Social Security - Unique
There is a great debate over the future of
Social Security focusing on privatization, using the federal
surpluses to shore up Social Security financing and proposals to
cut benefits and raise eligibility age.
to secure the trust funds for the Baby Boom generation and beyond.
To privatize or not to privatize?
am the only person running for office in either Chamber of
Congress in any of the 50 states with a unique solution to save
the defined benefit nature of the Social Security Program
elected to Congress my first task will be a Bill to secure the
trust funds from being intermingled with the operating budget.
My Bill would require that FICA taxes be renamed “FICA
Savings” to better reflect their defined benefit nature.
Bill would require forming a new and separate division of Treasury
Department to secure our FICA Savings. Then under the ERISA Laws
for pension plans, my Bill would require a "Chinese
wall" to segregate FICA Savings from the operating Budget
revenues. Finally, as with most private and public defined pension
plans for many institutions across our country, the trustees would
be required to hire professional money managers who would invest
these funds in a blind trust. The trustees who are political
appointees would not be privy to the exact investments, and would
only be able to set some broad rules of investment strategy (e.g.,
60% bonds, 40% equities), and they could only hire and fire the
investment managers strictly on the basis of performance or lack
thereof. At its inception Social Security was a pay-as-you go
system. However, the program is very different today. The FICA
system was overhauled during the Reagan Administration. In 1983,
the Greenspan Commission recommended, Congress passed, and Reagan
signed into law a new FICA tax system. At its inception the amount
of FICA taxes paid was a total 1% on an income cap of $3,000 (the
simple pay-as-you go system). Today workers are paying 15.3% on an
income cap of $84,900 (2002). However, no effort was made to
segregate the pay-as-you go portion from the defined benefit
portion of the workers FICA taxes.
My Bill would
require that the $2.35 trillion that has been "borrowed"
by the operating budget from the trust funds to date, of which
$1.333 trillion is from Social Security and an additional $0.273
trillion is from Medicare (HI & SMI), must be repaid into the
trust funds and invested as a defined pension plan.
If I cannot get a Bill passed
in the House to reform Social Security (especially if there is a republican
majority), I will, if necessary, take a mandamus class action law suit against
the US Congress directly to the US Supreme Court to get them to overturn their
prior ruling in Fleming v. Nestor , which basically states that Social
Security payments are NOT guaranteed and can be changed at will by the US
George Herbert Walker Bush on November 5, 1990 signed into law section 13301
of the Budget Act prohibiting the intermingling of the trust fund surplus
monies with the operating budget. However, there were no penalties attached to
the Act, and Congress has willfully disobeyed the same. This along with the
changes made under the Greenspan Commission gives me the basis to take a
mandamus class action lawsuit against Congress to the Supreme Court.
course, the likelihood of the Supreme Court agreeing to hear my case will be
far greater if I am your representative, and not just a citizen.
have written two position papers on how to maintain the defined benefit nature
of the Social Security Trust Funds, and make the system whole for the Baby
boom generation and beyond.
If you wish to further understand the
shenanigans played by Congress with our federal budget you can
read about it in my on-line petition at:
http://www.PetitionOnline.com/nariman/petition.html (This material
is dated as it was written in March 2001)
of the Medicare System
In order to
tackle the ongoing issue of Medicare spending, I would vote to keep the
current funding system, while totally revamping the payment system.
Medicare needs to be overhauled and the
prescription drug benefit added as one of its intrinsic benefits.
plan will cost the taxpayers zero additional dollars, and would currently
save excess dollars. This is a taxpayer friendly option.
Both the Republican majority House and the Democrat majority Senate
are each currently pursuing a prescription drug benefit, which would add an
additional cost of between $370
billion to $570 billion to the federal budget over five years.
In the current atmosphere of ever-burgeoning deficits, both plans in
my opinion are fiscally irresponsible.
order to more efficiently use our Medicare dollars my recommendation is to
revamp Medicare so that the federal government is no longer the “Insurer
of last resort”. Under my Bill the collection system will remain
unchanged, but the payment system will be changed. Hence, the federal
government will continue to collect Medicare dollars through FICA Savings
(name change) of 1.45% of all earned income. However, instead of being the
group insurer for our nations retirees, the federal Government should become
the “Group Buyer” of last resort.
The federal government will be required under my plan to purchase
group insurance for the nations approximately 40 million seniors, which will
include catastrophic, physicians visits, preventative tests, prescription
drugs, dental and vision.
Trustees report (April 2000) has projected that the amount of money that
will be collected through Medicare savings will be as follows:
$189 billion in 2003
Part B: (SMI):
$119 billion in 2003
Total Medicare revenues: $308
billion in 2003
HI – Hospital Insurance, and SMI – Supplemental Medical Insurance
we divide approximately 40 million seniors into
$308 billion in revenues we would have $7,700 per senior to purchase
comprehensive health care insurance.
federal government would then distribute the risk amongst the various health
insurers in each state who currently provide group insurance to corporate
group employees. The Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) would be required
to accept the insurance risk of our nations 40 million seniors in order
to maintain their licenses. If I get your vote to go to Congress to represent you, I
will ask the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to score my plan.
