I firmly believe there is no single solution to any given issue. Public policy needs to be objectively created and spiritedly activated without concern for party control, party ideology and/or "establishment" commitments, but with concern only for the greater good. If said policy shows signs of hope, then it may be improved upon and replicated. If said policy shows signs of weakness or failure then it may be modified, replaced or repealed.
Below is a sampling of my "mindset" on a handful of pertinent issues. But please remember, I will be the first to state there is no single solution to any given issue...
Good Government Priorities
Eliminate gerrymandering. Congressional term limitations. Supreme Court term limitations. Electoral College reform. Dismantle professional lobbying. Promote non-partisan blanket open primaries.
Money and Politics
I stand in dissent. I am adamantly against the corrosive force of money within our American democracy. We the People's voices are becoming diminished, if not silenced, with the billions of dollars that PAC's, Super PAC's, special interest and advocacy groups self-servingly unload on to the political landscape. And what about the Republican and Democratic national and state committees and slates that slide money back and forth at all political levels in the hope to gain or sustain party power and dominance? Can your vote be "purchased"? I would tenaciously support and promote responsible and aggressive campaign finance reform. How could the Supreme Court rule in favor of Citizens United and McCutcheon? I am going to great lengths, and sacrificing much time and energy, so that my voice will-not-be-silenced. As you read this, know that I am screaming;"My name is Greg Dorsey, who are you?"
Fiscal Responsibility and Government Efficiency
Over 19.5 trillion of debt. Over half a trillion fiscal federal budget deficit. Close to a 4 trillion fiscal 2016 outlay, which is 21% of our GDP. A 631 billion Defense fiscal 2016 outlay. A 585 billion Medicare & 344 billion Medicaid fiscal 2016 outlay.
And America's "pay check to pay check" middle class is hanging on by the tips of their fingernails...
4.25 million federal employees (civilian, military, judicial, www.opm.gov; and good luck finding consistent stats; and this might not include part-time military). 2,236 Federal Subsidy Programs (www.downsizinggovernment.org).
And get this: According to "The Daily Caller, Josh Peterson, 5/13/13": ""The U.S. government does not know how many agencies and programs it is asking taxpayers to fund, The Daily Caller has learned. The Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) — which became law on January 4, 2011 — established required quarterly performance assessments of government programs. That bill also mandated that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) create a website that would publish quarterly performance reports by the heads of each agency. Currently that website — Performance.gov, which was launched in 2011 — contains only a partial list of government programs, and important agencies such as the FCC aren’t on the list. OMB is an office within the executive that is responsible for budget development and agency oversight. A spokesperson for the OMB did not respond to The Daily Caller’s request for comment. A spokesperson for the Congressional Budget Office also confirmed to The Daily Caller that the CBO did not have a list of agencies and programs, and instead referred The Daily Caller to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). A GAO spokesman, in turn, referred The Daily Caller to OMB, stating that no list of programs has existed in the past because of the lack of a consensus within the federal government about what constitutes a program. “OMB has not released the list of federal programs but has an effort underway to develop a count,” said another GAO official"".
I support smaller and more efficient government. I would support a complete audit and review period for every US federal and Maryland state government agency/office/program. If tax dollars support the payroll and expenditures then "WE the People" deserve to know what we are paying for and why we are paying for it. Transparency, efficiency and necessity...
Without fresh air to breathe, clean water to drink and uncontaminated food to eat farmed from fertile and hydrated soil, we as HUMANS are nothing. Climate change is now fact, not fiction. We owe it to our children, and to ALL future generations, to make logical decisions and create responsible legislation to promote a sustainable future for all time to come. I fully support the development and application of wind and solar energy, this technology in here and now. I would support start-up incentives for companies involved in the research and development of new technologies and unique products promoting sustainability; in turn creating future corporations, manufacturing facilities and employment opportunities. This is not only an issue of environmental well-being, this is also an issue of future economic growth and opportunity. And considering that Maryland has mountains in the west, an ocean on the east, the largest bay in the country and all four seasons, might our state be a welcoming environment for start-up projects invested in the future expansion of environmental sustainability methods and products.
-MD state personal income tax (for over $3,000 of taxable net income): Between 4.75% and 5.75% (5 brackets).
-MD state corporate income tax: 8.25%.
-US federal personal income tax: Between 10% and 39.6% (7 brackets).
-US federal corporate income tax: Between 15% and 35% (8 brackets; 2 of which are 39% and 38% in order to phase out the benefits of the lower graduated rates).
-US Capital Gains Tax: According to taxfoundation.org: "The current federal top marginal tax rate on long-term capital gains in the United States is 20 percent plus a 3.8 percent tax on unearned income to fund the Affordable Care Act for a total of 23.8 percent for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of $200,000 ($250,000 married filing jointly) or more. In addition, states levy taxes on capital gains income, which range from zero percent in states with no individual income tax such as Florida, Texas, South Dakota, and Wyoming to 13.3 percent in California (Maryland at 5.8%)".
