[banner] Gerald Klaas for Senate '98

FAQ: Gerald Klaas for Senate District 6

What's a Libertarian?
You can't win. Why make the effort?
What do you think is wrong with government today?
How can we fix it?
What qualifies you to run for office?
Do you want to do away with regulatory agencies?
Why do you want to decriminalize the possession of drugs?
How can we get rid of the income tax?
How do you feel about gun control?
What do you mean by wanting "parental choice in schools"?
What is the National Political Awareness Test (NPAT)?
What's your position on abortion?
What's a Libertarian?
In general, libertarians believe that the government that governs best is the government that governs least. When a law is proposed, a libertarian not only asks if the proposed law would accomplish something desireable, but first asks if the proposed law is within the scope of good government. Libertarians tend to be liberal with respect to personal freedoms, and conservative on fiscal issues. You can find the party platform at the Libertarian Party website.
You can't win. Why make the effort?
That depends on your definition of winning. Just getting my name on the ballot wins for the people of the district a chance to vote for something other than the status quo. That in itself is worth my effort. But I also get a chance to shape the campaigns of my opponents. I can raise questions that they might otherwise like to ignore. As far as winning the election goes, I agree, it's a long shot. The two major parties have no interest in allowing a libertarian in their midst. And the system is well skewed to give every advantage to the two major parties. Right now (01-09-98)I calculate my chance of winning the race at about 1 in 5000. That's still ten thousand times better than my chance of winning the lottery. I buy a lottery ticket occasionally. What's the better bet?
What do you think is wrong with government today?
I think the primary problem with government today is that politicians do not excercise due restraint with governmental powers. That is, in order to show the good things they're doing, politicians pass more and more laws, all too often ignoring the cumulative effect on personal liberty. For example, the motorcycle helmet law will save lives, but it costs a piece of liberty for those who would like to not wear helmets. So is it a good law? I know that every argument I've heard in favor of helmet laws could be used to argue for the banning of fast food, after all, a lot more people die of heart disease and obesity than from motorcycle accidents, but I don't see politicians taking on the fast food industry.
The next problem with government today is that politicians use the spoils of winning office to reward those who helped get them elected. Unfortunately, the spoils of office is our tax dollars, or regulation on our free market. Either way, the taxpayer loses.
How can we fix it?
The first thing we should do is return to a part time legislature. Then we should toss the state income tax which is susceptible to loopholes and favoritism in favor of the state sales tax. I would also like to see a sunset clause on all legislation, that way we don't get stuck with bad laws passed on political expediency. The most important thing to do however, is to become informed and elect people who will use government power with caution.
What qualifies you to run for office?
I'm a citizen and I'm over 18.
I graduated in 1981 from Jesuit High School in Carmichael, and earned a BA in Mathematics (emphasis in statistics) from CSUS in 1991. I've followed politics, the way my friends follow sports, ever since I was 10. I have a good understanding of civics, economics, math and science. Most importantly, though, I have a conscience.

I am not a politician, I do not intend to have a career in politics. I believe that making a career in politics is contrary to the whole idea of representative citizen government. If I win this election, I intend to take a leave of absence from my real job in order to serve in the Senate. I will not be concerned about what political interests or special interest groups I alienate, because I don't expect to seek re-election. My loyalty will be to my conscience.

Do you want to do away with regulatory agencies?
We do need some regulations. What I object to is that regulatory agencies pass regulations that carry the weight of law, and the person caught up in red tape has little recourse because what he is fighting is a regulation, not a law. These regulations are passed by people who are appointed. I didn't vote for them, you didn't vote for them, but they're passing the equivalent of law. What I would like to see is ALL regulatory agencies become advisory boards making recommendations to the legislature, and make the legislators be on the hook for passing a regulation rather than some nameless, faceless bureaucracy. If the regulation is truly necessary, it will pass.
Why do you want to decriminalize the possession of drugs?
First let me say that I think taking recreational drugs is stupid. It is one of a myriad of ways to waste human potential. But why is it illegal? Do people have the right to waste their own potential? Why not outlaw sitcoms? Being a couch potato wastes human potential. We outlaw possession of drugs because we associate drug use to criminal activity. That's a mighty big net for catching criminals guilty of real crimes, like robbery, assault, breaking and entering. The problem is that this oversize net catches some people whose only crime is wasting their own potential. They are their own victims. I don't see why we need to put them in jail when they weren't a threat to other citizens.

