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.
The Two party system is broken.
Our economy is drowning in debt.
Our justice system is expensive, slow, and produces little justice.
Social security needs to be fixed, yet again.
Healthcare costs and premiums need to be stabilized.
Our right to bear arms is inalienable.
If you are unfamiliar with what a Libertarian
is, please check out our national party platform at
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
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:
- Members of both major political parties will be holding their
nose as they reluctantly vote for their party's presidential
- Despite Congress's dismal approval rating (consistently in the
low teens), incumbents win re-election 96% of the time.
- 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, 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
- Vote for third party candidates even though they are not likely
Register as a member of a minor political party such as the
- Contribute to the campaigns of minor party candidates.
- Do not participate in polls that do not include minor party
- 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.
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:
- the debt level is reduced, or
- 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
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
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
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
- 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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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:
- overuse of the subject services, and
- increased costs in the processing of payments,
- 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
- 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.
is an excellent example of the pathologies of the two party system.
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
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
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
- Social Security
- Gun Control