Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Creating Jobs & Balancing the Budget – Is New Blood in Congress Our Only Hope?

An Interview with Liz Carter, Candidate for US Congress, GA-4

Everyone knows small business is responsible for 50%+ of all the private sector jobs created in the US – even politicians know this. The wealth of a country is created by the private sector not government. It seems everyone but most of our current politicians know this. A good environment for creating new businesses and the resulting new job opportunity determines the health of our economy. Employment opportunity and our economy does not grow with deficit increasing federal stimulus money mainly spent on special interest projects and state and city government agencies to allow for their own continued out-of-control spending. Even the majority of Americans that benefited by having unemployment payments extended would rather have had real job opportunities created and a normal life again.

Everyone knows businesses as well as families must balance their budgets or go under. Many are balancing their budgets with a lot less money each month these days, but they still do it. Businesses and families know you can’t keep spending money you don’t have and remain financially solvent. It’s hard, but everyone cuts back on expenses when they must except big government supporters it seems. Americans are frustrated with the level of spending and the trillions of dollars in deficit resulting from the spending. Instant additional revenue, through higher and higher taxes and fees, is not the sustainable answer to balancing bigger and bigger budgets. Government just can’t tax enough. A 100% tax on every business and every person will not pay off the deficit especially with the continued spending levels. Former Presidents Kennedy and Reagan lowered tax rates to encourage economic growth. Both saw government revenues increase with lower taxes. Every President that has increased taxes has seen the overall government revenue decrease.

Everyone knows the more money government takes the less money there is in the pockets of businesses and families already trying to make ends meet. Additional taxes, in any form, will further slow down our economy and increase unemployment. The more businesses are forced to go under and the more people are forced into unemployment, the less taxable income is available and government actually collects less revenue even with higher tax rates and additional tax and fee demands in place. And, higher taxes on those that still have a business or job without major government spending cuts will ultimately do nothing toward balancing our national budget and bringing down deficits. You get this, I get this, why doesn’t our government get this? We need those with taxing and spending power to get this.

Is new blood in Congress our only hope? Will shifting the current paradigm of career politicians and electing people that have started a business or worked their entire lives in the private sector the only way the US will create jobs and see stable growth? Is this the only way our political leadership will understand what legislation grows our economy and what legislation destroys it? We need people in Congress that have lived it, not politicians that have spend their entire careers in the government sector immune from the pain of trying to run a successful business while adhering to over-regulation and over-taxation. We need legislators that have not spent their lives personally immune from economic recession and job killing legislation.

As a highly successful small technology business owner and technology award winner with a patent for an HTML product, Liz Carter is an example of one congressional candidate that has a proven track record of understanding business, technology, employment, and the economy. She grew up poor and is self-made. Liz is plain spoken and her direct answer to questions is refreshing in politics. She is a citizen politician running for Congress in Georgia’s District 4. One click on her website’s issues tab and you know where she stands on the issues of the day without spin. She is polling well and has received many local endorsements in a district that seems ready for change and up for grabs this mid-year election. District 4 is a minority majority area, and Liz has been warmly received by the local NAACP. She has also been well received by the Tea Party movement which is quite strong in the Atlanta area.

President Obama recently made a point of endorsing the Democrat incumbent Hank Johnson. This was a move many interpreted as nervousness of an incumbent possibly loosing the GA-4 seat in a district that has gone from 60% Democrat and 40% Republic to 38% Democrat, 30% Republican, and 30% Independent in the last year. The unemployment rate ranges from 10-16.7% in Georgia and District 4 depending on the area you live in, and there is a 14% poverty level. In a state that has been plagued with deep private sector lay-offs and local government corruption, many believe Georgia voters are ready for a new approach and new blood.

An Interview with Congressional Candidate for GA-4, Liz Carter:

BKH: You've never run for national office before. What was the catalyst to deciding to run for the GA-4 seat, especially against an entrenched incumbent?
LC: When you work with businesses across this great nation, and your focus is helping them succeed and helping them grow, you study and closely watch the economy. My clients were being impacted by the uncertainty this Congress has created. Small and large businesses have not had a clear picture on how current legislation will impact them or what regulation would further cost them. There were several market indicators that unemployment was on the rise, yet it seemed as though the focus in DC was on fighting each other instead of doing what is right for the American people and the private sector.

When I combined the market factors with the knowledge that my current congressman did not represent my values and with his ridiculous statements, I said enough is enough. I looked at our current leaders and realized most do not have the business acumen to balance a budget or understand how their actions impact business and unemployment.

