and well as raise the prospect of terrorist attacks against energy elsewhere in the world or attacks against critical economic linchpins such as transportation, communications and the electrical grid. Recently, the Russia has been threatening Europe with reduction of oil and natural gas exports. This has to end.

Energy Certain via Independence

The best way we have to solve this economic problem is to achieve economic independence for the United States as well as Europe. Such independence will bring energy prices down, free us from the dictatorship of the oil cartel, slash funding for terrorism, and force Russia to face its own hollow economy without as much help from hard currencies revenues.

Energy Agenda

In my Energy Agenda, I call for exploration of American resources, piping in as much Canadian oil and gas as possible, and consider all other ways to achieve independence. While we are maximizing our clean use of fossil fuels, we need to sponsor extensive serious research for alternative fuels that can compete on price without government subsidies. We will always need inexpensive energy and more of it. I am confident that America can achieve both independence as well as find new fuels. The results will be a vibrant economy and the robust job growth we have been seeking.

Unleashing the Economy: Reduce Government’s Share of the Economy

Shrinking the federal budget frees money for investment, slows inflation, and keeps interest rates low.

Radio Ad: "Jumpstarting Jobs"

The U. S. government has too big a share of our national economy. Some of this is due to wartime expenses; some due to the Great Recession; and some is due to out of control spending. This takes capital from business investment and weakens the economy. We need to shrink the size of the government relative to the rest of the economy. Doing that will allow more business growth, job creation, improve the public’s purchasing power, and keep interest rates and inflation low.

Budget Shrinkage

We can start shrinking government’s share of the economy by reducing the rate of growth of the budget to 1% below the rate of inflation. It is a simple approach. It would begin the process of reducing the federal fiscal footprint without disrupting support payments that are holding the economy together while we solve this economic growth puzzle. With slightly less money, the federal government must begin to prioritize and streamline. No one worries about priorities or efficiencies who has unlimited funds. Limit the money and the government will find savings, miraculously.

Reduce and Simplify Taxes

Part of the shrinkage needs to come from simple slight reduction of taxes on lower- and middle-income citizens. Simplifying taxes will make tax preparation easier and cheaper. The tax code has become a swamp of special-interest favors. Let’s set a goal of making tax preparation for persons earning less than $100,000 annually so easy that most people do it themselves (sorry TurboTax). It would save billions.

Staff Shrinkage

Let’s shrink the non-military portion of the federal government by attrition. We should replace only one federal employee for every two that leave or retire. Labor costs are one of the government’s biggest expenses.

Congressional Deadlock

It’s frustrating for all Americans that politics and government decision-making is deadlocked. We have seen that in Wisconsin and in Washington. It is a symptom of the post-Vietnam War era. The Vietnam era was marked by plunging trust in major institutions including government that seemed unable to successfully prosecute a war but insisted on continuing it. The causes and reasons for the war were obscured. The politics that flowed out of that conflict were distrustful and uncompromising.

Let's Challenge this Deadlock Right Here in South-Central Wisconsin

First, let's find common ground on some issues. Using polls, citizen meetings, and lots of communication, we'll find ideas that have at least 70% support and champion them.

Radio Ad: "Breaking Congressional Deadlock"

The most productive way for us to break the logjam is to start at home. If we can accomplish this on some issues, it will be easier to get bi-partisan support for our ideas in the Congress. If we can prove it is possible, it may serve as a pattern for us, and potentially others across America. People would love to have issues they can rally around.

How do we find common ground?

Selecting 2 or 3 of the top issues of the day, we first conduct a legitimate survey to determine people’s common interests and common approaches to those issues. That will be followed up with focus groups. Additionally, specialized forums and citizen meetings will help refine those ideas. Lots of communication will be required as well as reference sources so that interested people can follow our progress.

We then select those ideas that seem to have overwhelming support and conduct a scientific survey to determine if those ideas have 70% support. Those will be our 70% solutions.

How Can We Champion Those Ideas?

First, we can build public support here in the district. Second, we will brief the balance of the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation, both Democrats and Republicans. Third, we will communicate through interested media what we have accomplished and propose together. It should be a good story.

