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That neither major party is a majority party.

Norm Olsen

Libertarian Candidate for Congress


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Hello everyone! I'm Norm Olsen and I'm the Libertarian Congressional Representative candidate for Colorado's sixth district. I'm not a politician. Therefore, I do not make promises which I cannot keep. I supply the information below so that you know who I am and how I think.

A native of NY, I have lived in Colorado for 44 years. Read more…

The Two party system is broken. Read more…

Our economy is drowning in debt. Read more…

Our justice system is expensive, slow, and produces little justice. Read more…

Social security needs to be fixed, yet again. Read more…

Healthcare costs and premiums need to be stabilized. Read more…

Our right to bear arms is inalienable. Read more…

If you are unfamiliar with what a Libertarian is, please check out our national party platform at www.lp.org/platform. Unlike the major parties, it's a concise and direct document, a quick 5 minute read.

Who Is Norm Olsen?

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics at Union College (NY) in 1967, I started my 45 year career in software development. In 1972, after five years of traveling worldwide professionally as a product support engineer, I moved to the place I liked the best: Colorado. I am fortunate in that while now officially retired, I still enjoy doing part-time what I did for 45 years. This is in between skiing, golfing, hiking, camping, visiting my two children, and being grandpa to six grandchildren.

I have always been a libertarian. That is, I hold that the primary purpose of government is to protect our God given right to "Be all that we can be", provided that we do not infringe upon the right or ability of others to do likewise. I joined the Libertarian Party in 1993 upon realizing that the two party system was broken. My political aspiration is to achieve a simple goal: "That neither major party is a majority party."

I was fortunate to be born an American in a stable family with strong moral values and work ethic. After two failures, I was able to start a business which thrived in a competitive market place for 25 years. I have lived the American dream. I very much want each of my six grandchildren to have the same opportunity to "Be all that they can be." This is why I am asking for your vote to elect me as your representative to the United States Congress as a major step towards the goal "that neither major party is a majority party". The two party system is broken.

The Two Party System is Broken

The evidence is prolific: Our political system is broken. To be brief, just three examples:

  1. Members of both major political parties will be holding their nose as they reluctantly vote for their party's presidential nominee.
  2. Despite Congress's dismal approval rating (consistently in the low teens), incumbents win re-election 96% of the time.
  3. 79 current Congressional Representatives have been there for 20 or more years.

Gerrymandering, plurality voting, the two party system, and campaign finance laws are the primary reasons for this dichotomy. Incumbents toe the party line so as to make primary challenges rare, gerrymandering guarantees that the dominate party's candidate wins, plurality voting makes the major parties immune to challenge by a third party, and campaign finance laws (read incumbent protection laws) keep the riffraff out of contention.

These four aspects of our political system lead to incumbent safe districts in which incumbents never lose. They become the equivalent of royalty, and vote the party line 90% of the time. Their control of how Washington DC doles out the $4 trillion mother lode of government cash insures plenty of eager and well heeled donors.

As a result we have:

  • $19 trillion dollars in federal debt,
  • annual deficits which are now larger than the total national debt was just a generation ago,
  • a military presence in 150 countries around the world,
  • a currency teetering on collapse,
  • racial tensions at an all time high,
  • 94 million working age Americans not working,
  • obscene wealth distribution while the poverty rate remains stubbornly at 15%,
  • etc,
  • etc, and
  • add your own personal favorite pathology here.

If you would like some different results in the future, you're going to have to do something different. A major prerequisite to obtaining the fiscally responsible, competent, efficient government we all desire is making sure neither major party is a majority party. Here are some suggestions:

  • Support alternative voting systems as a replacement for plurality voting.
  • Vote for third party candidates even though they are not likely to win.
  • Register as a member of a minor political party such as the Libertarian Party.
  • Contribute to the campaigns of minor party candidates.
  • Do not participate in polls that do not include minor party candidates.
  • When polled, indicate your preference for a minor party candidate.
  • Demand media coverage of minor party campaigns.
  • Vote for Norm Olsen on November 8th. :>)

Our gerrymandered, plurality voting based, two party political system is badly broken and seriously corrupted. Only you, the citizen voter, can fix it. We need to fix it now.

References:

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/congressional_job_approval-903.html
http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2014/nov/11/facebook-posts/congress-has-11-approval-ratings-96-incumbent-re-e/
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/113/house/members/
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/113/senate/members/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_military_deployments
http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_histo4.htm
https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MEHOINUSA672N
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-18/79-members-congress-have-been-office-least-20-years

The Economy

Despite decades of artificially low interest rates, 8 years of ZIRP (Zero Interest Rate Policy), multiple QE's (Quantitative Easing) with a Twist, and other generally "accommodative" monetary policies, the Federal Reserve is still reluctant to raise interest rates beyond the current trivial level of 0.25%. Can anyone really believe government and main stream media assurances that the economy is healthy, robust, and/or growing?

