Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Independent Candidate Enters Race for U.S. House

Originally Written on March 27th, 2016

Edited on March 29th and 30th, and April 22nd, 2016

Thanks to Annie Dean for her helpful input

            Joseph Kopsick, a 29-year-old resident of Lake Bluff, is running as a New Party candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. He will be fighting to represent Illinois’s 10th District, along with some other recognizable names. An Illinois native, Kopsick was born at Lake Forest Hospital in 1987, attended area public schools in Lake Bluff throughout his childhood, and graduated from Lake Forest High School in 2005. He majored in political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduating with a bachelor’s in 2009. While living in Madison, Kopsick ran for the U.S. House from Wisconsin’s 2nd District in 2012, and also ran for Oregon’s 3rd in 2014.
Kopsick decided to move back home to Illinois after traveling around the country getting to know different kinds of people, and understanding their struggles and what they need most from their government. In a country so divided, Kopsick now feels that the battle for the House is just as important in Illinois’s 10th as anywhere else. Kopsick declared his candidacy in November, citing a lack of diversity of opinion among the other candidates on numerous key issues. He believes that his opponents’ records do not sufficiently reflect an interest in reducing federal power, practicing a non-interventionist foreign policy, and supporting personal freedom.
            Kopsick desires to reduce the size of the federal workforce, cap spending at lower levels, and help pass a Balanced Budget Amendment. He opposes income taxes, but would accept a Negative Income Tax. He considers taxes on sales, gifts, estates, and investments as discouraging productive behavior. Kopsick favors an integrated approach to taxes and the environment, desiring to reform property taxes so as to fund government solely through fees on natural resource extraction, and fines on pollution and blight and disuse of land. He opposes privatizing Lake Michigan’s water rights, favoring the establishment of community land and water trusts.
            Kopsick opposes federal gun control legislation, and supports strengthening the Second Amendment by restoring it to its original intent of protecting the right of conscientious objection to military conscription. Concerning immigration, Kopsick opposes building a border wall, and would support legislative deferred action for childhood arrivals and their parents, rather than executive orders or memoranda effecting the same. On health, Kopsick will work to expand insurance coverage by legalizing interstate insurance purchase and eliminating the tax credit for employer provided insurance. He opposes federal restrictions on abortion, and considers mandated ultrasounds intrusive, costly, and medically unnecessary.
            On labor issues, Kopsick has criticized both Right to Work laws and compulsory union voting, and prefers allowing workers to personalize their retirements and opt-out of Social Security rather than privatizing the program. As alternatives to increasing the federal minimum wage, Kopsick hopes to increase the dollar’s purchasing power by reining-in the Federal Reserve, eliminating tariffs and sales taxes, and improving the balance of trade. Kopsick’s political writing is available on his blog, and you can join the conversation about his campaign on Facebook at “Joe Kopsick for Congress 2016 (IL-10)”, and on Twitter @JoeK4Congress.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

2016 Congressional Campaign Policies

Originally Written on March 27th, 2016

Edited and Expanded on March 30th, 2016

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. My Opponents
3. Size of Government, Taxes, and Spending
4. Economic Issues: Trade, Wages, Labor, and Campaign Finance
5. Military, Defense, and Foreign Policy; Gun Control; and Immigration
6. Domestic Issues: Housing, Social Security, Environment and Energy, Health, and Abortion
7. Conclusion


1. Introduction

            I am running for the U.S. House of Representatives, from Illinois’s 10th Congressional District, which includes my home town of Lake Bluff, Illinois. I submitted my Statement of Candidacy in November 2015. I am currently running under the banner of the Absurdist Party, which consists of myself. My party affiliation may change, as I plan to seek the endorsements of the state Libertarian Party and the state Constitution Party. Due to the State of Illinois’s “sore loser law”, I will not be running as an independent candidate.
            To get on the ballot will require obtaining between 9,573 and 15,316 petition signatures. If I get on the ballot, then I will most likely be included in the debates. If I fail to obtain the signatures necessary, then I will file to run as a write-in candidate. Signature collection begins on Tuesday, March 29th, 2016. The general election will be held on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016.