I am certain that we can secure a comprehensive medical plan,
including prescription drugs, dental and vision for approximately
$4,000-$5,000 per senior.
remaining funds must be invested in the blind trust (see following
discussion on social security) to grow at a decent rate of return in order
to secure the Medicare program past 2012.
We know that by 2020 the number of seniors over age 65 will double
plan would go hand-in-hand with my approach to
reducing the costs of prescription drugs and overall health care
(refer to next issue).
the high cost of prescription drugs.
Bill would require Congress to work with Pharmaceutical companies to lower
the cost of prescription drugs.
we don’t reduce prescription drug costs we will all pay through higher
taxes in the outer years of the program, and/ or we will pass on the higher
taxes to our children and grandchildren. My Bill would be follow a
three-pronged approach to reducing the costs of prescription drugs:
National Institute of Health funding:
Most of our
prescription drugs are funded through the National Institute of Health (NIH),
i.e., with our taxpayer dollars. Hence, the argument put forth by the
pharmaceutical companies that they have to charge higher prices in the US to
maintain their R&D budgets is somewhat bogus. My Bill will require
that any pharmaceutical company who utilizes NIH funding, will be required
to return to the taxpayers the same amount through lowering the cost of the
drug. For example, if Drug X
has received 40% of its funding from the NIH, then the federal government
will require that the pharmaceutical companies cut the cost of Drug X to the
public by 40%.
Rescind 1967 Federal Communication Commission (FCC) ruling:
My Bill will require the reinstatement of the ban on pharmaceutical ads
on television in place prior to 1997.
Pharmaceutical companies spend more on promotion and advertisements
than on their R&D. This
more than anything is driving up the costs of prescription drugs.
In 1997 Federal Communications Committee (FCC) lifted a prior ban on
pharmaceuticals advertising on the air.
This appears to correlate to the following increase in annual
pharmaceutical costs to the nation:
Approximately $300 billion in advertising costs are
passed onto the consumer. Source:
CNN News on 8-19-2002
Congress needs to institute a new maximum wage to minimum wage ratio.
When CEOs of large pharmaceutical
companies and HMO’s get egregious and irresponsible compensation packages
(salary, stock options, plus perks) in the hundred’s of millions of
dollars, they are in actuality stealing from heir workers, shareholders, and
elected to office I will ask the Congress to vote on a Bill to tie the
compensation of the top
management to the minimum wage, at say a 50:1 ratio
(refer to section on corporate
Patients Bill of Rights:
am for a strong Patient’s Bill of Rights, as it is critical to providing
the patients with enforcement mechanisms against inadequate or illegal
actions by Health care organizations. The
Bill has stalled in Congress after the two chambers passed different
versions of the Bill. This
occurred in the eleventh hour
after Rep Charlie Norwood succumbed hour to President Bush’s persuasive
arm-twisting. While I am for
most of the tenants of the McCain-Edwards-Kennedy Patients' Bill of Rights,
I do have a few differences.
am for a bill that would provide patients broad federal rights such as
prompt access to emergency care and specialists, the right to: have their
medical decisions made by a doctor; see a medical specialist; go to
the closest emergency room; designate a pediatrician as a primary care
doctor for their children; keep the same doctor throughout their medical
treatment; obtain the prescription drugs their doctor prescribes; access a
fair and independent appeals process if care is denied; and hold their
health plan accountable for harm done.
am for a bill that would provide patients with adequate means to
enforce their rights.
I am for the Senate version which sets a floor of federal benefits, which
the states can exceed, as opposed to the House version which would place a
federal ceiling on rights for quality patient care by HMO’s, and which
would overrule higher standards in their states.
In the case of life and death issues I am for immediate access to
either state of federal courts, without going through arbitration, if the
latter is seen as an avoidance mechanism.
as opposed to the Senate Bill, I
am for capping non-economic or punitive damages in both state and federal
court to a reasonable amount of $2 million. I
would also like juries to award the legal fees, instead of the current
system where the attorney’s fees are attached as a percentage of the
client’s legal awards. The
jury would assign payment to
the attorney for reasonable and verifiable costs on behalf of the client,
plus a premium of a minimum 5% to a maximum 20% of the costs based on the
quality of the attorney’s case. The current system has led to attorney’s
pushing for larger and larger settlements. In the end these ever-spiraling
judgments are costs that are passed onto us the consumers, patients and
citizens by the HMOs.
How to stop the rise in deficit spending, and get back to a fiscally sound
we can discuss solutions to this problem, we really need to understand the
The Federal governments accounting scheme would make the likes of
Enron, WorldCom, Tyco and Adelphia blush. These corporations hid debt in the
billions. Our Federal
government is hiding its debt in the amount of $2.35 trillion!
