This is interview #30 in JohnsonForAmerica.com’s “Important Voices” series, where we talk with key figures, such as elected officials, candidates, authors, commentators, and policy experts, about the issues of the day. A new interview is released every Monday and every Thursday, so check back often!
Our guest for today’s Important Voices interview is Stephen Bailey. Stephen is a veteran of the US Air Force. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Chapman University in California. Stephen has a career in engineering and marketing, and he and his wife Reiko have been married for over 20 years. They reside in Niwot, Colorado with their three children, Edison (Eddie) who is 17, Justine who is 13 and 9 year old Jade. The family enjoys the company of their 2 dogs, Lisha and Crystal. Stephen is running for US Congress in Colorado’s Second District.
Josiah Schmidt: What compelled you to enter elective politics?
Stephen Bailey: It was a combination of events. At the personal level, our children are at an age where they are progressing well down the road towards independence, which frees up time for my wife and I to be active beyond raising our family.
At the national level, the election of Obama and strong majorities of progressive Democrats in Congress has created a direct and immediate threat to our liberties and the U.S. Constitution. I received great personal motivation from the numbers and principles of Tea Party and 9-12 participants who also value freedom and constitutionally-limited government.
At the level of our congressional district, we are represented by a progressive socialist — Jared Polis. The objectives that Mr. Polis seeks are detrimental to our country and our freedoms. The people of the 2nd Congressional District deserve a choice between Mr. Polis who will use the power of the government to initiate force against its citizens and someone who reserves governmental power for use in retaliation against those who initiate force and violate the rights of others. That is, a choice between Liberty and Serfdom.
Josiah Schmidt: What issues are most important to Coloradans?
Stephen Bailey: The economy, jobs and deficit spending are all very important to Coloradans. We also understand the connections between our freedom and economic prosperity. Prosperity is not possible without freedom. Our economic collapse and the continued stagnation of our economy are directly related to the increase in the size of government and its interference in our lives.
Josiah Schmidt: What do you offer that your opponents do not?
Stephen Bailey: The incumbent supports the policies of Obama, Pelosi and Reid — continued deficit spending, higher taxes, inflation, greater regulation of individual and business activity and further economic decline all in the name of social justice. We cannot tax, borrow and spend our way to prosperity. Nor can we achieve prosperity by inflating the money supply and devaluing the dollar.
My Republican competitor is a typical mixed set of floating principles. For him, government should be limited except when it should initiate force against its citizens to support causes he deems worthy — he supports government funding of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). He also fails to understand the source of economic prosperity as he has stated that our welfare state is what separates the U.S. from Mexico.
I am the only candidate in this race that understands that the proper and moral purpose of government is the protection of our individual rights as Thomas Jefferson stated in the Declaration of Independence. In support of moral government and our rights, I will work to restore constitutionally limited government, reduce government spending to functions that protect our rights, reduce taxes to the minimum necessary to support these government functions and eliminate the regulatory state.
Josiah Schmidt: How did you come to hold such a liberty-oriented philosophy?
Stephen Bailey: My political ideas began to form as a teenager when I noticed that every time, which was annually, my home town had a budget crisis, it was the police and fire departments that were the first and only threats for budget cuts. It became very clear that the politicians were extorting taxpayers by holding hostage the services the government is morally obligated to provide in order to maintain funding for programs which were beyond the proper function of government.
I subsequently refined my political ideology through reading the works of Ayn Rand and free-market oriented and classic liberal academics such as Milton Friedman, von Mises, Hazlett, Ridpath, Reisman, Binswanger and Peikoff in the areas of economics, philosophy and politics. I subscribed to the Wall Street Journal while taking an economics class in my early 20’s and have been a continuous subscriber since.
In my career in high technology, I have been able to travel to many countries around the world. I have seen the low standards of life & living in 3rd world countries such as Thailand and Malaysia. I have seen the ecological destruction of communism in China first hand. And, I have seen the destructive toll that a moribund labor market such as France’s has on the soul of its workers. French workers are essentially locked into jobs whether they like them or not. Labor laws make it virtually impossible for employers to eliminate positions due to economic/business conditions or fire the incompetent or lazy. Workers of ability have few opportunities as employers are extremely reluctant to take the risk of hiring a new employee. Employers also take advantage of the static labor market by taking employees for granted instead of ensuring their happiness through a good work environment and job satisfaction.
The vast majority of Americans have no appreciation for their high quality of life. Although the pollution problems of China are obvious to any visitor, how many Americans have been to China? A typical holiday in Paris provides no visibility into the quality of work life for the average French worker.
Americans have had the highest quality of life ever experienced by humans. That quality is the result of our prosperity which depends on our freedom and liberty. The level of a culture is the sum of its parts and each individual in a culture can maximize their quality and standard of life only if they are free to act in their own rational self-interest and fully enjoy the fruits of their labor. Prosperity does not come from theft or serfdom.
Josiah Schmidt: What is the first thing you will do as a US Congressman?
Stephen Bailey: So much to do and so little time! We are in a lull between economic storms. Obama and Congress have made it very difficult to ride out the coming storm. Facing an impending flood, they have limited our mobility by chaining us in place with increased regulation and handcuffed us by maxing out our national credit limit. When the waters begin to recede, they will have hindered our ability to recover by burdening us with massive tax increases and inflation which will rob us of our savings and slow our re-building.
We cannot escape the storm. It has been building for years and Obama and Congress have increased its strength by feeding its fury. We will better survive the storm if we are free to move to high ground and fortify our shelters. We can rebuild quicker if the government stays out of our way and protects our savings for the post-storm reconstruction.
