Responses to Fox News Chicago congressional candidate questionnaire.

(These responses are slightly edited for correctness and clarity. See Fox News Chicago to compare with the opposing candidates’ responses)

How would you change Washington?: I hope to bring a stronger understanding of economics into debates in Congress and around the nation. I will remain aware of my obligation to my constituents and I will remind others in Washington that their constituents are not the corporations who pay for and enrich themselves from their campaigns, but the voters who voted both for and against them at the polls. Legislators need to remain ever focused on the general welfare of their constituents and all Americans and not on the narrow interests of those who most often bend their ear. I will always ask myself how the concerns of constituents can be put into general welfare terms to ensure the legislation which I introduce or support is always of the highest quality achievable.

What’s your plan to encourage economic growth?: I would not encourage economic growth. I would instead work to end the futile pursuit of economic growth which has undermined our economic prosperity. My plan for economic prosperity involves several key steps. First I would end the corruption which has led to Federal and state governments granting powers of nobility to corporations to control the public commons in the form of our natural monopoly industries (transportation networks, communication networks, energy grids and pipelines, insurance, etc.). Second, I would support the proliferation of workers cooperatives to end the exploitative working conditions which undermine productivity and fulfilling work. Third, I would promote programs to end the redistributive policies of government which transfer income from working men and women to corporations. We must replace the misguided policies which always push for more growth with policies which promote prosperity and better lives for all living within the US.

How should the health care bill be paid for?: I would work to repeal the Obama healthcare bill and support medicare for all which funds healthcare entirely through progressive payroll taxes, progressive income taxes, or a combination of the two. A medicare for all program has enormous potential to reduce the costs of healthcare for everyone so the question is not how we will pay for it, but what we will do with the windfalls from implementing such a plan. When candidates like me are no longer beholden to corporate interests we do not have to support legislation which transfers income from working men and women to giant medical insurance corporations. Scarcity is therefore replaced with abundance.

In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Chicago’s gun ban, what is your position on gun ownership?: My view is that the Supreme Court decision is the latest in a pattern of questionable decisions which misconstrue the US Constitution to support corporate interests. This decision does nothing to change my view on handguns which is that possession should remain legal, but I fully support the power of local communities to impose reasonable restrictions and requirements for anyone possessing handguns. The second amendment does not apply here since handguns are not relevant to a well regulated militia. We do not even issue handguns to our soldiers, so how integral to a militia can handguns be? The 9th amendment does apply however, and governments should have a clear and direct interest before prohibiting the possession of anything including handguns. Weapons grade plutonium certainly counts as a clear public interest because of the mass destructive capability. Handguns likewise qualify because of their portability and deadliness. Neither enjoy 2nd amendment protections despite both being armaments.

How do we best address the federal budget deficit, now more than $15 trillion dollars?: The deficit is not at $15 trillion, the national debt is approaching $15 trillion. Our debt problems – both public and private – are caused by the wildly perverse distribution of income in the US. This perverse distribution of income is in turn caused by all sorts of governmental laws and regulations which favor employers over employees and favor financiers over borrowers and savers. These redistributive policies ensure that super-rich corporations and individuals receive incomes too great to ever spend, while working men and women receive incomes insufficient to buy what they have produced. The only solution to this artificially constrained dilemma is for the super-rich to lend to working men and women, either directly through personal debt or indirectly through immense federal borrowing. So the best way (or perhaps only way) to fix our national debt is to fix the wildly perverse distribution of income.

What is your plan for immigration reform?: Immigration – as a danger to the country – is largely a red herring. Our crime problems are not due to immigration and the terrorist attacks of September 11th were not due to undocumented workers. Our unemployment problem is not due to immigration, but is instead due to Wall Street’s control over Washington and its insistence on reining in spending and borrowing at a time when the private sector is unwilling to spend and borrow from the immense pools of credit lying dormant. My platform proposes that every employer employing greater than 10 employees must collectively bargain with their employees and I support renegotiating NAFTA to bring Canada and Mexico along in this policy. I support free and fair trade for workers to seek work anywhere in North America as part of such a renegotiated trade agreement. For other immigrant workers, I support employer-only focused enforcement which does not punish immigrant employees for the illegal hiring perpetrated by their employers.

