The Tea Party Patriots recently asked me to respond to a set of YES or NO questions that were basically impossible to answer. However, I felt it was an opportunity to untangle many of the confusions perpetuated by the Tea Party by providing some extended commentary and more nuanced responses to the questions. My (somewhat edited and updated) responses follow here.

2010 Midterm Election Voter Guide Questionnaire

Will you vote to completely repeal Obamacare (Patient Protection and Affordability Act)?

Some of the calls  for repeal involve repealing the decent parts and maintaining the mandates and other corrupt pieces of the law. I would vote to repeal, but only as part of a vote to replace the oligarchical, oligopoly and autocratic private corporate and for-profit health insurance with a National Insurance Fund to provide universal healthcare insurance coverage at lower cost than we currently pay for healthcare. Accordingly, I also support HR 676 which should have been approved instead of the Obama Healthcare Plan. In such a natural monopoly sector of our economy we should not be subjected to the autocratic and authoritarian whims of private for profit corporations and we should certainly not force the public to buy insurance from those autocratic for-porfit corporations

YES I would repeal the mandates to buy private insurance. NO I would not support the continued corrupt granting of powers of nobility to private for-profit corporations which deny the US electorate a republican form of government over governmental powers (where the general welfare is undermined by institutionalizing insurance fraud for privileged insurance and otherwise financial corporations).

Do you support any of the Cap-and-Trade legislation that is currently making its way through Congress?

I do not support any current legislation, but I would support a permit fee auction system for carbon emissions. Cap and trade can lead to perverse predatory and gambling manipulations of our crucial energy markets. A closely guarded permit auction would instead place a market price on carbon emissions while providing ample funds to support a transition to a green and renewable energy economy and thus brace consumers from bearing much of the costs of carbon permit fees.

NO I do not support any bills currently in Congress, but YES I might support a bill that had a cap and trade provision (though I prefer another course with fewer possibilities for predatory financial manipulation)

Will you work toward and vote for a balanced budget amendment?

I do not support a forced balanced budget. Such a forced measure would do one of two things. It would either cause our economy to further spiral downward as demand dried up or it would force US households to take on more private debt when they are already drowning under excessive debt obligations. Our debt problems are due to the wildly perverse income distribution we face in the United States which in turn is created by federal government policies that subvert unions, undermine basic income supports, and otherwise weaken the position of the majority of the US population in relation to their employers. However, most employers do not really benefit from these policies either as they are largely in place to bolster Wall Street’s predatory and parasitic dominance over our lives. The employers thus pay most of the ill-gotten gains from their employees right on up to Wall Street elites.

So NO.

Would you be willing to sponsor and vote for legislation that truly reforms entitlement programs (including Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and Welfare)?

I might support some reforms in these areas, but it would more likely be to expand coverage, reduce the retirement age, and universalize medicare. I also support a restoration of ADFC to provide income supports especially for single parents who cannot both care for their children and work outside the home or alternately find fulfilling and sufficient income employment to pay for market childcare services.

YES I would be willing to sponsor and vote for legislation that truly reforms entitlement programs but NO not at all like the tea party typically supports which would only support the predatory impositions of Wall Street elites.

Will you vote for a bill requiring all legislative matters be available online and fully scored by the CBO 72 hours before consideration by any subcommittee, committee, or a floor vote is taken (i.e. Senate Resolution 307)?

YES, at least for any main bills. I do think some minor amendments from the floor should be permitted without continual delays.

Will you reaffirm your commitment to free market principles by opposing future bailouts and Keynesian stimulus packages, allowing businesses to prosper or fail by their own merit?

I support free markets more than anyone I see running for Congress. I only support market restrictions when human beings themselves are made the object of commerce or contract, because such objectifications of human beings puts the freedom of trade above the freedom of living and breathing human beings. However, I also support government stimulus programs to provide a counterforce to the irrational exuberance and economic crisis brought on by the often greed induced frenzy of private enterprise: especially monopoly and predatory enterprise which is likely inevitable when markets are freed. I opposed the bailouts however because all governmental programs must be always for the general welfare and not designed to line the pockets of those who wield undue control of government. So any economic stimulus programs must be merely programmed spending in line with what government would otherwise undertake. It is therefore advisable to queue infrastructure investments and other projects which government can undertake when money-hoarding grows rampant for private enterprise who, through the paradox of thrift, end up leaving invaluable resources to waste. Government should remain ready in such circumstances with investment in projects suitable only for government investment. In this way commerce can continue largely unabated and enterprise only fails due to their own deficiencies and not due to capricious business cycles.