The scheme is exposed below:
Operating Budget (revenues garnered from income taxes, excise taxes, and
estate taxes) has two debts -- the publicly held debt of $3.85 trillion
(2002), and the debt owed by the trust funds of $2.51 trillion (2002) ( an
additional $160 billion and counting has been taken from the trust funds in
the 21 months since Bush II took office).
In the best of circumstances the Congress plays a shell game of using
their MasterCard (trust funds) to pay off their VISA bill (publicly held
debt). The total debt never
goes down. It is merely transferred, and in fact it increases with accrued
interest costs. Recently, even
this usurpation from the trust funds was insufficient and Congress was
forced to increase the publicly held debt by raising
the debt ceiling (August 2002) by $450 billion. (President Bush had
requested a $750 billion increase to the debt ceiling).
The only way to reduce the national debt (sum of both debts) is to
increase operating budget revenues and have the operating budget pay off its
The Dual Pillars of a Strong
Economy: Economic Growth and Fiscal Responsibility:
called supply side economics has proved to be an abysmal failure. It is
private sector innovation not tax cuts that are the real boost to economic
growth. The facts are that we had the greatest rate of economic growth in
our nation in the late 1950s, at which time the top marginal rate went from
84% to 91%. We had the longest
sustained period of growth, with 22 million new jobs created in the Clinton
Administration, even though the top marginal tax rate was increased from 31%
to 39.6%. Both these periods in
our history also saw us return to fiscally sound budgets. The Reagan-Bush
administration with its deep marginal tax rate cuts at the top end, had only
one component of good economic policy: In the 1980s we had a good rate of
growth sandwiched between two recessions, but we also mismanaged our federal
budget and increased the national debt by $2 trillion.
it is private industry innovation that increases the GDP of our nation, and
the government coffers are the beneficiary of this innovation. The
innovation is unaffected by the tax rate as seen in the greatest growth rate
seen in this nation in the 1950s (top marginal tax rate 91%).
However, when we cut the tax rate too low it adversely affects our
ability to get in the needed revenues to keep the US as a world economic and
The same people who want the strongest economy and defense, are the
ones who do everything to undermine this by buying elections by promising
that we have understood that tax cuts play no role in innovation, we can
move on to discuss how to make the federal budget operate in the black.
in Accounting Act: If elected as your representative, I would put forth a
Bill that states that as long as the federal government’s operating budget
is borrowing from the trust funds to either:
down the publicly held debt
offset a shortfall in the operating budget
then Congress cannot pass any form of income tax cuts, and must rescind
any previously passed income tax cuts.
both the aforementioned situations the trust funds are being used to pay
down the operating budget’s
debt and deficit.
Hence, any income tax cuts, which are progressive, are indirectly
coming from the trust funds, which are regressive in nature.
This is Robin hood in reverse.
I reject that this is the politics of class war fare.
Democrats are only pointing out the accounting schemes being used to
manipulate the system.
also strongly refute that this is a tax increase.
First, the tax cuts are promised and have not yet been enacted.
Second, and more importantly, they are based on a dishonest
Simply put, any income tax cuts must only come from income tax
revenues, and this only after all of the debt to the trust funds has been
repaid, and the publicly held debt is reduced to a point where the interest
costs are not strangulating our budget. Since the 1986 and 2001 tax cuts
were based on an accounting scam, they must be rescinded
both the Sarbane’s Bill and the House Bill have gone far in restricting the
accounting malfeasance of many of Corporate Americas best-known companies, both
bills falls far short of what needs to be done with regard to corporate
compensation, which is at the bottom of all these accounting scandals.
am honored by your vote to be your representative, I will put forth a strong
Bill to reign in Corporate malfeasance that has decimated our stock market,
stalled our recovery, and decimated the retirement accounts of thousands of U.
S. workers directly, and millions more indirectly.
Options must be limited as to amount and timing.
Amount: While the
minimum wage lingers at a twenty year low, average CEO compensation (including
stock options) as compared to the average blue-collar worker has increased to a
dizzying 531:1 ratio.
greatest reason for this disparity in income is the amount in stock options that
have been given as payment to CEOs and other top management.
This is because they do not have to expense stock options like they have
to regular salary. Also, since this
was seen as compensation for higher performance, most people did not begrudge
the obsequious amounts paid to top management until the scandals that exposed
their fiscal shenanigans were brought to light late last year and early this
a CEO may have a salary of $1million, but may earn $165 million in stock
options. People forget that this
money comes out of the corporate coffers and could be better used to increase
workers salaries, or increase shareholder profits, rather than all going to one
individual. Hence, I believe we
should have a federally imposed maximum amount permissible for stock options to
second way to reduce this disparity in income, which is unbecoming in a society
such as ours that does not believe in an aristocracy, is to expense
the stock options. There is a
quarrel in Congress as to whether stock options should be either expensed at the
time they are granted or at the time they are exercised.
