Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What Positions are important to you, the constituent?

A representative should represent their constants and be a voice of the people in Washington. I have stated my positions, but it would be great to hear what positions others have. What is important to you and why is it?

Is it national defense, war on terrorism, deficits, welfare, social security, Medicare, immigration, energy, veteran’s benefits, education, jobs, etc.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Smith and Warner

Tracy Warner and Sylvia Smith have a near 100% probability they will
censor the news you get. That’s right! When a candidate is interviewed
by these two individuals what they report is nothing close to what the
candidate said. I am not sure this is true for all candidates, at least it
is true for me.

For example, I was asked what my positions are. I replied defense,
balanced budget, reducing the national debt, energy, identity theft,
pension reform, on-us-checks and more and they described me as a one
issue candidate. Out of the six news organizations I sent my press
release to, the Journal Gazette was the only one to get it wrong. In
fact, they got it wrong in 2002 and wrong again in 2004.

When Dr. Hayhurst speaks mostly about affordable health care, is he
treated as a one issue candidate? No! In fact the Dr. Hayhurst’s web
site has NO issues listed.

But what is most amazing is the Warner approach to reporting. He suggests Dr. Hayhurst

needs to start beating up Souder now for breaking his term-limit pledge and portray the incumbent as a Washington insider.

Beating up, attacking and mud slinging. Why not spend time speaking out
on issues instead of attacking.

I, as a voter want to know what the candidate stands for, not more
beating up or mud slinging. I as a voter want to know if the candidate
has a plan or is it nothing but sound bites.

But , to Smith and Warner it is not the candidate’s issues that are
important but what Smith and Warner perceive the issues should be.
Readers beware of these two who censor your news.

A Better Campaign


The William Larsen for Congress campaign has sent IP a news release regarding his platform and views. Mr. Larsen is a candidate in the Republican primary for the 3rd District seat currently held by Mark E. Souder.

He has outlined his views on Social Security, combat readiness, energy independence, pension reform, identity theft, border security, civil liberties and check-cashing reform.

IP thanks Mr. Larsen for including us on his media list. Mr. Larsen is the first candidate to treat the news and public policy weblogs as one would the old media. IP would recommend to candidate organizations and current elected officeholders that each follow Mr. Larsen's lead in this.

I would like to thank IP for listing my platform. Tracy Warner was sent the same material and this is what he wrote.

Sylvia Smith

In 2002 I ran a campaign if you could call it that. I was furious with our representative over his lack of attention to our country's financial condition. Spending was going out of site. I spent evenings and weekends attempting to get the message out, but found that many of the scheduled events during the day kept me from achieving my goal. I learned the media would not report what you said and if asked by the media what the one thing you wanted the voters to know, well let us say the media in some cases and one in particular put fourth what they thought your issue was.

In 2004, I spent less time in some areas and more in others, still attempting to work while campaigning through all the counties in the 3rd district. We did better with a seven fold increase in voter support. What did we do differently that merited such an increase? Obviously a one on one approach worked best.

I decided I needed to spend more time on my campaign and get my message out to those who were potential voters. I had to be available to meet with people on their schedules, attend functions such as debates, groups who met during the day when I would be at work. These were the people I did not reach and I needed to. Therefore, I decided to spend more time on my campaign between February and May, three short months.

On 17 February 2006, I received a phone call from Sylvia Smith, political journalist for the Journal Gazzet. She asked me about my platform. I spent about ten minutes listing and explaining in some cases my platform issues such as budget, defense, energy, identity theft, on-us-checks, illegal immigration and more. I had not gotten to the issue of Social Security when she asked me if Social Security was still an issue? I told her it would always be one of my issues.

She then asked about my age and where I was working. I told her I was taking time off from work to devote 100% of my time to running a campaign. We then completed the phone interview.

In the Journal Gazzet 2-18-2006 I find she wrote

Rep. Mark Souder, R-3rd, is being challenged in the GOP primary by William Larsen, an unemployed engineer who has run against Souder unsuccessfully in two other Republican primaries. Souder is seeking a seventh two-year term.

Northeast Indiana Democrats will choose among four candidates for the 3rd District nominee. City Councilman Tom Hayhurst and the Rev. Kevin Boyd are in contention with Thomas Schrader and Edward W. Smith, a retiree. Attempts to reach Schrader were unsuccessful.

Is someone who takes time off to pursue something they strongly believes in unemployed or investing in his campaign? Is a person who is retired unemployed as well?

It is not the candidate’s issues that are important, but what Sylvia Smith perceives the issues should be.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Mark Souder's Position on Social Security

Mark Souder spoke to Prime Time 39 on 3-12-2004 and referred to Social Security as a "shell game." He stated, "For people under 30 its probably going to be income based. I am not saying we're going to pass that. It will probably be passed after I am dead." He continued "If you're 40, you might make it through the system. But if you're under 40, and certainly under 30, you had better start planning because if you want to have a decent retirement you’re going to need supplemental funds."