2. My Opponents

            My opponents in the race are Robert Dold and Brad Schneider. Bob Dold is the incumbent Republican who currently represents Illinois’s 10th District, and also represented the district from 2011 to 2013. Brad Schneider is a Democrat; he represented the district from 2013 to 2015. I would describe both candidates as moderates within their parties, especially Dold. Both candidates support a strong federal government.
Both Dold and Schneider have voting records which strongly support the State of Israel, and both candidates have supported sanctions against Iran. Both have supported domestic surveillance. Both have supported gun control, although Dold’s position is more pro-gun than Schneider’s. Both have supported keeping Obamacare in place; Dold has voted to repeal it, but now favors improving it. Both have opposed defunding Planned Parenthood, while Dold’s position on abortion is difficult to discern from his voting record. Both have been neutral on legalizing marijuana.
Due to the plenitude of these candidates’ similarities, I see it appropriate to enter this race, and oppose them on these issues. If elected, I would vote to oppose sanctions against Iran, resist the influence of the pro-Israel lobby, oppose domestic surveillance, strongly support the Second Amendment, repeal Obamacare, defund Planned Parenthood, and oppose the continued criminalization of marijuana.
If elected, the following are the policies which I would support.

3. Size of Government, Taxes, and Spending

SIZE OF GOVERNMENT: Abolish unconstitutional federal departments and reduce the size of the federal workforce. Abolish the Department of Commerce; the Department of Energy; the Department of Education; the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Department of the Interior.
TAXES: Eliminate tax loopholes, tax credits, and differential taxation, while also opposing the expiration of tax cuts. Reform the tax code in a way that ceases to punish productive behavior, instead imposing fines on destructive behavior. Reduce, eliminate, and abolish the individual / personal income tax, but support the implementation of a Negative Income Tax if it cannot be abolished. Reduce, eliminate, and abolish taxes on consumption (i.e., sales and luxury taxes), taxes on corporate income and investment, the gift tax, the death tax / estate tax, and the “inflation tax on money” that discourages savings. Reform property taxes by ceasing to tax property values, instead imposing financial penalties upon disuse and blight.
SPENDING: Support a Cut, Cap, and Balance plan. In anticipation of the failure of such an effort, support passing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, requiring at least a 7-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases. If the other reforms I support can be made, and the budget and deficit reduced sufficiently, only then consider refraining from cutting agricultural subsidies, the Smithsonian Institute, the National Park Service, and the size of the federal workforce operating within constitutional strictures.

4. Economic Issues: Trade, Wages, Labor, and Campaign Finance

TRADE: Support real free trade, rather than managed trade, “smart trade”, or fair but unfree trade. Eliminate tariffs altogether; foreign nations do not always respond to tariffs the way we wish them to. Tariffs can only cause foreign nations to manipulate their currencies, cut wages at the lowest levels of production, and make trade wars and military wars more likely.
WAGES: Oppose increasing the federal minimum wage. Instead, focus on increasing the purchasing power of the U.S. Dollar, by eliminating taxes on sales of consumer goods, abolishing the Department of Commerce, and annually auditing the Federal Reserve.
LABOR: Oppose Right to Work legislation on the grounds that it impairs the obligation of contracts, and on the grounds that it would not be necessary if not for labor contracts gradually coming to resemble permanent laws as decades pass, which causes wages to stagnate. Oppose Compulsory Unionism and compulsory voting. Oppose requiring supposedly “free-riding”, but actually non-consenting, workers, to become members of, and pay dues to, labor and trade unions, partially in order to help reduce the influence of soft money from labor interests on elections. Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act, in order to legalize wildcat strikes and secondary boycotts. Protect workers’ rights of concerted activity in the workplace, including the right to form new unions and file complaints against management. If the Wagner Act (National Labor Relations Act of 1935) and the Taft-Hartley Act cannot be repealed, then amend it to require management to negotiate with unions even if they lack the support of a majority of voting employees.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE: Oppose attempts to overturn the Citizens United decision, by pointing out that unlimited campaign donations are only symptoms of the problem. The problem, instead, is a high-stakes legislative environment in which unconstitutional legislation can be passed, funding corporate welfare as well as social welfare, pitting the left and right against one another. To remedy this problem, candidates should set a good example, by following the Constitution, and by rejecting donations of more than $2,500 per person, per campaign, per election cycle.