I would recommend the latter, as options can expire worthless, hence it
is only fair to the company’s books to expense them when the stock options are
“in the money” and are actually exercised.
the expense should capture only the difference between the fair market value of
the stock and the exercise price. Hence, if an executive is granted 1,000 stock
options at an exercise price of $40, and the fair market value when he/she
exercises his/her options are $50.
Then only the $10 per share ($50- $40) should be expensed for a total
expense of $10,000 to the corporation for this individual.
The entire $40,000 that the individual makes should not be
the stock options, along with the other regulations being put in place would
require that CEOs and top management could not go on a stock option benefits
spree without a consideration as to how it would affect the bottom line of the
corporate balance sheet, income statement and cash flow.
we want the corporate executives to watch out for the long-term viability of the
corporation, then we need to change the incentives to get them to think long
term. Hence, my Bill would require
that stock options for all senior executives must be held for at least five
years before they can be exercised.
Retirement Plan Security Act: As
your representative, I will ask Congress to pass a tough law on corporations
banning requirements that workers hold more than 10% of their company stock in
their 401-k and similar retirement accounts.
Congress may also want to protect individuals from their own bad
decisions by capping at 50% their ability to hold their own company stock in
their company retirement plans.
Free Financial Advice:
Congress should also pass a law requiring that Corporations should make
available to their employees at the workplace financial advisors who would help
the worker with all their retirement choices.
Workers must be allowed to choose between an advisor provided by the
administrators of the 401-k, and an independent advisor.
Transparency in Reporting through
tough new accounting standards
should be instituted with an independent Accounting Board, including, but not
limited to the requirement that all debt be reported as a liability, and all
interest costs expensed. The
Congress should pass a law for tough enforcement of these standards by the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including criminal penalties and
repayment of ill gotten gains for willful negligence by corporate management.
of Accountant Firms:
should resume their role as corporate watchdogs for shareholders and the public
rather than being in bed with corporations.
One way to assure this is to have a rotation scheme, whereby the Board of
Directors of every publicly traded company is required by law to change the
corporation’s accounting firm every three years. This will keep the
accountants honest, as they will know that in three years a competitor will be
looking over their books.
of divesting Accounting firms of their more lucrative Consulting arm.
I would recommend that to avoid “conflict of interest” no consulting
firm should be allowed to work for the same corporation as their Accounting
division. This would set up a second barrier to corporate excesses, as it would
pit two opposing firms in the role of Accountant and Consultant giving them
advice. For example, consider
Corporation ABC. Their Consulting
Firm is KPMG, and their accounting firm is Price Waterhouse Coopers. Both firms would have to dot their i’s and cross their
t’s to make sure they do not suggest something to their client that the other
firm would point out as illegal or suspect.
· Board of
of Directors should also be rotated every three years. Half the seats on the board should be set-aside for regular
shareholders who will be voted in by the other shareholders, and a Union member
should hold at least one seat. This
will prevent the recent track record of Country club executives who play the
game of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”, by rubber-stamping
corporate accounting excess and compensation increases.
Banks and Commercial Banks:
the 1990’s the Gingrich Congress dismantled the Glass Steagal Act of 1934.
The republican Congress passed laws prohibiting the investors from suing
corporations and Investment firms. This
has led to the corporate and Investment bank excesses of the 1990s.
Banks and Commercial Bankers have been complicit in the corporate wrong doings
that have devastated our stock markets for the past year.
They have helped corporations hide their debt, and top officers have
invested in unethical corporate schemes they have helped devised.
Investment Banks have coerced their analysts to push stocks in which they
had a vested interest in selling the stocks for the client’s IPOs.
If elected to
Congress, I would put forth a Bill to set up a Twenty-first century Glass
Steagall Act, with Chinese walls to protect the investor and workers from
· Tax Havens:
If elected to Congress
I would write a Bill that would turn the tide on corporate tax welchers.
My Bill would require a higher tax rate to be imposed on American
/Multinational corporations that move to off shore tax havens to avoid paying
their fair share of taxes.
I would also require
that the 1986 Bill be reinstated, which requires corporations that accept tax
credits for R& D research to actually use the funds set aside for R&D.
The current administration has finagled this law, allowing for yet
another corporate accounting loophole.
In my opinion
there are two issues tied for the top spot confronting Congress today.
They are the economy (and its effect on the federal budget), and the war
The Soviet Union
collapsed as a world super power when they mismanaged their economy, and could
not maintain their huge army after an irresponsible decade long insurgence into
Afghanistan in the 1980s. Similarly,
the United States cannot continue to be a world super power without continuing
to be an economic power. The
current administration and Republican controlled Congress (4/2001) has also
mismanaged the federal budget with the reinstitution of the failed policy of
supply-side economics. This is even more apparent and urgent as we try to fund a
war against al-Queda in Afghanistan, and possibly start a war on a second front,
in Iraq. The first was a necessity,
the second appears to be more of an adventure, rather than a cogent policy in
the best interests of the USA.
