Joe Kopsick, an independent write-in candidate for Congress in Illinois’ 10th congressional district, delivered a speech to a meeting of the Illinois Center Right Coalition held in Niles Public Library on August 20th, 2016. Kopsick read his prepared remarks before the conservative statewide group and later answered questions from the audience. This ATPR editor asked Kopsick, a self-described libertarian anarchist, a question about who influenced him the most in his political beliefs, as well as his opinion on the idea of eliminating U.S. foreign aid to every country, including ones the U.S. forms alliances with. Kopsick’s speech and question and answer session with those in attendance lasted about 16 minutes and was recorded by ATPR. Kopsick, whose bid this year is the third time he has run for Congress, published the revised and updated text of his speech on his campaign blog, The Aquarian Agrarian:
Written on August 19th and 20th, 2016
Some content originally appeared in
“Address to the Illinois Center-Right Coalition (I.C.R.C.) on June 25th, 2016”
Some content appearing here may have been
removed from final edition of delivered speech
written on June 24th and 25th, 2016
and edited on July 19th and August 8th and 22nd, 2016
Good afternoon and thank you for having me. My name is Joe Kopsick, I live in Lake Bluff, and I’m running for the U.S. House of Representatives’ seat from Illinois’s 10th District. My candidacy has been endorsed by Timothy Goodcase, David Earl Williams, Dan Rutherford, Mike Psak, Charles Allan January, Phil Collins, and William Leubscher; and vetted by the Illinois LiberTEA organization.
My district is Illinois’s 10th, which is most of Lake County and parts of Cook County. There, incumbent Republican Bob Dold is being challenged by former congressman Democrat Brad Schneider. I am a write-in candidate, and I am the only other candidate in the race besides Dold and Schneider.
I entered the race in November because I felt that the candidates were not ideologically diverse enough, that neither candidate was ideologically consistent, and that their records didn’t sufficiently support constitutional limitations on the powers of the federal government. In my opinion, both candidates supported growth of the size, scope, and cost of government; and supported continued and increased federal involvement in issues that rightfully belong to the states and to the people. For example, both of my opponents support domestic surveillance, gun control, foreign aid, sanctions, keeping Obamacare in place, and federal funding for Planned Parenthood.
As for me, the major themes of my candidacy are: liberty and limited government; non-interventionism in foreign policy; personal freedom and individual rights; due process, and security through privacy; balanced budgets and fiscal solvency; free movement of labor and capital; and the notion that government should be funded through penalties on waste, rather than through taxation of labor, sales, and investment that has the effect of discouraging those types of productive behavior.
If elected, I would vote to eliminate and/or restructure between four and seven unconstitutional executive departments; decrease spending by between $1.25 and $1.75 trillion [dollars], fire dozens of executive “czars”; and devolve the issues of health, education, retirement savings, and the social safety net back to the states.
I would help reduce the size of the federal workforce by voting to abolish the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Education, Interior, and Housing and Urban Development; and I would additionally support either abolishing the Department of Homeland Security, or restructuring segments of it under the Departments of Justice and Defense.
On spending, I would vote to vote to support a Cut, Cap, and Balance plan that requires at least a 7-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases; and I would also support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Throughout a transition to a new taxation policy, I would support gradually decreasing flat taxes across the board; while keeping tax cuts in place; and eliminating loopholes, tax credits, and differential taxation.
On income taxes, I would vote to support a reduction of the individual income tax to between 12.5% and 20% in the short term. I would also accept a Negative Income Tax, or a value-added national sales tax. But in the long term, I would support the abolition of the personal income tax, and repealing the 16th Amendment, unless the Negative Income Tax were to remain popular and a constitutional amendment authorizing it were to be ratified.
I believe that taxes on personal income, investment, consumption, imports, property values, and the “inflation tax on savings”, have the effect of discouraging productive economic behavior. I would hope to replace all current forms of federal revenue with user fees, voluntary contributions, and a reform of property taxes, involving a Single Tax on the abuse, disuse, and blight of landed property, including fees paid to communities in exchange for the privilege of extracting natural resources.
