Name as it appears on the ballot: William (B.J.) Lawson
Full legal name, if different: William T. Lawson, Jr.
Date of birth: 3/30/1974
Home address: 8737 Castleberry Rd, Apex NC 27523
Mailing address, if different from home: 2731 NC Highway 55 #231, Cary, NC 27519
Campaign website: www.lawsonforcongress.com
Occupation & employer: Congressional Candidate (none)
Home phone: 919.367.0360
Work phone: n/a
Cell phone: 919.924.1662
1. What do you see as the most important issues facing North Carolina and the nation? If elected, what are your top three priorities in addressing those issues?
The most important issue facing North Carolina and our nation is an economy that has been destroyed by a corrupt Wall Street – Washington axis in the largest and most overt looting operation in our nation's history.
As the economic concerns from my 2008 Congressional campaign grew into a global financial crisis, instead of letting reckless global financial institutions suffer the consequences of their excessive risk-taking through failure and liquidation, our so-called Representatives authorized bailouts at our expense. We now have an economy collapsing under the weight of trillions of dollars of additional debt, while Wall Street paid one percent of our GDP in bonuses in 2009 as we lose our businesses, jobs, and homes.
Washington has proven more corrupt and less effective as it has consolidated power and grown tremendously over the past several decades. It is time to transition to a federal government that focuses on the specific duties enumerated in our Constitution.
Instead of always giving more power to Washington, and always looking to Washington for "help", it is time to keep more resources in our communities to address our challenges. We cannot keep sending more money and power to Washington for the pleasure of lobbyists, bureaucrats, and bailouts and expect better results.
Finally, these issues are compounded by a process of government that is simply broken. Congress passes legislation that it hasn't even read, delegates its lawmaking authority to unelected lobbyists and bureaucrats, and does not respect any limits on its power over our individual lives.
My first priority is to fix our broken economy. Instead of borrowing and printing more money for bailouts and "stimulus" packages, we must balance our budget, stop pretending we can afford to police the world at our expense, and eliminate corporate welfare and unconstitutional spending that benefits special interests. We must eliminate the IRS and its 67,000 pages of job-killing regulations that punish productivity, entrepreneurship, saving, and investment. We must also eliminate overreaching and counterproductive regulations such as Sarbanes Oxley that drive jobs and investment overseas, while being ignored by our largest financial institutions and the federal government itself. We must also provide choices in our monetary system so that American workers and savers are not trapped in a paper currency that is subject to monopoly control by a secretive and unaccountable Federal Reserve.
My next priority is to reform health care by taking it back from corporate and government bureaucracies, and retuning it to patients and providers. Government subsidies and regulations have promoted the interests of big drug and insurance companies and managed care providers while increasing costs, limiting choices, and leaving far too many without coverage. Our current system is better termed "corporatecare" than healthcare, and neither patients nor doctors are happy with the results. True health care reform that puts control back in the hands of patients and providers is required to revitalize the economy, as soaring health care costs are squeezing businesses and consumers alike and reducing the competitiveness of the U.S. economy in a global market.
My final priority is to approach every issue, and every vote, with the goal of restoring a Constitutional federal government. That means restoring our recently sacrificed civil liberties, ending federal control over public education, pursuing a just and sustainable legal immigration policy, and ensuring our safety and security through a rational foreign policy and strong national defense.
We need to change the definition of a "good Representative". Our Congressman should not win praise for bringing federal dollars back to the Fourth District. Instead, our Congressman should win praise for pursuing a federal government that follows the Constitution, serves only the people's interests, and does so with the least amount of the people's money leaving the Fourth District in the first place.
2. What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective in the U.S. House of Representatives? This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.
As a physician and neurosurgery resident, I experienced firsthand the challenges of our current healthcare system. I left practice in 2001 to start a hospital software company specifically to make physicians more efficient, and patient care safer. These two experiences gave me a wealth of experience studying human nature, defining and solving problems, and working collaboratively to achieve results.