At a time when our
federal budget is bending under the weight of the additional costs for our
defense department and the additional funding for Homeland security, our
sputtering economy has caused less revenues to come into our federal coffers.
Short term our federal deficits are due to the economy, but long term the
Bush tax cuts will break the back of our federal budget especially in the out
years when the baby boomers start to retire en masse.
Hence, it is essential to go back and review the supply-side tax cuts of
2001. If I am so honored by the
voters of my district to represent them in the House of Representatives, I will
be the “bluest” of Blue Dog Democrats.
I will be a fiscal hawk. After
we have again closed the “lock box” and thrown away the key, I will work to
have the most efficient and tightest of budgets, so as to always be cognizant
and respectful of our hard working families (taxpayers).
- Protect American Jobs Act
United States has lost millions of manufacturing jobs to foreign countries over
the past few years because of our trade laws and policies.
If elected to office I would pass the Protect American Jobs Act.
First, and foremost I
would not have voted to grant Mr. Bush “Fast Track Authority” in the Bill
recently passed in the US Congress. I
have always strongly believed in keeping a viable manufacturing base right here
in the United States, and giving people a living wage.
I would vote to stop the unfair practices of countries’ that want a
one-way traffic of exporting their goods to the USA, but place quotas and/ or
high tariffs on our goods being imported to their countries.
I am for free, but FAIR trade.
I also believe that
the senior management of multinational corporations has a short-term and
small-minded viewpoint (as has been exposed by the slew of recent corporate
scandals). They are purely profit
oriented for the near term. They
look for short cuts to make a profit on the backs of workers. They pay slave
wages in third world countries, and look at American citizens as mere consumers.
In the long term this unequal system will derail the global economy.
corporations would only think big, and long term, they would consider using a
zero sum game to increase their profits by expanding
the pie of their consumers. They
should be required to pay a living wage to the workers in all countries.
Then workers in Taiwan, India, Pakistan, China, Brazil, etc, etc., would
be able to buy the products manufactured in their own countries, and workers in
the USA would be able to make a living wage and buy the products manufactured at
home (autos, refrigerators, television sets, air conditioners, fabric, clothes,
etc., etc.) This way
multinationals would grow the pie of consumers, and the world economy would
expand. If elected to office, I
would be a strong advocate in the House of Representatives for a Fair Trade Bill, which would keep our jobs at home and which reduces
our burgeoning trade deficit.
- ...workers get a living wage
The income gap in the United States between the
rich and the poor has widened throughout the past decade.
I will pledge to work hard to reduce the income disparity and ensure
workers get a living wage. While the minimum wage lingers at a twenty year low,
average CEO compensation (including stock options) as compared to the average
blue-collar worker has increased to a dizzying 531:1 ratio. This is way up from
the 42:1 ratio of an average CEO’s income to an average Blue Collar worker’s
income in 1980. Furthermore, the
inequality in the compensation structure in America far outweighs the CEO to
Blue-collar worker income ratio in other industrialized countries: Japan has a
12:1 ratio, and Europe has a 42:1 ratio. Hence,
the compensation structure of the top executives of the United States top 1,000
Corporations should be tied to the lowest paid employee in the corporation.
Since, America likes to be bigger and better than the rest of the world I would
suggest a 50:1 ratio. The next time a corporate bigwig wants to raise his
income, under my Bill he/she would also have to raise the income of the lowest
income worker, and the rest of the workers up the pay scale accordingly. (Small
Business Owners (SBOs) with less than 100 workers will be excluded from this
This recommendation would help kill two-birds with one stone: An equitable
minimum wage tied to an equitable maximum wage for all publicly traded
- The right to organize, the
right to safe and healthful working environment
The right to organize, the right to safe and healthful working environment,
overtime protection, etc., have all been compromised by anti-worker business
tactics and proposed federal legislation. Here
is my position on these issues:
The 104th-107th. Republican majority House and Senate have
each passed Bills weakening workers rights with regard to their rights to
organize, and overtime protection. The first action of the Bush Administration
in February 2001 was to roll back ten years of worker protection laws by passing
a business friendly Act to roll back OSHA’s ergonomic standards. I will fight
to reinstate the highest standards for OSHA.
I will also stand up to defend the civil rights of our Homeland Security
elected to Congress on the democrat ticket I will work hard with my fellow
democrats to safeguard the rights of workers in all areas including but not
limited to the right to organize, the right to representation, the right to a
fair “living wage with COLA, the right to workplace safety, the right to
pension protection, the right to not be discriminated against due to race, sex,
sexual orientation, or disability
Workforce Investment Act
Upon going to Congress I will check the to ascertain
the current funding of the Work Force Investment Act of 1998.
