So, I’m running for Congress…

In Tennessee it is ridiculously easy to get on the ballot for federal offices. Essentially, I need twenty-five signatures from registered voters within Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District.

So, why exactly should you vote for me? Simple: I have ideas. Some of these ideas are good, some probably aren’t, but my ideas are ones that aren’t getting widespread attention. (Note: When I say “my” ideas, I’m not claiming that they are true original thoughts–although some may be. I’ll try to give credit where credit is due.) I’ll give details in future posts, but here are a few highlights.


I don’t like the income tax, because I believe it does things completely backward. Income tax punishes people for earning money, when I believe people should be “punished” for spending money wastefully. This may sound similar to the Flat Tax various Tea Party and other groups support, but it really isn’t, because, while I propose a national sales tax, there is nothing “flat” about it.  I would like to have three levels of sales tax:

  1. For necessities like food staples, those items that are currently WIC-eligible; a reasonable housing and utilities allowance; work and school clothing; reasonable transportation costs; and similar items; the tax rate should be low or none.
  2. For items that aren’t necessities but which have some societal value, we would have a moderate tax rate. I would put things like books, computers, moderately-priced clothing, and non-luxury automobiles in this category. This tax rate would be around 10%.
  3. For luxury items, I would have a high tax rate, probably in the range of 35% to 50%. Now, by luxury items I don’t just mean yachts, sports cars, Jimmy Choo shoes, and first-class airfare. I include things like DVDs, video games, candy, soft drinks, movie tickets, and fast food meals. This level is not designed to punish the rich: It’s designed to punish those who spend their money on garbage instead of investing in themselves and their families.

This is just a brief summary–I want input from many others with expertise before trying to introduce it–but you get the general idea.


First, note that the above tax plan works perfectly well for illegal immigrants, as they will be taxed on the products and services they buy, instead of dodging income tax. They will pay their fair share for the government services they use.

The current immigration system is broken in almost every way imaginable. Motivated individuals in impoverished areas or who live under oppressive regimes move to give themselves and their families a chance at better lives. Everyone living in the United States has ancestors who left their homeland in search of something better–yes, even the Indians crossed the Bering Strait to leave Asia. I don’t want to punish people for wanting a better life. Having said that, I do want to encourage people to follow simple rules to gain timely permission to immigrate to the United States. Right now, if a Mexican wants to legally move to the U.S., he cannot enter the lottery to obtain a green card. If he doesn’t have a family member already living here legally, his only choice is to sneak across the border and hope he doesn’t get caught. Furthermore, the same people screaming loudest about illegal immigrants “taking American jobs” are the same people complaining when a company opens a factory outside the U.S.–which would help encourage people to stay in their home countries.

What should we do?

  1. Simplify the immigration process to let more people of all national and educational backgrounds legally enter the country. Ideally, we would start this under better economic conditions, and throttle the admission process upward and downward depending on the current economic conditions. Theoretically, we could admit people to work in low unemployment areas while heavily restricting immigration to areas of high unemployment.
  2. Encourage microloans so women can start businesses in countries with strong pressures toward emigration. Some of this might be done with federal aid seed money, but much can be done through private means.
  3. Target foreign aid toward the education of girls. Uneducated women have far more children than those who are educated, so if we want to solve the immigration problem in the future, we need to do our best to make sure that women aren’t having more children than they can afford.

The current proposals, such as stronger immigration enforcement and building border fences, are only bandages. They don’t address the real problem of income inequality. By encouraging the most motivated individuals to come to the U.S. while providing economic opportunities for them at home, we can fix the long-term problem.

Gay Marriage

My solution to the problem of gay marriage is simple: Take government out of the marriage business. Marriage is mostly a religious institution, so if your church doesn’t want to allow same-sex marriages, it shouldn’t have to perform them. If someone else’s church feels that they should sanction such relationships, they should be allowed to do so. If marriage is no longer a factor in income taxes, then most government functions involving marriage can be handled through other legal documents, such as powers-of-attorney and wills.

Tomorrow I will address some other hot button issues, but if you have any suggested topics, please feel free to make comments.




Filed under Gay Marriage and Gender Issues, Immigration, Taxation

7 responses to “So, I’m running for Congress…

  1. How long do I have to be a TN citizen to be able to vote?

  2. What kind of help do you need? I’m willing to be part of the support team, not like I’m working too hard here….

  3. Shaby Kaderi

    So, while I support your ideas, I question your (or any single candidate’s) ability to implement them. How do we, as a society, address the income inequality issue? And why just limit that to immigrant issues? We have serious income inequality concerns to address here in our own district! What are your thoughts on that?

    • I don’t necessarily see income inequality as a problem, since it’s really a symptom of inequality of opportunity. As you know, I’m unhappy with the lottery process used by the Hamilton County Department of Education to place students in kindergarten at the magnet schools because it places children based on how willing their parents were to jump through the hoops needed to enter the lottery. If a child has the misfortune to be born to parents who are unable (or worse, unwilling) to fight for their child’s education, then he’ll be placed in a substandard school, which may lead to an unfulfilled life.

      I have some ideas on how to help fix this, which I’ll address in a blog post dedicated to education in a day or two. As far as income inequality caused by corporate greed, I have some ideas on that as well.

  4. Pingback: Political Courage | Topher for Congress

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