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Barry Berlin's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

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Barry Berlin has demonstrated Political Courage by telling citizens where he stands on the issues he may face if elected.

What is the Political Courage Test?

New Jersey Congressional Election 2012 Political Courage Test

Key

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.

Pro-choiceCandidate AnswerDo you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support United States' combat operations in Afghanistan?
YesDo you support a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan?
Other or expanded principles

We have not accomplished very much after our initial removal of the Taliban. Our continued involvement has generally resulted in ongoing loss of life for members of our armed forces and at a substantial cost to the American people.

Indicate which proposals you support (if any) for balancing the federal budget.
In order to balance the budget,
YesCandidate Answerdo you support reducing defense spending?
YesCandidate Answerdo you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
Nodo you support reducing Medicaid spending?
Nodo you support reducing Medicare spending?
NoIs balancing the budget a legislative priority?
Other or expanded principles

Balancing the budget is a commendable goal, but first the focus needs to be on reducing the deficit.

YesDo you support the regulation of indirect campaign contributions from corporations and unions?
Other or expanded principles

The current campaign finance rules allow too much influence over the voting process based on money rather than the candidates' positions on the issues. There should be full disclosure of all campaign contributions including to Super PACs.

YesDo you support capital punishment for certain crimes?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support providing tax incentives to businesses for the purpose of job creation?
YesDo you support spending on infrastructure projects for the purpose of job creation?
YesDo you support the temporary extension of unemployment benefits?
YesDo you support the 2010 temporary extension of tax relief?
Other or expanded principles

I do not support a further extension of tax relief for high income taxpayers.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support reducing restrictions on offshore energy production?
Other or expanded principles
YesDo you believe that human activity is contributing to climate change?
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns?
Other or expanded principles

There should at least be registration of automatic weapons, e.g., assault rifles.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
YesShould individuals be required to purchase health insurance, as mandated in the 2010 Affordable Care Act?
Other or expanded principles
NoCandidate AnswerDo you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
YesDo you support allowing illegal immigrants, who were brought to the United States as minors, to pursue citizenship without returning to their country of origin?
NoDo you support the enforcement of federal immigration law by state and local police?
Other or expanded principles
YesCandidate AnswerDo you support same-sex marriage?
Other or expanded principles

I support equal treatment for domestic partners who wish to be part of a committed legal relationship.

YesCandidate AnswerDo you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict?
YesShould the U.S use military force in order to prevent Iran from possessing a nuclear weapon?
Other or expanded principles

Military force should only be considered if all other options have been completely exhausted. If there were to be any military intervention, it should be targeted and of short duration.

NoCandidate AnswerDo you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
Other or expanded principles

If this had been allowed before 2008, many people would have seen their social security reduced (as happened with 401(k) plans). Social security is a safety net, not an investment account.

Spending
Indicate what federal spending levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.
Greatly Decreasea) Agriculture
Maintain Statusb) Arts
Slightly Decreasec) Defense
Maintain Statusd) Education
Slightly Increasee) Environment
Slightly Decreasef) Homeland Security
Slightly Decreaseg) International aid
Maintain Statush) Medical Research
Maintain Statusi) Scientific Research
Maintain Statusj) Space exploration
Maintain Statusk) United Nations
Maintain Statusl) Welfare
m) Other or expanded categories
Taxes
Indicate what federal tax levels (#1-6) you support for the following general categories. Select one number per category; you can use a number more than once.
Slightly Increasea) Capital gains taxes
Maintain Statusb) Corporate taxes
Slightly Increasec) Excise taxes (alcohol)
Greatly Increased) Excise taxes (cigarettes)
Slightly Increasee) Excise taxes (transportation fuel)
Maintain Statusf) Income taxes (low-income families)
Maintain Statusg) Income taxes (middle-income families)
Slightly Increaseh) Income taxes (high-income families)
Slightly Increasei) Inheritance taxes
Maintain Statusj) Payroll taxes
k) Other or expanded categories

One area that needs attention is the double taxation of corporate dividends. Corporations pay a tax when they earn income, then their income is taxed a second time when dividends are distributed to shareholders. I would support allowing corporations a tax deduction for dividends paid. This has the effect of reducing, or in some cases eliminating, corporate taxes. Another area of focus should be targeted tax breaks for small businesses to allow reinvestment and encourage job creation.

Please explain in a total of 100 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

Reduce waste and inefficiency in government programs - whether it is in defense, medicare, medicaid, or any other program. This would be a major step toward deficit reduction.
Tax reform - Make the tax code fairer and simpler. One area for change would be to make the alternative minimum tax (AMT) more equitable by not treating state and local taxes as a preference, but adding capital gain income as a preference item (as it was treated originally when the AMT was initiated).
Consumer Protection - Require full disclosure of prices and terms to consumers in advertisements.

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