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Tom Watson's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

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Tom Watson refused to tell citizens where he stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2012 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Issue Positions

In response to the increasing unwillingness of candidates to answer issue questions, Project Vote Smart has researched Presidential and Congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues. These issue positions, from the year 2010, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Unknown Position Unknown Answer Abortion Issues: Do you consider yourself pro-choice or pro-life? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Budget, Spending, and Tax Issues: Do you support the elimination of the federal estate tax? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
No Inferred Answer Budget, Spending, and Tax Issues: Do you support using government funds in an effort to stimulate and improve the economy? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Tom Watson. 2010. Noozhawk: 2010 Republican Congressional Candidate Q&A with Tom Watson. Responded: "Fannie and Freddie need to be taken off the taxpayer dole as soon as practicable and sold on the public market or put in receivership. Both of these organizations played a key role in the current meltdown by providing a secondary market, at the urging of Congress, to give banks an outlet for high-risk loans, also at the urging of our government, that had an implicit government guarantee. The conditions that allowed the housing meltdown to occur were largely created by the federal government. The market will create a secondary market on its own for loans if it makes economic sense and does not require government sponsorship. We don't need more government interference or manipulating the market to achieve social goals, in this case home ownership. The housing market, like any market, is going to find its own bottom based on economic fundamentals - with or without government interference," to the question: "Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are losing taxpayer money at alarming rates - a combined more than $20 billion alone in this last quarter on top of a $145 billion bailout. With no turnaround in sight, is it realistic to expect these entities to actually stabilize the housing and mortgage markets? Have they outlived their usefulness? What is an alternative?" (
  • Tom Watson. SLO Candidate Forum - May 6, 2010. Responded: "Entrepreneurial Capitalism is what made this country the engine of prosperity that has allowed this country to be the most prosperous in history. Nationwide, over 90% of people in the private sector work for small businesses of less than 20 employees and almost all new private sector jobs are created by small business and start-ups. We need to reduce regulation and taxes on business on the productive sector of our economy. We have the 2nd highest corporate taxes in the developed world, they need to be reduced. Capital Gains taxes should be kept at their current level or reduced not raised. Capital formation is a precondition to job growth and investment. When you tax an activity you get less of it, why on earth would we want less capital formation when that is precisely what we need to provide investment capital to new businesses? We need to free, not shackle the American entrepreneur. Regulation is strangling the entrepreneur, driving up costs, costing jobs and driving business overseas. We need to reduce the regulatory burden on business in this country and California in particular," to the question: "What policies would you support to increase jobs?" (
  • Tom Watson. Issue Position: Economic Recovery and Job Growth. "It's apparent that Washington doesn't understand: Government is overhead. Government adds no value to products, it creates no wealth, and it absolutely cannot create self-sustaining, revenue- and profit-producing jobs. Every government job has to be subsidized by taxing and removing productive capital from the private sector. Only the private sector can deliver sustainable job growth and robust economic recovery. The problem? Government at all levels presents businesses with obstacles to success by over-regulation and excessive taxation. What's needed in Washington are representatives with private-sector experience, who realize that have to grow -- not tax -- our way out of this self-created mess." (
  • Tom Watson. Issue Position: Spending and Budget. "The deficit and national debt isn't a revenue problem. It's a spending problem. Federal spending is out of control and must be reduced. Domestic discretionary spending has skyrocketed, increasing over 20% with borrowed money, in a year when the economy is contracting and revenues are declining. We have added more debt in the last year than over the entire eight years of the previous administration -- which also spent too much. Tax increases are not the answer for government's reckless spending. They simply require Americans to surrender ever more of their hard-earned money, and deprive the private sector of capital that is essential for job creation and economic expansion. Taxpayers deserve political representation that is committed to creating government that will serve them, rather than enlisting them to serve a huge, expensive, and unresponsive government. Irresponsible government spending endangers the financial health of our country, crowding out private investment, and unjustly burdening future generations with unsustainable levels of debt. No country can simply print money, spend, tax and borrow its way to prosperity; that approach never has worked and never will." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Business and Employment Issues: Do you support privatizing elements of Social Security? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Tom Watson. It's Election Time: Get Ready for Smear Attacks. 10 October 2010. "This year, the Social Security system will likely pay out more in benefits than it will collect in payroll taxes -- about 10 years earlier than forecasted only two years ago. The Social Security Trust Fund has no actual money in it, just IOUs we taxpayers are on the hook for. All that money has already been spent. Yet, Mrs. Capps wants to stick her head in the sand and pretend everything is fine and misrepresent my positions because I dare to point out that the system is broken. We simply cannot continue doing what we are doing; it isn't working and we are destroying our children's future. It is a total lack of common sense to say everything is right with this government-run system. If it were a private corporation, Social Security would be facing Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation because its liabilities greatly exceed the ability to pay. Younger people who are paying into it now will never see the promised benefits from the program. Almost nobody under age 50 believes they will receive the benefits from Social Security and Medicare, and they are correct. So yes, it has to be changed, and to think differently shows a lack of understanding of the situation and no commitment to actually fixing problems." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Crime Issues: Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Education Issues: Do you support federal education standards and testing requirements for K-12 students? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Tom Watson. It's Election Time: Get Ready for Smear Attacks. 10 October 2010. "I support an overhaul of the Department of Education and its relationship to the states because we have failing public schools, programs that suck up money and don't deliver results, and not enough money getting into the classrooms to help the students. California used to have the best public schools in the country; now they are almost the worst." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Environment and Energy Issues: Do you support enacting environmental regulations aimed at reducing the effects of climate change? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Tom Watson. 2010. Noozhawk: 2010 Republican Congressional Candidate Q&A with Tom Watson. Responded: "Absolutely not! This bill is an economic disaster for our country and is nothing more than a way to control our behavior and pick our pockets. The average family would face thousands of dollars per year of extra energy costs. It will do nothing of any significance to abating carbon emissions, but will cost our economy dearly in terms of jobs and growth. California's own poorly thought out global warming bill, AB 32, is already driving business out of the state," to the question: "Do you support the cap-and-trade bill that Congress may resurrect this year? Why or why not?" (
  • Tom Watson. 2010. Noozhawk: 2010 Republican Congressional Candidate Q&A with Tom Watson. Responded: "Energy, growth and standard of living are inexorably linked. Our security as a country is also strongly linked to the availability of reliable supplies of cost-effective energy. Industry requires energy. Individuals require energy. Innovation requires energy. Services require energy. Energy is a fundamental input to nearly every human activity. Every new drug we invent, every crop we grow, every house we build, every bottle of wine we bottle, every new microprocessor we design, every new telecommunications satellite we launch, every new iPhone or similar device we invent, requires energy input at every level of invention and manufacture. It's clear that cost-effective energy is critical to the long-term health of our country and we need to effectively exploit our own natural resources and make greater use of nuclear power. At the same time, Americans have an obligation and responsibility to protect and preserve our environment and leave behind a healthy and sustainable planet. These can be and are mutually supportable goals if we wisely use our boundless ingenuity to meet these objectives. Technological advances allow us to use our natural resources in ways that have minimal impact on our environment; we need to use our natural technological edge to our advantage. And Washington needs public servants who understand how to use technology to reconcile the need for energy with environmental sensitivity," to the question: "Energy security and sustainability are major challenges for the United States. What policies do you or would you support to meet the U.S. energy demand while ensuring an economically and environmentally sustainable future?" (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Gun Issues: Do you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