Our economy is struggling. It struggles under the burden of what some financial pundits have labeled "Peak Debt". Debt is a claim on future income. Peak debt is achieved when debt service burdens are so large that taking on additional debt is precluded. That is, there is no income left to fund new borrowing.

Our total economy's combined total debt level (government, business, financial, personal) is now estimated to be at the $62 trillion level. Servicing this debt load consumes $4 trillion of our $18 trillion Gross Domestic Product. Our economy has no more discretionary income left that it can pledge to service more debt. Thus the economy staggers at a standstill until either:

  1. the debt level is reduced, or
  2. incomes increase.

Neither of these occurrences can be reasonably expected with the fiscal and monetary policies that are currently in place.

Yet policy makers in Congress and the Federal Reserve insist that more debt is the way out of our economic doldrums. Their only solution is inflation which will, eventually, increase income in nominal terms.

Eight years of ZIRP and QE have demonstrated that monetary policy as administered by the Federal Reserve has run its course. What's left is fiscal policy. Our federal government must:

  • stop deficit spending which adds to the debt burden,
  • reduce taxes which would increase the discretionary income of individuals and businesses,
  • ensure a stable value for our currency so as to support long term planning and investment in our economy, and
  • establish long term fiscal policy such that individuals and business alike will have confidence as to what these policies will be in future years.

To revive our economy and put Americans back to work, the federal government, must reduce its size and scope from 25% of our economy to something on the order of 15% in the next four years, and even lower levels in the years beyond. It needs to engender confidence in individuals and businesses that this policy remain in place for long term.

Our Justice system is broken.

Justice in the United States is a crap shoot. The lack of confidence in our existing justice system is the root of much of the civil unrest our nation is currently experiencing.

Those with the proper connections or political influence are not indicted. The wealthy can negotiate a fine and write it off as the cost of doing business, or retain the legal talent necessary to obtain their desired result. Corporations negotiate a consent degree, which enables them to pay a fine and assert that they did nothing wrong. Despite mountains of evidence of fraud and abuse, not a single person has been indicted for the crimes which produced the 2008 financial crises; nor has a single corporation been found guilty of illegal activity.

For the ordinary Joe Sixpack, justice consists of being charged with numerous counts of various crimes, threats of serious jail time, and an offer to plead guilty to a lesser charge. The only alternative to pleading guilty is to bankrupt himself with legal fees at the risk of serving serious jail time.

Due to the plea bargain, few average citizens ever get their day in court. Even when they do, the judge, the prosecutor, many of the witnesses against them (e.g. government employees as expert witnesses, tax payer funded forensic laboratories, etc.) and even their public defender are funded by taxpayers. Justice is obtainable only if the court assigned public defender is competent and truly dedicated to justice.

Court rules and procedures have evolved over time to enhance the power of government, usually justified as "tools to fight crime" and to reduce costs. Often, these "tools" are infringements on the rights of the accused to the benefit of possibly politically ambitious prosecutors.

Class action suits are quite common. A major reason for this is that while members of the class (those supposedly harmed) typically get a trinket or two in reparations the lawyers collect multiple millions in legal fees.

The contingency based civil law suit produces many frivolous law suits. This produces many unjustified settlements due only to the horrific expense of defending against it. On the other hand, a wealthy defendant such as an insurance company can easily overwhelm the ordinary citizen with high priced legal talent and devious court procedure tactics.

Our current justice system is exorbitantly expensive, grindingly slow, and produces very little in the way of real justice. A competent and efficient justice system should be at the top of the priority list of activities to which the government devotes taxpayer funds. In my mind, "establishing justice" is the most important function of government.

Social Security Needs to be Fixed, Yet Again

When originally conceived, Social Security was designed to provide a basic level of income to widows. At the time, life expectancy of the typical male worker was 62 and women rarely worked or had any kind of income on their own. Things have changed significantly from those days.

Demographics are at the core of the financial disaster which Social Security now is. Taxes paid by the "generation X' and the "millennium generation" are no longer sufficient to pay the benefits promised to the "baby boom" generation which now has a life expectancy of 82. There's just not enough of them, and the 13% payroll tax rate (individual plus employer) is already rather high.

However, we as citizens, must recognize that this is a national problem and not a problem caused by any specific generation. Thus the plan given below distributes the pain of solving this problem among all generations.

Making Social Security sustainable requires policy changes with specific objectives:

  • Reduce the need for Social Security, and
  • Reduce the benefits paid.

