Joe Kaufman on the Issues

browardteapartyAmerica is a great nation which has overcome many difficult times and weathered many storms. Today, we face some of the toughest challenges in our history, the greatest of which is a loss of confidence in our leaders and a pessimistic view of our future. This need not continue. We as a people are in charge and can reverse the dangerous course our nation has been pursuing. We need to make changes to how Washington operates. Policies, such as, instituting term limits, requiring Congress to abide by the laws they pass, and discarding politicians that put self-interests and Party interests before constituent interests, need to be enacted. If we put America First and stand tall for our constitutional and moral values, we once again will be united.

Joe Kaufman For Congress – An America First Energy Policy!

The advantages that have made the United States the greatest economy in the world still exist and are more promising than ever. We have access to great sums of capital, abundant resources, a common language, an extensive and sophisticated transportation system, and a stable government. However, we have not been capitalizing on our advantages, and this has hurt our economy. Jobs are scarce and wages are stagnant. We must institute pro-growth economic policies.

First, we must aggressively go after the energy we have at our fingertips. Newly discovered fields of natural gas, oil and shale have opened up record amounts of energy for America. With the cooperation of Congress, the United States will be energy self-sufficient and will once again be the largest exporter of energy worldwide. Our energy costs will become so low that we will be able to once again become the leader in manufacturing.

And while we provide for the present, we must invest heavily in our future.

The unlimited potential of reusable energy is bright and needs to be encouraged and embraced by America, by providing appealing incentives.  When the government offered the first airmail contract through an aviation competition, they propelled aviation to a higher level. They encouraged a new race to the top among eager entrepreneurs.

I support government investment and/or federal contracts to those companies which can produce renewable fuels much more efficiently and inexpensively than currently possible. We will set the parameters extremely high along with a reward to match, such as a contract to convert all federal buildings throughout the U.S. to 100% solar.  I believe it is precisely this type of motivation that will inspire some of our great minds to rise to the occasion and will lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Government will not choose winners, but instead inspire winners.  All we need is to provide the right motivation.

Reduce regulations that are suffocating economic growth

Overregulation has increased prices, which is an enormous burden on the middle class. It is killing our ability to compete and driving jobs and capital out of our country. We must review the thousands of regulations currently in place and evaluate their necessity versus their detrimental impact. We can have clean air and water without creating a lower standard of living. When you stifle economic growth, you stifle job growth and wage increases.

TPP and Trade Deals

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a mostly secretive and controversial trade agreement which I do not support, and my opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, does. When given the chance Schultz voted to fast-track. 

TPP is the brain trust of 500 official U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests around the world. It is an agreement comprising eleven other countries and allowing thousands of corporations to sue the U.S. government over violations of the new TPP entitlements for unlimited sums of money to be paid for by U.S. taxpayers.  It expands the powers for corporations to attack our environmental and health safeguards and makes it easier for big corporations to ship American jobs overseas. It increases the import of unsafe foods, threatens internet freedom, increases the cost of American pharmaceuticals, and undermines human rights. 

This is another trade agreement that sells the American worker, American taxpayer and American economy down the river. 

The National Debt

The national debt is quickly approaching $20 trillion. Each year, we spend more than we take in and are forced to borrow from unfriendly nations or print more money which devalues our currency and severely impacts the middle-class. Everyone knows you can’t spend more than you make. If we do not reverse course, we risk our financial ratings and could suffer severe economic collapse. The solution is to reduce spending and expand the economy, thereby increasing revenues. This can be accomplished by reducing fraud and duplication in government programs, shrinking the size of government, and cutting out wasteful and unnecessary programs. It will not require cuts to essential programs, like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Welfare.

Most important is that the Free-Enterprise system needs to be embraced and celebrated, not interfered with and condemned. Freedom and Free-Enterprise are symbiotic and cannot exist apart. It is Freedom and Free-Enterprise that made us great and will keep us great.

Health Care

If left as is, Obamacare will destroy the American economy. It was sold as a program to provide health care to millions of Americans, regardless of ​pre-existing conditions, while reducing the cost to all Americans. It does neither. It was forced upon Americans against their will and by deceit. It will bankrupt the middle-class, destroy millions of jobs, and lower the standard of living for the majority of Americans. And worst of all, it will destroy the medical profession.

The answer is to 1. establish state-run risk pools, as we do for auto insurance, 2. allow insurance companies to compete across state lines, and 3. promote efficiency by requiring hospitals and physicians to advertise their prices, with the savings passed on to the insured. Also, to prevent doctors from leaving the Medicare practice, we need to allow them to charge above the Medicare payout, if necessary, to provide the care. In its present state, Medicare may survive, but there will not be doctors to serve patients. Under a new system, most Medicare patients will not pay more, and those that do will do so by choice, not mandate.

