Hi I'm Todd Watson, an Independent candidate running for United States Senate.

Our party platform has three key philosophies compared to a traditional campaign agenda. First, we believe that the party system in Washington is broken. Second, we believe in a foundational return to the spiritual heritage of our country. Third, we believe it is time government act selfless and not selfish with the future of this country.

We have great passion to be part of a larger movement under God of real change in this country. Enjoy the site and let’s MOVE! Learn why all individuals who interviewed Todd of the York County GOP leadership committee endorsed Todd Watson for US Senate.

This site is designed to give you the information you need quickly while yet thorough enough to move the dialogue of the debate to “How” from “What”. “Todd’s Stances” has quick positional stances (read the bold if you have no time). Second, we have three Philosophies with quick excerpts to learn more about our beliefs. Finally, we thoroughly blog on any given topic to give those passionate about a subject details they can depend on. The details in these blogs gives you a roadmap to solving problems and details on specific views. You will rarely find disclosure of this level of detail as well as belief structures. Campaigns want to be general to appeal to the most voters. We fundamentally believe in giving specific guidance to move the debate forward and show we are serious about solving problems–not being popular.

Thanks for your support!

The Watson Campaign Team

Nebraska’s Growing Budget Problem

 

Nebraska’s 20 Year Spending Record

Nebraska’s Growing Budget Problem

It was great to see the Huskers turn back the clock 20 years in Santa Clara and feature an interesting football concept….the run.  The game spawned a question in my mind.

What if our ‘Husker’ government decided to create a spending plan similar to the ’95 legislature?  How would our government function? 

Two weeks ago, LIBA leadership (Lincon Independent Business Association) invited Nebraska’s Speaker of the Legislature Galen Hadley (Kearney-Buffalo County) to address our membership on this very topic.  The State budget was the primary conversation.  Full video coverage of his speech can be found on LIBA.org!

The ‘Mile High’ View – Accomplishments & Problems in the Budget

Over the last 20 years our state revenues have risen on average 4.4% a year ($1.8 billion to $4.3 billion).  That is a healthy clip.   Unfortunately, our State Legislature and Governors the past 20 years have presided over the same spending mistakes our national government began to make in greater significance in the 1930’s:  Increasing welfare to individuals.  This dangerous “Living” Constitutional view of Promote the General Welfare has taken root.  ‘Promote’ is yet another word that has been redefined by the Progressive movement.  ‘Promote’ now equals ‘Provide’.  What progress has been made in these areas with our citizens the last 20 years with substantial spending?  That is the question they do not want to answer.  We must transform our belief system.  We must internalize the fact that spending more money AND the institution of government will not be the primary solution to solve our social ills.

The Founders (who I feel wrote the best ‘Bible’ on the topic of civil legislation) knew the definition of “Provide”.  They chose to couple the word “Provide” with the purpose of “Defense” and not “General Welfare”.  This is a monumental difference that goes unnoticed by our elected leaders who have sworn to uphold the Constitution.

I will define the word “Defense” and “General” for the Republicans in a future blog.  (Hint: Think “Less Offense” and forget “Corporate” as the adjective to welfare).

If our government learned the definition of “Promote” vs. “Provide” we would improve this country’s financial situation.  Contrary to progressive beliefs, we would be improving many able bodied lives by freeing them from dependence on the state.  It is like exercise.  Short term pain for long term gain.

This subtle but massive change in our definition of “Promote” has created a staggering national liability that our nation will have trouble repaying.  The same “Provide” fact pattern is threatening our state if we don’t take action today.

Examining the “Husker” Budget

From strictly an accounting point of view, if spending rose less than 4.4% a year in any given category we would be growing our budget in a sustainable fashion.  If we spend less than our rate of revenue growth, we have the ability to do a tax cut.  If we spend less than our rate of revenue growth, we have the ability to fund priority areas in state government that present opportunity/risk to the state.  There are three major categories of state spending; Agency Operations, Aid to Local Governments, and Aid to Individuals.

Since 1995, expenditures in ‘Agency Operations’ have grown by 3.8% a year.  This is lower than the 4.4% growth in revenue.  This category stays in balance.  However, correctional services and the court system are showing cracks at the State level.

Nebraska could still increase spending in Agency Operations and be as efficient as revenue growth.  Less crime, speedier trials (especially out West with increased drug traffic), more state patrol, or cutting taxes are viable priorities in my mind.  I’ll let the citizens be the final judge.

Since 1995, expenditures in ‘State Aid to Local Governments’ have grown by 3.8% a year.  This is more efficient than the 4.4% growth of our treasury.  This category stays in balance.  Local education, homestead exemptions, and aid to local governments are in this area.

Unfunded mandates from state to local government are a large problem. Unfunded mandates from our national government to our state government are a large problem.  Addressing unfunded mandates could be a viable use of redirected funds at BOTH LEVELS!  However, it will probably take a partisan revolt to change this behavior as ‘passing’ the buck is as partisan as it gets.

Since 1995, expenditures in ‘State Aid to Individuals’ have grown by 6.1% a year!  Excessive and perpetual acceleration of individual aid spending is of grave concern.  You can make a difference in this area at home by becoming LOCALLY engaged and taking action.  Please redirect some of your attention focused on the Presidential race (of which your vote will have little consequence) to our state!  Call your Senator.  I know firsthand many are frustrated by the apathy of citizens with state government.  They would welcome your voice and involvement!

Further Analysis of the Macro Budget

‘Agency Operation’ share of the budget has shrunk by 11.2% the last 20 years.  ‘State Aid to Local Government’ share of the budget has shrunk by 10.8% the last 20 years.  However, ‘State Aid to Individuals’ share of the budget has accelerated at 39.2% the last 20 years!  Let that fact sink in. 

Does this spending behavior appear to be a balanced and responsible approach by our state government?  Is this the trend in service we want to see from a state government?

No!

A 20 year perspective will help you understand where our government is trending. Slippery slopes happen each passing year with little fanfare.  The kettle on the range is turned up another degree each passing year to create more government dependence.