I also learned the challenges of starting and growing a business, and how our federal tax and regulatory environment favors the politically connected over the innovative businesses so important to new job creation and our future economic success.
While I certainly don't have all the answers, I eschew divisive partisan politics and bring a broad educational and career background encompassing engineering, medicine, business, and finance. The skills from these disciplines are poorly represented in our government today.
Finally, my experience running in 2008 showed me how critical it is to focus on the issues and engage in honest discussion. My loyalties are not for sale, and I seek to go to Washington to represent the Fourth District as a principled advocate for a Constitutional federal government instead of a pawn of party politics.
3. How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
I dislike labels that attempt to define one's political philosophy. Limiting our discussion to labels like "liberal" or "conservative" prevents real discussion about the issues. While I am a Republican, the social and economic challenges we face are not specific to any political party or demographic label. They are American challenges, and demand that we come together as Americans united by the ideals of our Declaration of Independence, and return to a federal government that lives within its means and the mandates as established by our Constitution. As a result, our United States Constitution is, quite literally, my campaign platform and job description to represent you in the Congress.
4. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
As a physician, I object to our criminalization of addiction through the unconstitutional and hypocritical federal "War on (some) Drugs" that disproportionately targets poor and minority populations. We need to manage addiction as a medical issue, not a criminal issue, and stop imprisoning nonviolent drug users.
5. If these issues haven't been addressed above, would you please comment on:
a. What has our nation learned from invading Iraq? How will that inform your decisions if elected? What should our policy in Iraq be today? Should we base substantial military forces there for the foreseeable future?
While our government may have gone into Iraq with the best intentions of deposing a tyrannical leader and eliminating weapons of mass destruction, the invasion of Iraq was a poor decision based upon poor intelligence, and the Bush administration itself noted that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.
We must recognize that we cannot look at country-based conflicts in isolation, and that we cannot afford to police the world at our expense. Our $12.6 trillion national debt reflects our unsustainable foreign policy, and the protection we're providing in Iraq and elsewhere is being purchased on Chinese and Saudi Arabian credit cards.
If elected, I will work to achieve an immediate and orderly military withdrawal from Iraq.
I do not believe we should colonize Iraq with a long-term military presence and bases in the country.
b. Evaluate the war in Afghanistan and the situation in Iran. What is our goal in those places, in your view? What should our policies be? What legislation should be introduced to address those issues?
We cannot afford nation building in Afghanistan any more than we can afford it in Iraq. I will join Walter Jones, Ron Paul, Dennis Kucinich, and other principled Representatives in voting for an end to our military occupation of Afghanistan.
Military withdrawal does not mean abandoning these countries, or the Middle East. Instead, we must change our focus from war and occupation to multilateral coalition building, and substantially engage other countries in the region to join us in fighting extremism and terrorism with policing, diplomacy, and economic force.
Regarding Iran, it is apparent that a repressive Iranian regime is eager to use the threat of our military action as an excuse to identify an external enemy and thus suppress dissent among its own people. The people who can best bring positive change to Iran are the people who live in Iran, and we can best facilitate regime change by following a policy of principled nonintervention.
We should not support trade sanctions against Iran, as sanctions only hurt the average citizens who would otherwise work for change within their country. The ruling elite will find other ways to meet their needs in the presence of sanctions, and will use sanctions as an excuse to further suppress their citizens and tighten their grip on power.
c. Universal health care: Why don't we have it? What have you learned from the current health care debate? What specific reforms do you support, and what will you do to get them passed? What has this process told us not only about health care but about the way that politics work?
We do not have universal access to health care because our health care system has been taken over by insurance and government bureaucracies, with accompanying disempowerment of patients and health care providers. Health care should be a profession where the needs of the individual patient come first, and providers from various backgrounds and specialties offer a variety of services to help patients meet their individual needs.