Elimination of the double taxation of corporate dividends (allow corporations to expense dividend payments) will substantially enhance the ability of individuals to grow their retirement nest egg and enjoy a comfortable retirement with reduced reliance on Social Security.

Reducing benefits is a painful policy and the pain must be shared by all generations. Thus, a five point plan which affects each of the generations involved.

  • Eliminate Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) of all future Social Security benefits.
  • Subject all Social Security benefits to income tax.
  • Increase the retirement age by 6 months for every year.
  • Remove the income cap on social security tax application.
  • Modifying the social security payroll tax annually so that the revenue derived matches the benefits paid.

In addition to distributing the pain of solving this problem among the generation involved, the following benefits will ensue:

  • Older generations will be demanding an end to inflation.
  • After a temporary bump in social security taxes, this tax will start to decline and continue to do so.
  • Eventually, the retirement age will again approach the life expectancy rate and the system becomes sustainable.
  • All generations will be encouraged to invest in profitable businesses.
  • Corporations will be encouraged to distribute more of their profits to their owners as opposed to funding a fiscally irresponsible government.

Social Security has been fixed some 13 times in its history, none of which has lasted more than a generation. I suggest that the above plan can solve the problem for the next several generations.

Healthcare costs and premiums need to be stabilized.

Contrary to the political promises, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its many predecessors have not been effective in reducing the significant rise in healthcare costs and insurance premiums.

It is appropriate that we recognize that there are several reasons for increased costs which are desirable and should not be impaired:

  • Life expectancy in America has improved significantly.
  • Newly developed medical procedures are now available which in addition to extending life also significantly improve the quality of life for the young and especially so for the elderly.
  • Our outlays for healthcare, which do exceed those of other nations, fund most all of the modern healthcare developments which benefit the entire world.
  • Because most of us can afford to spend more of our income on healthcare, we should remain free to do so.

Proposing a concrete solution to the rising cost of healthcare is something that needs to be worked out by healthcare professionals and insurance industry actuaries. Politicians, whose primary goal is to get re elected, should get out of the way. The trend line of rising healthcare costs is reasonably well correlated with the intrusion of government into the healthcare system since 1965. Not proof, but an genuine indication that government solutions have been, so far, ineffective.

Here are some of guidances I would provide to such a group.

Health Insurance
Health insurance must return to being insurance. That is, a collective sharing of financial risks associated with disease, accident, or natural disaster. Routine medical care must return to being an individual responsibility.
Indigent Care
Should any level of government adopt programs to provide healthcare to those who are unable to obtain same for financial reasons, such provision must be funded out of general fund revenues. The burden should not be born by those who are able and have properly prepared for a healthcare event.
Routine Care
Healthcare consumers must be the primary payer for normal/routine healthcare needs. Having a third party pay for non-catastrophic healthcare leads to:
  1. overuse of the subject services, and
  2. increased costs in the processing of payments,
  3. higher insurance premiums.
Policy Choice
Insurance policy holders should not be forced to pay for coverage which they do not need.
Tort Reform
Our justice system now requires doctors to be perfect. Malpractice insurance and "defensive medicine" add significantly to healthcare costs. Tort reform is essential.
Defensive Medicine
Decisions concerning diagnostic procedures and tests of the "defensive medicine" variety should be a mutual decision of the patient and physician; and the patient should bear a substantial portion of the cost of such. Patients can always choose to get a second opinion.

The ACA is an excellent example of the pathologies of the two party system. ACA was passed on strict party lines. The majority party at the time resorted to the unprecedented political maneuver of the House passing a 2,000 page Senate written bill unmodified to preclude the involvement of the other major party. Despite the fact that the ACA is failing badly, the major party that passed it continues to rigorously defend it as it was a political victory; despite the actual results.

Our Right to Bear Arms is Inalienable

"A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Parsing the second clause of this simple statement, one thing becomes very clear to me. It is clear that phrase "the right of the people to keep and bare arms" refers to a right which already exists.

This member of the Bill of Rights is not granting or establishing a right; it refers to a pre–existing right. That right is one of the many "inalienable" rights that we are endowed with by our Creator. This amendment simply says that Congress is hereby denied the power or authority to infringe upon this pre–existing right. Those who suggest that the effect of this amendment is otherwise are just playing semantic games with the English language to get their way.

Article V of the Constitution prescribes the two manners in which the Constitution, as amended, may be changed. Politicians who desire to infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms should reread Article V. Note that they have never proposed a constitutional amendment, most likely because they know it would never succeed.

Representatives and Senators take an oath to "protect, preserve, and defend the Constitution of the United States". Clearly, any attempt to infringe upon the right to keep and bear arms by a means other than those specified in Article V is a violation of their oath and those attempting to do so should be removed from office.


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