Understanding  the primary role of government as framed by our Constitution (both National and State) would help frame a direction for government.  Mercy should be primarily addressed by outside institutions who are exponentially more effective in dealing with societal problems.  George Washington served on a Vestry Board and worked on the Constitution.  He was smart not to combine both efforts in one institution.

If Nebraska continues down this path another 20 years with the same growth rates in revenues and category spending, State Aid to Individuals will be 41.9% of our budgeted expenditures.  Compare this to 22.7% of our expenditures in 1995!

Furthermore, these growth rates do not balance!  Despite our balanced growth in Agency Operations and Aid to Local Governments, we will be running an additional $342 million annual deficit due to accelerated growth in Individual Aid spending if this trend continues!  If we were to control State Aid to Individual spending at a 3.8% growth rate and maintain a 4.4% growth of revenue we would have a surplus of $1.1 billion in 20 years.  That is a $1.44 billion budget difference by controlling spending in aid to individuals at a 3.8% growth rate (compared to the 20 year 6.1% growth rate).  We could address infrastructure, cut taxes, invest in schools, empower local governments, or improve the state Patrol with this money.  However, what do I know?  I’m just an Independent with an unequal vote and voice at the primary ballot box.  I’m way behind in my line of thinking.

We need to set a responsible example to our children and our national government by being a beacon of light with responsible government spending.  Progressive politicians on both sides of the aisle need to wake up and exercise some fiscal constraint and responsibility.  They should not be afraid at challenging the endless empathetic arguments around state aid.  They should be more fearful in the lack of progress in the general welfare of our people due to this misguided approach to government spending.  They let short term cries around “Security” tump action that would provide that same individual long term prosperity.

Nebraska has time on our side to solve spending problems if we act now.  We should not kick the can down the road by talking tough and doing nothing like our national politicians do (seen a plan yet to tackle those unfunded liabilities as promised?)

I’m proud to be the only member to have run with a detailed plan to solve our social security problem with details.  I have solutions in this blog for our state as well.

Speaker Hadley and His Budget Speech

Unfortunately, I didn’t hear the conviction from Speaker Hadley to solve our budget problem during his speech. Below are some of Speaker Hadley’s quotes.  I have referenced the approximate time in the LIBA video for your reference.

Speaker Hadley Video (Will expire soon)

Opening Minute: “Nebraska is a high tax state.”  I agree.  What are your plans for change Speaker? Less rhetoric and substantive plans are needed from all levels of leadership to solve problems and start a conversation in constructive legislation.  Less talk and more walk please.

(5:30) “As a Senator those are hard things to deal with….Anytime you are working with aid to individuals”

A proper perspective in growth of spending and Constitutional intent should make this an easy area to bring to the table.  In my opinion, we need new legislators if cutting spending “Is too hard to deal with”.   He has his PHD in Accounting.  He should know where 6.1% growth trends in spending will take us.  

(11:20) “It is difficult to cut spending…it really is!  You get a lot of special interest groups, rightly so, telling you why their area is important to fund.”

Herein lies the biggest problem with partisan politicians today.  Democrats in general believe in more welfare spending.  Gadley is typical for the GOP…they can’t stand up to lobbyists.  They often take the campaign money and pass the spending bills for special interest.  It is time for change.  

I’ve attached a memorable PSA for advice if you have a hard time acknowledgin an Independent political figure.  It was produced by a moderate Republican.  This PSA will help Republicans and any sensible Democrats in learning how to actually cut spending and deal with those “TOUGH” special interest groups when they offer you a new spending bill.

Just Say No!

(14:00 and 16:25) Credit Speaker Hadley.  He is a very funny guy.  I like him.  This letter is about principled governmental differences and is not personal. He is hilarious!  I’d have lunch with the guy anytime.

Balancing the Budget

In summary, Speaker Hadley’s mile high view to balance the budget doesn’t add up. He wants lower taxes while simultaneously saying it is very hard to make a spending cut. Those positions do not go together to create a balanced budget.  Unfortunately, they garner votes from the simpleton citizen who can’t solve 1 minus 2 and like what they hear.  Independent conservatives like me prefer to do the math.  Like most Republicans, he is preaching more employment and growth in the economy to “Grow” out of this situation.

Friends, have you looked at recent financial statements from the farm?  They are not strong.  I’m very familiar with our farm in Wayne County.  It is not a banner year. Cattle Markets are struggling as well.  Income tax (a big driver of state revenues) from Ag will be down.

Hadley expresses the unemployment RATE is a key stat he watches for income tax growth.  Friends, the unemployment RATE will not get much stronger than present levels. However, net positive migration for jobs and wage growth should aid income tax revenues.

At the end of the day, if you add it all up, you see a headwind coming in revenue. Revenue challenges and lower taxes will not bode well for a balanced budget when it is “Too Hard” to make cuts in spending.  We already have a $100+ million shortfall on our hands.  It is time for action!

In summary, growth is not a be-all end-all answer.  We do need to grow.  However, we must also cut spending!  We must demand a plan by our representatives to make wise decisions for the benefit of both sides of the ledger.  One sided ledger arguments appear to be the primary challenge with both Republicans and Democrats. Both hasten the goal of a balanced budget.  We must balance considerations to create inflow (not raising rates) and stop wasteful outflow.

“What About the Poor Todd? Don’t you care!”

I’m very passionate about ending oppression of the poor.  I’m very passionate about ending endless welfare for the able bodied non working poor. They coexist nicely.  Addressing the Federal Reserve, taking on the financial institution lobby, and reducing endless welfare for the able bodied would be my goals.

The Fed. Our financial system needs to be based on money earned in hard work.  Our financial instruments need to be backed by equity created by labor…not a printing press.  Investment equity needs to primarily come from people, not Wall Street. Change percentage of bank debt to private bonds and watch our economy grow for all.  This will shrink inequality and allow Americans to thrive (albeit at different levels) together by reducing the monetary float from the printing press that works against labor.

Abraham Lincoln knew labor was the superior to capital.  Both parties are slaves to the banking system and will not make necessary changes.  Article I, Section 8, Clause 5.  Learn it.  Understand why we no longer follow the original Constitution.  Income Inequality is a problem.  Structurally designed inequality can be addressed when we tackle the banking system.  Controlling money for the people will enable the poor to get a leg up on purchasing power and savings/investment options.