Mark supports Social Security Savings Accounts. Tax-free savings is an oxymoron. We have a $7 Trillion national debt and ran a $639 Billion deficit in 2003. This is no different than you borrowing money to pay for retirement. Tax credits reduce federal income taxes; increasing the deficit.

How do workers save when 90 to 100% of their potential savings is taken from them in the form of FICA taxes?

When a person says “We Earned it!” what exactly do they mean?

To me, this phrase is a righteous euphemism for making the more truthful statement: "We were snookered by this Social Security Ponzi scheme, and now we are going to snooker the next generation!"

If Social Security benefits have been "earned" who is obligated to pay benefits to those who "earned" them? Workers? On a regressive tax basis? Why? Why perpetuate a fraud upon the innocent? Who is responsible for bearing the burden of a fraud? The person defrauded? Or an innocent or unborn child?

There is no painless solution. This problem has been created over the course of 69 years with no end in sight. I propose we repeal the Social Security Act pertaining to Old Age Benefits. The Social Security Disability program would remain. My plan would allow the worker to keep both the employee and employer's portion of the SS-OASI tax amounting to a total of 10.6%

You can read my plan with cash flow analysis at http://www.justsayno.50megs.com/pdf/larsen_plan.pdf


Health care is of great concern to all. Each year we pay more. As a father of five, I watch closely our healthcare costs. I have noticed my individual healthcare costs increasing while my children’s are flat. I am getting a bit older and they are still very young. My family’s unit healthcare costs are increasing slowly, but as we get older I can see them increasing ever faster. Is our society any different?

With fewer births, our society is getting older on average due to less “dilution” by babies. Therefore, the average healthcare cost will also increase. But more importantly, we have more choices than we did forty years ago. We have MRI’s, which can be used to identify problems. In the past these problems went undiagnosed and may have resulted in early death, but no additional costs. Today the MRI may lead to surgery, which is an additional cost resulting in longer life. We then have a whole host of medication to choose from. Forty years ago you took aspirin. Today you take a different pill for many different things. Each pill is better than the aspirin, but it costs significantly more.

If we want healthcare, then we need to save and set aside resources now so that they are there in the future when we get older. Our problem is that resources were never set aside to provide healthcare to seniors. Resources could have been investment in pharmaceuticals, hospitals, HMO’s, etc. As they increase in value, so would have been the ability to pay for them.

Many want affordable healthcare, but let’s face facts. A doctor goes to school for over seven years, borrows money for education, does not work full time during this time and if lucky can practice medicine in the end. The problem is their cost is over $340,000 before they even begin practicing medicine. Practicing medicine requires capital. Building and equipment costs could easily be another $625,000 of debt. Add in two nurses, a receptionist and billing specialist whom handles three other offices and I could understand a yearly cost of over $126,000 if not more. When you add in utilities, insurance labor, loans, and FICA the doctor needs to clear over $330,000 before they pay themselves a single penny.

We have all waited in the doctor's waiting room for what seems like eternity who then spends ten minutes or less with us. At ten minutes per visit, the doctor can see 48 patients a day. My doctor charges $70 a visit, which means about half his revenues, go to pay expenses. Then if we add in lab tests done in the office, his office can generate a bit more money. If we were to limit the doctor to just $200,000 a year, office fees could drop by 26%.

Dr. Hayhurst should know better than anyone else the cost involved in Medicine. He has made it clear he wants affordable healthcare for all. This is very admirable and a noble objective. As a doctor, has he been overcharging his patients for the past 30 years or just inefficient or just passing costs along? What will Dr. Hayhurst propose that is different, to save cost if elected, that he was not doing while practicing and charging us, his constituents these past years?

Because of medical break through’s, we have to answer two basic questions. How much can we afford without hurting those who are paying the bills and how much are we willing to pay?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Does Anyone Have Tar and Feathers?

Our representatives passed a $400 Billion Rx drug bill for seniors after running a $639 Billion deficit in 2003. Now we learn the $400 Billion was low and the projected cost is $535 Billion. How have we gotten to such a terrible financial state? According the US Treasury, the National Debt has increased every year since the 50’s. The so-called surplus under Clinton’s term was achieved using Enron Accounting methods.

We need to get back to basics. I hear time after time “We are the richest country on earth.” Is this true? It may have been decades ago, but after running continuous deficits by promising ever more in services and benefits without paying for them, we have mortgaged our children’s future. We cannot afford everything and we need to break this habit of satisfying our desires by borrowing money. If we as a country truly want Rx drug coverage for seniors, then we need to increase taxes to cover it instead of adding $535 Billion to the national debt. If we want Social Security, then we need to increase taxes sufficient to cover the more than $86,000 debt that each adult has incurred. If we want Medicare, then we need to increase taxes by more than $40,000 per adult to cover the debt each adult has incurred.

