Ben Lange believes America needs to put choices in the hands of the people, not in the hands of bureaucrats.
Lange, a Republican lawyer seeking election over U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, in November, spoke to the Marshalltown Noon Optimist Club Thursday afternoon as part of a campaign tour across Iowa.
His speech to the club, whose focus is helping youth achieve their goals, was on point considering two of his platforms for his First-Congressional District campaign are improving education and reducing the national debt.
T-R PHOTO BY DAVID ALEXANDER
Ben Lange, Republican Congressional hopeful, talks to Marshalltown Noon Optimist Club Thursday afternoon at the Cultural Learning Center. Lange spoke about how he believes America needs to put more decisions in the hands of individuals, using health care, education and fiscal responsibility as frames to illustrate this point.
"What we are doing to the next generation is not only fiscally unsustainable, it's flat out immoral," Lange said. "We have now rode the national debt to over $16 trillion."
Lange, of Independence, used his family as an example, saying his three daughters' share of that debt is $150,000 - accumulated before they are even able to ride a bike, he said.
He put the onus on both parties, saying Democrats and Republicans alike caused the county's financial crisis.
While Lange said he does believe the county needs lower corporate tax rates to ensure job growth, he said small businesses are the backbone of America. He's a small business owner himself.
"We want to make America the most competitive economic environment in the world," he said. "If you really talk small business, job growth, the ability for individuals to provide for their families, that comes from small business owners."
But the difference between what the government designates as a "small business" may be incongruent with what the term connotes.
According to the Small Business Administration, a small business, depending on its field, employs fewer than 500 employees, which means more than 99 percent of businesses in the U.S. are "small."
Even then, according to the SBA, those businesses still employ less than 50 percent of the nation's work force.
Still, Lange's point seemed to be that the way small businesses are taxed is unfair, since they are taxed using individual rates opposed to corporate ones.
Lange also touched on Obamacare, saying he would work to repeal the law since it puts decision making in the hands of unelected government officials instead of healthcare providers and their patients.
"We want the consumer to be able to choose," he said. "If we are going to have a government option in health care, there has to be some mechanism to control cost."
Another issue related to health care, he said, is the issue of tort reform. Many hospitals fear frivolous lawsuits and consequently do many unnecessary tests and procedures to insulate themselves from litigation.
Mark Rohde, second vice president of the club and local insurance agent, said something needs to be done about pharmaceutical companies inflating drug costs and, what he called, the broken tier system for billing at hospitals.
"We are making up for the under-compensated costs of Medicare," he said. "Do they want to cut $500 billion from Medicare to help pay for health care reform? Medicare needs to be funded."
Braley's office claims Lange would privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it.
Molly Scherrman, senior advisor to Braley, said Braley is working to create jobs, strengthen the middle class and bring Republicans and Democrats together to pass the Farm Bill, which she said will help farmers through the drought.
Finally, Lange talked about education reform, saying, much like with health care, decisions need to be made on a micro level, not a macro one.
"The people closest to children will make the decisions," he said.