No Inferred Answer Health Issues: Do you support a publicly-administered health insurance option? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Tom Watson. 2010. Noozhawk: 2010 Republican Congressional Candidate Q&A with Tom Watson. Responded: "85 percent of Americans are happy with their health care and health insurance. Why you would upend a system people are generally happy with to solve a problem that only about 3 percent of the country has makes no sense. We have a cost problem, not a care problem, and this bill does nothing to address the real problem we have and, in fact, will make it worse. The recently passed health-care reform will ultimately benefit nobody. It will raise costs, reduce choices and ultimately eliminate private care for most individuals. The 3 percent of the currently uninsurable may benefit in the short run but at the expense of the best health care available in the world. How does this make any sense? It is the tail wagging the dog. This bill is a disaster for our country and it needs to be repealed and replaced with market-based approaches that will address the actual problems we have with cost growth, without introducing more market-distorting government mandates and controls that have done much to create our current problems," to the question: "How, specifically, have Americans already benefited from the newly enacted health-care reform? What have been the disadvantages? How would you fix them?" (
  • Tom Watson. Republican Tom Watson Running for Congress in Bid to Promote Change. 17 March 2010. "He said single-payer options will lead to rationing and a lack of cost sensitivity at the point of purchase. 'A universal health-care system is a bad idea,' he said. 'It has failed everywhere it's tried.'" (
  • Tom Watson. Issue Position: Health Care. "Let the health care market function as an actual market and it will respond like a market. Medical care in fields that are not subject to the current third party payer system, like cosmetic surgery, Lasik eye surgery or Concierge type care have shown that the quality will increase and the relative cost will decrease if normal market forces are allowed to work. The United States has the most innovative healthcare system in the world that delivers the best quality of care. The vast majority of new drugs, medical devices and surgical innovations originate in the U.S. and American researchers dominate the medical literature. This is evident by the tens of thousands of foreigners who travel to the United States specifically for advanced medical procedures. Let's keep it that way. Let's not destroy the best health care in the world to solve a self-created problem. Let's work to make our system even better. Let's allow people to make their own choices along with their Doctor and not some faceless government bureaucrat. You own your body, the government doesn't. They shouldn't be making your health care choices for you." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Immigration Issues: Do you support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Tom Watson. SLO Candidate Forum - May 6 2010. 21 May 2010. Responded: "It is a sad state of affairs when a sovereign State government feels like they have enforce federal laws because the federal government refuses to do so. Yet that is where we are. Arizona has a serious law and order problem with rampant violent crime stemming directly from illegal immigration and the drug trade flourishing due to the porous border with Mexico. As I understand the law they passed, they are simply enforcing federal laws that are not being enforced which are causing significant local problems. They are within their rights to take action to protect their citizens and I believe this law will survive court challenges. The Federal Government needs to enforce the existing immigration laws they passed and control our border. If you don't have a border you don't have a country," to the question: "What is your stance on illegal immigration and the new Arizona law?" (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer International Policy Issues: Do you support United States military action in Afghanistan? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Tom Watson. Issue Position: Security and Defense. "As a former military officer, I believe the best battle is the one you never have to fight. And the best way never to have to fight is to be so strong that no one dares to pick a fight with you. That simple reality is lost on many in our national leadership. That's a tragedy, as history shows that a passive approach -- one that relies on the good intentions of our adversaries -- has proven to be hugely costly on a human scale. We need to be clear-headed about the threats we face from terrorists who would detonate nuclear, biological or chemical weapons in any American city if they could. Their goal is to kill as many innocent Americans as they can. This unfortunate reality does not disappear just because our leaders seem reluctant to face it. The better course is to act in accordance with the facts, rather than hoping that in ignoring them, they will go away. History demonstrates again and again that weakness begets aggression. Our military -- the best in the world -- needs and deserves our continued, focused support." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Social Issues: Should marriage only be between one man and one woman? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.


Candidate Answer

Official Position: Candidate had the Political Courage to address this issue directly.

Inferred Answer

Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue directly, but Project Vote Smart inferred this issue position based on the candidate's public statements, voting record, and evaluations from special interest groups.

Unknown Answer

Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue.

Project Vote Smart's Research: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position.

Other or Expanded Principles & Legislative Priorities are entered exactly as the candidate has submitted it. Project Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

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