5. Military, Defense, and Foreign Policy; Gun Control; and Immigration

MILITARY, DEFENSE, AND FOREIGN POLICY: Bring troops and private contractors home from Iraq and Afghanistan as soon as possible, as well as from Germany, Japan, South Korea, and other countries. Deconstruct our hundreds of overseas military bases, stop spying on our allies, and cut all aid to foreign countries for their military as well as domestic purposes. Reduce the size of the Army to the size it was before the Iraq War, but do not reduce the size of the Navy or Air Force fleets. Do not cut the pay, nor the benefits, of non-combat military personnel. Oppose efforts to reinstate the draft, and efforts to require women, as well as men, to register for the draft. Cancel or delay some weapons programs, and reduce the nuclear arsenal and spending on space exploration.
GUN CONTROL: Oppose all proposed federal gun control legislation, and protect the right of conscientious objection to military conscription as the original intent of the Second Amendment.
IMMIGRATION: Defend a reasonable, minimally invasive immigration and naturalization process, by citing the need for the free movement of labor (as well as capital) across international borders. Oppose all efforts to build walls and fences along the U.S.-Mexico border. Support a path to citizenship, in addition to Green Cards and temporary work visas. Do not allow the deportation of undocumented immigrants unless and until they have been convicted of violent crimes. Support birthright citizenship, and the right of undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. prior to the age of 16 to apply for U.S. citizenship when they turn 18. Support efforts to pass legislative versions of D.A.C.A. (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and D.A.P.A. (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans), rather than unconstitutional executive orders that mandate the same policies. Oppose federal D.R.E.A.M. Act -type legislation, as well as executive orders supporting similar ends; instead abolish all federal social welfare. However, refrain from interfering with states’ rights to provide education, housing, and other aid to undocumented immigrants as they see fit. Render moot the issue of driver’s licensing for undocumented immigrants, by opposing driver licensing as an unconstitutional interference with the freedom of travel.

6. Domestic Issues: Housing, Social Security, Environment and Energy, Health, and Abortion

HOUSING: Abolish the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Recognize that H.U.D., Freddie Mac, and the Federal Reserve were significantly more responsible for creating the economic and legislative environments that led to the mortgage meltdown, than Wall Street was.
SOCIAL SECURITY: Eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse. Do not impose privatization of retirement accounts, but rather allow the personalization of retirement accounts, encouraging citizens to obtain cooperative and mutual accounts. Do not means-test Social Security; pay workers back what they earned and what they expected to get back. Allow young workers to opt-out of Social Security. Cap the growth of Social Security spending to the rate of growth of either the Consumer Price Index or the Gross Domestic Product. Only consider gradually raising the retirement age if Social Security cannot be phased out, block-granted, or otherwise devolved to the states and / or the marketplace.
ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY: Oppose fracking and the expansion of offshore oil drilling. Achieve zero non-offset carbon emissions by the year 2030. End subsidies and tax credits for all energy companies. Oppose the privatization of water rights, instead allowing and encouraging the establishment of community land trusts and community water trusts. Fund government entirely through fines imposed on pollution, blight, abuse and disuse, neglect, and hoarding of land; and through fees on the extraction of natural resources. Allow states and other local jurisdictions to establish citizens’ dividends and residents’ dividends funded through fees on natural resource extraction.
HEALTH: Repeal Obamacare, especially the individual insurance purchase mandate, which is a penalty, not a tax. Instead, legalize the purchase of health insurance policies across state lines, and repeal the tax credit for employer provided health insurance; these policies will, together, make it easier for people to keep their health insurance policies, or afford similarly priced policies, regardless of whether they lose their job or move to other states. Don’t tax medical device sales, or hospitals, allowing all hospitals to potentially managed on reduced-cost and charity bases. Oppose tort reform in order to avoid disempowering juries. Cap the growth of Medicare spending to the rate of growth of either the Consumer Price Index or the Gross Domestic Product, unless and until Medicare and Medicaid can be phased out, block-granted, or otherwise devolved to the states.
ABORTION: Oppose continued federal involvement in the abortion issue, opposing the federal funding of Planned Parenthood, in order to avoid public funds going to abortion. Support the rights of the states to pass legislation limiting first- and second- trimester abortion, nullifying the Roe v. Wade decision; but also support citizens’ rights to civil disobedience of state abortion laws on Ninth Amendment grounds. Do not interfere with contraceptive medicines and devices being sold over the counter or on the shelves. Do not require employers’ health insurance policies to cover contraception or abortion, nor prohibit them from doing so. Oppose efforts to require ultrasounds as a condition of getting an abortion, partially to help address the problem of unnecessary medical procedures contributing to the high costs of medical care. Prohibit partial-birth abortion as infanticide, but do not punish women for getting abortions at any stage of pregnancy, nor treat abortion as murder; instead revoke medical licenses from doctors committing infanticide.

7. Conclusion

            My campaign committee is called the Committee to Elect Joe Kopsick. Anyone interested in supporting my campaign can send a check to Committee to Elect Joe Kopsick, 132 Welwyn St., Lake Bluff, IL 60044.
In order to set a good example for other candidates, I will not accept, and return, donations in excess of $2,500 – which was the limit per person per campaign per election cycle in 2011 and 2012 – so I ask that no one send donations in excess of that amount.
Thank you for your support!