Rick Lemasters for U.S. Senate from West Virginia          
national debt
Because Our Country Needs Us

Rick and wife Nancy with his mother, Frances Thurman, daughter Jennifer, her husband Mas and granddaughter Miaka.  Photo by Annette Wetzel

Why I want this job

Jay Rockefeller’s Senate seat is of great importance to both Republicans and Democrats in 2014 and Democrats have occupied this seat since 1958.   Today in the 113th congress; there are 53 Senate Democrats, 45 Republicans and 2 Independents, and there will be 5 or 6 retiring democrat seats up for grabs this time around.   West Virginia may still be dominated by registered democrats but it has been in the red column for every presidential election since George W Bush won the state with 52% of the vote in 2000.  In 2012, Romney beat Obama with 62.3% of the West Virginia vote so the margin is increasing each year.  Joe Manchin, as governor and at the death of Senator Robert Byrd, appointed himself to Byrd’s seat and won reelection by running as a conservative democrat.

Early this year Senator Rockefeller announced his retirement and Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito announced, in December, she would seek the office.  Mrs. Capito is the daughter of former West Virginia Governor Arch Moore and has been the elected representative in the 2nd congressional district of West Virginia since 2001.  Capito has managed to ride a fine line down the middle of the political road since first elected.  Her voting record on federal spending is her weak point beginning with stimulus spending and her votes to increase the federal debt ceiling.  In the 2010 Vote Smart questionnaire Mrs. Capito declared herself to be pro-choice and refused to answer the question in 2012, a major concern to many West Virginian’s, moderate and conservative.  If elected to the Senate she could have the opportunity to vote on several Supreme Court nominations.

I am a pro-life, fiscal conservative and pledge, if elected, to vote consistently on these most important issues.  On abortion, I believe that the mother has the right to make a decision to save her own life or to abort the pregnancy if caused by rape or incest.  I believe that life begins at conception and that the unborn should be afforded all rights under the Constitution.  A judge should order an abortion at the request of the mother in these instances.  I believe in traditional family values and consider marriage to be a bond between one man and one woman, blessed by their church.  The government should not force a church or other religious group to perform marriages against their beliefs.  I also believe that same sex couples should legally have the same rights as everyone; therefore I support same sex unions sanctioned by the state.

We are approaching $17 trillion of gross national debt.  When President GW Bush took office in 2001, the debt was about $5.7 trillion and about $10.1 trillion when President Obama was inaugurated in 2009.  We are currently spending approximately $1.2 trillion each year more than we collect in federal revenue.  Today, the Defense Department (DOD) is being out spent by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).  President Obama has stated his desires to increase spending at DHHS and to cut spending at DOD, especially with the implementation of ObamaCare.  We are financing this increased debt in two ways: borrowing and printing.  We are borrowing from individual Americans through savings bonds and by issuing treasury bonds which are purchased, as investments, by foreign governments like China.  It’s hard to get current accurate numbers but it’s been reported that in December 2010 we owed about $4.3 trillion to foreign governments, 27% of that to China.

We cannot continue to spend at this pace.  Increased borrowing will eventually increase interest rates on treasury bonds mainly because lenders, like China, will doubt that we can repay what we owe.  Increased bond interest rates mean we pay more to service our debt.  Printing money to pay for spending means there is more money in circulation and our dollars are worth less, resulting in inflation. 

There are a few ways to correct our debt problem.  We must either increase our revenue; reduce our spending or a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.  President Obama and the democrats have no interest in cutting spending and republicans do not want to increase taxes which mean we will continue to increase the debt.  I believe we should use both tax increases and spending reductions to fix the problem, but not one without the other.  I also believe that we should have increased taxes during the GW Bush administration to fight terror and to pay for Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Benefits), which cost us about $50 billion each year.

I support a Fair Tax which is, under most models, a national sales tax and support doing away with the current graduated income tax.  The thought behind the Fair Tax is that you will pay taxes on what you spend, so wealthy people who spend more will pay more and the poor will pay less.  Food and other necessities would be exempt from the tax.  With the Fair Tax there would be no need for Federal Tax Withholding by employers and, more importantly, no need for the IRS.  One drawback with the Fair Tax is that it would put businesses between the individual and the government to collect taxes.  I would support a fee, paid to businesses by the government, for being its collection agent.

In my opinion, Shelley Moore Capito is not a fiscal or social conservative.  She will do what it takes to get elected but after she’s in the office, we cannot trust her to do the right thing.  This is why I want to be your next U.S. Senator from West Virginia.  Please ask questions and make comments freely.  I want to know your feelings about all these subjects.

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