Candidate: U.S. must get back to basics
The solution to the nation's problems is to make the federal government return to the rules written in the U.S. Constitution, according to U.S. Senate candidate Clair Van Steenwyk.
Van Steenwyk was in town Tuesday evening to speak to members of the local Republican Party.
He is a talk radio host at KXXT 1010 AM. He's been on the air since 2004 as Crossroads with Van in California, Idaho, Florida and Phoenix. His specialty is interviewing politicians and candidates.
He grew up in California and has been active in politics since he passed out information during President Eisenhower's campaign.
He has worked in the food industry since the 1970s, operated a Christian outreaches on Los Angeles' skid row and on Hollywood Boulevard and in Mexico.
He's been asked to run for office many times before, but never felt the need until this year. Van Steenwyk doesn't believe the current crop of Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate will do anything to fix the country.
He dismissed Jeff Flake as a career politician who has never done anything else in his life.
And Wil Cardon is hardly an outsider, he said. Cardon was the vice chair for Romney's 2008 presidential campaign in Arizona. He's also contributed to Flake's, Sen. Jon Kyl's, and Sen. John McCain's campaigns and a series of political action committees over the last 12 years.
"I'm a Christian, constitutionalist and conservative, in that order," he said.
According to Van Steenwyk, God gave the U.S. a wonderful governing document that gave us our freedom and man, more specifically those in Congress, have messed everything up.
That's why the economy is in the tank and education and health care are a mess, because Congress and the federal government have gotten away from the true principles of the Constitution, he said.
The Constitution governs what the federal and state governments can and can't do, Van Steenwyk said, but Congress, federal agencies and the president have stretched their authority to the point that they are no longer following the Constitution and have actually confiscated power from the states.
If elected, Van Steenwyk said he would work to remove all agencies that are not specifically listed in the Constitution and give that power back to the states.
Local governments were supposed to have the most power, not the federal government, he said.
Van Steenwyk would also work to freeze all government spending and positions for the next five years.
Doing so would actually help the economy, he said. As departments close, employees retire and spending is cut, state governments would take over the regulation of business.
In turn, freeing up businesses from unnecessary federal regulation would cause business to expand and create more jobs, Van Steenwyk said.
The U.S. needs to have a more complex economy that includes manufacturing, he said. Right now the U.S. has a services based economy because federal regulations have made it too costly to manufacture anything in the U.S.
Van Steenwyk would also find a way to use all of the U.S. natural resources to meet the nation's energy needs. Buying oil from the Middle East is an exercise in futility, he said.
We are essentially paying enemies who turn around and use the money to sponsor terrorism against us. Then we spend even more money on our military to protect us from the terrorists that we're funding, he said.
Using the nation's resources would not only cut funding for terrorism, it would increase the number of jobs available and help the economy.
Deporting illegal immigrants would also be a big help to the economy, Van Steenwyk said. The majority of people who are in the U.S. illegally aren't people who came across the border. They're people working for the big tech companies who have overstayed their visas.
It would be easy to track them down since the federal government has a paper trail of applications and records it could follow, he said. Eisenhower did it without the help of computers. The only reason the federal government isn't doing it now is because the leadership doesn't have the will to enforce the laws.
But before we can deport anyone we have to protect the border, Van Steenwyk said.
"I want to create a wall that is so big, it rivals the Great Wall of China," he said.
Then it's time to crack down on illegal immigration. Van Steenwyk would give illegal immigrants and those who have overstayed their visas a chance to self-deport. If they do so they would be given the opportunity to get back in line for a new visa to work in the U.S.
If they don't self-deport and the U.S. has to come looking for them, Van Steenwyk would have the government confiscate everything they have, take samples of their DNA and fingerprints and prohibit them and all of their relatives from entering the U.S. again.
"It's doable, but it's not easy," he said.
Van Steenwyk also called for a fair tax, where an object would only be taxed once in its production lifetime.
Social Security is also fixable, he said. The money has to be put back in a lock box and protected from being used for anything other than paying out benefits to those who paid into.
Van Steenwyk also had a few reforms for the system. Anyone over the age of 55 would continue to be able to contribute to the original Social Security program. Anyone under 55 would have their money put into something like a private 401K retirement plan.
"We have to take government out of our retirement plans," he said.