The War on Drugs is an incredible waste of resources. We fill our jails with people who aren't a threat to other citizens, then let violent criminals out on early release because the jails are full. We create a black market for substances that are easy to grow, manufacture or import, then are surprised by the organized crime and gangs that profit in this black market. We cannot win the War on Drugs the way we are fighting it now. The fact that we can't keep drugs out of prisons should tell us that much. We should recognize the economics involved and remove the black market profit potential. Maybe we won't save people from wasting themselves, but it will make our streets safer.

How can we get rid of the income tax?
In my opinion, our present income tax system, both state and federal, violates the 1st (privacy), 5th (self-incrimination) and 7th (jury trial) Amendments of the Constitution. If we value the Bill of Rights, we have to change the way we do income tax. I would like to see income tax completely replaced by the state sales tax, but I believe that we would need a transition period where we move to a flat rate income tax, then decrease the rate over time while we implement a sales tax solution.
How do you feel about gun control?
I believe in all of the Bill of Rights. I believe that gun control laws do nothing to affect the behavior of criminals, they are merely limits put on law abiding citizens. I believe that every citizen has the right under the 2nd Amendment to keep, own and carry firearms without interference of the government, until such time as that citizen can be proven (i.e. convicted felon) to be a threat to society.
What do you mean by wanting "parental choice in schools"?
The primary responsibility for a child's education rests with his parents. We need to give parents the ability to affect their children's education. Free market competition among schools for student enrollment will do more to improve our educational system than more money poured into bloated administration, and buying out over-paid administrator contracts. I think that at the very least we need a voucher system to allow parents to choose among public schools. I don't believe that we can implement a voucher system involving private schools and home schooling without it being rejected by the courts, because public money could go directly to a religious institution. I do believe, however, that we can issue a 50% rebate to parents of school age children who opt out of the public shool system. (Much the same way that some employers allow employees to opt out of their insurance plan.) This would immediately save taxpayers half the cost of public education for those who followed this plan. Parents would still be legally bound to provide education for their children, and would most likely use the rebate check to pay for their child's tuition, but because the money goes to the parents with no strings attached, there would not be a separation of church and state issue for the courts. The guaranty we have that parents will do the right thing with the rebate money is belief that parents want what's best for their children, and the threat of prosecution under child endangerment laws for failure to provide an educational opportunity.
What is the National Political Awareness Test (NPAT)?
The NPAT is administered by Project Vote Smart.
The National Political Awareness Test (NPAT) is a non-biased, no-wiggle-room candidate questionnaire. The NPAT tests a candidate's willingness to articulate his or her specific issue positions in a manner that is straightforward and easily accessible to the voting public. Its purpose is to give the voter instant information on how a candidate stands on the issues that are important to citizens. The NPAT, which is designed by political scientists and national political leaders, is sent to all candidates for Presidential, Congressional, Gubernatorial and State Legislative office.

I am proud to post my answers to NPAT. I challenge the other candidates to do the same.

What's your position on abortion?
As a libertarian, I object to government intrusion in our personal lives. The doctor's office is about as personal as it gets, and the government doesn't belong there. The Supreme Court has decided that abortion is legal. As a state senator, there is very little I could do to affect federal law one way or the other.
My personal belief is that there should be a date prior to full gestation, based on the survival rate of premature babies, after which abortions are restricted. I would also support a requirement for parental consent before a minor could have an abortion.
Please feel free to contact me if you have comments or suggestions.
© 1997 Gerald Klaas