It doesn’t stop there.  I want even tougher limits placed on the financial institutions.  We should wipe out usury interest from our books.  Payday loans, 18% interest, etc. just prey on our poor.  Rates should not exceed a percentage over prime.  Those businesses usually extend problems for the poor.  They do not solve the problem.  Short term pain for long term gain.  Remember?

Our current financial system is set up to prey on the poor and inflate producing assets to a value that make them unattainable to those offering hard work to produce livelihood out of capital.  Ask yourself how new young farmers who took a mortgage out for land at record prices (no interest printed money inflates prices) are doing?  Do young farmers even exist or have viable options to start a farm?

Second, we need to fight for our poorest workers first before we can fight for these clauses with a straight face.  Count me in with Trump on fighting for work at home.  We need our manufacturing jobs here. It is time the establishment of both parties learn business.  Stop getting schooled in trade.  We need to control our borders from Democrats allowing additional unskilled workers to come into our country.  We need to control our borders from Republicans letting good jobs leave this nation with poor economic policy.  Control the borders should work for business and people.  Adjust national policy accordingly.

Finally, Nebraska (and America) needs to stop “Providing” the General Welfare. People need to be Independent again.  Providing is not the Constitutional perscription and it doesn’t create vibrant citizens that contribute. It is time to relearn the ENTIRE pre 1913 Constitution for the benefit of all citizens.

My Solutions to the Nebraska Budget

As a blogger that offers solutions and not just criticism…here is what I would do differently.

  1.  Stand up to lobbyists. Lobbyists should not be bullying around a Speaker.  Just say NO Speaker Hadley.  Do what needs to be done for the people.
  2. We need to move spending allocations back to historical levels.  Capping all spending at 3.1% growth is not strong enough.  Let’s put a 10/20 year plan in motion to move total percentages in the “Big 3” categories back to 1995 allocation levels.  Aid to Individuals should be reduced as a percentage of budget by .5% a year until the category reaches 22.7% (1995 level).  A return to the Constitution would be a better option.  However, I’m offering a pragmatic approach that is more likely to pass with Democrats and Republicans who find it “Hard” to cut spending and operate in a “What is everyone else doing” progressive environment.
  3. Invest in our young people.  Want growth in income tax?  Train them for good jobs. Leave them less debt to create a business or run a healthier life at home. In-state tuition should drop by offsets in state spending.  Funding of Universities and State Colleges should move up .25% of the total budget for the next 20 years as long as our schools invest in principled education and not elaborate buildings/social engineering/or more overhead administrative jobs.  Hank Bounds/Regents – Are you listening?  Higher Educational Achievement = Higher pay = Higher tax base. Furthermore, make sure our community colleges get their fair share.  We have unfilled high paying jobs that would generate income tax.  We need to help our community colleges “Get the word out” on the opportunities they can create for Nebraskans TOMMOROW.  I’ve spent hours at community colleges from Metro, Milford, Hastings, etc.  We are missing HUGE opportunities for our people!
  4. Address Unfunded Mandates.  At a minimum, unfunded mandates must be capped (Preferably eliminated).  Passing the buck maybe American.  It shouldn’t be Nebraskan.  Don’t cramp our localities ability to make needed local decisions/investments.  Local decisions make a bigger difference.

Nebraska is unfortunately trending the progressive way of National government.  Even Republicans are adopting liberal initiatives at home (See recent votes on Death Penalty, Higher Taxes, More gambling measures that hurt our poor, etc).  Proud conservatives in this state should recognize they have let the welfare state (as a percentage of the total budget) grow by 39% the last 20 years while our spending in our 2 main areas have declined 10%. Is that conservative legislation from a conservative state?

Our state legislature has made a poor statement about our future by dropping our total spend on our University/College system from 19% to 14% of our budget!  This would not be my message to the next generation and Nebraska to grow a brighter future.  My suggestion would be to gradually return to 1995 levels in education in the form of tuition reduction.  Our University system is a governmental charge to address in our charter.

Unfortunately, our state budget is a reflection of the growing belief in progressive philosophy within both parties.  It is time for common sense and fiscal discipline!

We have the brainpower to get this done.  We just need to witness more courage from our delegation.  Leadership starts at the top!

I hope you benefited from my “State” blog for the week.  I will return to National issues soon. I wanted to make a contribution to the dialogue at the state level for the New Year.  I’m grateful for the service of our Nebraska State Representatives for their hard work and little pay to make Nebraska a better place.  I’m happy to say that many of you have become trusted peers the past two years!  I value your relationship.  Thanks for what you do.  I believe in and am counting on you to make this right for my four kids and many other Nebraskans this year.  Let’s ensure the Good Life for the next 20 years!

God Bless! Have a Great 2016 Session! …And Believe in the Run!

Todd

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Posted in Big Government, Budget Cuts, Constitution, Distrust of Parties, Social Security, Uncategorized | By

Political RINOs? How About Political COBRAs?

Dear Passionate Republicans Who Believe the Party is the Steward Of Conservative Values,

Please stop naming “R’s” who are not conservative—RINOs (Republican In Name Only)!  Please call them COBRA’s.  (Considered) Conservative Only By Republican Association.  “COBRA” does justice to those of us conservatives who realize the Republican Party has not voted conservative on key topics for some time.

Republicans have not been fiscally or socially conservative as a collective with any consistency.  Most are conservative in talk pre-election but fail to promote bills that uphold campaign pledges/platform stances.  We are now seeing common behavior of ‘National’ Republican set in with ‘State’ Republican.

A veto in Nebraska to override the Governor to obtain a tax increase. A veto in Nebraska to override the Governor to repeal capital punishment.  A failure in Congress to honor pro-life promises to sponsor key abortion legislation.  A failure in Congress to stop extending budget solvency dates.  A failure in Congress to present legislation to secure the border.  These values do not fit into the Nebraska Republican conservative that I grew up knowing.

