Like most people in Colorado Springs, I am no fan of our current Congressman, Doug Lamborn.
He does not represent us. Based on his voting record, Doug Lamborn has been consistently ranked as the most conservative member of Congress. But when only 40% of the people in his district are registered Republicans, and many of them are not radical conservatives like himself, then Doug Lamborn does not represent the large majority (60%+) of people in his own district. He does not represent us!
When Congress finally did reopen, through an authorization bill which included desperately needed funds for those large areas of Colorado (including El Paso County and Colorado Springs) burned by wildfires and drowned by flooding, Doug Lamborn was the only member of our Colorado delegation to Congress who voted AGAINST reopening the government and helping the people of Colorado. He voted No.
And despite being a Congressman for many years now, Doug Lamborn has introduced no significant legislation into Congress to address any of our national or local issues. When pressed about this in a recent Gazette article:
“That’s ridiculous,” Lamborn said. “Look at the national veterans’ cemetery which is being designed as we speak. It was funded yesterday in the House.”
He said the bill, which also included funding for the response to the Zika Virus, other VA funding and military construction, included $36 million for the cemetery which will be built near the Colorado Springs Airport.
“That’s a project I’ve been working on for nine-and-a-half years,” Lamborn said. “I’m proud to see that it continues to make progress.”
So, one thing. After 10-years in Congress. Doug wastes time by trying to defund NPR, and proposing resolutions to protect Christmas — legislation which has gotten nowhere at all, even in a Republican controlled Congress. Not even the Republicans support or approve of what little legislation Doug Lamborn does introduce.
For all these reasons, and many more, I do not like Doug Lamborn.
And even the local Republicans don’t like him much either, because in 4 of the 5 last elections he’s been challenged by other Republicans for the seat in Congress.
The latest challenger, who beat Doug Lamborn by a large margin to get her name onto the Republican Primary ballot, is a self-described “New Republican,” 32-year-old Calandra Vargas.
Who is Calandra Vargas? Here are a few things you should know about the Republican challenger to Congress:
CALANDRA WANTS TO ABOLISH THE IRS. Which is a terrible idea, and here’s why:
The IRS costs only $12 billion/year to run (making it one of our smallest government agencies), yet collects about $3.1 trillion/year of tax revenue for public spending. The IRS is thus one of our only self-funding agencies (like the Post Office) – it pays for itself. Put another way, the IRS spends about 38 cents for every $100 it collects – which, even for fiscal conservatives, is an excellent return-on-investment. (Source: irs.gov.)
Abolishing the IRS, then, which serves as the primary agency for tax collection and enforcement, would save the federal government only $12 billion/year, which is small, but would unemploy about 85,000 people (which is significant) and would cost our government many millions (if not billions) of dollars in lost revenue when people simply stop paying their taxes because no one is coming to collect and no one is around to make sure people actually pay what they’re supposed to pay – which would be economically disastrous.
How Calandra plans to avoid this self-created financial crisis is unclear, because she never says. But the obvious and easy answer is this: DO NOT ABOLISH THE IRS.
Spend pennies to make dollars, or save pennies and waste dollars? Calandra wants to save pennies and waste dollars – being “penny wise, pound foolish,” as the old saying goes.
CALANDRA WANTS TO ESTABLISH A FLAT-TAX SYSTEM. Her website offers no details about what her plan would look like, but in a recent Gazette article: “Vargas advocates for doing away with the IRS and going to a flat-tax system, similar to what Ted Cruz proposed when he was running for president.”
The Ted Cruz flat-tax plan is here.
Right now in America we have a progressive income tax system, which means: the more money you earn, the more taxes you pay. People who can afford more pay more. It’s fair.
Depending on what you earn, you fall into one of seven income tax brackets, paying anywhere from as little as 10% to as much as 39.6% an income tax. For example, if you earn less than $9,000/year, you pay a 10% income tax (and probably less, with deductions); and if you earn more than $415,000/year, you pay a 39.6% income tax (and probably less, with special interest tax loopholes). The average American – meaning most Americans – pays the 10% income tax rate.
That’s our progressive income tax system – which was first introduced by President Lincoln, during the Civil War, and we’ve had continuously since 1913.
A flat tax would abolish all of that, having everyone (and businesses) pay the same flat rate – which, according to the Cruz/Vargas plan, would be 10% for individual incomes, and 16% for corporate incomes.
And this plan has been investigated by tax experts, at both the liberal Tax Policy Center, which finds the Cruz plan would make America lose $8.6 trillion over 10 years, and the conservative Tax Foundation, which finds the Cruz plan would make America lose $3.6 trillion dollars over 10 years. According to both firms, the Cruz flat-tax plan makes America lose trillions of dollars over the next decade — which is bad.
This is the economically disastrous flat-tax plan Calandra Vargas wants force America into. The rich get richer and the poor get screwed.
CALANDRA WANTS TO “DEFUND ALL UNCONSTITUTIONAL AGENCIES.” Whatever that means. What exactly is an “unconstitutional agency”? Calandra never says.
Strictly speaking, it could mean any governmental agency not specifically and explicitly mentioned in the Constitution. But since the Constitution only mentions our three major branches of government (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial), then every other government agency ever created could be considered “unconstitutional” – including the Departments of State, Labor, and Homeland Security, plus the Treasury and Federal Reserve. Every government agency would be an “unconstitutional agency” by this narrow definition.
But the Constitution does say, in Article I, Section 8, Clause 18, “The Congress shall have Power To …make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” The Constitution authorizes Congress to create additional government agencies.
So, an “unconstitutional agency” would have to be those not mentioned in the Constitution nor created by later law – which is none of them. Every government agency was created by a law, under the “necessary and proper” clause.
By the standard she’s thus set for herself, then, of “unconstitutional agencies,” Calandra wants to defund either all of our government agencies, or none of them – which is meaningless.
Is this what she wants? Or, more specifically, what exactly does she want? Calandra never says.
CALANDRA, WHILE CLAIMING TO BE A “NEW REPUBLICAN,” WANTS TO REINTRODUCE INTO CONGRESS SEVERAL FAILED ELEMENTS FROM THE OLD REPUBLICAN “CONTRACT WITH AMERICA”: INCLUDING A BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT, AND CONGRESSIONAL TERM LIMITS.
In 1994, Republican Congressional candidates campaigned for office on a platform of proposals called the “Contract With America.” They promised to introduce and pass 10 popular reforms within their first 100 days in office, saying, “If we break this Contract, throw us out.”
The very first item on their 10-point list was a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution with a tax limitation provision, requiring a three-fifths vote by both the House and the Senate to raise taxes. The amendment passed the Republican-controlled House but failed in the Republican-controlled Senate – because they couldn’t even get enough of their own support for their own proposal.
The very last item on their 10-point list was actually two items: one Constitutional amendment to limit the term of Representatives to six years and Senators to twelve years; and another amendment to impose term limits on twelve years on both the House and the Senate. The first proposal was never discussed, and the second failed to pass even in the Republican-controlled House – again, because they couldn’t even get enough of their own support for their own proposal.
Does Calandra support these old ideas, exactly as they were, or does she have some new, updated version to offer? She never says.
And what exactly would Calandra, as a New Republican, do differently to finally get these failed Old Republican ideas passed? Again, she never says.