Our national debt is consuming over $450 billion of our revenues just to pay the finance cost, no principal. Adding more debt is stupid. We can no longer ignore the tough decisions; our politicians have made that choice for us. Join me in voting out every politician in Washington and replace them with common sense individuals who understand the value of your tax dollars.

ISTEP Fall or Spring?

There is much debate about when the ISTEP should be given. Should it be in the fall before students have a chance to review material or should it be in the spring after new material has been learned? It all boils down to the intent of the ISTEP. Is the purpose of the ISTEP to measure retention or memory? What is more important, retention or memory?

Taking the ISTEP in the fall before reviewing would mean many would have forgotten some of the material they learned in the previous school year. The result is lower test scores. However, the fall has an advantage in that it would measure retention. The long summer break would lend itself to cleaning out those things, which might not be in long term memory or were not presented well enough or reinforced enough to be in long-term memory. This would measure how well the student really knew and understood the material. It would also gage how well he information taught the previous year was retained. Clearly we do not want our children to forget what they have learned so quickly.

Taking the ISTEP in the spring after reviewing and learning more material will measure that, which is has been taught most recent as well as long-term memory. The result is higher test scores. The ISTEP cannot differentiate between long-term and short-term memory. How much of the ISTEP material the student knows at the time of the test will be forgotten is not measurable? Are we after memorization and test scores or real learning and retention?

As an Engineer I would prefer to know what my child actually knows, not what they were taught and might forget. Both time periods have both pros and cons. The question comes down to, what is the intent of the ISTEP.

What Went Wrong?

A.J. Altmeyer, Chairman a member of the Social Security Board testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on November 27, 1944

“There is no question that the benefits promised under the present Federal old-age and survivors insurance system will cost far more than the 2 percent of payrolls now being collected… Indeed, under certain assumptions the level annual cost has been estimated to be as much as 7 percent of payrolls. … On the basis of 7-percent-level annual cost it may be said that the reserve fund already has a deficit of about $16,500 million.”

Alan Greenspan stated raising taxes to pay future Social Security and Medicare benefits pose a risk to the overall economy. Greenspan now says future benefit cuts are needed over tax increases.

President Bush spent a year pushing his plan for Social Security.

Robert Ball, a commissioner of Social Security between 1962 and 1973 wrote in June 2005

“When Social Security began, benefits for those nearing retirement age were much higher than could have been paid for by the contributions of those workers and their employers. This was done so that the program could begin paying meaningful benefits even though workers nearing retirement would have only a short time to contribute.”

How do you identify the problem?

The first is to present the drop in the workers-to-beneficiary ratio as very large and unplanned for. They point out that in 1950 there were 16 workers paying into the system for each beneficiary taking out, and that the ratio has gone way down so that now the ratio is only 3.3 workers to each beneficiary and in the long run it will be only 2 to 1 or even 1.9 to 1. They ignore the fact that in 1950 only about 15 percent of the elderly were eligible for benefits and that it was expected by all who were acquainted with the program that the ratio would, of course, change dramatically as a greater proportion of the elderly became beneficiaries.

Instead, the impression is left that the program was sound only when 16 paid in for every one taking out. Thus, of course, when the ratio changed to 3.3 to 1, the program became "unsustainable." What in fact happened is that when just about all the elderly first became eligible for Social Security benefits, about 1975, the ratio was 3.3 contributors to each beneficiary and the ratio has stayed that way for the past 30 years. As the baby boom reaches retirement age, as the administration says, the ratio is expected to drop for the long run to 2.0 or 1.9 workers to each retiree. But that is the size of the problem-a drop from 3.3 to 2 workers per retiree. The much used 16 to 1 figure is simply a reflection of the immaturity of the system back in 1950 when very few of the elderly had worked under the program long enough to be eligible for benefits.”

Altmeyer asked for reform in 1944 and predicted what was going to happen if they did not fix Social Security. Ball identified Social Security was immature in 1950. It takes over 30 years for a worker to become a beneficiary. This means the program would not mature until 1980 while all this time promising far more than it could pay. Those acquainted with the program (congress and presidents) knew of this problem, but looked the other way. Simple math tells you a drop in the worker to beneficiary ratio of 3.3 to 2 reduces revenues by 40%. This requires a 40% cut in benefits or a tax increase of 65%.

A program that pays those born after 1985 just 29 cents back for each dollar of taxes and credited interest is not fair. Americans want value for their dollar. You can buy a value meal at about any fast food chain consisting of a sandwich, fries and drink for about $4.00. If Social Security were a value meal, it would cost $13.79. The American worker deserves value for their Social Security tax dollars.