‘Winning’ key conservative issues are needed to improve the well-being of  Nebraska and the United States.  It is imperative conservative voters change tactics to achieve desired outcomes.  The first major tactic is to change allegiance of party membership.  A new approach to politics is needed in the public square to accomplish conservative goals.  At the end of the day, the Republicans may still be that hope.  However, they will only be that hope if they change their conduct.  In my opinion, a change of conduct will require an outside agent, a movement, or a large defection of membership to force legislative action they promise but continually fail to deliver.

To be fair, I’m a little out of touch with the Republican Party since I left 6 years ago.  I’d be happy to sit down with Republican leadership in the state legislature and understand this new view on increased taxes and repealing the death penalty to better understand how they view their platform.

I’m Independent and Conservative.  I’m always open to listening to all parties and sides of debate.  It is OK if we disagree on the death penalty and higher taxes.  A good civil conversation, an exchange of ideas, and a review of the Constitution is the best approach I have learned over time to engage ideas and possibly sway opinions.  However, I believe it is best to be civil in disagreement when convictions are strong so as to preserve a solid working relationship on the next problem citizens need addressed.

I’ve failed to convince many State conservatives in 2014 that the Republican Party is not the hope of their value set of the future.   I’ll keep presenting the truth in legislation to change minds.   With each passing day more conservatives join the Independent (largest growing political group), Libertarian, or Constitutional Party chorus.  What is holding you back?  All 3 are better choices.  Conservatives will start to see the truth of what the Republican Party has become as consequences of these decisions (or lack thereof) hit closer to home.  The party continues to fail on key conservative items.   Budget cuts, border control, and pro-(Innocent) life initiatives have all fallen by the wayside or were rejected in conference.  Maybe more conservatives will realize sticking with a party already questionable on key issues “To Win” on “Conservative Values” is achieving quite the opposite effect.  Playing not to lose seldom wins in sports, careers, or politics.

What is the Point of a Party Platform?

I believe several Republican representatives and most voters have not read the Constitution in any great detail.  Now I wonder if numerous Republicans even read their own platform. The multitude of Republican politicians taking voting positions contrary to their party platform (See Death Penalty) is nothing more than astounding to the average platform educated Nebraska GOP member.  Unfortunately, these actions are commonplace.  I have witnessed these continual failures in conservative ideology as a former Republican and now Independent Conservative.   What is the point of a party platform if members of the party will vote against the platform in significant size?  This is the question GOP leadership and followers need to wrestle with and reconcile.

My leaving the party had a lot to do with the GOP being unable to execute on campaign rhetoric, a lack of following platform issues (‘No Bail Outs’, Non Adherence to the Contract With America, Now Death Penalty), and voting positions that run contrary to Constitutional guidance.  Keep in mind national platforms are not in control of delegates as perceived (see blog from earlier in year with award winning journalists documenting this truth in real time at the national convention).  There may be justified dissent away from the party platform as it does not represent the base.  Watch GOP Overrule their delegates  Numerous state and federal delegations have seen the will of the members overridden by key players of the ruling leadership.

I don’t have a problem if you differ from your party platform that you are professing to follow to gain the nomination of your party AS LONG AS IT IS CLEARLY DISCLOSED well in advance of the election.  Unfortunately, this is not happening.  We have votes straying from an established platform without disclosure.

What we see in politics today are people riding the benefits of a platform perception they personally don’t believe in (Especially GOP in this state) to be elected.  This is how you obtain numerous COBRAs (or RINO’s as Republicans call it) in office.  People hiding their true colors of whom they really are for acceptance/support and identification with a larger group possessing a perceived beneficial historical reputation is not a new phenomenon.  It has just become commonplace in party politics today as humans have this huge need to fit in and be accepted by the masses as opposed to be who they are from the start.  The party has become a means to end for many politicians who aspire to have positions of great power as opposed to advocate for principled positions they truly believe in that serve the general welfare.

As I warned you in 2013 thru 2014 the National Republican Party has changed.  The NATIONAL party has control over their NATIONAL members. I ran as an “I” to be free from party bosses and represent the Nebraska people.  It hurt brand name reputation because people love the “R”.  However, it will be the only way to move a positive conservative agenda forward.  It is the only way to not contribute to partisan divisiveness that is hurting our country.

National party views will trump individual pledges a ‘National’ candidate will make before the election.  I have been proven right early in the abortion, border, and budget debates in 2015.  The up and coming leaders are not holding up their pledges/positions/platform when it matters.

With regards to Nebraska, I thought ‘State’ platform drifting would follow suit to ‘National’ platform drifting over time.  I never predicted it would happen this soon.  This is not your grandfather’s GOP party anymore Nebraska.

Nebraska is experiencing the wake-up call in 2015 with 3 Republican Governor (who is conservative) positions overridden by a 70% Republican legislature.  Included in those vetoes were legislative positions to increase taxes and repeal the death penalty (Historically Anti-Conservative/Anti-Republican Positions).

The Republican voters who trust in the “R” continually place an emphasis on winning over right.  They continue to judge and vote for people by the letter they proclaim over their character and positions.   The results are starting to catch up to Main Street.  The results are not favorable.  The results are a function of what many voters elected.

Republicans Complicit In No Pre-Election Debates Paved the Way for Non-Disclosure of True Positions: Higher Taxes and the Repeal of the Death Penalty.

The passive approval of no debate by many Republican politicians in 2014 was an overwhelming complicit position.  Republicans are reaping what they sew by approving of candidates who will not answer solid public questions in fair forums, disclose positions when asked honest questions, and engage debate in challenging/proper formats.  Conservatives, would you want to know a death penalty stance, raising taxes position, or approving of a budget that extended balancing by 2 years before you voted?

Most Republicans (with full respect to Ricketts who would debate) were OK with few to no debates.  Why?  Winning over ‘right’.  What are the results?  A lack of disclosure of important positions that run contrary to voter interest.  A lack of debates creates a lack of examination of candidates.