YES I affirm my commitment to freedom of commerce in all things except human beings (and some restrictions on animals and other forms of life and not holding minors fully responsible and empowered to engage in commerce). NO I do not think governmental measures to dampen business cycles goest at all against the tenets of free commerce.

Do you understand that the Constitution is a contract granted from the States to the Federal Government and that the 10th Amendment guarantees states the right to challenge federal laws they deem to be unconstitutional?

Not exactly. I understand the Constitution as a contract among the states – states which pursued such a contract only for the mutual, common and general welfare of their inhabitants. The 10th amendment is therefore too often read without considering the implications of the 9th and 10th amendments together (and the 14th amendment’s incorporation of the US Constitutional guarantees for the inhabitants of all states against their state governments). Also I would not say that “states have the right to challenge federal laws they deem to be unconstitutional” but that every public official, juror, judge, and legislator has not only a right, but a duty, to perform according to their faithful understanding of the US Constitution (as well as a duty to faithfully engage and develop such an understanding to the best of their abilities). This implies that at times:  a governor might challenge a Presidential decision; a lower court citizen juror might vote to acquit because of a constitutional guarantee; a President might not implement a portion of a law that is not consistent with a faithful reading of the Constitution or refuse to invade another country because the authorization for military force was unconstitutional and attempts to improperly amend the US Constitution. However, because such powers and duties rely on an honest and faithful interpretation of the Constitution, this does not  permit any open license to defy the Constitution or ordinary laws consistent with such a faithful interpretation of the Constitution.

So NO not exactly.

Do you support this right as enumerated under the 10th Amendment?

I support the construction of the Constitution which enumerates powers for the federal government and the state governments, delegates powers between the federal government, state governments and therefore leaves residual rights and powers retained by the people. I believe this was the construction of the original Constitution prior to the Bill of RIghts, but that the 9th and 10th amendments made that construction explicit and so abundantly clear that none could deny it without revealing their own private predatory agenda. The 14th amendment then further incorporated the guarantee of the privilege of government of enumerated powers at the state level as well. I believer first enumerated power of Congress to tax to provide for the general welfare MUST be interpreted broadly to continue to exercise – within republican form of government – all of those traditional governmental powers over the commons and keep the commons out of private for-profit autocratic hands.

I also believe the US Constitution creates certain obligations for the US government (and by the 14th amendment those obligations are incorporated into the state governments as well). Such obligations include: that all governmental powers must be exercised by government with the legislature as the sole legislative power; that governmental policy must be established within a republican form of government also implying legislative control; and that no governmental powers may be delegated to private interests which would amount to granting powers of nobility and defy the original unamended US Constitution’s prohibition to the federal government and to the states of issuing title of nobility (such granting of powers of nobility undermines the governmental obligation to guarantee a republican form of government).

Finally, it is important to understand that I believe, along with the framers of the Constitution, that government must be limited at all levels. Too often the call for states rights is used to bolster absolute state powers which is anathema to the republican form of government which the US Constitution sought to establish. So it is better to think of the US Constitution and the 50 state constitutions as forming and constituting governments which are limited, with enumerated powers, obligations, and guaranteed rights for their inhabitants. To instead speak of the right of a state confuses rights with powers. Persons have rights while states have powers. The delegation of powers between states on one hand, and the federal government on the other hand cannot let us lose sight of the guaranteed protections which we all enjoy with respect to both the state and federal governments. Most often the misnamed claim of states rights is used to try to claim state powers which states do not enjoy. For example, the US Constitution clearly gives the federal government the power to regulate commerce and yet most often the cry for states rights tries to wrestle that power from the federal government to vest it in the states instead. States might have some residual power to regulate intrastate commerce when Congress leaves those powers for them, but the US Constitution makes clear that Congress is empowered to regulate any commerce so long as it is applied in an equitable manner across all states.

Again NO not exactly.

Who will you choose for Speaker of the House or Senate Majority Leader?

I am a Green Party candidate and have made no decisions regarding whether I would join with either party to caucus. Therefore I would only support a leader of another party if that party made concessions to the constituents I represent and also the general population of the United States to represent their interests rather than only the corporate interests which get the only voice in Washington DC today. Neither party has shown much inclination to make such a commitment, but if they needed my vote and other Green Party candidate votes enough they might be forced to do so.