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Responses to the Americans Elect Questions published on January 5th by the Campaign to Elect Mike Ballantine President 2012.

January 9, 2012 Economy What do you think are the most important steps government can take to promote job creation? Normally, the government/Federal Reserve can rely on lowering interest rates to give the economy a boost and create jobs. Generally, construction will respond positively and the economy will begin to improve or manufacturers will start to rebuild inventories. However, over the past 10 years, America has lost 50,000 factories, limiting the ability of manufacturers to respond sufficiently to pull us out of our current slump. Further, the downturn was largely caused by a collapse in the housing market. With 18 million homes unsold by some estimates, the housing market is too sluggish to get the economy moving. To compensate, we need to rebuild the confidence of homeowners to encourage them to stop paying down their housing debt and to start spending again. We do this by reducing the outstanding principal balances on underwater mortgages by adjusting mortgages through a Federal Reserve buyback and reissuance program. Whereas the anticipated cost of this program is $1.5 trillion, it will reverse the continued decline in housing prices and allow confidence to return. This program is supported by a large number of economists including Alan Blinder, Martin Feldstein, and Paul Krugman. The second step we need is to create aggregate demand in the economy. We do this by initiating a job creation program for specific infrastructure projects and desirable investments in industries. Specifically, there are $2 trillion in road improvements and bridge repair projects that need to be undertaken over the next 5 years as well as a host of investments in clean-energy that could be started using agency guarantees. Additionally, we believe that the nation should engage in a sustained effort to bring High-Speed Rail to the United States by building two intercontinental lines connecting both coasts. One of the key stumbling blocks for the Federal Reserve is maintaining the zero % interest rate policy which limits the ability of the FED to devalue the dollar to promote exports. We propose that we avoid this problem by investing in a new space industry that does not compete with

developing countries but instead provides high value long-term jobs for college graduates. This space industry will provide the backbone for lunar development and a tentative foothold on Mars. Our jobs program is similar but broader than a proposal put out by the PERI Institute in November of 2011. How would you reform federal taxes? We propose eliminating all deductions and moving to a simple 5-rate bracket system for individuals, referred to as an X-tax. The first $20,000 in earnings would be excluded and the next bracket would go from $20,000 to $40,000 at 5%, $40,000 to $75,000 at 10%, $75,000 to $125,000 at 15%, $125,000 to $200,000 at 20%, $200,000 to $500,000 at 25% and everything above $500,000 at 35%. In addition, there would be a 10% surcharge on incomes over $500,000 for five years to help reduce the deficit. Interest earnings on savings would be exempt and shortterm capital gains would be taxed as ordinary income. Long-term capital gains would have a reverse progressive tax structure depending on length of holding out to 10 years with a rate of 10%. Corporate loopholes would be phased out over a five-year period and a flat tax of 10 to 15% on earnings in the United States imposed. Depreciation schedules would be lengthened to 10, 20 and 30 years from the current accelerated schedules. Executive compensation over $1 million would have a 50% penalty tax imposed. Dividends would not be taxed. Do you believe corporations should be more heavily regulated, even if it means higher compliance costs? Currently, we need to review some regulations for their appropriateness and make some adjustments. The banking industry is one industry that needs to have stronger regulation to reduce moral hazards and limit the potential of too big to fail banks failing. We will propose a modified Glass-Stegall act as well as restrictions on credit default swaps to players with financial interests. The fracking industry needs to have some oversight regarding appropriateness of drilling in residential areas as well as some performance issues in the event of bankruptcy. We need to develop appropriate regulations for mining and shale-oil development to manage the expected pollution and water issues. Whereas, these regulations will place additional compliance costs on companies, a lack of regulation in banking cost the