If the funding is below par, I will strongly advocate for adequate
funding to assist disabled persons to get the training they deserve and require
to lead functional, and productive lives.
War should be the last option, not the first...
Let’s look at the situation
in a logical manner. Before, we send our young men and women to war, we need to
make sure that we have tried every peaceful means possible to resolve the
should be the last option, not the first.
Furthermore, President Bush needs to make the case that we are in
imminent danger of being attacked. He
has not yet made this case. Hence,
I will support U.S. action after two conditions are satisfied: a serious attempt
at a peaceful resolution fails, and a specific indication of “imminent
danger” to U.S. citizens is put forth by this administration to its citizens.
Furthermore, now that Saddam
has agreed to unfettered weapons inspections with no preconditions, the Bush
administration has to follow international law, and allow the process to go
forward. Even if they think it is a
bluff, they should call Saddam’s bluff.
Therefore, if there was little
reason for a rush to war a few weeks ago, there is even less reason now that
Iraq has ostensibly agreed to unfettered weapons inspections under the auspices
of the United Nations.
Also, let us remember that
Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) worked for the United States in staving off a
nuclear attack from the Soviet Union for the 50 plus years of the cold war.
Saddam may be evil, but he is not mad.
He knows that his entire nation will be blown to smithereens if he ever
were to attack us. Saddam’s
actions during the gulf war show that he is a pragmatist.
The Bush I administration had informed him that they were following the
U.N. mandate to get Iraq out of Kuwait, but that they were not going for
“regime change” as long as Saddam did not use his chemical and biological
weapons of mass destruction on the U.S. soldiers.
Saddam did not, and Bush I kept his word and did not march our troops
into Baghdad. And for twelve
years, Saddam has not fired a shot at us. Furthermore,
Saddam is a secular leader, as opposed to the fundamentalist bin-Laden who
despises secular leaders in the Middle East.
Iraq went to war against Iran in the 1980s to defeat fundamentalism.
There is no love lost between the two men.
Bush administration has not made a convincing case that these two men were in
cahoots in the 9-11 attacks on our nation.
Also, “regime change” and
“preemptive strike” are not in the U.N. Charter.
As signatories to the charter we will be the outlaws if we insist in
pursuing these ill-conceived ideas.
Finally, it is important to
keep our eye on the correct target. Our
immediate enemy is the terrorist group al-Queda.
Hence, if Bush takes the war to Saddam, before making every attempt at a
peaceful solution, both in Iraq and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he may
well unleash another major attack on our shores, by al-Queda cells that the FBI
and CIA have been utterly inadequate of stopping in the past.
Has the America has
responded effectively in the war against terrorism?
While we have made some baby
steps we are far from winning the war against terrorism.
This is really a war on two fronts:
First to defeat al-Queda, and second to reform the Middle East regimes
through persuasion and not coercion.
Our first task was to kill in
battle, or to catch and try in the courts the members of al-Queda.
We now know that our army mismanaged the battle of Tora-Bora, when they
chose to bomb the caves from a distance, but did not chose to follow-up by
launching a major ground assault. We
allowed Osama bin-laden, Ayman Al-Zahawari, and Mullah Omar with a contingent of
al-Queda and Taliban to escape into Pakistan.
Hence, we still have to catch the master criminal, and his cohorts before
we declare victory on that front. We
also have to locate all the sleeper cells in our country, in Europe, and around
the world. While there has
been some movement in the past few weeks, right in our backyard, in general we
have not even made a dent into the al-Queda network.
Finally, we need to stop the flow of illegal money to these groups. This has proved a more difficult task than initially
expected, and even here we have failed miserably.
In tandem we need to help rebuild Afghanistan, which lies in tatters
after a quarter century of war. If
we don’t we will rue the day, when we are confronted with the new outlaw group
in charge of the country. Second, we need to reform the Middle East regimes
– not by the sword, but by an honest discourse and the power of persuasion
that open secular, and democrat societies are the best form of governance. If we
are not careful we may end up with the same fundamentalist regimes that took
over Iran when the Shah was dethroned. Democracy
at this time of heated anti-Americanism will assuredly bring to power unfriendly
regimes. Hence, we should be
careful what we wish for, we may well get it.
If the worst-case scenario comes to fruition, we will have long queues at
the gas station with sky rocketing oil prices.
This in turn will lead to inflation, higher interest rates and a further
economic downturn or a full-blown depression.
support enhancing energy conservation by developing alternate supply sources. I
believe we have been too slow to move to alternate energy sources.
If elected to Congress I will be a strong advocate for renewable,
environmentally friendly, energy sources, such as hydrogen cells to power our
automobiles and trucks, and solar, and wind energy to power our factories, farms
I am for public
financing of our campaigns. Six
dollars ($6) should be taken out of each tax return (mandatory).
