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Financial Responsibility

Only five accountants serve in our current Congress. This is a big reason why we are currently closing in on $35 Trillion in debt with no plan to fix it. By the time the election comes around we are on pace to be over $36 Trillion in debt. And unlike the cheap money of the past decade, we are now borrowing with a 5.5% interest rate. This is not sustainable. To help fix this we need to have responsibility from Congress.

 

We also need to recognize that we have other threats to our economic system that need to be addressed quickly. From the pending real estate market busts, to the international move away from the dollar as a reserve currency, and to the failure of the Biden Admin to renew a deal for the Petrodollar, we have flashing red lights everywhere and publicly available solutions are slim. Below are some basic principles that would guide me, as well as reforms that I would work to enact as your representative, and programs for us to pursue at the federal, state, and local level that can get us back on the right track.

Balance

Passing a balanced budget that doesn’t refinance current maturing debt

Our debt being out of control shows that Congress can't be trusted to balance a budget. That is why we need to make it not negotiable to have a balanced budget. Additionally something that has been under-reported is that we are refinancing 0-1% debt with 5.5%. The damage that is doing to our fiscal future cannot be understated. To dig out of this awful hole, we cannot continue to add to the problem.

Passing spending guard rails that limit Congress’s ability to borrow to 80% of GDP

Failing to adhere to this principle is why the dollar is being replaced as the global reserve currency. We must mandate fiscal discipline and force our representatives to make hard choices. It's easy to borrow money and go back to your district with a project you got earmarked showing how you have helped the community. But easy isn’t helping anyone.

Dollar Bills
Image by Louis Velazquez

Creating consequences for Congress when appropriations and budgets are not passed on time

I mentioned this in my government accountability platform, but it is worth repeating. Only twice in my lifetime have these basic deadlines been met. That is  unacceptable. No member of Congress should be eligible for a pension if they don’t pass budget and appropriations on time. And they shouldn't be getting paid while the government is shut down.

Pass appropriations bills individually

Members need to be held accountable for their record. To make that possible we must eliminate these “Frankenstein's Monster” type legislation. They call them "omnibus," where we roll a bunch of garbage in with things that are popular. This is how most of the pork gets passed. We need to fix this, otherwise we will continue to get the same poor quality of representation that we have had in recent history.

Image by freestocks
Girl in a City
Girl in a City

Reform entitlement programs

It is politically taboo to mention this, but it's also honest. We pay far too many people to not contribute to society. When I was shot and lost the ability to do manual labor I could have sat around and collected disability for the rest of my life. Instead I made sacrifices to better myself and got my degree in accounting. The government has spent $15 trillion on the war on poverty, only to basically have the same amount of poverty we started with. That shows that the government isn’t the solution, it's part of the problem.

These are all common sense things that need to be addressed. The question we have is how do we get there? That is the answer that has been absent from the conversation. I propose a 3 step strategy that would get us where we need to be in a responsible fashion. We need to combine some of the best ideas presented into one cohesive strategy, which looks like this:

First, we need to freeze our federal spending levels until we eliminate the deficit. If we do that then Congress will be forced to balance the budget and take a look at eliminating bad spending before starting anything new. Worst case scenario inflation will bring the budget in balance within 4 years.

Second, we legislate the plan articulated by Vivek Ramaswamy during the Presidential Primary where we consolidate redundant federal agencies and eliminate those outside of the federal authority. This will help create a permanent and lasting solution to the problem of a bloated federal government more effectively than using executive authority because it has the benefit of legislative authority. 

We saw with the border that using executive orders to solve problems creates even bigger problems because they can be undone with a new President. With this plan there is an extreme risk in this area because it also means that the new President is re-staffing the agencies we want to eliminate, creating an opportunity for an ideological army against the right. Avoiding second and third order consequences has been an achilles heel for the right, as we often create the tools of our own destruction (Iraq war, Patriot Act, FISA, etc.). We can't afford to make those same careless mistakes in the name of expediency this time, because the consequences will be dire. 

Third, we need to accept that the work from home revolution isn't going anywhere, and embrace it. To accelerate that process I propose the government to be the leader in creating a new market in converting obsolete commercial real estate into residential. We need someone to take the lead on this, and create the space for innovation to reduce the cost.

 

Then we can sell the housing created only to citizens, and create downward pressure on our out of control housing costs. In the long run, selling these obsolete assets will save on maintenance and operational costs as well. On top of that it will give an influx of cash to call our highest interest debt, thus lowering the impact of interest on the budget. This will require a massive partnership from local, state, and federal officials to accomplish. However it is also necessary if we want to prevent the collapse of our economy. 

 

For reference, the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008 represented a small amount of the real estate market as a whole, roughly $400 billion market value in 2008. The current commercial real estate market crisis is significantly bigger, with investors that are set to hit a refinance wall in 2025 that would impact $1.5 trillion worth of assets. This is such a big problem because this is what was previously seen as some of the safest investments in the market. And it's worth emphasizing that this is just projects that will have current financing expire. With prices in the tank we need to find a new purpose for these assets, or we will long for the pain of 2008. 

The silver lining is by doing this we can also work on improving the affordability of residential housing as well. However, doing conversions are expensive, with miles of red tape.  We need to cut through the red tape and create space for innovation. I trust the American people to take that challenge and find ways to make affordable housing a cost effective process. That is how this country made some of the greatest advancements in the history of mankind, and together we can do it again.

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