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John Blust on the Issues

Control Spending / Lower Debt

Illegal ImmigrationA national debt of $19 trillion, which is rising daily, is a direct threat to our existence as a nation. Uncontrolled spending and debt place the future of our children and grandchildren in jeopardy. We need entitlement reform to lower the more than $100 trillion unfunded liability (future debt to come) we face. There needs to be a spending cap to control the growth of non-defense discretionary spending so that we can weed out waste, fraud, and abuse. Zero-based budgeting needs to be applied to all non-entitlement spending. In addition to spending restraint, we must unleash economic growth in order to have the resources to balance the budget within the next few years.

Tax Reform / Simplification

We need to pass a major tax reform bill in the 2017 session of Congress that implements a flat tax with a rate of 15 percent; with all deductions and credits eliminated except home mortgage interest, charitable contributions, and large medical expenses. This would allow a tax return to consist of one sheet of paper. The tax code and tax regulations consist of more than 80,000 pages, and no one can fully understand or comply with them. The compliance costs of this monstrosity are a major drag on economic growth and job creation. We need to eliminate the IRS and start over with a new administrative agency that respects our citizens. If we can get spending under control, return to limited government, and repeal the 16th Amendment, it will be possible to transition to a fair tax system.

Regulatory Reform

Dodd-Frank needs to be repealed. Dodd-Frank has greatly inhibited bank lending to small and mid-sized businesses, as well as the financing of entrepreneurs with new business ideas because it is even more impossible to understand and comply with than the tax code. This also has killed economic growth and job creation. We should require a cost-benefit analysis for any proposed regulation with a projected economic impact above a threshold level. Existing regulations should also be reviewed for their cost versus benefits and repealed where they don’t make economic sense. Congress needs to take back the legislative powers it has delegated to executive branch agencies, which has resulted in unaccountable bureaucrats making laws instead of elected and accountable legislators.

Repeal and Replace Obamacare

Obamacare is yet another government program that has been so costly and difficult to implement that it has destroyed economic growth and job creation. It needs to be fully repealed and replaced with market-based reform that restores incentives to patients and leaves decisions to patients and their doctors. Subscribers should be able to purchase health insurance across state lines, which will increase competition and reduce costs. Medical savings accounts should be permitted throughout the country, as well as concierge-type plans in which medical treatment can be administered without third-party payers.

Secure the Border / Control Immigration

This is a national security issue. This country is in grave danger if anyone can just pick up and come into this country contrary to our laws. Our national sovereignty is at stake. We have to be a nation of laws. Securing the border means not only building the wall, but having the resources to track and prevent those who enter this country legally at first from overstaying their visits – or from staying permanently. Anyone here illegally who commits any kind of crime should be deported. Sanctuary cities must be abolished. E-verify should be fully implemented and enforced. If those here illegally cannot find jobs, the incentive to come here will be gone, in most instances. We cannot allow unvetted refugees into this country. Instead, we can assist refugees who are relocated to other countries.

Defend America / Strong Military / Honor Veterans

Our military must always be the best in the world. Peace through strength works, as President Ronald Reagan proved. We need to shift funds away from non-combat expenses and place more resources into special operations units to meet the growing threat from non-traditional forms of warfare. Procurement reform can free up resources to improve the combat capability of our force structure. This can also free up more money to devote to caring for our veterans who come home from war with enormous problems. The treatment of veterans under the Obama administration has been disgraceful.

Reform Congress / Follow the Constitution

Congress itself needs to be more accountable to the people and needs to take back powers usurped by the executive branch. “Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution begins with “All legislative powers, herein granted, shall be vested in a Congress of the United States…” Congress simply cannot allow the President to exercise law-making powers vested solely in the legislative branch by the United States Constitution. Congress, and hence the federal government, is vested only with enumerated powers and one of the reasons we face so many problems is that the federal government has involved itself in matters reserved by our Constitution to the states or the people themselves. On budgetary matters, one reason spending has raged out of control is that Congress has stopped enacting the separate appropriations bills for the departments of government and has passed continuing resolutions funding all of government. These have been passed late in the congressional session under time pressures that have allowed the President to get whatever funding he wants. Congress must return to regular order and stop rolling over for the President.

Reform the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve has become a government outside the government with enormous powers over our economy totally unaccountable to the people. The Federal Reserve must be audited and reformed so that its sole mission is to keep the value of the dollar constant. The Federal Reserve has been purchasing an enormous amount of the new national debt issued each year and its balance sheet needs to be greatly reduced. The artificially low interest rates for over eight long years now have robbed small savers, particularly our senior citizens, of hundreds of millions of dollars in interest income on savings accounts, money market accounts, CDs, and other type vehicles where the average American keeps his or her savings. This has, in effect, amounted to an enormous tax increase on the middle class.

Foreign Policy

While much of foreign policy is the prerogative of the President, the Congress plays a vital role through its power over the purse and the Senate, particularly, through its power over treaties and confirmation powers over executive branch appointees. Congress should have made clear, for example, that it would not abide by the Obama “deal” with Iran, which was not even classified as a treaty. Trade deals should be examined with much greater scrutiny to ensure that they are negotiated in the very best interests of the United States. Any military involvement in foreign countries should be limited to instances where there is a clear-cut national interest, an achievable objective, and a clear exit strategy. Commitments to our allies must be upheld.

Protect the Second Amendment

The Second Amendment exists to ensure the rights guaranteed by all of the other amendments. If the Second Amendment were gone, in short order all of your other rights would be gone too. The right to bear arms is fundamental to liberty and to personal protection. “Gun control” amounts to, in effect, keeping guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens and allowing them to stay in the hands of criminals, who disregard the law. That regimen makes us less safe. Dr. John Lott wrote a book, “More Guns, Less Crime,” which lays out the empirical proof that we are better off when the good guys have guns.

Defend Life

Human life is a precious miracle of God. The more than 55 million unborn children destroyed since 1973 is a national tragedy. Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and the whole issue should have been left to the states, as it was prior to 1973.

Energy Independence

We must pursue an “all of the above” energy strategy that unleashes America’s potential and allows us to produce enough oil and other fuels so we do not need to rely on imports from unstable areas of the world. This will also help to alleviate our trade deficit. Modern technologies should be encouraged fully, and development must be allowed in energy-rich regions that are currently off-limits. Regulations must allow for nuclear power to be used where it is economically viable. Renewable fuels are great, but market forces must determine to what extent they are developed, not government subsidies, some of which have led to fraud and corruption.

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