California needs a party that stands for common sense

Tom Campbell
Tom Campbell served five terms as a congressman and two years as a California state senator. He was also finance director of California.

The Common Sense Party, a new political party being formed in California, stands for fiscal responsibility, social inclusivity and pragmatic decision-making. The party has no checklist of positions to which adherence is demanded.  Instead, a candidate must show that she or he makes decisions on the facts, not prejudice. People of good faith who disagree […]

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I Will Take the Fight to Boxer — and Win

Tom Campbell
Tom Campbell served five terms as a congressman and two years as a California state senator. He was also finance director of California.

This past weekend’s 
Los Angeles Times/USC poll shows me beating Senator Boxer 45%-38%. It
also shows Carly Fiorina losing to Senator Boxer by six points – 38% to
44%.  Those differences are huge, and far outside the margin of error.

Getting Senator Barbara Boxer out of the Senate should be the paramount
objective for voters in the Republican primary, since we can’t take
back the U.S. Senate unless Boxer goes. Carly Fiorina can’t defeat her;
I can.

It’s true I have a more libertarian view on some social issues.  But
the contrast between myself and Senator Barbara Boxer is stark. Carly
Fiorina’s dubious and self-serving claim that I differ little from
Senator Boxer is easily refuted, as the Los Angeles Daily News, one of
the eleven newspapers that have endorsed me in this race, noted on
Friday.  "Fiorina has called Campbell a liberal. That’s a view we don’t share. Campbell is absolutely a fiscal conservative."

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Terrorist Suspects Should Be Interrogated, Not ‘Mirandized’

Tom Campbell
Tom Campbell served five terms as a congressman and two years as a California state senator. He was also finance director of California.

Once arrested, a terrorist suspect should be interrogated for
information regarding any imminent terrorist attacks. That is the top
priority. It is critical not to give such suspects the chance to delay
answering questions while waiting for a court-appointed attorney.
Reminding the terrorist suspect that he or she has the right to remain
silent can only increase the possibility that the terrorist suspect
will remain silent. It is completely contrary to our country’s
immediate interest in preventing the loss of innocent life from more
terrorist attacks.  

It was, therefore, amazing to hear Carly Fiorina and Chuck Devore in
the recent League of Women Voters’ debate both announce that terrorist
suspects who were American citizens should be given Miranda warnings
before any questioning. Such a view is tremendously short-sighted and
reflects a lack of knowledge of US Constitutional law.

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We Can Do Much More to Reduce the Federal Deficit

Tom Campbell
Tom Campbell served five terms as a congressman and two years as a California state senator. He was also finance director of California.

The White House has just announced its proposed budget for fiscal year 2011, with a projected deficit of a staggering $1.27 trillion. Last year’s budget estimated a $1.17 trillion deficit, but the actual number now appears to be $1.60 trillion. Applying that same likely growth from projection to actual deficit, we are looking at a federal budget deficit closer to $1.74 trillion this year.

The size of the deficit is unconscionable and unsustainable. As a nation, we now owe more than $12 trillion, a number almost as large as the entire GDP of the United States. Even worse, we are adding to this deficit at a rate of more than 10 percent of the GDP—an alarming rate that most economists consider dangerous for any economy.

To finance our deficit, we print money and spend it—or we borrow money and spend it. When we print the money, we set the stage for massive inflation, which will occur as soon as the economy revives. When we borrow the money, we place a lever in the hands of citizens and governments of China and other nations, now our largest creditors (surpassing the 50 percent mark two years ago). It is morally wrong to spend money now and expect our children to pay the price—and it is hazardous to give to foreign sovereigns the tools to destroy our economy if they decide to “call in” their loans.

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How I’m Planning to Vote on May 19

Tom Campbell
Tom Campbell served five terms as a congressman and two years as a California state senator. He was also finance director of California.

There are five fiscal measures on the May 19 ballot. I’ve received a fair number of questions about my positions on them.

Here is how I am planning to vote:

1A –  YES: This creates a real rainy day fund, and constrains the growth of state spending. Any increases above inflation and population growth have to go into the rainy day fund, until it totals 12.5% of the state budget. A minimum of 3% of the state’s revenues has to go into the fund until the 12.5% is met, once the growth in population and inflation from the previous year has been covered. This is almost as good as Prop. 76, the legislative version of which I authored, that cut spending across-the-board when revenue fell. The public employee unions defeated Prop. 76, but the Governor negotiated with them to hold off criticizing 1A; so this has a real chance of passage.

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On the California State Budget

Tom Campbell
Tom Campbell served five terms as a congressman and two years as a California state senator. He was also finance director of California.

The state budget has now been passed. It is far from perfect. (Indeed, I’m still not sure where about 11 billion of borrowing comes from; and I’m skeptical about assuming any particular value for enhanced earnings from the California Lottery.) But that has not been the focus of the intense criticism of those Republican legislators, and our Republican Governor, who supported it. Rather, they are being criticized because the budget deal includes about 15 billion of higher taxes. That’s matched by about 14 billion of cuts in spending.

Back in December, public works stopped in our state, because of this budget crisis. In the midst of a recession, we stopped building freeways, water storage, schools, airport improvements, port facilities. That was suicidal to California’s recovery. These are good projects, that will make California more competitive for years to come; and in the short run, they will give Californians jobs. We needed them to continue, months ago.

So, I wrote an article for the San Francisco Chronicle, in December, and posted it on my web site, suggesting that an immediate budget deal be forged with 50% cuts in spending matched by 50% increase in gas taxes. A 50:50 deal was, to my lights, the only way to get a budget done, and start public works again. With gasoline falling from its high of above $4 a gallon last summer, I thought it was the least damaging tax to raise.

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