When debate happens, on the record positions are established.  Votes are better controlled by the people.  Many politicians (maybe not Obama) feel bound by their oaths.  Look no further then Senator Larson of O’Neill during the death penalty veto debate.  Article Citing Senator Larson’s Campaign Position  He made it clear he would not back Capital punishment in the future.  However, he upheld the veto because he made a pledge to his voters to support Capital Punishment before the election.  He at least had the sense to be bound by his words he made in the election run up, then enact his new found position.  Unfortunately, many Republicans were OK (at least passively) with “their” candidates electing not to debate (especially debates with non screened questions).  Debates matter in answering the questions of the public who deserve to know candidate positions on ALL the issues before they vote.

Will Republican Politicians and Voters Take Accountability?

Accountability.  Many Republicans preach it but don’t practice it.  How many Republican voters were accountable and did their research of where their legislative candidates stood on key issues like increased taxes and death penalty repeal?  Instead of yelling at the politicians who do not vote the platform, are you holding yourself accountable for not knowing their positions before the election? Will you vote for these same incumbents who vote contrary to the platform because they are an “R” in the next election?  Accountability.  Few like the topic when the subject is looking at them in the mirror.

Civic engagement HAS TO BE part of life balance in America.  The population is receiving what they voted for.  People need to quit making fun of politicians.  They need to realize it is the voters placing these people into power in the first place.  The voters are the seed.  The politicians are the outcome.

Lack of candidate research has put a completely new batch of COBRA’s into offices. They successfully hide behind the label to garner votes to achieve the position.

The Petition to Reinstate the Death Penalty

The petition process will be good for people with privileged access to the primary.  They will realize how difficult the process is, how unjust it is in making non establishment party members play by a different set of rules, and how painfully long it takes while others only have to take a few minutes to sign a few sheets of paper to participate in a “Democratic” process.  “Equality Under the Law” (our state motto) at its best!

However, the petition process is also very rewarding!   Your views have to be expressed and examined to garner a signature.  Multiply that by the number of required signatures (plus a cushion) and you have a confirmed candidacy/issue (except for a few large media outlets who are adding wallet size and editorial approval of your message to deem legitimacy)!

The process also facilitates the meeting of so many great people across the state.  Signatures have to be spread out among the districts and counties.  Petitioning helps one stay in touch with Main Street Nebraska from East to West (Or West to East as one says in Scottsbluff).  Obtaining signatures from every county is one of the best educational experiences a Nebraskan can have! It will be amazing for the organizers of this process as well.

Let’s look at specific bills to justify my claims of traditional conservative is dying with Republicans. (My aim in this piece is not to declare right and wrong of each piece of legislation.  My aim is to highlight the deviation from historical conservative positions to illustrate the shift of values in the Republican Party.)

Repealing Capital Punishment was Republican led and had more votes from members of the GOP than Democrats.  Pro Capital Punishment is historically the conservative position.   Veto Override Story

Republicans overrode the veto by the Governor to raise taxes.  Raising taxes has not been the historical fiscal conservative position.  Higher Tax Veto Override Story

Republican led legislation sought to expand wagering on horse racing last year.  That is not a historical social conservative position. Expanded Horse Racing Story

Republican led legislation is trying to sanction poker and eliminate “Last Call” at bars in Nebraska.  That is not a historical social conservative position.   Expand Poker and Eliminate “Last Call” at Bars

“What about Federal Positions?”

Gambling continues to be the theme as a top Casino magnate being accused of ties to the Mob in China is bankrolling several Republican Presidential runs.  He has 9 figure money to spend!   I’m looking forward to more family friendly internet gaming proposals from the family friendly GOP.  My prior year blog and cited national stories

The National Republicans could not agree on a bill to secure the border to send to the President.  Border Security is the conservative position.   Independents reminded you it was 28 years both parties have failed to secure the border.  Many thought Republicans would change this… better keep waiting.  Article: Failed Border Security Due To Internal GOP Battle

In 2013, The Republicans under the guidance of Paul Ryan passed a budget that would balance by 2023.  This budget was lamented by many conservatives in 2013 for being too “Spending Friendly” with the Democrats.  In 2015, the Republicans passed another budget that will balance in 2025.  For those that can’t do basic math, they just extended balancing the budget an additional 2 years.  My Blog From 2013 Citing This Bill on the Record

Extending the time to balance the budget is not fiscally conservative.  

As a person that painfully fought for tougher fiscal decisions this past year, it pains me on yet another passed budget that prolongs decisions towards solvency.  I do not understand the claim, “The Table is Set for a Future Discussion” by our Senator.  What tangible progress can I point to in that statement?  How about honoring a pledge?  IT IS time to have a tough talk!  That statement makes more sense to me.

My expectations of DC have become so low….. I don’t even expect passage of a tough budget.  The citizens do not demand it. They either want the handouts today over the just preservation of the opportunities the next generation should have with their resources OR they think voting for the new members controlled by the same party bosses will magically change budget behavior?  I don’t understand the rationale.

In my world, I would expect a legislative proposal to be presented by conservatives with detailed positions on what tough decisions will be made.  Where is the legislation to show there are real “Budget Hawks” in Congress?  I will know someone is serious in honoring their balanced budget pledge when I see a tough bill with significant changes proposed.  Proposed legislation (if it is not orchestrated by the party to be killed in committee) will lead to debate and will start the process to solving a massive problem that is toxic to future generations.

Signing your name to proposed legislation will take guts.  They should be reminded it will take less guts than our founders who “With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, mutually pledged to each other their Lives, their Fortunes and their sacred Honor.”   We need Founding Father guts again.  “Kick the Can” needs to go back to being a childhood game.

Only 2 Republicans had the guts to say the budget was not strong enough and declared our kids deserved better….Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.  This is the fiscal conservative party worthy of being followed???

Granted, compromise is an important and a viable position (This is why Simpson-Bowles needed passing).  Compromise was the rationale by apologetic Republicans in the 2015 GOP passed budget resolution.  However, this resolution is not compromise because the appropriation bills (the next step) drafted on the basis of the budget resolution will not be signed into law by the White House.  A compromise likely would have to be much softer on fiscal restraint to pass the White House standard (the appropriation bills cannot strip Obamacare).  Conversely, the budget resolution could have been a tougher statement of how diligent we need to be in cutting the budget.  The fate of a tougher budget and the corresponding appropriation actions would have met the same fate many appropriation bills originating from this budget will experience…dead on arrival.  Why not make a bolder statement since this weaker statement has little chance of being appropriated to action?