Our solutions, and as the free enterprise system seems to work every time it is tried, these solutions will work. Choosing government to run health care will be expensive and oppressive. The Obamacare website is a stunning example of the incompetence and waste of government, and choosing the IRS to operate the program and levy fines is insight into how oppressive government can be.

Medical Marijuana and Funding for Mental Health

Medical marijuana is not an issue of social conduct or moral decay; it is a matter of compassion.  I have a personal attachment to this issue because it affects my family.  My mother has MS, which is a painful progressive disease which in its more advanced stages is treated with devastating pharmaceuticals, such as oxycodone, a drug which led to the death of my cousin.  In my mom’s case, an extreme treatment such as oxycodone could be replaced with a much milder drug, marijuana.

Very often we are faced with choices that are not easy, not black or white, but grey.  However, in this case compassion should take precedence.  Should we treat marijuana like many other addictive drugs, both as a medicine and as a narcotic?  I say, we should.  Let’s treat it the way we treat barbiturates and opiates, as controlled substances, used for medical purposes only.

I recommend that we impose a tax on medical marijuana earmarked specifically for drug rehabilitation purposes. In Florida, it is an embarrassment that we rank 49th out of 50 states in funding for issues concerning mental health and drug rehabilitation. Let’s help cancer patients regain their appetites; glaucoma patients treat their disease; my mother find comfort in the late stages of MS; and restore addicts to normal and productive lives.  It is a matter of compassion.

Foreign Policy

This White House has given us a weak and inconsistent foreign policy coming from the White House has been weak and inconsistent. Across the globe, there is confusion as to where American foreign policy is headed.

America should never get involved in any war overseas, unless and only unless there is a direct threat to American interests. In some cases, our involvement has been entirely uncalled for and has done more harm than good, case in point: President Obama’s push to get Islamists placed in seats of power in the Middle East.

President Obama was wrong to support the revolution against Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak was a peace partner to both the United States and Israel, and the United States had invested billions of dollars in sophisticated weaponry to the Mubarak regime, including a number of F-16 fighter jets. Predictably the overthrow of Mubarak resulted in the Muslim Brotherhood coming to power. The Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization, and the United States should never be on the side of terrorists. When the Egyptian military deposed of Muhammad Morsi, the Obama administration should have given immediate support to the new Egyptian Government, instead of making demands of it to end its war against the Brotherhood and call for new elections that would result in another Islamist-led regime. At the beginning of President Bush’s war in Iraq, one of the first things that happened was Muammar Gaddafi gave up his WMD program and renounced terrorism. While we should shed no tears for the murderer Gaddafi, Libya was neither a threat to the United States nor to Israel. President Obama’s war against Gaddafi was flawed from the start and resulted in al-Qaeda-related individuals taking over the Libyan Government. It also resulted in the deaths of four Americans located in Benghazi. Indeed, today Libya has become the main hub for al-Qaeda in the Middle East.

Regarding Syria, this war is terrorist vs. terrorist. On one side is Assad, Hezbollah and Iran. On the other side is al-Qaeda, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Again, America should not look to fight on the side of terrorists. As well, Presidents Reagan and Bush, Sr. worked hard to make peace with Russia. As a result of Obama’s decision to get involved with the Syrian rebels, we have declared a proxy war with Russia, and any chance of peaceful relations with Russia has been obliterated. President Reagan told Gorbachev to “tear down the wall,” while President Obama is erecting a new wall with Russia – of deceit, distrust and folly.

Then there is Iran, which cannot under any circumstance be permitted to obtain a nuclear weapon. Sanctions will not stop Iran from going nuclear. Sanctions only work to economically punish the populace of nations. The sole thing that will stop Iran from going nuclear is the threat of overwhelming force. In 2009, when pro-USA Iranians took to the streets to protest Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs, President Obama chose to ignore their pleas in an effort to placate the Iranian regime. If Obama did for the protesters there what he did for the Islamist-led Arab Spring, we would not be discussing a nuclear Iran today. We should not hold negotiations with the terrorist Iranian regime, especially while its leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameini, has been actively calling the United States “evil” and Israel an “illegitimate” and “bastard” nation and openly threatens Israel’s annihilation.

Most importantly is Israel, ​and the peace talks sought there by President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, these talks are simply a PR ploy at the expense of Israel’s security. They also are a way to force the American taxpayer to pay millions of dollars for unnecessary flights back and forth to the Middle East in an effort perhaps to make it look like something is being accomplished. We must strive towards peace. Peace is the ideal. However, history has shown us that Israel’s enemies will never accept peace with the Jewish state. Discussing peace before the eradication of the terrorist enemy takes place is both foolish and destructive. America needs to stand by Israel for many reasons, including the fact that Israel is the front lines in our war on terror.