Such innovation and choice is precluded by our centrally-planned system, where health care is defined and commoditized by the federal government through its Medicare fee schedule. Other private payers base their definitions and reimbursement rates on Medicare, so what Washington defines as "health care" plays a tremendous role in limiting treatment options for all patients in the third-party payment system.
Furthermore, we have made health care unaffordable for everyone through our perverse system of health care "insurance". In fact, even the name "insurance" is a misnomer – true insurance is when many people pool savings to guard against the risk of a rare and unexpected occurrence, such as a house fire or car accident.
Health care "insurance", as we currently use the term, refers to programs that promise to limit out of pocket expenses for all medical care to a fraction of the cost, subject to a small deductible or co-pay.
This system prevents patients from knowing or controlling the costs of their care, and encourages excessive tests and treatments since patients with good insurance are not motivated to consider costs. As a result, health care costs, and thus premiums for insurance, rise for everyone.
Finally, the domination of third-party payment schemes from government and private insurers leads to complicated and expensive reimbursement processes and elimination of competition and individualized services through commoditization.
I support health care reforms that increase health freedom, and empower individual patients and providers. These reforms include:
1) removing proposed restrictions on high-deductible health insurance so patients can afford catastrophic health insurance while seeking to minimize their out-of-pocket routine expenses
2) allowing insurance purchases across state lines
3) allowing individuals to purchase insurance with pre-tax dollars.
4) removing barriers to tax-free health care savings accounts, including funding savings accounts for Medicare recipients, so that patients are empowered and have complete control over their health care dollars.
5) allowing providers to deduct the cost of providing uncompensated care
6) removing artificial limitations on what constitutes "health care", and specifically allowing nutritional, alternative, and holistic alternatives that can be individually effective at increasing health and wellness
7) malpractice reform to end frivolous lawsuits and reduce defensive medicine
8) tax credits to help poor uninsured purchase high-deductible health insurance, and provide baseline funding for individual health care savings accounts
Finally, we must remember Hippocrates' words: "Let your food be your medicine, let your medicine be your food." We cannot honestly deal with our health care crisis without addressing our American nutritional crisis. I will work to make our country, and our state, a tax haven for good nutrition.
At a state level, we should remove all taxation of food consumption, since eating should not be a taxable event. At the federal and state level, I will work to remove all taxes on food production as well as counterproductive agricultural subsidies. These changes will encourage a reinvigorated, decentralized, and resilient local food economy to better meet our nutritional needs.
The health care "debate" and resulting reform that turns control of health care over to government and insurance company bureaucrats illustrates that corporate interests rule Washington. These interests do not care about the patient/provider relationship. Instead, they prefer to consolidate control over our health care system and health care decisions into fewer hands.
In general, the health care debate illustrates the fundamental rule that money flows to power, and those with money seek to consolidate their control using the coercive force of government at the expense of individual freedom of choice.
d. What do you see as the primary sources of our current economic problems? What measures should Congress use to resolve address them? How would you begin to reduce the federal deficit? Is this an issue of not enough revenue or of overspending? What are some of the possible negative consequences of your proposed solutions?
The primary sources of our current economic problems are our central bank the Federal Reserve, and the job- and innovation-killing income tax.
While the Federal Reserve was founded with the goal of minimizing inflation and maximizing employment, over its 97-year history it has ultimately failed to achieve either of its objectives.
Since the Federal Reserve's founding, its failed attempts to centrally fix the price of money by setting interest rates and lending parameters have created repeated boom/bust cycles. Banking institutions use their monopoly to create money out of nothing through lending to inflate credit bubbles that invariably pop, thus causing massive dislocations in the real, productive economy.
In addition to these periodic crises, the Federal Reserve's attempts to control our money and economy have caused massive inflation and wealth destruction. When the Federal Reserve was founded in 1913, one dollar was worth one dollar. Today, 1913's dollar is worth less than five cents. Those ninety-five cents were stolen from American workers and savers, and transferred to the few who benefit from the process of new money creation.