nation trillions and the potential for mass clean-up issues in mining and oil development present a social reason for imposing some additional costs on industry. We propose reducing some regulations in education to streamline the process and allow local school officials to make appropriate decisions regarding standards and curriculum. To flatten the playing field we propose renegotiating some of our trade related treaties such as the WTO to include fair wage issues, worker safety, equal opportunity and pollution regulation enforcement. How do you propose we reduce the national debt, and how much should the national debt be considered in economic recovery plans? Realistically, there is no simple way to reduce the national debt. When our administration takes office, the national debt is expected to climb to $16 trillion and if amortized over 30 years, it would take an estimated $1 trillion a year in additional taxes. Our campaign offers a novel but controversial plan to reduce half the national debt by exploiting our shale-oil resources in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Currently, there is an estimated 1.5 trillion recoverable barrels of oil and we propose a national project to build the infrastructure to process this oil in a safeenvironmentally friendly way producing 10 million barrels of oil per day. The nation will allocate a $25 per barrel tax to reduce the national debt on the production from this project. According to a RAND study, the current estimate for production costs at the 10 million barrel rate is between $45 and $48 per barrel. A second requirement would be that unless there is an economic contraction of 2% or more taxes cannot be cut resulting in a deficit. Any surplus will automatically be allocated to reducing the deficit. This is unlikely to amount to much over the years for obvious political reasons. Healthcare What role should the federal government play in the healthcare industry? Is healthcare a right? Almost every western nation provides healthcare for its citizens, despite this America clings to an uneconomical health delivery system that puts the burden on employers to support a shrinking system. Roughly 40% of Americans are supported by government programs, 15% on Federal and State health programs, and 35% by private insurance. With government already the largest provider of health insurance, continuing to provide health insurance privately places a greater share of

the cost on a shrinking workforce. This is unsustainable in the long run and in fact part of our competitive issue with China. We believe to lower costs and provide equal access for all Americans, America should adopt a universal health plan with a single-payer. This plan would provide a basic level of coverage for all Americans, residents, and guests. This eliminates many of the duplicative costs and overlaps among the various government run programs as well as the high administrative costs of private insurance companies. Further, we believe that substantial cost savings can be found once the system is consolidated through rationalizing many unnecessary procedures. A simple comparison between the Canadian and United Kingdom health programs and the American one will provide reasonable cost comparisons to point out inefficient delivery systems. The Constitution of the United States demands/guarantees the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No one can pursue happiness if he or she is denied basic health care. Given that costs have driven it beyond the reach of most low-income Americans, a two-tiered class of citizenry has developed with 50 million Americans abandoned to mercy of others. We would consolidate Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Assistance, and Federal and State Health Insurance Programs into one new program. This would be paid for by a 10% national sales tax on all goods and service excluding produce, milk/cheese, and bread. What do you think is driving the rapid growth of health care costs, and how would you slow it down? These costs are driven by the lack of negotiation by people using health insurance. Instead of evaluating costs, health insurance companies simply pass on new costs to policy holders knowing they are unable to effectively shop for alternative products. When Medicare costs exceed reimbursements, the unpaid portions are charged to private insurers pushing cuts from Washington back onto private employers. Implementing a Medicare for all and then rationalizing costs is the quickest way to bring health care costs down. Promoting smaller neighborhood clinics over hospital monopolies will allow better cost-sharing and lower expenses throughout the system. Would you support putting some kind of cap on what the government spends on Medicare?

By moving Medicare fees to a consumption-based revenue stream, it is expected that revenues will match growth in society. We propose a 10% national sales tax which would act as a cap on total spending. Americans would be encouraged to purchase supplemental coverage for additional requirements beyond the basic program. Should the government require that all citizens have healthcare insurance? If so, what is your thought about a premium support model similar to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program? We do not support a requirement that all citizens have health insurance unless there is a government provider option. If a Medicare for All program cannot get approval, we support allowing individuals the right to purchase Medicare on their own. The fees would be based on income of the participants. Education Why aren't our K-12 schools preparing graduates to compete in the global economy, and what would you do as president to lift their performance? The American school system is designed for students who will be successful in college and ignores the needs of technical or vocational students. It is almost a golden rule that only learner-centered environments are appropriate when in fact many at risk students might be better served in teacher-centered environments typically found in Asia. Students lack the foundation skills but are some how expected to understand the analytical and applications issues because of social promotion. Sir Ken Robinson in his speech before the RSA made it poignantly clear that America has to change from a factory model to a more individualized delivery system. As President, I would propose legislation to establish an IEP program for every student employing 10 primary templates. Over time, students would need to master specific subjects and skills to advance to the next level. Student progress would be measured weekly and intervention strategies developed to help students falling behind. Merit testing would take place at two points, 8th grade and again at 12th grade to receive a diploma. Schools would offer three diplomas, vocational, technical, and academic and students graduating successfully would receive a bonus payment to encourage students to remain in school. Another area of concern are our ELL students and they would receive a broader program mirroring the

