// The Congressional Budget Office projects spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs will more than double as a share of the nation's economy by 2037. What specific changes would you propose to reduce Medicare costs? //
Either healthcare for citizens of the United States is a privilege or a right. We have been treating it as a privilege, but I believe that the Physicians for a National Health Program have the correct idea: "The U.S. spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on health care, $8,936 per capita. Yet our system performs poorly in comparison and still leaves 50 million without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered. This is because private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single nonprofit payer would save more than $400 billion per year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans."
As a step in the right direction, here in Baltimore, the Evergreen Project is developing "a self-sustaining ecosystem where the payor, the patient and the provider work in harmony as partners in improving outcomes and reducing costs."
// Would you support increased federal spending on highways and other infrastructure as a way to boost the construction industry? If so, how would you pay for it? //
Why the emphasis on the construction industry? Had you used high-speed rail, rather than highways, as an example, I'd respond with an unqualified "yes." Programs to construct renewable sources of energy and a smart grid to better satisfy our energy needs should also attract more federal spending. There are other "industries" that warrant support as well: health delivery (as implied by the previous question), but also education and safety services (teachers, police, fire and emergency workers), which have recently seen unprecedented losses (627,000 public sector jobs) since June 2009.
In 2011, as a percentage of ever-growing profits, corporations paid out just 12.1 percent of their profits in taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office, less than they have in decades. If increased revenue resulting from an end to this Great Recession is insufficient, closing corporate tax loopholes is a potential source of added revenues.
// Would you support U.S. military involvement in Iran if there were evidence that it was close to developing a nuclear weapon? //
Did we propose such involvement as nuclear weapons were being developed by the Soviet Union, China, India, North Korea, or even Pakistan? What is different in Iran's case that would require U.S. military involvement? We are presently using other means to pressure Iran and I would need to see far more evidence of a threat to the U.S. before considering a military option.
// Describe a specific policy you would pursue in Congress that would have support from members of the opposite party. //
We in the 8th Congressional District of Maryland will be involved in a very unusual electoral experiment this November. The norm across the country is for congressional races to pit a Democrat against a Republican. We will have not three, but four candidates to choose from, so there will not be just one "opposite party." If the opposition is Libertarian, we could support each other in several arenas, such as on matters of avoiding foreign wars and promoting individual liberties. I believe that Democrats will gladly support a constitutional amendment indicating that money is not speech and corporations are not people.
Mark Grannis, Libertarian
- City of residence: Chevy Chase
- Occupation: Lawyer and author
- Family: Married, two children
- Experience: I have practiced law continuously since 1989, handling a wide variety of cases. From 1994-1996 I worked at the Federal Communications Commission, where I specialized in the regulation of communications satellites and other uses of radio spectrum that require international coordination. I now serve as managing partner of Wiltshire & Grannis LLP, a 30-lawyer firm that has quintupled in size since its founding in 1998. Earlier this year, I published my first book, Less We Can: The Case for Less Government, More Liberty, More Prosperity, and More Security.
- Education: B.A., Georgetown University, 1985; J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1988.
- Have you ever been convicted of a crime (not including minor traffic violations)? No
// As you know, the Bush-era income tax cuts will expire at the end of this year. Do you support extending the cuts for all income levels, only on individual income under $200,000 (under $250,000 for families), or not at all? If you support an extension of some kind, should it be paid for? //