Immigration

We must seal our borders. We are the only country in the world that allows people to enter illegally, thus risking the security of our nation. It is an enormous risk. The State Department has recognized that a number of terror cells within the United States have been created due to terrorists entering our country through the Mexican border. Between terrorists and drug dealers, the American residents at the border are at great risk and peril. It is the obligation of the United States Government to put their safety first. Our immigration laws were established for two reasons: to protect the American people and to protect jobs in America. Enforcing these laws now is even more important than it has been in the past. We have had effective immigration laws in place for decades; we just need to enforce them.

Today we have the technology to establish an e-verify system that will make enforcement an easy task. Where most controversy lies is with amnesty. Americans are a compassionate people, who want, as we always have, to welcome the poor, weary and oppressed.  However, a fundamental cornerstone of America is that we are a nation of laws. We must reject any notion of rewarding law breaking. That is why I do not support amnesty. I will however work with both parties to establish an expanded guest worker program to protect American farmers and allow foreign laborers to work and reside in the United States.

Legal immigration must be streamlined and made inexpensive. The current bureaucracy causes years of waiting and thousands of dollars in costs that many cannot afford. Legal immigrants who receive sponsorships must be protected from abuse and be allowed to seek employment in addition to that which they do for their sponsor. This is not only financially beneficial to our immigrants but it would, as well, provide an economic boost to our country. Those coming to America the right way with exceptional skills should never be punished for seeking freedom. By reforming the system legal immigration will be available to all and the alternative will become unnecessary. Legislation addressing these issues needs to be passed, if we are going to enjoy the rewards of being a great melting pot.

Southwest Ranches Detention Center and Privatized Prisons

The issue of locating a privatized immigration detention center in Southwest Ranches is an illuminating insight into the deceptive and corrupt nature of my opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  As a result of money her campaign received, Debbie was a staunch supporter of the project. She actually wrote a letter along with Senator Bill Nelson in support of it.  The project was to have a private corporation, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), build a prison-like structure in Southwest Ranches to detain illegal immigrants.

I stood strongly opposed to the project, especially due to the nature of the location.  Southwest Ranches is a peaceful residential community comprised of homes, schools, and houses of worship.  The idea of imposing a prison within a stone’s throw of schools occupied by the youngest of children was an abomination.  Of course, the residents were in an uproar at the thought that their safe and quiet community would be subjected to the perils of such a place, not to mention the negative affect it would have on property values.  In countless ways, the center was a nightmare for the residents of Southwest Ranches.

I stand with Tim Canova, Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s primary opponent, who labeled Debbie’s support for the Southwest Ranches Detention Center a “bad decision.”

In many cases, private corporations have proven to be better managed and more efficient than entities run by the US government. However, that has not been the case with privatized prisons. Privatized prisons, in large part due to lack of competition, have a terrible track record in the US and have shown themselves to be completely unnecessary.

What is as well unnecessary is the mass imprisonment of those who are viewed as non-violent criminals. We must not look at persons who suffer from drug addiction as ordinary criminals and potential inmates. They are, instead, individuals who need help. As compassionate human beings, our society should look to provide that help, rather than look to lock people away for being more harm to themselves than others.

NSA, Privacy and Individual Liberty

One of the guiding principles of the framers of our Constitution was to protect the privacy of our nation’s citizens. It was designed to guarantee not only our right to privacy but protection against unlawful search and seizure and in general the tyranny of government;  a principle which has survived in the face of criminal activity, countless wars, communism, and political enemies.  No matter how heinous the threat, the principle was paramount and super ceded the threat. 

Enter the NSA, a government agency of mammoth proportions created to gather information on every citizen of America. This includes both public and private information.  The NSA has removed the firewall between you and your government.  Terrorism is not a valid reason to remove your Constitutional protections, no more than King George had the right to kick in doors and search the homes and establishments of Colonists in the name of security.  The times may have changed, but the concept is the same; you must have probable cause. 

When elected, I will stand with my fellow Congresspersons who support the idea that the right to privacy must be restored.  Let the NSA confine its intelligence gathering to those who have suspicious backgrounds or activities.  Require the NSA to prove probable cause before a judge, in order to gain authorization to access private information. This would fit into historical perspective and serve to protect our personal rights.

We must never compromise or surrender our rights based on a perceived need by government. We must protect those rights which we hold sacred.