What else should we be doing to protect America from terrorism?: I propose we replace the pentagon which is trapped in the grip of a military-industrial cartel with a largely civilian based military defense for the the United States proper. This plan would close all overseas bases, end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and make the United States a model World citizen. The enemies the military-industrial cartel finds so profitable to create and foster would no longer view the US as their enemy. While criminal behavior will still exist, I support criminal enforcement policies aimed squarely at such criminal behavior and away from the for-profit focus on drug interdiction which leads to an incarceration rate five-fold that of any democratic nation. By redirecting the enormous quantity of resources wasted on the military-industrial cartel and the prison-industrial cartel we will drastically improve all criminal enforcement, our domestic defense, and simultaneously make us much safer from any and all terrorist attacks.

Do you support a pullout deadline from Afghanistan? Explain: I support the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. I support redirecting a portion of the money currently wasted on military aggression in Afghanistan toward reparations to rebuild Afghanistan’s infrastructure and repair the damage we have let the military-industrial cartel inflict upon Afghanistan. I encourage the negotiation of a UN peacekeeping mission to intervene as NATO troops evacuate the region. I propose an international effort to accommodate political refugees from the region as NATO withdraws.

What would victory in Iraq look like?: Like Afghanistan, Iraq represents a complete failure of our constitutional democracy. The only victory we can gain now is to learn the lessons of this debacle and brace the US citizenry against any future propagandistic manipulation to lead us into any unconstitutional, illegal and immoral invasions. I would support the same policies toward Iraq which I outlined for Afghanistan.

How do we best deal with North Korea?: North Korea is not an enemy of the people of the United States. We should ‘deal’ with North Korea as we deal with any other sovereign nation. We should immediately normalize diplomatic and trade relations with North Korea. We should pressure North Korea to join in the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, but we should do so in a way which eliminates the incentives to North Korea to maintain its nuclear program. It does not help nuclear non-proliferation to threaten war against a nuclear power.

Where do you stand on the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”?: This law is an embarrassment to the United States. It is inappropriate to make anyone’s personal affairs an issue when it comes to military service or any public service. It is also an insult to our military men and women in that it implies they are not professional nor serious about their duties and obligations but would somehow be unable to function with utmost skill because of the purely personal affairs of their military comrades.

How do we best deal with Iran’s nuclear program?: We should pressure Iran to conform to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. The US should also become a leader in green and renewable energy capacity and we should aid Iran and its neighbors in the Middle East in establishing desert solar energy capacities and pumped storage hydroelectric capabilities where suitable conditions prevail. Iran’s obsession with nuclear power is based on its uncritical acceptance of conventional wisdom perpetuated by the energy industry that nuclear is safe, clean, and green. It is none of these. We should reach out to Iran to normalize trade and diplomatic relations and pressure and encourage Iran to conform to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. When Iran recognizes the abundant solar capacities it enjoys, it will no longer feel compelled to pursue a misguided nuclear energy program.

Why should voters believe you can make a difference?: What choice do they have? My opponents have nothing to offer but the status quo: voters know that a vote for them will clearly not make a difference. Honestly, I am not certain I can make a difference, but there are very few of us who have stepped up and are willing to try to make a difference. I hope our numbers swell, but in the 4th District this November 2nd there is only one choice which can make a difference: vote Green. So voters do not have to believe I can make a difference. They simply must know that I am sincere in saying I will do everything in my power to make a difference. We have given over our government, our lives, and our livelihoods to an alien corporate force which treats us as disposable material for an unquenchable quest to satisfy corporate greed. Humans are resilient. Somehow we cope with this intolerable state of affairs. Yet we can do better and so can our posterity. But we must become fully active citizens in our democratic governments or the situation will only get worse.