Of which, $2 would be used for the presidential race, $2 for Senate
races, and $2 for the House races. Incumbents
and challengers would share equally in the pot of money collected in each state/
district. Television and radio
stations, which have been granted the federal spectrum for free, would be
required to allow for free air time for the candidates to address the issues.
All candidates would be required to debate their opponents at least three
(3) times during the campaign. This
is the only way to level the playing field and allow for the candidate
with the best ideas to win the day, rather than the candidate with the most
money. Under penalty of law, no
candidate would be allowed to collect hard or soft money from his or her
constituents. However, PACS and
other issues /political groups, under the first amendment, could collect money
for their cause, and run political ads to express their beliefs.
I believe that the
McCain-Feingold, and Shays Meehan Bills are too complicated, and will possibly
run afoul of our first amendment rights. The
Federal Election Commission
has already manipulated the Bill to fit their philosophy.
Since, the Bill is complicated it allows for manipulation by groups who
are against it, and they will find ways to get around the spirit of the new
reform legislation - standards in voting
am for federal standards in voting machines.
I believe if optical scanning, “touch screen”, or any other type of
machines are utilized they should be required to give a print out confirmation
to the voter of his/her votes, and an option to make corrections, if necessary.
I also believe ballots should be standardized, and the format should be
one which allows for no confusion as to which candidate the voter is voting for.
I concur with both provisional ballots and statewide registration lists.
as seen in the presidential election of 2000, and the more recent debacle in the
Democrat Gubernatorial primary a few weeks ago, that there is along way to go
before we can guarantee our citizens that their vote not only counts, but also
that it will actually be counted.
in order to over come voting place errors, unopened polling places,
malfunctioning machinery, irregular ballots, and scrubbed voter rolls this
nation needs to urgently change our election day to incorporate a two-day
weekend voting schedule.
top issue confronting the Western New York area.
Jobs, jobs, jobs! The twin
cities of Buffalo and Rochester have been mismanaged for decades, at the local,
state and national level. We have
lost jobs and with it our population, which is also our tax base.
In order to keep our sons and daughters at home, we need to have a joint
task force at the three levels of government – local, state and federal to
develop a five-year plan to bring back business to our area.
Businesses have a ready made
work force with the graduates from two great Universities – SUNY at Buffalo,
and the Rochester Institute of Technology, and our excellent adjunct colleges,
Geneseo, Canisus, Fredonia, and St. Bonaventure. This area also boasts
world-class vocational schools in the I.T.T Institute and Daemon College.
My first job will be to hold
community meetings and speak to the locals.
I would like to get their input as to how I can best help them improve
their lives and that of their community.
First and foremost, we need to
have a business friendly atmosphere. We may need to consider offering tax
abatements for 3-5 years, to get businesses to move into our area.
We also need a major advertising campaign to sell our good points and
change the “Shuffle of to Buffalo” mentality in the rest of the nation. We
need to sell our excellent work force, our easy access to energy, our great
climate (save for the occasional blizzard), our natural beauty – Niagara
Falls, and Letchworth Park to name a few -- our great schools, our close knit
community, and our great sports teams.
If elected to office, I will
work hard with our two democrat senators, Senator Schumer and Senator Clinton to
make this a top priority. We will work with the local and state officials to
turn around this dire situation and achieve a vibrant economy in Western New
If I am elected to the House
of Representatives from the 26th. District of New York, my first job
on the local level would be to help struggling upstate cities.
The Buffalo economy has been in
the doldrums since the Erie Canal and the waterways into the Midwest became
obsolete in the 1950s with the opening of the St. Lawrence waterway, and when
rail, highways and airplanes took over as the preferred mode of transportation.
Later in the 1980s we suffered job losses as the Bethlehem steel mills in
Lackawanna closed down as foreign imported steel flooded our markets at a better
quality and cheaper price. Since,
then we have been stuck in an economic never land.
The Rochester economy is more
of a white-collar economy. Rochester was blessed as the corporate headquarters of some
of our most stall-worth industries of the 1960s-1980s, such a Xerox, Kodak,
Polaroid, and Bausch & Lomb. Unfortunately,
these giants were also caught sleeping at the switch and did not adapt quickly
to the new economy. Furthermore, they had their market share eroded by cheap
competition from abroad, mainly Japan, in the 1980s.
We need to reenergize both
these economies by bringing them into the twenty-first century with new
innovative technologies. We also need to put in place FAIR Trade Laws to prevent
the decimation of our manufacturing base at home.
One unique idea, I would bring
to the table as your representative would be to secure federal grants to have
the western New York area as the test case for the new hydrogen-cell technology.
A Buffalo based company has the technology in place to start America on
the road to a renewable, non-fossil fuel economy.
My proposal is that we should be the first area in the nation to get
embark of the new technology of this renewable source of energy for our
transportation. Since, this would
benefit the entire nation in due course, our two Democrat Senators, and I as
your representative would have a strong case to ask the federal government for
grants. This would bring both new blue collar and white-collar jobs to our area
to reenergize our economy.