Tax Reform

America must banish the current tax code. It is unfair, confusing and burdensome. I will champion a flatter/fairer/simpler tax system that treats all Americans equally and fairly. All Americans should have a vested interest in the financing of their nation. That way, politicians cannot play one American against another – a popular ploy to obscure the issues. I supported Steve Forbes on this matter and was named by Herman Cain as a member of his ‘Army of David’s for doing the same.

With a new system in place, the IRS can be severely downsized or eliminated. Prior to its dissolution, the role of the IRS needs to be transformed from a citizen watchdog group to a government watchdog.  It would be mandated to investigate fraud, waste and duplication in government agencies and programs, thereby streamlining and increasing government efficiency, while saving the taxpayers billions of dollars

I support lowering the corporate tax rate significantly, which will repatriate over a trillion dollars back to the U.S. A high corporate tax rate causes American companies with foreign subsidiaries to file their profits in countries with favorable tax policies. Lowering our corporate tax rate will both increase revenue and repatriate jobs.

Education and Vocational Training

America’s educational system is broken. Our world ranking has dropped considerably, since education was centralized under the Department of Education by Lyndon Johnson. School policy and decision-making should be given over to the local community along with parental involvement. Charter schools and alternative choice schools via a voucher system should be available to families, encouraging more free enterprise.

Competition brings out the best, and it will be good for teachers. Through competition, the best teachers will be compensated very well, while poor teachers will be rejected by the system. By establishing rules of conduct that are enforced, students who wish to learn will be able to do so. Students that disrupt the system should be reassigned to special schools which can better deal with the systemic problems of troubled youth.

The teaching profession is an honorable profession and we should not allow anyone to teach who does not respect the sanctity and responsibility of the profession. Money is not the solution. We spend more per student than any other nation. We unfortunately spend way too much on the bureaucratic end, instead of that money going towards our students; and the best way to spend it on the students is to spend it on the teachers in the form of better and well-deserved salaries.

Americans recognize the value of education and encourage their children to aspire to go to college or university. However, for those in high school who do not have the opportunity to further their education, vocational training is an important alternative.

America has the greatest University system in the world.  A system of education which has grown rapidly in the 20th and 21st centuries as Americans recognized that education is the doorway to opportunity.  In contrast, the vocational educational system has nearly perished.  So much emphasis has been placed on a college education that the vocations have been largely ignored.  Though, learning a trade is a worthy pursuit; and it is good for America.

All types of education are valuable to our nation.  Vocational education is very important because it is practical training.  Trade skills, such as electrician and automotive repair specialist define vocational training in traditional terms and are an important contribution to our economy.   But we must also concentrate our efforts on twenty first century vocational training, focusing on the demands of our cutting edge industries.  Skills that relate to the computer age, biotech, and robotics to name a few, are in great demand.  The needs for skilled people in these industries are growing and offer an opportunity for the business world and the student to work together. 

I will support initiatives that reward businesses for providing on the job training. Accreditation standards should be developed by leaders in these industries, standardizing levels of degrees similar to those in colleges.  Strong incentives will be offered to specific industries to develop in house training in concert with vocational schools or to provide thorough comprehensive in-house training.  If we are to lead in the future we must provide a full range of education designed to advance our competitiveness.    

Veterans

The first obligation of our Government should be the safety and security of its people. Our soldiers and veterans make the ultimate sacrifice: putting their lives at risk for the rest of us. We owe them a great deal, which must be recognized by each of us through our Government policies. The current treatment of our veterans is shameful. Veteran benefits currently take three years to process, while the Veteran’s Administration hands out millions of dollars in bonuses to agency managers for a job well done.

The fact that our veterans lose their homes and finances, while the Government turns a blind eye to their condition, is deplorable and unacceptable. The fact that the Government would even consider lowering their benefit packages and/or deny them COLA increases is unconscionable.

Congress should not be allowed to increase their own salaries or benefits without equal consideration to our veterans. The greatest amount of respect and most generous treatment should be reserved for our troops. I will fight to reform the Department of Veteran Affairs to ensure that veteran payments are processed in a timely fashion and that monies are shifted from bureaucratic waste to increases in medical and psychological support to our veterans and returning troops. They deserve it, because they put America First.

Florida’s Environmental Concerns

There are parts of Florida that were not built to withstand flooding. As Congressman, I would look to bring federal funds to Florida for the renovation of certain areas. This includes the creation of new bays and living shore lines and the bolstering of buildings and sea walls.