The logic of either of these two alternative positions makes more sense than the 2015 budget resolution.  This is a bad middle of the road budget resolution that will dictate appropriations that will not have a chance of White House approval, nor offer any meaningful proposal on budget reform.   This resolution is the worst of both worlds.

What is Reality Today?

What we are witnessing in Washington is more rhetoric identifying the problems, blaming the other side for the current conditions, and yet another session of kicking the can down the road on our most pressing problems.  This is what America voted for despite their perpetual belief that something better will happen the next time around with two parties still committed to divisive partisanship and run at the top with individuals succumbed to ideology that does not reflect Constitutional belief and/or funded by many consumed with greed.

What we need to demand as citizens out of national politicians are written plans to deal with the problems identified.  Let this Blog be the first to demand details to solutions.  We need conservatives proposing and pushing legislation, not seeking to be one of 50+ candidates running for President.  (I warned you in 2014 this power obsession would happen–Refer to history after Contract with America).  My 2013 Blog Predicting the Fight For More Power

Conservatives can lead or respond to what the ‘left’ is doing.  It is their choice.  Based on daily telecasts of Fox News, they are in responding mode to the agenda being pushed by the left and not leading from the right.

We need proactive conservative legislation.  More importantly, we need bills on MAJOR legislation that shows there is a strong vision to lead this country.  We need more debate to solve problems.  True conservatives should not pass the buck.   It is time to evolve the discussion with on the record proposals.  Less hype.  More action.  I don’t want to hear ‘Obama and the Democrats want the border open’.  I want to hear a committee debate and read a detailed legislative proposal on how the border will be closed.  Republicans have control of both houses now to initiate legislation.

Furthermore, Nebraska representatives should have the gumption to not extend the time to bring our budget into balance.  I don’t know if we will even make it another 10 years without a serious economic depression caused by government mismanagement and conceding Constitutional control of the currency to Wall Street over Main Street.  Don’t look to senior leadership to lead a new approach (Republican Congressional Leadership is more prone to consensus building) or another member to step up.  I encourage you to be that person that changes the game with proposed legislation.  Looking around for someone else to do the job is what lazy kids do with their siblings at chore time.  The encouraging piece is I believe we have a delegation that knows they can be bolder and stronger. Unfortunately, we don’t have a courageous delegation.  We have an electorate obsessed with candidates on knowledge (a very important thing) but fail to evaluate wisdom and courage.  Let me be the first to tell our elected officials, “You can do it!  I believe in you! Take a chance!”

However, I’m afraid we are seeing the repeated cycle of forgoing tough decisions and discussions to receive party approval for future power positions. Protecting the reputation of other establishment stars in the party for the sake of perceived preservation of party power is old hat. It is probably what I hate most about party politics.

A lack of budget cuts and no border control are not the only issues showing why the party is no longer conservative.  It is happening in solid conservative positional issues like “Pro-Life” as well.  This state is well on the record in being Pro-Life.  A 100 day pledge during the election run up by Senator Sasse to sponsor or cosponsor the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act has not happened.  I was forwarded the pledge by Pro-Life people who thought they could only support an “R” as a Pro-Life advocate with an on the record 100 day guarantee of sponsorship/co-sponsorship!  (Cue ‘Tommy Boy’ Movie Clip on Guarantees)

Where are the loyalists holding representatives accountable to ‘guarantees’ they made?  Accountability dies easy when personal emotional loyalty is on the line.  Accountability demands different behavior.  A politician will respond to his loyal base if they hold them accountable in numbers.  Remember, babies are on the line and upholding promises mean something to the Nebraska people!  This guarantee is about sponsorship and co-sponsorship.  That can be controlled by a candidate 100%!

Furthermore, the Republicans as a whole could not pass the 20 week abortion bill after the election as promised.  “Pro-Life” (please change to Pro Innocent Life) is historically the conservative position.  The Republicans were only able to pass a watered down version of striping government funding of abortion. Washington Post Bill Citing Failed Abortion Bill

The Democrats of several years ago already accomplished the removal of government funding of abortion with a bill they introduced in the House when Obamacare was passed (failed ratification).  There is little meaningful difference in what Pro-Life Democrats (Granted they are now on the endangered species list in only 4 years) and Pro-Life Republicans passed between then and now.  Both bills substantially achieved the same major goal.  They removed government funding of abortions.  Is it “More Conservative” when you can only pass substantially the same bill (removing government funding from abortion) as the Democrats introduced and passed a few years earlier on abortion?

How Long Will People Buy This?

Most people bought into the belief (deception) reforming the party will happen… (yet another try in the last 20 years).  That is clearly not happening.   Nebraska Republicans need to own this.  They have elected a significant number of non-conservative Republicans (state level), or conservative Republicans who will not stand up to the national party to make the tough decisions needed and desired by the American/Nebraska people.

If the Republicans want to be identified as true conservatives by actions over election rhetoric reputation, they are going to have to follow through on their pledges and their platform.  They have been fortunate their voting base assumes “Republican Right” is the answer to “Anti-Left”.  The strategy of bashing the left to win the Presidency is what I would do as well if I had no positive plans to point to.

I’m not looking forward to the next year of “Bad Option” vs. “Don’t Vote for the Bad Option” battle to be President of the United States while good candidates not in the mainstream receive no media coverage to the peril of the American people who take their cues from the “very dependable” mainstream media.  Republicans are fortunate their base is pushed to action by “Against” or “Fear of the Left” messages as opposed to “For” and “Vision” messages.  The later always appeals to more voters than the former come the general election.

Let me continue to warn the GOP leadership… more people are waking up by the day that both parties are not acting under Constitutional direction.  Don’t Take It From Me…Take it From Glenn Beck  More people are waking up that they need to stand “For” something and not “Against” something. More people are waking up it is time to be “For” the Constitution.

