How do you assess the Trump administration so far?
Vaeth: I support his America First campaign. We have always been great. I think we need to put this country first and realize that when America does well, the rest of the world does too. I support his efforts on closing the trade gap with China. I believe in legal immigration and not giving rights to non-citizens, while the rights of Americans are being disregarded. An true assessment of his administration is virtually impossible, as they have a high turnover rate. I would not utilize social media in the manner that he does, but it doesn’t seem to be hurting him in polling. Like it or not, I believe it gives us better insight into what the President is thinking.
Do you support or oppose the federal tax cuts passed in 2017? What effect do you believe they will have on the economy?
Vaeth: I support the federal tax cuts, as I support any effort to reduce the amount of money that Americans pay to the IRS by either party. That is not just a Republican thing. The effects on the economy should be positive. The more money people have, the more they will spend. Increased consumer spending means that more jobs will be needed to meet the demand.
Is the level of national debt a concern? What, if anything, should be done to reduce it or constrain its increase?
Vaeth: I am a budget hawk. Government spending is out of control and the borrowing has to stop. I believe the economic success of an administration should be based on how much they reduce the debt, while keeping consumer confidence high. With Republicans controlling the House, the Senate, and the White House, I am very surprised to see the estimated growth of the debt under the President’s budget. I will support any effort to reduce the overall size of the federal government. I will introduce legislation to limit the scope of federal intrusion on state regulation by not specifying where states should spend the appropriations made to them by Congress.
Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and if so, what should the federal government do to address it?
Vaeth: It is very much a problem. I believe inequality impacts much more that just economic factors. The economy is a good way to begin to address it, but working on closing the gap across the entire spectrum of equality and fairness is the only thing that will work. In the inner city, the inequalities that are demonstrated by the judicial system leads to economic inequalities in that the over-policing of citizens, as has been demonstrated in several USDOJ investigations into the constitutional patterns and practices of local police departments, has caused the arrest of many people who were abiding by the law. The mere fact that an arrest is reported on an applicant’s job application or resume is typically a disqualifier from someone being able to obtain a job. Some of those law abiding people lost their jobs. The government’s responsibility in this aspect is huge and we must do better at making determinations that affect how they are able to live. As for the economic challenges we face, we need to attract more opportunity from the private sector in the inner cities. We must improve the education that is provided in our public schools, rather than promote charter schools, if their model is best, we copy that. Our children deserve the best possible education that we can give them. This will lead to them getting better jobs. We need to build the infrastructure that allows us to attract the opportunities to locate their interests in our communities.
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how?
Vaeth: I am a constitutionalist, so I believe that any restriction on our rights must be handled according to the rules that apply to convening a constitutional convention.
What should Congress do with respect to the Affordable Care Act? Should it be strengthened, and if so, how? Should it be scrapped? If so, what if anything should replace it?
Vaeth: In Maryland, the number 1 driver our economy is healthcare. I have a problem with that. Maryland is the single largest payer of medical bills in the state. We should use that leverage to negotiate better rates from providers and improve our state hospital network to provide competition that raises the level of care provided by private hospitals while lowering costs.
What role should the federal government play in helping cities like Baltimore?
Vaeth: As I mentioned, the federal government is too entangled in state government to do any good and needs to get out of the way. Maryland Democrats have taken away the rights of citizens to approach the grand jury in Baltimore City and request a criminal investigation into allegations of corruption charged against public officials. This shields the leadership from any prosecution and the State’s Attorney refuses to exercise the discretion required to charge them. This is when the US Attorney’s Office should step in, assess the allegations for evidence of federal crimes, and submit them to a federal grand jury. Applying the fair and equal justice system that we promote will help foster trust and better working relationship with the federal government, rather than contempt for it.
What can Congress do to address the opioid epidemic?
Vaeth: Aggressively prosecute the professional drug trade, as well as we do the illegal trade of it. In the meantime, Congress needs to provide a fix and that fix is treatment rather than incarceration for those affected by drug addiction. This support should also extend to the family of those addicted to opioid prescription medications due to the government’s failure to act to stem the tide that this immense public health emergency has become. I support tougher sentences for those convicted of drug dealing and for those convicted of dealing in opioids should receive the death penalty if a death can be tied to their illegal operation.
What changes if any should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies?
Vaeth: I believe that the current objective of removing people who entered the US illegally is appropriate. I support a path to legal citizenship for those brought here by illegals, such as the situation that exists with the “Dreamers.” Congress must observe the constitution when drafting laws and the Supreme Court must abide by it when those laws are challenged. The laws must make protecting American citizens a priority and permitting illegal behavior to occur is a direct threat to the public safety. Providing for the national defense requires having strong borders.
Should the United States continue with the free trade policies it pursued for the last several decades, or should it enact restrictions in an attempt to help domestic industries?
Vaeth: I support the renegotiating of all trade deals. NAFTA has been completely disastrous for American workers and it should be torn up immediately. America First!
Do you support the Iran nuclear deal?
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
Vaeth: Like Reagan handled the Soviet Union and ensure them that any aggression towards America will be met with exactly what President Trump described, as fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen before. We can longer submit to the regime’s attempts to draw us into conflict. I am against providing economic assistance to North Korea and any humanitarian relief for them should be accomplished by a coalition of countries that have an interest in having peaceful relations with the current regime. The North Korean leader must be held accountable for the murder of Otto Warmbier. Until that time, I cannot support any effort of the federal government to mitigate for North Korea’s dismal record of disregarding the rights of their people that was given to them by God, and not the Supreme Leader of the rogue nation.