Therefore, my priorities are to reduce government spending as quickly as possible with reductions in taxes in appropriate relationship to the reduction in government. We cannot underestimate the benefits from reducing regulations and the intrusiveness of government in our private and commercial lives. Finally, we need to reform the processes of Congress and the Federal Government to make it as difficult as possible for a return to such profligate, immoral government operation into which our devolution has led us to our current state of affairs. We need to restore the checks and balances between the branches of Federal government as well as between the states and the national government. We need an enumerated powers act, single subject legislation requirements and zero-baseline budgeting reforms. We must forever make entitlement spending unconstitutional. Every dollar spent by the government must be approved in a recorded vote every year. We need to restore rationality and complete sunshine to the operation of Congress and the executive branch.
Josiah Schmidt: Which area of government spending would you most like to cut?
Stephen Bailey: Given current circumstances, I believe it is clear that no area of government spending can be protected from cuts. Priority must remain in the areas authorized by the Constitution and directly related to the protection of individual rights. All other programs need to be transitioned to an end with the length of the transition correlated to the ability of the citizens dependent on those programs to become independent. For example, foreign aid and corporate welfare (subsidy) programs need to be eliminated immediately while programs for retirees (Social Security and Medicare) will require longer transitions as current retirees cannot become independent in their lifetimes. Remaining welfare programs for the small percentage of the population that do not have the mental or physical ability to become independent need to be transitioned to the states as required by the Constitution.
Josiah Schmidt: What will you do on the issue of health care?
Stephen Bailey: ObamaCare is about government control and not reform of health care. It cannot be reformed. It needs to be repealed in its entirety. Free market reforms of the health care system are desperately needed. These include:
1. Elimination of tax code bias that encourages employers to provide health insurance. This will have the following positive secondary changes:
a. When individuals purchase health insurance instead of businesses, the portability issue is eliminated. You cannot lose your insurance because you change or lose your job. The problem of pre-existing conditions is a problem of portability.
b. Elimination of “Cadillac” health care plans. When individuals purchase health insurance, they will buy “major medical” insurance products and not pre-paid medical care with 1st dollar coverage after a co-pay. Why? Because it makes no sense to pay a 3rd party for routine care that should be part of the family budget. Involving a 3rd party only adds to the cost. Individuals will instead use insurance to cover major health costs as a hedge against accidents or illnesses creating financial catastrophe.
c. Significant reduction of “evil” insurance companies from interfering with the patient-doctor relationship. The interference occurs today because the insurance companies are providing pre-paid health care and their profits are directly related to their ability to keep costs low. With major medical, the insurance companies involvement in health care matters would occur only for major procedures significantly reducing the involvement (or interference) of insurance companies in patient-doctor relationships. This would also reduce the huge administrative overhead staffs common in doctor and medical facilities.
d. Clearer and open pricing of health services. With individuals directly involved in health care and health care cost considerations, hospitals and doctors will need to provide simple, clear and open pricing of services to satisfy market demands for such information.
2. Elimination of the federal mandate that doctors and hospitals treat anyone that comes to an emergency room regardless of their ability to pay. If you are a baker, how would you react if the government dictated that you must provide bread to anyone who comes to your bakery regardless of their ability to pay?
a. This would eliminate the cost shifting that occurs today as Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements are generally below the costs of providing the services.
b. It will re-establish the fact that we are all free people, including doctors, nurses and hospital staffs.
All of these reforms together will address the affordability issue. When individuals make decisions, it is no one else’s business how much of their annual income they are willing to spend on health care in any given year!
Josiah Schmidt: How would you like to see the War on Terror carried out more effectively?
Stephen Bailey: If we are to fight wars, we must have a Congressional Declaration of War as required by the Constitution. This provides our fighting men and women with the moral authority and backing they deserve when they risk their lives on our behalf. It also forces the President to justify the Declaration by providing Congress with his plan for executing the war to victory.
Without a Declaration of War, I would work to block further funding and conduct of war operations.
National Defense is covered under the enumerated powers of Congress in the Constitution and it is necessary for the protection of our individual rights. I will support war and other military operations only if they are conducted with the clear, unobstructed and unhindered objective of vanquishing our enemies (where an enemy is a country or terrorist group that has violated the rights of U.S. Citizens or taken objective steps to do so). Currently, our military is being put at extreme risk because the rules of engagement prioritize the lives of non-U.S. personnel over U.S. personnel.
It is important to note that there are multiple ways of responding to acts of aggression and objective threats. Since we have yet to address the first 2 criteria — declaration of war or similar constitutional authority and clear objective of vanquishing our enemy at minimal cost in lives and treasure to the U.S. — there’s no reason to debate specifics of how a war or military response should be conducted. It is the responsibility of the President to develop the specific military plan. My comments clearly indicate that the President’s current plan is inadequate.
Josiah Schmidt: Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Stephen Bailey: Our Constitution has been under attack for a long time. The erosion of the Constitution and our freedoms and liberty took a negative turn in the early 1900’s. With the policies of the Bush and Obama administrations, we have seen a clear and very dangerous acceleration in statism and the decline of our liberty.
November 2010 will mark a very important point in our history. The choice could not be clearer for the citizens of Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District and for the nation. The United States was the only country to base its government on the moral principle of individual rights and the protection of those rights. The power of our government was limited to the retaliatory use of force. In November, we will decide the fundamental question: Shall the United States once again restore itself as the shining city on the hill, the beacon of freedom for all mankind? Will it once again limit the power of government to protecting individual rights. Or will humanity lose its last and only protector of liberty?
The election in Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District provides the clearest choice between freedom and serfdom in the country. I am honored and determined to carry liberty’s torch. Will lovers of Liberty in Colorado and the nation help me carry it to victory? Will we send a clear message, not just to Washington, but to the world that America has rediscovered its love of Liberty and the protection of individual rights?
Josiah Schmidt: Where can people go to find out more about you and contribute to your campaign?