Finally, we will go to Washington and look for other members of Congress to support our ideas. Sometimes those ideas will be included in committee work, sometimes in bills, and sometimes in as part of the general discussion surrounding an issue. We will keep you informed.

The legislative process is difficult and it should be. But ideas that have broad support should be considered and should find support. Ideas that are sound often develop a life of their own and eventually win out.

What if Our Ideas Aren't Accepted. Even if our ideas aren't accepted at first, we will establish a pattern that will form the basis of breaking deadlocks. Others throughout the country will take notice and thaw can start. We are not going to do nothing or simply cling to strong positions from which compromise or progress is remote. We are going to try, and I believe we can succeed.

No one is asked to give up their strongly held beliefs, but only to be willing to find common grounds where possible. Strong philosophies are rarely implemented but are the raw material from which solutions are found. We will work on this together.

Tackling Tough Problems

Second, we'll work on tough problems, such as jobs and health care, and find new solutions. We'll welcome strong philosophies, ideas, and opinions and use them as the raw material to find our way together.

Radio Ad: "Breaking Congressional Deadlock"

While the 70% solutions above represent natural agreements that we can find on aspects of problems, we also have to tackle some of the tough national issues now and develop comprehensive proposals. That requires expansive thinking. Rather than just create a proposal in isolation, we will seek lots of help crafting ideas. Drawing on ideas, opinions, and recommendations of citizens, professionals, and practitioners in individually, in groups, or conferences, proposals will reflect as much regional thinking as possible.

Jobs Congress

In the Economic Agenda section, the proposal for a Jobs Congress annually will be one of the ways we use south-central Wisconsin thinking to find pathways to a better economy locally as well as nationally. Much of the product of this Jobs Congress will be the work of people that find mutual interest in producing jobs.

Health Care

My health care position is to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. My belief is that this government-based solution will fail and indeed it is already headed that way. It is not sufficient to simply oppose something without knowing what the replacement will be. Again, we need to call on citizens as well as those with direct experience in health care and health issues to help craft alternatives.

There are 434 Other Representatives, 100 Senators, a President and Us.

America is a big country. Whatever we recommend will go through a very elaborate screening process and extensive national debate. If we can make a substantial contribution to that debate based on our working together as much as possible, the deadlock in Washington can be softened. That is worthy goal for all of us.

Immigration Agenda

We are a nation of immigrants. Even pre-historic peoples came here across the land bridge from Asia or potentially by boat across the oceans. Whether the immigrants are Asian, Central Americans, Europeans, South American or anywhere else, all are welcome and desirable. That is our strength.

Peter Theron’s Family History

Peter Theron’s mother was a direct descendent of a marine who served under the Revolutionary War Naval Captain John Paul Jones. Through her, he got to know that we are a nation forged by our fight for freedom.

His father is a legal immigrant from South Africa. Through him, he knows that we are a nation of laws. The legal immigrant is, in his heart, an American before he arrives on our shores because he has followed the law to get here. This reverence for the law and pursuit of the American Dream renews America for all of us.
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Theron’s heritage has formed his stance on immigration. We need legal immigrants and they deserve a consistent, fair, and understandable immigration policy.

Is Immigration a Good Thing

Yes, it is. People have always come to America for a better life. It is mutually beneficial. America benefits from the infusion of new people, new ideas, new enthusiasm, and new culture. America is the product of all of the immigrations that have gone before.

At the beginning, America was settled by English, some French, some Spanish, and a variety of others. Africans came mostly as slaves. Then came Irish, fleeing the potato famine, and Germans. After that Chinese joined the Gold Rush. Later Italians, some other southern Europeans, and eastern European Jews fleeing religious persecution. More recent immigrants have come from Asia, many following regional wars, and Central and South America, it’s the latest chapter in an ongoing story.

Immigration will give us the population boost to keep America strong and strengthen our economy. It will add cultural richness to our nation. It will refresh the American spirit. And it will demonstrate to new people the value of a democratic system, with strong values, and reliable laws. Importantly, immigration will aid our economy by keeping the country going and creating new markets for goods and services.