On trade, I believe that free trade is fair trade. I would vote to support real free trade – the free movement of labor and capital – as opposed to “smart trade” or “managed trade”, or so-called “fair trade”. I would vote to eliminate tariffs, which I believe have the effect of discouraging the importation of goods. I hope to help bring about reduced prices for American consumers by reducing and repealing tariffs, as well as sales taxes.
I believe that increasing tariffs would only embolden foreign companies to increase worker exploitation and labor rights abuses (in order to offset the costs of the tariffs), and that this would increase human rights abuses abroad, making trade with such countries more controversial, thus making sanctions more likely, potentially leading to trade wars and cold wars.
On wages, I believe the minimum wage increases unemployment and fuels a cycle of price inflation; I would vote to oppose minimum wage increases for federal employees and others. Instead, I would vote to reduce sales and import taxes, audit the Federal Reserve, get the value of the dollar stable and increasing, so that the dollar has enough purchasing power to buy what people need.
I would also vote to eliminate the artificial business privileges erected by government, and to cut all of the “corporate welfare” before considering reducing the “social welfare” that it makes necessary. Crucial to eliminating artificial business privilege are abolishing the departments and chambers of commerce, urging states to abolish their secretaries’ of state’ offices (or at least limit or revoke their powers to charter and extend limited liability to new corporations), and urge local businesses to invest in independent business alliances instead of local chambers of commerce often serving as lobbying agencies.
On labor unions, we have to find the people on the left that are willing to acknowledge that the free-rider problem is created by the same federal law that limits their right to wildcat and sympathy strikes, and also effectually limits the number of unions that can represent workers in the same workplace. I believe that unions and businesses have the right to enter into a contract saying that that union has exclusive rights to represent the workers, so this means I don’t support Right to Work laws.
Although (as a candidate for federal office) I would support little federal involvement in private-sector unions and state and local government employee unions, and thus support devolving the issue of labor to the states, I would not vote to interfere with states that passRight to Work laws. Instead, I would urge states to (1) protect concerted activity in the workplace, (2) nullify the Wagner Act and Taft-Hartley Act, (3) loosen union voting requirements to prompt negotiation with management, and (4) require employers to inform prospective employees as to whether and when they will be required to join a union as a condition of being hired. Concerning federal employees, I would vote to do the same.
On jobs: while voting to devolve education to the states, I would urge them to implement waiver programs, in order to bring automotive and wood shop classes back to high schools, while protecting against the threat of personal injury lawsuits. I would also urge states to get lower or remove occupational licensing standards for lower-skilled professions. For governments to impose fees, and wield monopolies in issuing licenses and permits of all kinds – cutting someone’s hair, buying alcohol or tobacco, exercising the right to vote, buying a gun, getting married, or driving a car – these are all examples of government turning our natural rights into paid privileges.
Regarding immigration: although taxpaying citizens do shoulder the burden of taking care of illegal immigrants, in my opinion this is primarily the fault of an expansive and unfunded federal welfare state, not the fault of people who crossed a border without committing any other crimes that harmed persons or damaged their property. I believe that welfare for immigrants should be dealt with on a state and local basis, and I would vote to support legislative rather than executive deferred action for childhood arrivals and their parents.
Concerning the recent call for “No Fly, No Buy”, I would vote to support transparency into these secret No-Fly lists, and my record would reflect a cautious concern regarding due process for suspected terrorists and the mentally ill. I believe that people are innocent until proven guilty, even if they’re accused of terrorist acts; that the Eighth Amendment prohibits torture; and that all persons – not just all citizens– have rights and deserve fair trials.
On health, I would vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and oppose taxing hospital workers’ income and medical device sales.
On Social Security, I would vote to support allowing young workers to opt-out of the program. I support the personalization – rather than privatization – of retirement accounts. I would vote to support devolving this issue to the states, I would consider block grants, and unless and until that can be accomplished, I would vote to oppose means-testing Social Security and oppose raising the retirement age.
Finally, I’ll fight the licensing monopolies’ stranglehold on our freedoms to do as we please: in our workplaces, in our beds, in our cars, with our guns, with our money, in our homes, in our papers and effects, et cetera.
Please support me, Joe Kopsick, as a write-in candidate for U.S. Representative in Illinois’s 10th District on November 8th. Thank you.