When the Senator came Wednesday, he also discussed various elements of the new stimulus package, Social Security, and tax code. I want to highlight some of what he said, most of which I found encouraging.
In the past month, the Congress worked to pass a stimulus package in the hopes of avoiding an economic recession. He was proud of the bipartisan effort that went into getting the bill passed, and of what the package did. He like that the plan helped individuals and families with a rebate, and it helped business by allowing faster write-offs of new equipment purchases. The spending by families and investments by businesses should spur growth in the economy. While I am not as big of a fan of the package passed because it did not make the 2003 tax cuts permanent, I always appreciate the government cutting taxes.
He explained that the plans President Bush had of allowing individuals to retain a portion of their Social Security had been sidetracked early in the president's first term. The senator believes, though, that the only long-term solution to save Social Security is to allow people to invest a portion of their Social Security withholdings in a private account like an IRA or 401(k). By allowing them to invest the funds, they can grow and actually build a retirement instead of relying on the present Social Security system, which does not invest any funds at present. He basically described a plan similar to the one I described here. I was very encouraged to hear what he had to say.
The Senator definitely favors tax reform, but not overnight. He sponsored a bill that would dissolve the present tax code by 2010, with the understanding that it had to be rebuilt by that time. He recalled the effect that sudden changes in the tax code in the 80's had on the Savings and Loans industry (it was wiped out) and how it contributed to the recession of 1991. He favors a consumption tax (like the FairTax) because it allows individuals to decide whether or not they want to pay the tax instead of making it compulsory. I definitely appreciated his take on how to properly implement tax changes, and I look forward to seeing what else comes out of Washington in the next few months and years.
I really appreciated the senator's visit to our small town. He had not met my wife before, so it was good to introduce him to the new parts of my family, and to let my wife see why I supported him even though he was not the candidate we first supported when he ran for Senate. He is a good man, not so full of himself as many politicians. He had engaging answers, and regularly referred to the problems in Washington as something "we" need to change, instead of "they" (he knows he is there and shares in the blame, he explained). I hope he remains in Washington and gets more accomplished for now. If he decides to run for governor in the next election, though, I can't say I wouldn't support him.