I don’t view my incumbent as entrenched; I view him as an individual who won because GA-4 was so embarrassed by our previous congresswoman. After talking with many across District 4, it became evident that a great number of them did not vote for Congressman Johnson, but against Cynthia McKinney.  The people of this district need a leader who will unite and bring prosperity back, not seek to divide and ignore the serious issues we face with unemployment, education, and immigration. I am that leader.

BKH: A Democrat has held the GA-4 seat for 25 years. Why do you believe a Republican can replace a Democrat in your district this election?
LC: This is not the year of party; both political parties have made mistakes and have individuals who are polarizing. People of GA-4 are looking for someone who is fiscally responsible, and who will listen and represent them well. In fact, this district now has more voters who identify themselves as Independent than Democrat or Republican. This district needs someone who will do more than show up - they want a leader who will help unite the community, who will help reverse the embarrassment we have suffered for years, and who will address the hard issues directly.

BKH: You easily won a straw poll in the Rockdale forum recently against the other 3 Republican primary candidates. What most sets you apart from them?
LC: There are a number of areas that set me apart from all the candidates running in District 4. I am the only candidate whom has put her career and company on hold to serve the people of District 4 now, not just when elected. This is a Congressional Race. It cannot be done part-time, and it is critical to fully understand and know your district before being elected. As with any freshman congressman, there will be a learning curve when I get to DC, but that learning curve will not include understanding my district and whom to work with. My days are not full of simple campaigning; I am meeting with the Sheriffs Departments, Fire Departments, Mayors, Police Officers, Teachers and other members of the community now.

- I am the only candidate with executive experience and who has owned and operated my own company.
- I am the only candidate who has followed and been in 100% compliance of the FEC rules, which shows a complete lack of respect for our processes and election laws by the other candidates.
- I live in the district; my boys go to school in the district, and I understand the education issues we are facing.
- I’m the only individual who is working to bring this district together, instead of running a campaign targeted at political party or race.
- I am running a fiscally responsible campaign and not running my campaign on borrowed money.

BKH: What most sets you apart from the Democrat incumbent Representative Johnson?
LC: We are very different people. I have a business background, know what environment companies need to create sustainable job growth, and understand the private sector. I have a true desire to serve, and I know how to get things done. I am also not afraid to address unpopular issues.

Representative Johnson has not been responsive or focused on the hard issues facing this nation and this district. He does not understand the drain illegal immigrants put on our communities and how they impact jobs – he supports amnesty. His racial statements demonstrate his lack of concern to unite a very diverse district. He has not demonstrated strong leadership and has further embarrassed a district in need of change. He also has demonstrated a complete lack of respect to our military families and the important role our military has for the safety of our nation.

BKH: What are the top 3 voter needs or concerns in your GA-4 district and nationally?
LC: District 4 is experiencing very high unemployment, education is a mess, and yes, illegal immigrants are hurting the job market and community. Jobs, education, and immigration are at the top, but we also need a leader to unite a very diverse district.

Nationally we are facing high unemployment; the private sector must be allowed to recover. We are facing a debt crisis that will cripple the opportunities our children will have. The Federal Government must correct itself and focus on building an infrastructure of empowerment and success in the private sector. We cannot continue to focus on entitlement programs that actually suppress those they serve and line the pockets of those who administer them.

BKH: Most in Congress and the White House currently have little or no private sector experience. What impact does that have on our country?
LC: They don’t have the knowledge or ability to manage or lead. Those who have never been faced with having to make payroll, cut costs or cut jobs, or grow a business are not the leaders who will help this country recover.

BKH: What about sending a business owner to Congress will make the biggest difference for the average person in their daily life?
LC: It brings real world experience and understanding. When you have never experienced opening and operating your own company, it can be difficult to understand how legislation will impact a business owner. Small business owners need a voice at the table, and I will be that voice. This is important for the average person, because this is where jobs and new opportunity will come from.

In the private sector, money is not granted without a plan and a solid business case. One has to demonstrate that they can and will get the results from the monies spent. There is accountability, not just handouts.

BKH: What do you believe is needed to move job creation and the economy forward in a significant way?
LC: We must cut the corporate tax and remove the uncertainty that the current Congress has created. Business owners will not move forward until they have a clear picture of what legislation is going to pass and how it will impact them.