successful Canadian program of 90/10. Schools would have access to online systems to promote dual language instruction cost effectively eventually leading to Virtual Reality instruction in most public schools. This will lower the cost of delivery and provide a broader base of instruction capability. All students would begin to use electronic notebooks in school eliminating textbooks and automating assessments. These programs would be funded by a transfer of $100 billion per year from our defense budget to education. Why do you think college costs keep rising? Are students getting their moneys worth, and what would you do to slow down cost growth? There are no cost containment systems in the university program. Universities offer a hundred different majors and then provide qualified teaching staff to support them. This is incredibly inefficient and does not offer any real benefit to students. Instead programs should be consolidated to allow greater participation at a few key schools in less popular programs. The government can encourage this by tying financial aid to specific results instead of an average price for all students. For example, if history majors from school A typically earn $30,000 per year after graduation, then the government could set the maximum tuition fee it will support at $15,000 or $20,000, etc. This would force schools to offer programs at prices that reflect future earnings and the ability of students to repay the tuition fees. A factor could be included to reflect the actual success ratio of students to equalize fees for profit schools and with non-profit schools. Tying costs to outcomes is the best way to get costs under control. This would force universities to economize and reduce duplicative staff. Specific allowances could be made for unusual majors that are desirable but not popular based on historical influences. What would you do to improve workforce development and job training opportunities for U.S. workers? By adjusting the high school track of most students to reflect merit, high school students could enroll in apprenticeship programs through employment tax subsidies. Students would continue to finish high school while working part-time in the vocational and technical tracks. Providing students training during high school is more cost effective than after graduation when they may have personal responsibilities that prevent them from working and studying at the same time.

During the phase-in, it would be necessary to provide scholarships and other programs to inner-city students who have been failed by the system. We propose a Marshall Plan for our inner-city youth that would send 1 million young adults back to school for two years. Energy Is U.S. energy independence a feasible goal and, if so, how would you achieve it? How would you reduce our reliance on foreign oil? Energy independence is a political issue more than a practical issue. There is ample petroleum reserves in the Gulf, ANWAR and the shale-oil deposits to meet Americas energy requirements at current consumption for a very long time. The primary impediment is the inability of private companies to meet the expectations of environmentalists. We propose that this issue be looked at in light of including NAFTA resources to achieve energy independence. The first step in this process is to prepare a development plan for the Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah sites to include piping in sufficient water, constructing several nuclear power plants, water treatment facilities, road and rail infrastructure, and housing for several hundred thousand people. Once the plan is approved , then create a government-owned entity to manage the process, borrow the development funds from the market through a long-term agency bond issue, and begin issuing contracts to private contractors to complete the infrastructure and prepare the site. It is estimated that site development will take from 5 to 6 years to complete at which point we can begin producing oil at an accelerating rate over the next 3 - 5 years achieving 10 million barrels per day production capacity. This project will create 800,000 jobs. In the interim, we would support construction of large solar-mirror farms in the Southwest and a DC transmission system to distribute power to key points in the mid-west and the northeast. As capacity came online, we would purchase existing coal power plants and decommission them to prevent large fluctuations in prices avoiding any potential crash in energy prices. Other technologies including bio-algae and geo-thermal power would be accelerated to provide additional emissions free/carbon neutral production. What steps will you take to make this nation's growing energy demand more sustainable?

We would promote a million electric cars per year market by subsidizing lithium batteries and encouraging car owners to switch to more fuel-efficient models in line with the current CAF program. We would also support the movement of the service industry to a Virtual Reality platform to allow workers to work from home reducing the number of daily commuters. Only by changing social habits can we make significant progress in reducing energy consumption. How important is reducing carbon emissions, and how would you go about it? In addition to renewable fuels, do you believe natural gas and nuclear energy should play a larger role in Americas energy mix? The most recent performance of US negotiators in Durban was appalling. Whereas, many people dispute global warming or climate change there is no dispute that CO2 is building up in our atmosphere and this build-up presents serious challenges for future generations. With limited methods to extract CO2 from the atmosphere, it is incumbent on countries to begin reducing carbon emissions as well as create carbon-sinks to reduce atmospheric concentrations. Further, as the historical major emitter of carbon it is the responsibility of America to lead the world regardless of Chinese and Indian participation. This does not mean that we handicap our industries, simply begin producing our energy with emissions-free technologies. As stated earlier, we propose phasing out coal powered power plants and redeploying coal miners into the new shale-oil industry as well as construct two coal-gasification plants to enable us to sequester the CO2 production from coal processing at two locations. A second step would be to begin planting land set aside in various agricultural programs as low producing with trees and paying farmers to manage new forests. A third step would be to reduce the amount of acreage available for grazing on federal lands and plant additional trees. Eventually, we hope to plant 200 million acres with new forest allowing us to offset half our current carbon emissions for 40 years with the hope that we could reduce our carbon emissions by 50 % over the next ten years. We would like to see nuclear power used in carbon intensive industries to reduce overall emissions but sparingly until we either develop a waste processing system for nuclear waste or alternative nuclear power systems such as Thorium processing. We do not support wide spread fracking and would prefer to see