What is your solution for the energy crisis?: I have a comprehensive plan to address the challenge of climate change and global warming which also includes a detailed plan to meet our energy challenge. The plan relies first and foremost on energy efficiency by deploying long-proven transportation technologies which are wildly more efficient than our current private-vehicle dominated transportation model (see http://campaign.robburns.com/key-issues/climate-change-2020-vision). The plan also calls for deployment of vastly more efficient passive heating and passive cooling systems and other energy efficiency measures. I also support a shift to household solar, large-scale desert solar, run-of-the-river hydroelectric, pumped storage hydroelectric, and large-scale wind farms to meet our energy production needs. For green energy lulls, I support the continued use of existing fossil fuel plants merely as a backup when natural conditions are temporarily insufficient do meet our energy consumption needs.

Who is responsible for job growth in the United States?: Our economy has become increasingly dependent on an engine of debt to stay above water. Because corporations and the super-rich receive incomes so enormous they can never spend them, working men and women end up receiving incomes insufficient to purchase all they have produced. The Chicago school economists erroneously think corporations will simply spend their enormous incomes on investment to drive the economy. However, investment requires consumers with sufficient income to buy the product of that investment. Faced with this dilemma in the early 1970’s the financial sector decided to push consumer debt in the form of credit cards, larger 30 year mortgages, and home equity lines of credit. This stop-gap measure restarted our debt-engine for a short time, but in 2008 that all came crashing down. Now we need to figure out some new way to drive the economy: either by getting workers or the federal government to accept greater burdens of debt or by finally establishing a sane distribution of income to entirely eliminate the need for structural debt.

Given the choice between raising taxes and cutting spending, which would you do? Please explain.: This is a false choice. As long as the private sector is not borrowing and investing, enormous resources lay fallow which creates an opportunity for government to reverse the doomed economic path we have been led down. I support a new modest tax on all financial transactions and tax cuts on all making below the median household income. I also support increased spending in many strategic areas to more than offset the drastic reductions in military spending. This includes: 1) nationalization and upgrading of our monetary system including the Federal Reserve and other such cartels. 2) nationalization, electrification, and otherwise upgrading our interstate rail network; 3) full funding for the Transrapid maglev prototype project in Pennsylvania; 4) the creation of an interstate high-speed railway system to mirror our interstate roadway network; 5) creation of a long-distance interstate electrical transmission system and other programs to transition to a renewable energy economy.

Should any additional restrictions be placed on abortion?: No, I would remove restrictions on abortion whenever possible. Abortion is a private affair and government should always be duly limited from imposing on such private affairs. Criminal laws should only reflect a consensus among the electorate and we corrupt our governments by granting authoritarian control over such private affairs as part of the spoils for seizing and subverting genuine governmental powers. Even for those who believe a fetus is a  human being, it is still a private matter between an autonomous and sovereign woman and the still dependent fetus within her body. Properly limited government therefore has no place dictating or imposing laws on a pregnant woman regarding dominion over her own fetus. I do support many measures to reduce the abortion rate and the rate of unplanned pregnancy such as: greater access to birth control; age-appropriate sex education; and restoration of ADFC so that pregnant women who want to have a baby but simply cannot afford to live and raise a child without public support, can receive the minimal means necessary to support her family.

How long should those who lose their jobs be able to collect unemployment benefits?: Unemployment benefits need to respond to structural changes in our economy. If aggregate expenditures decline, unemployment is a safeguard which ensures some of those most in need and most eager to spend have the income needed to do so. It therefore acts as a fail-safe for our economy to avoid further declines. When we find ourselves in a recession or depression the only responsible thing to do is to extend unemployment benefits until we rise out of our decline. While some may think that lack of unemployment benefits helps restart the economy, the threat of destitution merely makes workers desperate and compels them to take increasingly exploitative jobs. This increased exploitation further distorts our wildly perverse distribution of income and brings greater debt burdens, hinders economic prosperity, and fosters all sorts of other social ills.

Who are your largest donors and how much did they contribute?: I rely solely on small donors: too small to even reach FEC requirements for data collection and reporting. I will report any such donations if they occur. However, I will never accept donations from corporations and any individual who contributes to my campaign knows it buys absolutely no inappropriate influence into the people’s Congress. Rather a contribution to my campaign aids in recovering our Constitutional democracy and aids in making both government and the corporations which government creates serve the needs of the people of the United States.