There Are Problems of Current Immigration Policies

Our current immigration policy is haphazard, inconsistent, unenforceable and often political. There are up to 12 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. What are the issues:

  • Law Enforcement Costs: What enforcement there is costs billions of taxpayer dollars without appreciable results;
  • Health Care Costs and Concerns: Use of American medical facilities, especially emergence rooms, is billed indirectly back to our citizens through higher prices charged to HMOs and insurance programs, driving up insurance premiums becoming a root cause of the high employer health care costs and reduction of coverage. Unmonitored travel around the border causes increased health risks;
  • Legal Immigration Not Improved: Because of all the illegal immigration and the political aspects, there is no incentive to improve the legal immigration system;
  • Crime is Increasing: Because undocumented, unknown immigrants have overwhelmed law enforcement, a new gang problem is emerging and it is a major source of cheap heroin into the United States;
  • Homeland Security Risk: Porous borders are opportunities for terrorists as well as criminals to enter America and do us harm;
  • Poor Immigration Policy Ignores the Root Cause – Bad-Actor Nations: People have always come to America to escape bad-actor Nations, nations that suppress or abuse their people. America has to use every opportunity change those nations;
  • Rule of Law is Weak: We must be a nation of laws, not of people who use government power with “self-designated discretion”. Laws on immigration policy are unjustifiably ignored.

What are the Positive Steps We Can Take to Improve the Situation

We need major changes in our immigration policies now:

  • Secure the Border: There must be completion of the physical barriers with legal crossing points;
  • Law Enforcement: Our immigration laws must be enforced.
  • E-Verify: We need electronically verifiable documents that will tell employers and public officials exactly who the person is that they are dealing with and insure that immigrations laws being are followed.
  • Employment of Foreign Workers Illegal: Employment of foreign workers without proper documentation must be punished with stiff penalties for employers.
  • No Amnesty: Neither illegal immigrants nor businesses will be granted amnesty. Foreign workers must have proper documentation. All immigrants must be subject to U. S. laws with secure verifications systems that businesses and law enforcement can rely upon. Legal immigrants will have green cards. Businesses that ignore the law will be subject to fines.
  • Legal Immigration: We need immigration to grow America, its economy, and refresh America. That immigration needs to be orderly, reasonably sized to support our economy but not so large as to suppress America incomes, worldwide, and attract the best and brightest. The process needs to be streamlined, comprehensive, and reliable.

Why People Come Here

Why do people come to America illegally? If they do not have criminal intent, they come here to work and earn more than they could possibly in their own country? Why can they not find success in their own country? It’s because their country of origin does not have a truly free market economy. Because of the lack of opportunity from a badly organized economy. Because of government corruption. Sometimes is because of lawlessness.

U.S.-Mexico Relations Are Close

Mexico is our second largest trading partner. U.S. companies and Mexican part suppliers to those companies are one of the largest employers in Mexico. U. S. currency wired back to Mexico from foreign workers is a major source of economic benefit for the Mexican economy. The U. S. and Mexico have a common relationship and responsibility towards each other.

Raw Illegal Immigrants Have Problems

Raw illegal immigrants sometimes bring their problems with them. Usually they do not bring their families. They have limited skills. They have a lack of understanding about how America became prosperous. They came from a life where the government was either not helpful or doled out benefits. Some have criminal intent. Some have health issues.

Mexico Must Change

The United States must begin a campaign to bring about change within our neighbor to our south. It is not OK for them to have a corrupt government or to have an economy where people cannot get ahead. It is not right to have their citizens so impoverished they have to make a dangerous journey to another nation to survive. It is not acceptable to be a chief exporter of illegal drugs to the United States.

We Cant Impose Our Will, But We Have Big Influence

Through border sealing, trade agreements, tourism, cultural exchanges, government relations, foreign adjustments, and other contacts we can influence Mexico to change its ways. And we must. It is not OK for Mexico to be a challenged-state and transfer its problems to us. We in North America need to be strong, democratic countries with strong economies and strong relations. Mexico needs to rise to that standard.