Keith Deschler

Libertarian Keith Deschler is running for the 1st Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

Looking for an alternative to incumbent Republican Paul Ryan and Democrat Rob Zerban in the Nov. 6 race for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District?

Enter Keith Deschler — a Libertarian candidate from Racine who placed himself on the congressional ballot this year, after three prior runs for state Assembly.

Deschler, 54, is a factory worker from Sturtevant who holds a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and religious studies from Carthage College.

Here are his responses to a series of questions posed by the Kenosha News:

QuestionHow concerned are you about the debt and deficit our country isn’t dealing with? What is your view of a compromise deal that would involve some tax increases and some budget cuts?

Answer -- Balancing the budget now is the reason I an running.

Fiscal responsibility has always been a primary concern of mine, which goes hand in hand with social responsibility. If we don’t deal with this soon, the debt and interest will consume current spending. Massive tax hikes and inflation will be needed, just to fund basics like defense, courts, and senior programs.

Balance the budget now, with substantial reductions in defense, entitlement reforms, phaseout of several unnecessary cabinet departments, along with hundreds of wasteful programs. Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has promised these reductions in current spending, along with no tax increases. Closing loopholes and tax simplification would be fine, but tax rate hikes are a drag on an already sluggish economy.

QuestionActuarial studies show Medicare and Social Security to be in tough shape looking out just a few years. What can be done to ensure future generations enjoy some benefit from these programs?

Answer -- Social Security is in less dire straits than Medicare, which may default by 2017. I oppose tax increases to deal with these programs.

Over $5 trillion has been raided from the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for other spending. This must stop immediately. A combination of raising the full retirement age to 70, reducing slightly the cost of living adjustments, and means testing benefits for higher incomes, will take care of 90 percent of the Social Security shortfall.

Encourage retirement savings by replacing income taxes with sales taxes, and a prebate account. Support Gary Johnson’s idea of block granting Medicare and Medicaid to the states. It will lead to less bureaucratic overhead, and innovative concepts like health vouchers with medical savings accounts.

QuestionWhat should be done about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare”? Do you favor its current form, or should adjustments or changes be made?

Answer -- ObamaCare should be repealed totally. It is a 2,700-page bureaucratic nightmare, which places immense power and authority over life and death issues in the hands of the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

I am especially appalled with the mandate to purchase health insurance, the penalties involved for failing to do so, and the potential rationing of care for the elderly, disabled, and sufferers with diabetes and cancer.

This program is not beneficial to our fiscal health. It will add more than $2 trillion to the debt over the next decade. By block granting Medicaid to the states, and converting that program into vouchers, people can purchase health insurance that best meets their needs, and at a more reasonable cost.

QuestionWhat’s wrong with our current tax structure? What is a “fair” tax rate for those in the top 10 percent of the income scale?

Answer -- Our current tax structure is like so much of our government-overly complex — heavily bureaucratic, weighted against personal savings and job creation, hostile to personal liberty.

Replace all current federal taxes with a national sales tax, 20percent rate, on retail, online, and used items. A prebate on taxes paid up to the poverty income level would make the sales tax more progressive, and will help low and moderate incomes save for emergencies, retirement, paying off debts, and other purposes. Employers and employees can add to the prebate account, which would be interest bearing. States would be encouraged to replace their income taxes with sales taxes, along with prebate accounts.

QuestionWhat is the United States’ greatest foreign policy challenge today, and how would you seek to handle it?

Answer -- Our greatest foreign policy challenge is to firmly get out of the role of being the world’s policeman, and to withdraw from the the conflicts we have unfortunately gotten ourselves mired in, especially in Iraq, Afghanistan, and now in Egypt and Libya.

Iran is also a prime example of how our heavy-handed meddling in the affairs of other nations has actually contributed to the belligerence and terrorism that we supposedly want to eliminate. End all foreign aid, which all too often props up dictators at the expense of the poor masses. Use our military to protect and defend our shores from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

QuestionHow and where can compromise be found on a strongly divided Capitol Hill?

Answer -- While I understand that “politics is the art of compromise,” I do not believe that the basic respect for personal and economic liberty contained in our constitution should ever be compromised.

The “compromises” in Congress should be in the direction of lower taxes, less government spending across the board, relieving job creators of layers of bureaucratic red tape, making health care more accessible and affordable with less government mandates, reestablish sound money with low inflation, repeal laws that infringe on our civil liberties, and return our foreign policy to a defense of our national borders.