BKH: With your technology and business background, do you believe it is possible to save money by updating government?
LC: Absolutely, it has been proven in the private sector when you streamline processes and utilize technology, it reduces operating expenses. We need to be doing the same thing with government agencies. For example, look at the stark differences in how UPS and FedEx are run verses the United States Post Office.

Too often cost is the only factor looked at, and legislators say we can’t afford it. What they are not looking at is the cost is an investment and the return on investment can be rapid, ultimately reducing the over all cost over a short time by more than invested. Those savings continue and will provide a higher yield of return, saving more tax dollars.

Cost and the return on investment are just the start. Technology also provides huge efficiencies, so people can get more done in a day’s time period.

BKH: If modernizing technology and eliminating duplicate agencies and jobs means downsizing the federal government, and federal workers, will it ever really be done?
LC: Yes, it will and has to be done. We can’t continue down this path of throwing money away by continued investment in what is broken. Congress has passed and is trying to pass regulations that protect consumers from mismanaged companies – yet our government agencies continue to be mismanaged and they are funded with tax dollars. The American people deserve to have a well-run government and to have Congress be good stewards of their tax dollars. Congress must be accountable.

BKH: I know you support the Fair Tax. Do you support a Value Added Tax?
LC: No, I do not support a Value Added Tax. There are too many areas that we can reduce costs and save money. Adding more taxes to the American people is the “lazy” way out of the mess we are in. It’s time to cut costs, not raise taxes.

BKH: Do you believe President Obama will go against his tax pledge to those making less than $200,000 single/$250,000 couple per year?
LC: He already has with the taxes that are hitting businesses and with the new health care legislation. Individuals are paying more for every day living expenses to cover the ever-increasing tax burden on large and small businesses. If the cap and trade legislation passes, that will also be a direct tax increase to every American household.

BKH: What do you believe the effect of hiking taxes, any taxes, will have on the economy and job creation right now?
LC: The tax hikes continue to delay job growth and recovery in the private sector.

BKH: Why doesn't Washington get this?
LC: They don’t understand the private sector and they are out of touch with the American people. Too many sit in their “ivory tower” and want to tell us what is best for us. They need to listen to and understand the reality of everyday Americans. They have forgotten they were elected to serve the people, not rule. It is the government’s role to create an infrastructure of empowerment and success within the private sector, not to create a dependent people.

BKH: What is your position on the healthcare reform legislation passed a short time ago?
LC: I read the legislation, and I am very disappointed that it passed. Too many say it is a good starting point. A good starting point could have been real reform, not money for special interests, not over 200 new government agencies, not IRS control, and not earmarks that had nothing to do with health care. Too many are saying “that’s the way things work in DC,” instead of demanding that we change the way it is working and stop the abuse of power.

There is absolutely no reason why this Congress could not have stopped and approached health care reform in a logical and phased approach, just like large corporations do. This legislation does not address or provide quality health care for our nation.

BKH: What do you think of the bank and Wall Street bailouts – of the “too big to fail” policies?
LC: I don't like the too big to fail logic. It is another way the federal government and politicians pick winners and losers in the private market. The bail out money did not help the majority of the American people.

BKH: What do you think of the federal money going into General Motors, especially to unions and Canada over secured stockholders in their bail-out?
LC: General Motors paid back their debt with stimulus funds. Their pay-back claim is dishonest and should not have been able to take place.

BKH: What is your position on the Illegal Immigration legislation just passed by Arizona?
LC: If we were actually enforcing our current immigration laws, Arizona would not have had to pass this legislation. It is that simple.

BKH: Thanks for your time today. You can learn more about Liz Carter at http://www.lizcarterforcongress.com

As Americans, we get what we vote in, and new blood in Congress may be our only hope of creating real jobs and balancing our nation’s budget. . We must no longer elect politicians that spend billions, oh wait, that’s trillions of dollars now, and not require they have proven experience in balancing a budget; in understanding Economics 101 in the real world; and in updating technology to lower operating costs and increase productivity and effectiveness. Successful businesses require experience and proven skill sets in those that handle their money and operations, but voters give money to the government every pay period and do not. It’s time voters look for candidates with proven skill sets in the private sector to turn our government around. It’s also time to require politicians and press secretaries to answer questions directly and honestly without 5 minutes worth of spin that never actually answered the question and isn’t factually honest. As we have seen lately, not all companies require that of their CEOs, but honest, law-abiding, financially stable ones do.

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