Another new technology our area
should be pursuing is in the burgeoning field of genetic engineering and
immunology. SUNY at Buffalo
as a teaching hospital is uniquely situated to get federal R&D dollars to
get us at the forefront of this exciting new technology. Senator Clinton has already championed this cause by bringing
$2.5 million in federal seed money for the initiation of the Buffalo Center of
Excellence in Bioinformatics.
Waterfront development –
Commercial, recreational and residential growth of the Lake Erie/Erie Canal
waterways is critical to Western New York’s future.
In the past, Western New York was a leader in the US because of its
proximity to Lake Erie. With the possibility of global warming and the increased need
for fresh water, the waterfront could, again, thrust WNY into national (and
possibly) global importance. Yet,
the Buffalo waterfront has not been developed.
Other northern, Easter (Baltimore) and so-called “Rust Belt” cities
(Pittsburgh and Cleveland) have successfully made the transition to white-collar
economies utilizing their waterfront developments.
Buffalo and WNY should use these cities as models to do the same.
– The link to Canada (our largest trading partner) is also a major concern for
the WNY area. However, as important
as commercial trading is to the area, homeland security must not be compromised
in order to stimulate commerce. The
Peace Bridge was built in the 1930’s. Certainly, motorized transportation has increased many times
since its inception. Rapid, but
secure movement of both individual and commercial vehicles is a must in order to
stimulate economic re-development of this area.
State of the art technology should be at the forefront of any
reconfiguration of the Peace Bridge and its adjacent areas.
I believe a two-bridge solution has many pluses in easing traffic
congestion; for offering an alternate route if one or the other of the bridges
is closed down during repair work, or during an accident; a divergence of
regular traffic, and trucks with their own parking area for inspection purposes.
efficiency and enforcement at the US /Canada Border:
the perpetuators of 9-11 came to the United States on valid Visas, and not
illegally across common borders, we do need to be vigilant about our national
security. I support the Smart
Border Declaration, signed into law on December 12, 2001, with its four pillars:
secure flow of people, secure flow of goods, secure infrastructure, and
information sharing. However, this
should be done without unreasonable harassment of legal residents and citizens
of our country. If necessary, I
would support federal funding for additional border inspectors, and more
training to make sure they carry out their job in a professional manner.
Regionalization – Many other large cities have used this concept
to assist them in rebuilding their economies.
While arguably it can work, it should introduced on a step-by-step basis.
For example, consolidation of water systems might generate economies of
scale, especially where cities, towns and villages have water districts that
might be inefficient due to their size. Certainly,
many towns have integrated their systems into the Erie County Water Authority in
the past few years to take advantage of a centralized water system.
However, large suburban towns are suspicious of regionalization because
they do not want to pay for what they conceive to be the mistakes of the large
urban cities. \
for funding and improvements at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station:
would strongly advocate for federal funds to modernize the 50-year old facility,
including longer runways and modernization of technologies, so that it can
support our newer air force planes. I will work with our two democrat senators,
Schumer and Clinton, to bring additional funding to complete the renovations to
make it a first class facility.
competitive domestic markets for members of the local agriculture industry:
would strongly support our local agriculture industry against unfair trade
agreements with other countries, while working diligently to open up new export
markets for their produce. I will work on a Bill in Congress to stop unfair trade
practices that abound from countries that place unequal tariffs, and/ or do not
allow our producers to export to their markets.
relicensing of the Niagara Power Project:
will be a strong advocate for the federal relicensing of the Niagara Power
project when the current license expires in 2007.
I will work in Congress with our two U.S. Senators, Senators Schumer and
Clinton, to this end. I will work with and seek the advice of local officials to
find the best way in which to use this cheap electricity to increase jobs in
the Niagara County Economy:
County needs new manufacturing jobs, and to use it natural beauty to return to
its former glory as honeymoon capitol of the world.
While the casino appears to be a done deal, it cannot be seen as a
solution to the areas economy. First,
we need to bring in investors by granting them tax abatements for five years to
get industries to move to this area. We
should use as a major selling point our access to cheap electricity, while the
Midwest and Southwest are mired in a prolonged drought.
We need a top notch training facility to get local citizens trained in
the latest technologies and ready to go to work in these industries.
Second, we need to get first class hotels and entertainment facilities
into the area. This will attract
big time entertainers like Tony Bennett, Englbert Humperdink, Doris Day, Debbie
Reynolds, Al Martino, Pat Boone, Bobby Vinton, etc., etc.
In order to compete with other renowned vacation spots we need to build a
world-class botanical garden, a world-class amusement park, and ice rink.
We need to have an area dedicated to antique shops, and quaint cafés,
where we display and sell Niagara County’s fine wines.
These improvements would bring Niagara County and Niagara Falls back to
its former glory.