Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Interview with Larry Ishmael

I recently had the opportunity to conduct an online interview with the Republican challenger to Jay Inslee’s Congressional seat, Larry Ishmael.

Before agreeing to the interview, he claimed that he was a non-partisan moderate so I figured what the heck; I’ll see what he has to say.

Here are the results of that interview:

Why are you running for Congress?

I am running for Congress because Congress, and especially Jay
Inslee, have completely lost touch with the American people. They are too concerned about their life-long political careers than about representing the people of the United States.
I agree with him here. Great answer! 
Do you have any ideas for health care reform and if so, what are they?

Yes. I have a specific program for this: first and foremost, all Americans have to be in the same pool rather than broken down by individual employers like it currently works (or
doesn’t work). For example, if you work for a company with 20 employees and one employee gets AIDS, then everyone in the pool has to pay higher premiums. By having everyone in the same pool you spread that risk over 300 million people thereby reducing health care costs for all Americans. Secondly, we need to be able to select the health care we need. For example, we are paying for maternity care but my wife and I can no longer have children. Why should we pay for something we cannot use? Finally, a basic health care plan can be provided to all Americans using a tax credit of, say, $5,000 for every American or $8,000 for families. With the new lower costs, this will buy a significant amount of health care.
Other than the thing about tax credits, I agree. I like his ideas about coming from the same pool and being able to choose what type of coverage you have. I just don’t think that tax credits is the best way to fix this problem. 
What are your thoughts on corporations that move their workforce overseas? Is this something that the government should legislate or keep out of? 
There are two types of immigrants into the US, Uneducated low income immigrants who work for minimum wage, and highly skilled and highly educated immigrants who work for major corporations like Microsoft, Boeing, etc. By expanding the latter using high-end visas we can keep more jobs at home and do not have to send work abroad. By increasing the pay to the former group we get cheap labor that we would normally send jobs abroad to keep costs down.

Do you think corporations that outsource their work overseas in order to make a better profit should be penalized in some way? If so, how should they be penalized?

I'm really not into punishing companies for making a profit. However, we can provide them with fiscal incentives to keep jobs at home.
What are your thoughts on the recent bailout situation?

The recent bail out was a major miscalculation by all accounts. It
hasn’t helped Wall Street and goes against our very principals of capitalism by nationalizing the banking industry. I would have preferred that we invest in these Wall Street firms and taken Preferred Stock in return… then allow those greedy CEOs to work their own way out of this fiasco. This guarantees as well as anything that the American People will be paid back our hard earned tax money.

What are your thoughts on campaign finance laws and term limits for U.S. Senators and Congressmen? 

I am very much in favor of term limits for the Senate (2 six year terms), and the House (6 two year terms). The McCain-Feingold Act took away corporations from the equation of campaign finance, but left in union donations, which is the D’s major contributor year after year. By making candidates scrounge for money on their own, they are forced to take money from special interest groups and lobbyists, so having only government paid campaign funds will give the country back to the American people. My opponent takes 57% of his donations from special interest groups and lobbyists.

So do you think this type of funding would help the country give third parties a better chance or do you think that the two-party system is working well enough that this needs no reform?

Yes. If the country funds campaigns, it would level the playing field and allow all parties to move to plead their case equally. 
I agree! 

Regarding the War in Iraq, do you think it is time for us to pull out or do you think we should stay the course?
I believe that we have met our objectives in Iraq by throwing out Saddam Hussein and giving the country back to the Iraqi people. I believe we should start withdrawal immediately on a province by province basis as there are only three provinces giving us problems at the present time. 
I like his ideas on this as well. Too bad nobody else I have heard from on this feels the same way. 
What are your thoughts on defense spending? Should we cut the defense budget by doing things such as closing some overseas bases and reducing the amount of redundant technology among the services? 
Currently our defense spending is 20% of the federal budget. Only about 5% of that is for the War on Terrorism. The rest is for development of weapons, etc., which creates a huge portion of the jobs in this country. The government has worked hard at reducing the overlap in the Defense Department, but continued spending is necessary to stay one step ahead of our enemies. I am not a hawk, but I do believe that our freedoms are being attacked daily by Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Pakistan, Iran, etc. These require very different technologies to fight these threats, and we need to be prepared for all of them.

I might add that Social Security takes up 21% of the Federal Budget as does Medicare/Medicaid. The
Ds want free public health care run by the government, but we cannot afford Medicare/Medicaid and the D led Congress voted to reduce funding to private physicians who Medicare/Medicaid work. How then, with 21% of our budget just working on seniors 65 and over as well as indigent children, will be ever be able to pay for free public health care by the government if we can’t afford just that one small segment of the population?
So in what way would you say that countries such as Russia, Venezuela and Iran are attacking our freedoms? Wouldn't you agree that we need to have better diplomatic relations with these countries as opposed to exercising our military might against them?
Also, you say that the government has worked to reduce overlap in the
DoD. Could you cite specific examples?

Russia is taking back freedoms they have already given their people. Venezuela is using oil as a weapon to fund terrorism and communist insurgents in Latin America and Africa. I did not say we only use force. I believe that walking softly and carrying a big stick is the best way to preserve our freedoms... even if we never have to use our stick.
Finally, the DOD has combined intelligence services to stop overlap. Now, when we go after terrorism we have all services represented in the same action/strategy rooms. Further, in our battle plans we are coordinating efforts better and standardizing munitions wherever possible. I could site many more examples but this is all the time I've got. 
If elected, what are going to be your priorities in your first term?

The first order of business is to put pressure on Congress to address balancing the budget. That means getting Social Security under control, reducing spending like I have in Latin America by creating public-public partnerships and public-private partnerships to provide more efficient and less costly ways of conducting the business that government has usurped. I also want to work on a solution to the
health care industry to lower costs (as I have previously explained). There are a lot of ways to bring pressure to bear on leadership by going over their heads to the media and to the people.

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