activity reduced to a more manageable and sustainable level taking care to avoid polluting groundwater sources. The current gold rush mentality will inevitably lead to future problems that the taxpayer will be expected to absorb. Foreign Policy What circumstances justify U.S. military intervention? Do you think America should continue to play a leading role in world affairs, or lay down some of those responsibilities? The US military should only intervene in Central America as part of a regional effort and if an ally is under direct attack. Whereas, Presidents have justified intervention on the grounds of national interest or to prevent genocide, we believe this type of intervention can be better handled by regional organizations like the African Union and ASEAN. American intervention over the past 60 years has yielded very few resolutions to conflicts and has often had a negative outcome instead of the hoped for positive one. America finds itself at odds with a majority of the nation states in the middle-east and reacting belligerently with China in the Pacific region. To rebuild relationships with international organizations, we propose the removal of the majority of our overseas deployments and an offer to provide support to regional organizations to solve regional problems and humanitarian assistance. America can no longer afford an offensive based military posture and must regroup and reposition its resources to specific high value activities. We believe that developing countries will respond positively to this repositioning and enhance our ability to negotiate bilateral agreements in the future. To demonstrate our new leadership we propose allocating $50 billion to a carbon reduction program as a carrot to engage our current trading partners in stronger trade agreements by providing them with American technology. The current confrontational nature of our relationship with Iran is a major concern and the ratcheting down of tensions would be a primary issue for our new administration. America lived with a nuclear Soviet Union as well as a nuclear North Korea. We can live with a nuclear Iran as well. Israel will be encouraged to either agree to a two-state solution or begin the process of integrating the Palestinians into their own population in a single state solution; two people, one land.

We will be proposing a defense budget equal to 2% of GDP and a major reduction of our armed forces to a peacetime level, eliminating the ability of the military to fight two conflicts. We believe that by having a large idle military, we encourage the use of the military instead of making the effort diplomatically to resolve our problems. No nation possesses the capacity to become a military threat to the United States in the next 10 years and our large military is more destabilizing than beneficial. Is Americas enormous trade deficit with China a problem? How would you boost U.S. exports and encourage China and other countries to buy more from us? China presents many challenges as well as opportunities. Unless America is prepared to engage in brinksmanship in its trade relations with China it will be difficult to change the current trade deficit issue. That is why we believe that a fundamental reform of WTO is necessary to limit Chinas ability to continue to under price American exporters. As long as the US maintains a reserve currency status for the dollar, we are unable to effectively increase our exports when other countries can devalue their currency and we have no way to offset their actions. We will look for fair-trade issues to be added to the WTO or be prepared to withdrawal from the WTO in 2015. We will propose a carbon import tax on all goods as part of a revision of the WTO that will reflect the carbon emissions content of all exported goods. These funds will be used to support developing countries efforts to reduce their carbon footprint and prevent manufacturing from seeking the most pollution friendly nations. Initially, this may appear to impact us more but it will provide a limit on China and Indias ability to leverage their vast population and increase their carbon emissions without sacrificing their ability to export. Unless the US adopts a different currency for internal accounting it is nearly impossible to increase exports significantly. The reserve status of the dollar results in the US becoming the buyer of last resort as developing countries seek hard currency to support infrastructure programs. Instead of focusing on increasing exports initially, we believe a sustained job creation program as well as investments in clean-energy and space technologies will create sufficient markets to create

employment. Once the long-term construction of High Speed Rail, regular lunar traffic and Mars exploration, and conversion of urban centers to high-density ultramodern centers begins, America should produce sufficient jobs each year to maintain full-employment. Essentially, the creation of our space industry will act as our export safety-valve, much like the opening of the New World by Columbus did for Europe.