You can always tell when election season is approaching. The lies and misrepresentations rear their ugly heads.
Such is the case in my race against long-time incumbent Rep. Lois Capps. Recently, a supporter gave me a fundraising letter Mrs. Capps sent out. In it, she blamed all of our country's problems on former President George W. Bush and tried to characterize my positions on several issues as extreme, including the issues of Social Security and education.
I'm told it's the standard political playbook: Go after your opponent so no one looks at your own abysmal record. It may have worked in the past, but not this year and not this election.
First, I have said repeatedly that Mr. Bush was wrong to spend money we didn't have and run up our debt. Unlike Mrs. Capps, I'm not afraid to stand up and say when I disagree with my party's leadership. But the solution to Mr. Bush's over-spending was not to spend even more money that we don't have the way the current administration and Congress have.
We are borrowing 41 cents of every dollar we are spending now.
When you've dug yourself into a hole, the first thing you do is stop digging and making the hole deeper -- not dig faster.
And yes, I do have very different positions on the role of government than the incumbent. Mrs. Capps seems to believe the federal government knows best about pretty much everything, apparently. She thinks the government should be able to dictate our health care choices, tell us what kind of light bulbs to use, dictate our energy use, restrict and control our financial choices, decide how much money we can keep, etc.
Looks to me like Mrs. Capps and her friends in Washington are control freaks who believe we should all fall in line with their worldview. Our leaders in Washington seem to think we work for them and they view us as little more than ATMs to fund their spending ambitions. Enough already. They work for us.
We face significant challenges in our country. Our debt is mounting rapidly and the president's budget proposals have huge ongoing deficits. Our entitlement programs have a massive unfunded and unpayable liability that is sure to increase. This is not a sustainable course, yet Mrs. Capps seems to feel we should continue down this path to financial doom.
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.
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.
It's not working, so why keep doing the same thing? Mrs. Capps seems to think our current bloated government is working just great, I disagree.
This election has two candidates who believe very differently on the issues of spending, jobs and the role of government in our lives, to name a few. I'd welcome the opportunity to discuss my stand on the issues with the congresswoman, but she won't debate me. She'd rather distort my positions to try and raise money for her campaign.
No matter how much she tries to duck debates, distort my position and deceive the public, this election is about her and her commitment to putting what's best for her political party above the people. That won't happen with me as your congressman.
This campaign isn't about party, it is about policy. It is about common sense and whether or not we are going to bankrupt our country. As voters, you deserve a representative who is eager, willing and able to engage the voters and their challengers in an open exchange of ideas.
The author is a candidate for the California's 23rd Congressional District.