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Rishi Kumar stands for a moderate fiscal policy
The United States of America has faced years of increasing budgetary deficits and mismanagement. Our national debt is at $23.3 trillion, yet the federal government has in the last 20 years taken steps that have worsened the fiscal health of this country.
Taxing American people should be the last resort and only after we have exhausted every other option. America can no longer afford to allow such detrimental policies:
- Since 2001, the U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan have cost American taxpayers $6.4 trillion. More than 800,000 people have died as a direct result of fighting.
- We have signed disastrous trade agreements that have resulted in the loss of jobs and capital in the US economy. NAFTA led to the loss of over 950,000 specific jobs from the US. It increased our trade deficit with Mexico and Canada from $10.5 billion to $158.3 billion.
- Similarly, normalized trade relations with China have led to the loss of 3.5 million jobs, 40% of which are in the computer and electronic parts sector.
We must focus on bringing wealth and job security back to the American people and stop the ballooning national debt. My platform, outlined below, will do just that:
- No tax increases:
Our country has been through many costly policy failures, and in the midst of the economic panic generated by the Coronavirus, it is vital that we let working people keep their hard earned money. Thus, I oppose any proposals to increase taxes on the American people, especially the middle class. Furthermore, I support measures like the “Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act” which eliminates the marriage penalty and restores the SALT (State and Local Taxes) deduction. The capping of the SALT deduction has disproportionately hurt people of all income levels in high tax states like California. Restoring the deduction will bring revenue into Californian communities and make the tax code more equitable.
- Optimization of the public sector:
- TransDigm Group Inc., a leading global designer and producer of engineered aerospace components, has been exorbitantly overcharging tax payers with spare part markups as high as 4,451% between 2015 and 2017. During this time, TransDigm refused to provide data on costs, but Congress in 2019 found during a hearing that TransDigm earned $16 million in excess profit for $26 million in parts the Pentagon purchased from the company. Congress also found that TransDigm took advantage of an acquisition regulation loophole to get around providing their cost data.
- Following allegations of price gouging, TransDigm agreed to repay the government the $16 million in excess profits. Without the Oversight Committee hearing, however, these repayments would not have been made. Future reforms are required to prevent "unscrupulous contractors from holding us hostage through abusive monopoly contracts”, as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) stated following the hearing.
- Furthermore, public sector leaders need to be better prepared to adapt to upcoming technological changes to the public sector, in terms of interacting with society and engaging employees. Technological changes will significantly impact how public services are organized, and it is critical that representatives in Congress understand this.
- End costly foreign wars:
Our conflicts in the Middle East over the past 20 years have been costly to the American taxpayer and have bloated the military-industrial complex. While I oppose cuts to the domestic portion of the military budget, I do believe that our nation's military is overextended abroad. We must consider cuts to the Overseas Contingency Operations Budget (OCO) which comprises about 15% of the military budget, while increasing funding and staffing of the State Department to restore our nation’s diplomatic infrastructure and make it easier to avoid foriegn military conflict. See my policy on war here.
- Re-negotiation of disadvantageous trade deals:
Our country currently has free trade agreements with 20 countries around the world, and many of these leave us economically disadvantaged. These deals must be re-examined and potentially re-negotiated.
I am in support of creating an improved version of NAFTA in the form of the USMCA. Unlike NAFTA, USMCA protects the rights of workers, including the right to unionize. It gives the United States the power to inspect any factories that fail to meet health and safety standards. It also reduces the ability of companies to lower labor costs through exploitative and environmentally harmful practices. By mandating that 40-45% of auto content be made by workers being paid at least $16 per hour, it incentivizes companies to invest in the United States where wages are higher. I believe the USMCA can serve as a model for trade deals going forward. Improving these trade deals will bring jobs and wealth back into this country.
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