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Social Security

Social Security, the only retirement income source for many Americans, must be strengthened for both current and future retirees. Social Security Payroll Taxes paid by current workers fund benefits paid to retired workers.  In every year since 2010, however, the balance in the Social Security Trust Fund has been decreasing because more is being paid out in benefits than is being deposited into the fund via payroll taxes. This trend is expected to continue as more “Baby boomers” retire. The CBO estimates that  the trust fund balance will reach $0.00 in 2027 without changes to the system. I will legislate for changes in Social Security rules which will primarily effect earners who are in their early work years and who are in a position to alter their investment and retirement decisions. I will insulate retirees, and near-term retirees who are not in a position to alter their retirement decisions, from these changes. 


Health Care

Americans deserve quality health care coverage at a reasonable cost. The recent removal of the Health Insurance Mandate from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will cause younger, healthier Americans to “opt out” of health insurance coverage. With fewer healthier Americans in the health care “pool”, and most of the other ACA provisions left intact, the cost of health care premiums can be expected to increase. I will work with legislators to identify cost containment solutions which will lower premiums and attract younger Americans back into the health insurance pool.


National Debt

 At just under $21 trillion dollars, our National Debt is becoming a serious threat to the financial security of our nation. Each year, we pay hundreds of billions of dollars in interest to foreign individuals and foreign governments who hold a sizeable portion of our debt. Each dollar we pay to them is a dollar that cannot be used at home. Moreover, with both the amount of debt and interest rates rising, the cost of our borrowing will increase substantially in the future. The CBO estimates that by 2047 interest on the debt will account for 21% of total federal expenditures, as opposed to the 7% where it is today. Without additional tax revenue, that means less money for defense, social security and other programs. The rise in national debt is due entirely to lack of fiscal discipline in Washington. I support a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution to restore fiscal discipline. A BBA will force Congress to make tough budgetary decisions instead of leaving those decisions for future generations to bear. 


National Security

US forces should be deployed in combat only on those occasions where there is a direct security threat to the United States, or where our allies, with whom we share mutual security interests, have requested our assistance. Absent exigent circumstances, Congressional approval should always be obtained prior to our forces being deployed in combat. I am opposed to “nation-building”.

I fully support funding to ensure that our military are the best-equipped and best-funded forces in the world. I also support funding sufficient to ensure that we have adequate missile defense and cyber security systems to defend ourselves against threats by our adversaries.


Veterans Services

Veterans returning home from combat face a variety of psychological issues, most notably Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), in addition to debilitating physical injuries. Many veterans are unwilling to seek treatment for PTSD due to the stigma attached. Untreated PTSD many times leads to alcohol and drug dependency which, in turn, leads to homelessness, depression, and suicide.  Other veterans who entered the service after high school find that they are at an educational disadvantage as compared with their peers, when applying for employment. Other veterans seek treatment for their physical injuries but must wait several months for treatment at a facility that may be a long distance from their home. I will maintain a close liaison with the Veterans Administration to ensure that our returning veterans receive early intervention and treatment they desperately need to deal with these issues. 


Capital Punishment

I believe that life is humanities most precious resource. Taking of a human life, in my opinion is the sole providence of our creator. Moreover, modern scientific techniques such as DNA testing, have proved the innocence of convicted death row inmates.


Energy

Technological developments in energy production (i.e., fracking and solar energy) in recent years have made the United States an exporter rather than an importer of energy. I support continued development our oil, coal, and natural gas resources, as well as continued expansion of alternative energy sources (wind and solar) to meet our needs. I also support measured exports of these resources to other countries. I do not, however, support off shore drilling along the New Jersey coast, or for that matter, along the eastern or western coast of the United States. An offshore drilling accident along the New Jersey coast akin to that which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico would be disastrous for New Jersey’s $40 billion tourism and fishing industries, upon which so many of our residents depend for employment. Further, the offshore resources are not needed to meet our current needs and would be better left for future generations to possibly safely exploit with future advances in technology.


Abortion

I believe that life is humanity's most precious resource. I also believe that life begins at conception. It is my position that life should be taken only when absolutely necessary to protect another life or lives.


Immigration - Border Security

Border Security is essential to our safety and security. Our borders are being compromised in two ways: Visa(business, tourist, visitor) overstays (40%), and “Entry without Inspection” through the southwest border of the United States (60%). Interdiction and return either at the point of entry or at the time of the overstay is the best course of action.

I would advocate for additional funding for the Immigration and Nationalization Service to assist in the monitoring of visa recipients to prevent visa overstays.

I would support federal funding to improve wall security at those locations where there is no effective physical border and at those locations where security has been repeatedly compromised. I do not believe that an entirely new wall is financially prudent nor will it attain the objectives many individuals expect.


Health Insurance Programs (Medicare, Medicaid, CHIPS)

Health Insurance Programs. (Medicare, Medicaid, CHIPS)
There are three components of federal spending: Social Security/Health Insurance Programs (SS/HIP); interest on the National Debt, and all other spending (defense etc.,).  Currently, putting aside interest on the debt, 54% of federal spending is for SS/HIP, and 43% for all other spending. CBO projects that by 2047, those percentages will be 67%-SS/HIP, and 34%-All Other. Obviously, changes have to be made in these programs so that they will be available for future generations. There are two reasons for this growth: Aging of the population and excessive cost growth I will advocate for rule changes and other cost containment measures in the Medicare Program that will primarily affect future beneficiaries of this program. Currently beneficiaries should not be affected by these changes.


Cybersecurity

The threat posed by cyber attacks on our public/private sector computer systems is perhaps the greatest, yet the most underestimated, threat to our national security. The compromise of our offensive/defensive missile systems by our adversaries could make us vulnerable to attack, and limit our ability to respond to such attacks. Compromise of systems which regulate our energy grid, communications systems, and financial systems could wreak havoc on our way of life and cause immense economic loss. Congress needs to ensure that the federal agencies responsible for Cybersecurity have the necessary funding and other resources to guard against such attacks. Congress also needs to exercise appropriate oversight to ensure that these agencies are effectively fulfilling their Cybersecurity responsibilities.



Committee to Elect Robert Turkavage
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