Dave Lockwood is a Democratic candidate running for election to the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District in 2012. Here’s a summary of Dave’s positions on key issues.
I believe in America. I have worked around the world and cherish Our freedoms, our rights, and our ideals. We can continue to be a shining light for the whole world if we keep financial erosion at bay. What we can’t afford is to keep writing IOUs that our children and grandchildren are supposed to pay. Our costs are our responsibility.
Federal budget discipline has been savaged by the richest, ever since Ronald Reagan’s tax redo in 1986. Unfortunately, since then, the richest have bribed Congress to special treatment for capital gains and dividends. Not to mention estate taxes. No wonder the percentage the rich grab has gotten much bigger.
I’d like to be rich too, but if I get there, I want to pay my fair share. I am encouraged when millionaires petition Congress for higher taxes. From what I read, Warren Buffett is a shining example, too.
Solving America’s Debt
The Solution to the Deficit and the Debt has two main aspects – first reset tax rates and then keep the pressure on expenditure cuts. The reset of rates takes a KISS approach – the top rate is 40% for income over $250,000 and rates of 35%, 30%, 25%, 15%, and 0% apply to income under $250K. All income is treated the same regardless of whether it comes from wages, capital gains, dividends, or bonuses. A dollar is a dollar is a dollar. Equal treatment is fair treatment. The principle is shared sacrifice for a few years with the most fortunate bearing the greatest share of the burden. (Several people have expressed regret that 47% of households don’t have to pay income tax. This seems unfair to an extent. The 47% should have some skin in the game, they think. I would agree with a bottom rate of 2-5% as an alternative to my 0%.)
After the initial rates, the Plan uses flexibility and human nature to move to budget surpluses. The tax rates change based on whether we run deficits or surpluses.
If the budget deficit (which gets added to the $15 trillion debt we have already) for a year exceeds $200 billion, tax rates increase gradually. First the richest pay 1% more – 41% rather than 40%. If we run another deficit, the top two rates go up – 41% to 42% and then 35% to 36%. By year 4 of continued large deficits, the 25% rises to 26% and the others above it continue to rise. The bottom two rates never change. The other rates increase, but are capped.
When faced with continued 1% income tax increases, human nature says that taxpayers will contact their representatives much more frequently than now with their concerns to reach budget surpluses and begin to pay off the debt. The fiscal ship of state will begin to turn.
Driven by greatly increased taxpayer pressure, all government expenditures will be scrubbed for their value and priority. This will involve shared sacrifice.
With the budget turning to surpluses, we earn lower taxes. When we run $200 + billion surpluses, we begin to pay down the debt. In addition, all taxpayers above 25% will get a 1% tax reduction. I’d like to wave a wand and just lower taxes, but the proper way is to earn it. Finding the new solutions to reach economic and financial health will cause substantial reductions in government expenditures over time.
As President Obama said in July of 2011, everything must be on the table and taxpayers will make sure their priorities are heard.
I may not know the future, but I know human nature. When taxpayers face a series of 1% tax increases with a way to avoid it (surpluses), thousands will contact their representatives demanding cuts in expenditures. This pressure to turn the fiscal ship of state around may accelerate the return to surpluses and debt repayment.
Investment in jobs and the future
The federal government should take a light hand in trying to create jobs for the unemployed. Too often, handouts are wasted and the jobs disappear when the handouts disappear. The government’s primary role is to enable the business environment to flourish so real, lasting jobs are created. American businesses should look to hire our workers with their excess cash.
I support an emphasis on repairing and upgrading most infrastructure – roads, bridges, and water, especially. I do not support high speed rail. It requires massive subsidies to build and continuing and permanent subsidies to operate.
The government should provide a helping hand to those who are unemployed. We can learn from the past. When long-term unemployment benefits expire, we will offer employment in national parks and elsewhere, at minimum wage, all those across the country who are willing to work. The lessons of the 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps are a successful example.
Generally, my opinion is that subsidies are bad and must be temporary. Every subsidy should have an end date, when the previously subsidized entity should stand on its own.
Defense and Space
The defense budget must decline significantly from its current $700+ billion level. We nearly tripled this department in the last decade, and the Iraq and Afghan wars are ending. We should transfer a fraction of the defense savings into expanded investment in our space expertise. We should not throw away a strategic industry and dimension, like space, where we have an advantage. Energy and raw materials are possible in vast quantities from the sun and asteroids. America should invest in this area. The next fifty years are space station, moon colonization, and Mars exploration.
I propose we decriminalize and tax marijuana. It should be treated in the same manner as alcohol and tobacco. Our interdiction efforts for this minor drug have proven costly for decades with little logic or effect. We will gain needed tax revenues and reduce this portion of the cost of the Drug Enforcement Agency, at a time when we must look for cost efficiencies everywhere.
Our natural resources, particularly the Chesapeake, must be protected for future generations.
I focus on the revenue side of the budget equation initially, but until we get our financial house in order, every expenditure, every assumption must be examined for validity and priority. Many difficult cuts will be made but the services desired of government must match the population’s willingness to pay for them. As President Obama said in July 2011, “Everything must be on the table.”
Education is still one of the best ways to invest in our future. Education is the only real means for class mobility and future employment stability. Smaller class sizes are a high priority.
Dave understands this is one of the most difficult decisions a woman may make in her life, but firmly believes it is her choice. The government should stay out of the bedroom.
For further details, please see Dave Lockwood’s brief, Progressive Self-Adjusting Flat Tax Presentation.