62 years later we are seeing the seeds of inaction by congress come to fruition. Does social security affect you? Do you want another 62 years worth of talk or do you want action?

Two Sets of Books

We hear a lot of talk about cutting the deficit in half. In fact they have talked about it as far back as I can remember. I am 49 years old and I simply cannot remember a surplus year, can you? Who has been running this country, the politicians or the voters? I hear people complain, but do we ever take action?

There are two sets of books our politicians like to keep, the General and Unified budgets. The Unified Budget includes every government expense while the general budget excludes social security and Medicare. Social Security has its own dedicated tax, which by law cannot be used to pay for anything but Social Security costs, United States Code Title 42, Chapter7, Subchapter VII, Sec. 911 (a). Social Security can buy US Treasuries just like you or I, but the money must be repaid. Currently the Social Security Trust fund owns $1.6 Trillion in Special US Treasuries, which is included in the $8 Trillion National debt.

Politicians like to use the Unified Budget because they can show a lower deficit number. For example in 2004 Bush and our Representatives passed a Unified Budget resulting in a $553.6 billion deficit. The problem is they included Social Security and Medicare taxes as well as the interest their trust funds earned, which are dedicated to paying Social Security and Medicare costs, not general budget items. Excluding these dedicated tax revenues and interest payments, the General Budget deficit was $726.1 Billion. Who wants to report bad news to those you represent? We might not vote for them in the next election. Then again, maybe it is us, we simply do not want to hear the bad news and keep asking for more government services.

In 2005 there was Katrina and now we have the Rx Medicare drug program. The deficit this year is going to be what, $800 Billion? Interest on the Debt in 2005 was over $450 Billion or 40 cents of every dollar you pay in Federal Income Taxes. In 1952 only 16 cents went to pay interest on the debt.

The problem is, they could eliminate the unified budget deficit and we would still have a very large general budget deficit. Its time we laid off these fuzzy math politicians for our sakes as well as our children. Can anyone just say no to two more years?

William Larsen for Indiana's 3rd US Representative Seat

I believe it is time to solve the problem facing Social Security, balance both the general and unified budgets and, reduce the national debt instead of just more political talk and rhetoric.

Those who serve our country need to be trained and be provided the equipment necessary to carry out the tasks assigned to them. We should never knowingly send our men and women into combat with out-dated equipment, poor training or poor planning.

The United States does not have an Energy plan for the future, but a plan to use the same energy sources we use today, tomorrow. Oil is running out and we are dependent on foreign countries. Nuclear, which I have a great deal of experience with, has a problem with waste disposal. Because our politicians have failed to open the Yucca Mountain Repository, Nuclear Power plants are fast approaching full core reserve limits in their spent fuel pools. This means they will soon have to shut down operation. Ethanol requires we use fossil fuels to create it. This method uses nearly as much energy if not more to convert grain to ethanol than ethanol contains. Ethanol based on its energy content in relationship to gasoline should cost 30% less than regular gas. E-85 should cost $1.61 when gas is $2.30. Our country and standard of living depends on cheap dependable energy. We need to move away from our old energy consumption habits and develop truly cheap, renewable, clean and dependable sources.

Many workers are finding it more difficult to become vested in pensions and 401K plans and if they are vested too many companies are not properly funding them. If you are laid off, due to no fault of your own, you should be vested in company matching 401K, profit sharing and pension plans. We need Pension, 401K and profit Sharing reform to protect workers rights.

Americans need and want tax reform. Many middle class taxpayers are being hit with the minimum alternative tax. Americans and Business spend too much on determining their taxes. Why should one company profit at the expense of another simply because a politician wants to give your money away in the form of special tax credit or exemption? The tax code is too complex, too large and adds no value to society. There is no reason why the tax code cannot be simplified so that it is fair to all.

Identity theft affected 9.2 million in 2004. The individual needs to be able to control what information is sold and distributed to third parties.

The federal government has created a mess of our educational system. They take our tax dollars and then dole them back to us with strings attached. Who is better informed about your child’s education, you or your US representative? Control of education must be returned to the states and ultimately the local citizens.

The war on terrorism is encroaching on our personal freedoms. We must be vigilant and stand up to any infringement on our rights. No individual or president has the right to violate an individual’s rights and freedoms without due process.

Our country’s borders are open allowing many to cross as they please. They come here in search of a better life. However, we need control and we need it now. It affects our infrastructure.

"On-us" check cashing reform. It is not honorable to charge a fee to a non-account holder at the bank the check is drawn on. The bank is providing a service to the account holder, not the endorsee. All employer paychecks need to be readily cashable in a local bank without fees and surcharges at the bank on which they are drawn.

I am a navy veteran and hold a degree in Mechanical Engineering. My expertise is in solving difficult complex problems.

Myths: The Political Tools of Choice

Please read the Larsen plan for Social Security.

NBC-33 Debate poll results from 2002