Additionally, the Federal Reserve is a powerful enabler of corporate welfare and moral hazard. Our monetary and banking system are designed to privatize profits and subsidize losses through the perpetual game of taxpayer-financed bailouts.
From economic crises in Asia and Latin America, to the savings and loan crisis, to the most recent financial meltdown beginning in 2008, the key ingredients are the same – lenders find ways to justify making loans that they know will not be paid back, pay themselves massive salaries and bonuses in the process, and then stick the taxpayer with the bill when the bad loans inevitably blow up.
Finally, the Federal Reserve's unique ability to create money out of nothing to buy government debt is the primary means of corporate interests growing government power for their own ends, at the expense of the American people.
As a result, we are left with Wall Street bailouts, an unaffordable foreign policy, and entitlement obligations that have rendered our federal government insolvent when judged by standard accounting principles.
To address our deficits, debt, and looming insolvency, Congress must reduce spending by focusing on its constitutional responsibilities. We must eliminate corporate welfare, and embrace a foreign policy we can afford. We must take funds saved from wasteful wars and welfare and use them to shore up frayed domestic safety nets that put money and control in the hands of individuals, such as funding individual health care savings accounts for Medicare recipients.
Putting safety nets in the hands of individuals must be accompanied by lower taxes across the board, and ideally the elimination of the income tax that punishes job creation, entrepreneurship, and productivity.
Lower taxes will increase entrepreneurship and job creation, thus providing a foundation for renewed economic growth in the real economy.
I will also work to repeal ill-advised managed trade agreements like NAFTA that have resulted in massive offshoring of our industrial base and loss of our productive capacity.
Finally, we must open up our economy to alternative sources of investment capital beyond just Federal Reserve Notes. Specifically, we need to legalize constitutional money by eliminating sales and capital gains taxes on gold and silver. This simple change would provide an alternative source of capital that is not subject to the wild boom/bust swings of a monopoly-controlled paper currency.
Regarding negative consequences, the current political environment makes it is highly unlikely that sweeping solutions will be embraced in time to prevent a currency crisis. Since our global economy is tightly linked with convertible fiat currencies, the growing sovereign debt crisis threatens all global currencies and ultimately the global economy itself.
Our greatest risk is failure to legalize and recognize the necessity of alternative sources of capital based upon real physical wealth such as gold, silver, or even agricultural commodities. In the absence of diversity in the monetary system and renewed economic freedom to create jobs, businesses, and wealth at the local level, the most likely negative consequence is a long slide into global depression with eventual inflation and growing civil unrest.
e. The stimulus legislation and the bailout: What worked and what didn't? What would have done differently in hindsight? How will that inform your opinion in the future? Under what circumstances would you advocate for such legislation?
The stimulus and bailout legislation were misguided efforts to cure alcoholism with another drink. We have become addicted to debt and borrowing in an effort to create "growth", and have continued taking on additional debt despite our inability to service our existing debt.
Under no circumstance will I support so-called stimulus plans that use borrowed money to pull forward future demand, nor will I support bailouts that allow "too big to fail" institutions to socialize their losses.
"Too big to fail" is simply too big to exist, and we must let insolvent institutions fail so that bad debt can be liquidated, and overall debt in our financial system can return to a serviceable level.
f. Education: What should classrooms of the future look like? What will you do about the dropout rate, the achievement gap and the lack of students excelling in math and science? What can be done to attract and retain better teachers in American school?
The classrooms of the future should care more about teachers and students than gadgets and technologies, and place a renewed emphasis on basic skills like math, reading comprehension, problem solving, and teamwork.
I will work to reduce dropout rates, the achievement gap, and poor performance in math and science by empowering educational freedom and parent/student choice at the local level. I will work to eliminate the central planning from Washington that is eliminating the diversity of options within our educational system.
Like health care, our educational system should include a diverse mix of educational options that develop the strengths and strengthen the weaknesses of individual students.