Let me help you GOP Presidential candidates.  Drop the ‘Anti-Hillary Campaign’ your leaders demand you recite over and over to get the doggy biscuit from party bosses.  Be positive, present your vision, and be bold.  No one likes to follow perpetually negative people.

That is why both parties do not have the growth trajectory of the Independent movement.  Negativity of how bad humanity is on the other side of the aisle (whichever side you profess) is uninspiring.  A similar agenda of repeating how bad the other party is creates no difference in candidates.  Present your positive plans and vision.  Provide leadership to the following questions to attract conservative voters.

What are your logistical plans to close the border?  What is your Republican healthcare plan proposal you will stand behind as a party (I’m still waiting since I publicly called it out in 2013)?  What are your foreign policy and long term goals for the Middle East?  Will you make an unwavering claim to have the budget balanced in 8 years to meet the Ryan budget goal of 2013..?

There are offensive winning conservative positions out there.  They take answers with “Guts” and conviction.  They are not found in public opinion straw polls.  They definitely are not in the heads of National Party Bosses.

If the Republican Party wants to reform themselves and win….quit obsessing over power and obsess on progress in legislation.  The later will breed the former.  The time is now to offer solutions with crafted legislation.  It is time to demand adherence to pledges and platforms one has made or subscribed to.

Closing With Encouragement

I’ll admit—this blog was not full of encouragement.  Changing the tone of debate and creating honest positive civic discussion in politics is one of my goals.

Let me close with some positive words on what good things have happened or are happening to bring ‘positive’ tone into the blog entry. There are good achievements to report.

  1.  Our state legislature took on the tough subjects.  They didn’t duck problems like those in our Federal government.  They didn’t kick the can down the road on pressing issues like a strained budget.  They faced the music and made decisive decisions.  It is refreshing to see they would not ‘set the table’ for a later discussion, wait until next session, etc.  They stood up and held account.  I may not agree with every decision, but I can respect any person that will step up and take on a tough topic that needs addressed.
  2. The state legislature kept a balanced budget!  Well done!  Washington could learn from our state legislature on how to balance a budget.  (Let’s repeal the 17th amendment so our state can do their originally designed Constitutional role of overseeing the US Senate.  The Senate can’t seem to perform their historical role of spending restraint.  They answer to uninformed people over answering to a responsible and informed legislature who should preform the role of raising money from local citizens to meet Federal demands.  That is a much stronger design for spending control).
  3. The respectfulness of debate.  I admired the conduct of both sides of the death penalty debate.  Legislators were respectful.  The tone was civil in disagreement.  This is where politics needs to return to.  I like to think our Senate race helped contribute to changing the tone with friendly attitudes and respectful disagreement.  People respectfully voicing their opinion and respecting others who believe otherwise is a healthier environment for good debate.  It will take more discipline to achieve this with a media set on trying to build anger, ugly dissent, and drama between parties to capture attention.  The death penalty position obviously succeeded for those on the left and the majority of elected state legislative Republicans.  It will be interesting to see if the name calling/degradation stops the next time around for those so prone to degradation of other people when they don’t like the plan.  I hope this professional conduct on this heated topic starts a new trend in respectful and civil debate on other issues.
  4. Pro-Life positions emphasizing adoption in the Federal Government.  It is nice to see our representatives get behind key adoption provisions in federal government legislation.  Instead of always fanning the “Against” fire (the GOP does this well), the conservative movement needs to be “For” something.  Moving this adoption legislation forward will give more kids a brighter future.  New aggressive action in this area is noted and applauded.  I’ve called into question Senator Sasse not honoring his legislative proposal guarantee on abortion.  At the same time, he has gotten behind other key pro-life ‘adoption’ legislation that will advance “Life”.  Well done!
  5. The church is waking up.  I’ve never heard a better spell of sermons from multiple churches/denominations across the country the past 6 months.  The church as a whole has a ways to go to become a bolder force for Biblical truth.  I’m hearing spiritual leaders reclaim issues that belong in the church because they are taking on subjects that most will shy away from (pastors, like politicians, will duck tough issues to avoid controversy).  The confusion and incorrect citations of the Bible on the floor of our state house is quite symbolic and eye opening.  It is more eye opening when Senator Chambers, who mocks those that follow Biblical teachings, properly corrects those making poor citations of the Bible (True Statement).  It should be an alarm bell for Pastors to quit running from, but run to civil servants.  The government is sitting in your pew every week (We the People).  They need your input.  I’m starting to hear and sense a backbone.  I’m seeing a Church start to lead in the role of mercy (as opposed to delegate to the state).  In addition, they are demanding a greater focus on the role of justice from government with truth spoken into lives of civic leaders from the pulpit.  As citizens we need to demand government focus on issues of justice that are domain to this God ordained institution.  If we could clarify which institutions should execute the roles of mercy and justice–daily life would improve tremendously.  The battle is just beginning.  Intimidation of the Church and historically professed values are under attack.  It is only going to get tougher in time to be vocal.  However,  I’m seeing compassionate, caring, and bold leaders emerge.  I’m seeing citizens inspired by the bold and compassionate speaking of truth in the pulpit.  It is great to see followers strengthened again with words of truth and following leaders demonstrating lives of compassion.  Pastors, spend some time in Romans 13 as a personal favor.  Keep turning the ship around on an institution so critical to our country!
  6. The GOP leadership has regained debate in the Senate.  They have overcome Democratic leadership stewarding censorship and an iron grip over legislation.  Thank Goodness!  The Senate is getting back to progress.  They are dealing with bills and doing the work of the people.  I think there is bigger and better work to address, but you do have to start somewhere.  In addition, the GOP was smart to start with some no risk bipartisan legislation to create some momentum between two warring tribes.  I think many Independents running for office around the country hammered home this need in 2014.  It appears they are responding to the pressure and message.

Have a Good Week Nebraska!

Posted in Budget Cuts, Pro-Life, Uncategorized | By

I’m solving Social Security. They are not. My plan.

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I have a complete plan to solve Social Security.

It is unacceptable that Washington put this program in jeopardy.  I’m the only candidate taking specific positions to solve the problem.  Some talk a nice game but have no details.  My competitors want to have the discussion later.  We are having the discussion now.  It is time for them to catch up to an Independent taking the lead on tough issues.

America, Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  Make the change in 2014 or own the failure.  Vote free from party this November to solve problems and bury the politics destroying our country.

Here is the best worksheet (photos below) I’ve seen to help people make a decision. These sheets were created by AARP.   Ignore your feelings on AARP.  This is a math problem they have put together in a spreadsheet to aid discussion.  Do not jump to the conclusion I’m for or against the AARP.  I just found their material helpful to frame the discussion.  I’m flexible in how we deal with social security but I’m not flexible in not making an adjustment.

Our most elderly citizens deserve solvency of a plan.  Here is the path I see to 100% solvency of Social Security.  Raise the retirement age to 70 by 2040 (this solves 44% of the problem). Increase the payroll tax cap to $215,000 (this solves 36% of the problem).  Trim the benefits for the top earning 25% (this solves 7% of the problem).  I am a CPA and I realize this only solves 87% of the problem.  I see an additional two options to find the last 13% or more.

The first is easy.  Cut down on fraud!  Senator Coburn (R) of Oklahoma is pursuing very real plans to cut down on Social Security fraud and I’m very likely to support his bills to deal with this problem.

Second, one very real solution I don’t see on this page is to create a stronger criteria to obtain social security.  This is a trust fund created by and for the working.  It is not a right of all people who do not work.

As of now you earn up to 4 credits a year, one credit for each $1,200 made.  You can earn your maximum credits for the year (4) by making $4,800 of income.  40 credits (10 years) and you have full social security.  I think we can improve the gap and limit social security to those putting in at least 25 hours a week on minimum wage.  I would raise the credit level to $2,300.  I would move the full credit criteria to $9,200 for the year and I would make full social security eligibility 60 credits (15 years).  There is no corresponding percentage number on this but I believe it would be significant.  I would have the CBO crunch the numbers to insure that my plan would solve 100% of the problem.

We need access to social security to be higher than $48,000 of lifetime earnings.  Moving lifetime earnings to $138,000 makes more sense to me.  We are requiring people making at least $9,200 a year as opposed to $4,800 to be eligible for social security.  Furthermore, we are talking about working a full 15 years as opposed to only 10 years to be eligible to draw from the system.   I think this would easily solve the remaining 13% of the problem.  The overage could be applied to making one of the other categories less significant of a cut and/or improve the COLA adjustment for seniors to better deal with inflation.

Make sure all the naysayers including my competitors give you a plan that solves the plan 100% before they throw stones.  I’m not accepting criticism on this plan.  I am accepting alternative scenarios you see that equates to 100% and puts social security back on solid ground.  All problem solvers are welcome to the debate.  All complainers with no plan will not be listened to. Feel free to post your solution below and add to the debate.  Critics with no solution can blog on a Party Politician’s site.

Solutions not sound bites is our mantra.  We are Independent Problem Solvers.  We are tired of the popularity contest parties with no backbone.  I don’t need your adoration, I just need our seniors and kids to see a bright future.

As a last point I’ve heard, “I earned that money. I deserve that money.”  I understand the frustration.  You did earn that money.  Keep in mind I did not spend your money or create this problem.

I’m trying to solve the problem created by the previous generational leadership in Washington.  I’m trying to insure there is something left for everyone in the long-term.  I want to make sure our eldest seniors are well taken care of and our children are not bankrupted by the financial irresponsibility of the previous Washington leadership.

I am the only candidate to put a detailed plan out there.  I am here to get things done and bury the political talk.  No one else will give you straight talk like Todd Watson for US Senate.  I am not allowing passing the buck anymore.  We are going to deal with our problems and pass a better future to the next generation.  It is our Constitutional duty.  Please like, share, and debate with your friends.

 

Posted in Budget Cuts, Social Security | By

Simpson Bowles – Party Extremists (Ryan & Obama) Killed Progress

Simpson Bowles was an excellent compromised proposal in 2010.  Obama created the commission.  The group was bipartisan (including the GOP’s up and coming favorite Paul Ryan who served on the commission).

The commission came up with a plan and the CBO estimated our national debt as a percentage of GDP would have fallen from the mid-60% range to the mid-20% range by 2040.  At the end of the day Paul Ryan and Obama both rejected the plan as it didn’t take care of their interests and were content to play party politics instead.  They opted for nothing and settled for the green line below (click link and refer to embedded CBO chart) that is going to take us to a 200% debt level to GDP ratio (if we make it that long).

Fast forward – we have both parties approving the Paul Ryan/Murray (approved by Obama) budget compromise.  Remember history– they did absolutely nothing to attack the debt in 2010.  Instead, they agreed to this budget that solved nothing and want praise for compromise?  Not here.

The middle lost and the extremists won in 2010.  We ended up with the green line instead of the blue line (read chart in attached website below) by failing to adopt Simpson Bowles.  We need to overcome both extremists and reintroduce compromised agreed to plans that were approved by 60% of Congress and met a demand from the American people.  When Senator Coburn and Representative Pelosi agree to budget proposal that lowers our debt to GDP ratio from 65% to 25% (approximate–please refer to chart) in 30 years–you pull that trigger!  Put the politics to bed.

Long-term solvency is a paramount concern for Americans. Let’s put the extremists crafting our budgets to bed and let’s work together towards the fiscal middle and obtain long-term solvency as Simpson and Bowles proposed.  Don’t let party extremists kill progress again!

Vote Todd Watson for United States Senate from Nebraska.  Fiscal compromise is possible!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Commission_on_Fiscal_Responsibility_and_Reform

Posted in Bipartisan Compromise, Budget Cuts, Distrust of Parties | By

Sinkhole of Bureaucracy

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2014/03/22/sinkhole-of-bureaucracy/

This one case epitomizes our national government.  “Automation Attempts” began under Reagan but have failed since 1981.  There is a difference in saying you are against regulation and excess spending and actually getting it done.  We cannot afford party failure anymore.    Relative statements on spending and regulation are not strong enough.  We need doers in Washington and an electorate that holds these parties responsible for failure in doing what they say.

Posted in Budget Cuts, Distrust of Parties | By