Regarding the damage caused by releases from Lake Okeechobee, we have an archaic system that is causing terrible harm to come to our beautiful Florida environment. This effects tourism, fishing and, of course, the lives of the animals that call the water their home. As Congressman, I will fight to bring federal funds to Florida, so that this environmental problem finds a permanent solution, instead of Florida being forced to have a choice between something that is bad and something that is worse.

I will always have Florida’s environment in mind with any type of legislation I choose to get behind. This is our home, and we need to keep it safe and clean.

Constitution

I believe that the American Constitution is the greatest man-made document in world history. It is great because it is based on concepts and values that are timeless and fundamental. They represent our inalienable rights bestowed upon us by our Creator, not by government. Some people believe our Constitution is no longer relevant. They obviously believe that our rights are not bestowed by our Creator, threatening to our freedom as Americans. Our First, Second, Fourth and Tenth Amendments are repeatedly under attack.

The First Amendment is best understood by a quote typically attributed to Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Today, activists commonly threaten people’s careers because they disapprove of what they say. They are invoking a new type of McCarthyism, replacing free speech with politically correct speech. Nowhere in the First Amendment does it say your speech should be politically correct or polite or even civil. Free speech can only be limited in the case of incitement to harm to individuals or groups of individuals. Challenging this concept not only shuts down free debate, but leads to other forms of censorship such as book burning.

Our Second Amendment is an expression of the contempt that our Constitutional forefathers had regarding the tyranny of Government. The right to bear arms is an inalienable right to defend ourselves and our loved ones against harm. The framers wanted the power to lie in the hands of the people, not government. Stripping out the Second Amendment is tantamount to surrendering our rights as a free people and surrendering our lives to criminals who, for the most part, have unfettered access to illegal weapons.

The Fourth Amendment protects our privacy. It prevents the Government from invading our privacy without probable cause and a judge-authorized search warrant. It too was established to limit the authority of Government. It is meant to protect us from the Government, itself. Yet today the Government believes that the threat of terrorism and technological advancements justifies trampling over the Fourth Amendment. The Amendment is as pertinent today as it was when written, because to alter our freedoms to fit the circumstance is to deny that our rights are inalienable.

The Tenth Amendment was established to bestow greater legislative power at the State level rather than the Federal level. Those legislative issues not addressed in the Constitution should be decided at the State level. The founders feared that, if too much power resided within a centralized government, it could and likely would force the will of the few upon the many. The current White House gives us more than enough reason to be fearful of the unbound expansion of federal powers that are invading every aspect of our lives and reducing our freedoms. We must replace them with people who put America First.

Debbie

When Debbie Wasserman Schultz enthusiastically accepted the offer to become head of the Democratic Party, she put her self-interest ahead of her constituency. Instead of protecting her district’s interests, she pledged her unwavering support to the policies of Barack Obama. She decided to choose the President as her master and not the public. She has displayed arrogance towards the will of the people, using deceit and incendiary discourse.

She has repeatedly claimed that you could keep your insurance and keep your doctor, when she knew it was a lie. She claimed to have no knowledge of the removal of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel from the Democratic platform, while serving as Chairperson of the Democratic Party. She falsely stated that the Israeli ambassador called Republicans “dangerous” to Israel. When the Washington Examiner quoted Ambassador Michael Oren denying making such a statement, Schultz attacked the Examiner as a liar. A video immediately surfaced of Schultz making the statement, word for word, as printed in the Examiner while conducting a training session for Jewish Democrats.

She represents the worst face of politics. She employs a destructive political discourse, lodging revolting accusations without any evidence, pitting American against American, doing whatever is necessary for her own benefit, regardless of the harm it causes Americans, and lying without shame or apology.

We can do better and must demand better. Let’s restore sanity and decency to Washington. We will all be better off.

Summary

America will be America the Great again, if it returns to the values that made America great: Self-reliance, pride in accomplishment, freedom of thought and speech, and Judeo-Christian values. But foremost we must put America First and replace the self-proclaimed elitists that roam Washington, D.C. Our politicians must stop marching to the orders of their party or self- interest, when it is counter to the will of the people and the American Constitution. Government service should be treated as a privilege, not a lifetime job. We must put an end to career politicians that are more conscious of their needs than yours.

Compromise must be re-established in Congress. A true leader is willing to make concessions without compromising their values or selling out their nation. That is how a Democracy needs to operate, if it is going to effectively resolve issues. I pledge to serve my constituency; I pledge to work with Democrats without compromising conservative and libertarian values; and foremost, I will put America First.

  • When politicians say Trust Government, say “In God We Trust.”
  • When politicians try to divide us according to income, race, gender and national origin, say E Pluribus Unum – “Out Of Many One.”
  • When Politicians further their own ambitions at the Public’s expense, tell them to put “America First.”