We pay local property tax, state personal income tax, federal personal income tax, payroll tax and possibly capital gains tax and estate tax; and corporations pay state corporate income tax and federal corporate income tax. And what about state sales tax, the excise tax on fuel and local/state government fees? All of this would not sound so bad if there was "clear, present and consistent" middle class wage growth and job creation - a tax base, not a tax burden, right?
What about the regional competitiveness of both personal and corporate tax structures? Is Maryland attractive to new families and/or businesses that wish to relocate to the Mid-Atlantic? Can Maryland retain those who retire on a fixed income?
What about the competitiveness within the international corporate community as a whole? Is America's corporate tax structure retaining and attracting international corporate activity? What about US companies involved in corporate inversion schemes?
And what about personal and corporate deduction loopholes?
I would support legislative incentives (grants, PPP's, minimal/zero interest loans, philanthropic tax incentives, state and federal corporate income tax incentives) designed to inspire "local and regional" business growth and expansion (**excluding international corporations heavily relying on outsourcing and overseas manufacturing) as to create the jobs and wage growth that will be necessary to procure a wide-spread and abundant tax base. I would support TAXING WALL STREET to pay for such programs and incentives.
The larger the tax base, the smaller the individual tax burden.
Much attention will need to be given to the future restructuring of our US immigration system as a whole.
Number 1.) America's immigration system is considered to be slow-moving and out-dated. Number 2.) There are over 12-13 million illegal immigrants inside our nation's borders that have no plans for "self-deportation" or to return to their country of origin.
I would have considered supporting 2013 Senate Bill 744. The “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act”. This bill addressed both sides of the immigration debate and was an actual glimmer of hope with regards to bipartisan discussion and debate on Capitol Hill as the authors, the original "gang of eight", were comprised of four Republicans and four Democrats. S. 744 was passed in the Senate but easily failed to reach the House floor. Penalties, back taxes, strengthening our borders, solidifying E-Verify, permanent "W" visas, restructuring court processes, expanding permanent visas for the highly skilled, welcoming investors and entrepreneurs, among many other talking points; S. 744 was bipartisan Democracy at work.
I fully support my 2nd amendment right to keep arms. I deserve the right to protect myself and my family, from any person or persons that wish to inflict harm, by any means necessary.
I am a responsible gun owner. But, I also support proper and consistent background checks at gun shows and on-line, I also support a thorough mental health database which would be linked to any and all firearm purchases in every state, and I would certainly like to see the integration of a "no-sale" list linked to terror chatter or the US no-fly list.
You cannot begin to compare the number of responsible and law abiding gun owners to the number of hardened criminals and the mentally ill that have used projectile weapons to injure or kill bystanders. Take firearms out of the equation and these same individuals will use bombs, knives, clubs, rocks, etc..
And what about sport? What about hunting, skeet shooting and target shooting?
The Affordable Care Act is not the answer. With solid net profits and ridiculously compensated high ranking officers, US health insurance companies are laughing all the way to the bank while our American middle class is struggling, most apparently through much higher premiums, deductibles, out of pocket limits and co-pays, to absorb the ramp-up in health insurance subsidies and Medicaid.
According to opensecrets.org:
Top 3 Lobbying expenditures by "Industry" for 2014:
1. Pharmaceuticals/Health Products = $229,581,063.
2. Business Associations = $163,018,746.
3. Insurance = $151,271,686
**Top 2 of "Insurance" category: Blue Cross/Blue Shield at $11,938,774 and America's Health Insurance Plans at $9,200,000.
What about a two part restructuring of US healthcare?:
A.) Non-mandatory access to "under 65 single payer medicare". BUT, not by expanding our standard payroll tax withholdings, but by charging a monthly premium like any other private health insurance company would. Couldn't we simply expand upon a system/infrastructure that is currently in place (and remember that Medicare administrative costs are far lower than private companies)?
B.) Convert all private healthcare companies that choose to insure US citizens to a "not for profit" status. Where average compensation and billing fees (for office visits, hospitalization, tests and procedures) would be listed quarterly state by state and where company net profits after a certain savings threshold would be reinvested into the "medical device and procedure" part of the industry driving down the costs of tests, procedures and devices.
Might the two goodwilled (but opposing) forces competitively push and pull each other to a comfortable (and affordable) health insurance policy baseline?
The Failed "War on Drugs" & the Marijuana Conundrum
The "War on Drugs" has failed. It is time to have the difficult discussions and debates over the future of drug prohibition. Too many people are arrested, and possibly incarcerated, for non-violent drug activity which cost tax payers, and the individual, exorbitant amounts of time and money. We, as a state and a nation, could spend a fraction of the current "War on Drugs" tax dollar expenditures on responsible drug education, prevention and rehabilitation. Gangs, drug syndicates and violent crime rule the underground million/billion dollar drug market. Just as the alcohol prohibition aggrandized organized crime and the money and power that came with it, so does the prohibition on drugs.
Urban Public Education Revival
I would support creating pilot programs for: charter schools for the gifted and talented, trade schools, schools for the arts, and basic incentives for high school graduation; AND developing post high school trade schools (after graduating or receiving a GED).
A portion of a WALL STREET TYPE TAX could fund such opportunities.