IMPERIAL — Through the cheers and jeers Thursday night two candidates for U.S. Congress answered questions and defended their positions on issues affecting the area.
Democrat incumbent Bob Filner and Republican challenger Nick Popaditch talked about their views on social services, the economy and tax cuts to a full crowd at the El Centro and Brawley chambers of commerce joint congressional debate at the Imperial Valley Expo.
Things like the health care reform are important to many people. In the 51st Congressional District 140,000 are uninsured. With the health care reform, 130,000 will be insured, Filner said.
Other services, like Social Security, are essential to keeping older Americans from hitting poverty levels. It was one of the most important programs started at the time.
People should have the freedom to chose what they want, not have decisions forced on them. Things like mandated health care are un-American, Popaditch said.
There’s a difference between entitlement and a promise. The safety net, like food stamps, has gotten too comfortable, and it needs to be made not as comfortable as they are right now, he said.
Social Security, though, is a promise, as people pay into it knowing they will get the benefits later in life.
Tax cuts should be used for those who have worked hard for them, the middle class, not those that don’t need them, people making more than a million dollars, Filner said.
Congress tried passing cuts for those in the lower and middle classes, but the Republicans stood in the way, he said. The money that would be made from not cutting taxes for the wealthiest 2 percent would save $1 trillion that could be used to fill the country’s deficit, he said.
Tax cuts are the key to job creation, Popaditch said.
About 70 percent of jobs are going to come from small businesses. Keeping taxes at such a high rate keeps people from hiring and has them increasing their prices at stores and other places, he said.
Redistribution of wealth is un-American, and tax breaks should go for everyone.
The economy isn’t where anyone wants it to be right now. It was at the brink of collapse a few years ago, but it has gotten better, Filner said.
The future lies in renewable energy and the jobs that can be created from that. Tens of billions of dollars are up for grabs to do research, job training and more in the renewable fields like solar, wind and geothermal, he said.
“This is the future in terms of our economic diversity,” he said. “The whole county, the whole Valley is ready to embark upon this venture, and that is going to bring us out of this recession.”
Three things can help to create jobs within the county, Popaditch said.
The first would be to increase capital. That can be done through tax cuts, like reinstituting the Bush-era tax cuts, he said.
The second thing that needs to happen is to deregulate and get the government out of the way. It’s too complicated to get permits or to progress.
The third thing to do is get rid of the unknowns, he said. “Obamacare,” cap and trade and the stimulus are stopping people from hiring.
“You have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the government needs to stay the heck out of your way.”
Staff Writer Elizabeth Varin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 760-337-3441.
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