America is facing a financial calamity and needs to take tough action to get its fiscal house in order, according to 3rd District congressional candidate Bill Orton.
The Democrat had the podium to himself Tuesday at a Provo Kiwanis luncheon, and he used it to discuss his proposals for dealing with the federal budget and savings and loan crises. Republican candidate Karl Snow will address the Kiwanis club next week.Orton said the country needs "statesmen" who are above partisan politics to identify solutions to critical problems facing the nation.
"I have a plan. I have an understanding of the problem," Orton said. "I have a vision of the future and where we ought to be going and how to get there."
But trying to address national problems from outside the governmental system is nearly impossible, Orton said.
During the past 10 years, Orton has met with members of Congress and their staffs numerous times about the effect deregulation of savings and loan institutions and changes in tax laws would have on the nation.
"I told them that the combination of these two down the road ultimately would result in fiscal disaster for savings and loans, which would then spread to banks, insurance companies and pension funds," Orton said. "I was laughed at in 1981. By 1986 they weren't laughing any more but they still weren't listening. In 1990 I sat down with some of these same people . . . who said `OK, we're eating crow, what can we do?' "
Orton said as a congressman, working within the governmental system, he would be better able to address such problems.
"There are some positive things that we can and should be doing right now to help get us out of that problem and stop the brush fire from spreading into the banks and the insurance companies, which it is doing right now," Orton said.
Solving the budget crisis will require reforming the budget process, Orton said. He proposes putting the budget on a multiyear cycle, instituting a balanced budget amendment, eliminating governmental departments that are no longer needed, reforming military and entitlement spending and reforming tax laws.
Orton also proposes creation of a federal transfer tax, a broad-based tax imposed on wealth as it transfers from one individual to another. Taxing commerce, either through sales, value-added or transfer taxes, was judged by James Madison, one of the country's Founding Fathers, as the "most reasonable, effective and fair" tax system, Orton said.
"I agree with James Madison."
The broad-based nature of such a tax would ensure the transfer tax rate would be low enough to avoid being detrimental to any one segment of the economy or population.
"I submit to you that if we don't create a positive mechanism to pay off not only our deficit each year, but to start paying off that three trillion (plus) national debt, if we don't come up with the mechanism, what you will see is continued increases in inflation and continued increases in interest rates," Orton said.