Since students are unique, we need an educational system with a variety of options that can accommodate different areas of interest and styles of learning.
The driving force for educational excellence should be parent/student choice, and equal access for all children to competing educational alternatives including public, private, and charter schools.
Every school should be a magnet school that excels at educating its targeted student population, and attracts teachers by empowering them to innovate and excel in the classroom.
7. What is your position on capital punishment?
I am consistently pro-life and oppose capital punishment.
8. What is your position regarding LGBT rights and Don't Ask Don't Tell?
Sexual preference between consenting adults is not the concern of the federal government. Rules against sexual misbehavior in the military should be maintained regardless of sexual orientation.
9. Do you support women's reproductive rights, including the "right to choose" as set out by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade?
The most important purpose of government is to protect life. Scientifically, I believe life begins at conception. Therefore, I do not believe there is a "right" to elective abortion – abortion is not a victimless crime. Abortion is a difficult decision if the mother's life is in danger, and in that situation the decision should be between the mother and her physician. Additionally, we must recognize that there is a window of time post-coitus when it is unknown if conception has occurred. Thus, emergency contraception (i.e., the "morning after pill") should be a moral decision between a woman and her physician.
10. What changes, if any, do you support in federal entitlement programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans programs, etc.)
Federal entitlement programs are demographic time bombs that are leading us into a currency crisis. When Alan Greenspan was asked in a Senate Banking Committee hearing in 2005 how we were going to meet our Social Security obligations, his response was straightforward: "We can guarantee cash, we cannot guarantee purchasing power."
In other words, the Federal Reserve can literally print the money necessary to meet our entitlement obligations, but in that event, the purchasing power of the money will be vastly diminished by inflation. That inflation is a form of default, as the money we print will not provide the expected standard of living.
Thinking within the box of our current monetary and financial system, we need to explore means testing and raising the retirement age to extend the life of Social Security. However, these reduced benefits are another form of controlled default.
Ultimately, both Social Security and Medicare are intergenerational Ponzi schemes that are mathematically destined to fail when the number of recipients grows too far beyond the number of payers.
Since the surplus funds paid into the Social Security and Medicare "trust funds" by Baby Boomers were not actually saved, but rather spent and replaced by government bonds that must be sold to raise money to pay benefits, the government has already broken its promise to help our senior citizens save for retirement and medical care.
As the Baby Boomers shift from production to consumption in retirement, there is no easy answer beyond limited forms of default for those who can afford to forgo benefits, and freeing up people to take better care of themselves and each other within reinvigorated local economies.
11. What should Congress do to prevent banking disasters like the one that nearly plunged this country into a second Depression two years ago?
The best defense against banking disasters is eliminating the moral hazard that comes from the expectation of taxpayer bailouts of bankrupt institutions. Failure must have consequences, and that consequence should be the risk of loss to investors, bondholders, managers, and even depositors.
In the absence of the risk of failure, institutions are encouraged to become "too big to fail", and create systemic risk.
We must break up firms that have become "too big to fail", and then allow a free market to work where failure is punished by bankruptcy instead of being rewarded with taxpayer-financed bailouts.
12. What's your take on the Obama Administration so far: Too aggressive? Too cautious? Or about right? (Choose one, please.)
The Obama administration has continued several undesirable policies of the Bush administration, including socializing losses through Wall Street bailouts, record borrowing and growth of the national debt, continued occupation in Iraq, escalating war in Afghanistan, and continued assaults on our civil liberties through the PATRIOT Act renewal.
On those fronts the Obama administration has been too cautious and not shown any appreciable change.
With respect to health care, the Obama administration has been too aggressive in further disempowering individual patients and providers at the expense of insurance companies and government bureaucrats.
The Obama administration (or more precisely the First Lady) has been about right in her efforts to set a good nutritional example by planting an organic garden. It's too bad that the Clintons decided to sludge the White House lawn, resulting in elevated levels of soil lead averaging 93 parts per million, and root crops that risk lead contamination.