Candidates for the United States Senate and House of Representatives were asked the following questions by The Washington Post:
Freeze: Do you favor a nuclear freeze? If not, do you support other forms of control?
Services: Should additional federal funds be appropriated for social services?
Social Security: Does Social Security need to be changed, and if so, how?
Budget: Do you favor a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget?
Phillip N. Buford (R), 57, of 5420 Burling Rd., Bethesda, works for IBM Corp. as an engineer and scientist. He previously worked for Page Communications Engineers, Westinghouse Electric, Naval Ordnance Laboratory and General Electric. Active in Montgomery County politics and is on the Republican Central Committee.
Freeze: No. A nuclear freeze, as proposed, is unilateral and thus unacceptable to the U.S. We have enough bombs as does Russia, to annihilate all human life, and so construction of a few more should not be considered more deadly. Yet, the potential construction of additional devices by the U.S. can be used as a negotiating or inhibiting factor with the U.S.S.R. Other controls are acceptable only if compliance is verifiable.
Services: No. The people have spoken in the last election when they voted for the Reagan platform of less regulations and funding cuts and spending at the federal level. Local government efforts where needed, and volunterrism are the best general strategies for people to care for all, except catastrophic, social needs.
Social Security: The priorities of Social Security should be reverted to its original purpose for retirement income. Medical services have second priority, and perhaps third priority programs should be separated and supported in other local ways. Social Security "tax" funds should be invested in the U.S.
Budget: Yes, but only because Congress and the Senate have never been able to curb the appetite for excessive spending by their own members and successive preSidential administrations. Otherwise, the Constitution should not be tampered with.
Marian L. Greenblatt (R), 40, of 10125 Brock Dr., Silver Spring, has been a member of the county Board of Education since 1976. Previously, she was an instructor at the University of Maryland and Hampton Institute and a high school teacher. She is a member of the PTA.
Freeze: Since "the consequences of a continued arms race and the accompanying increased risk of nuclear war are unacceptable," I favor "an equitable and verifiable agreement which freezes strategic nuclear forces at equal and substantially reduced level." The words quoted above were part of a resolution passed recently by the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the incumbent congressman opposed this sound and desirable measure. We must reduce the world's growing nuclear arsenal. But can we trust the Soviets to honor the agreement? The same U.S.S.R. which is killing innocent civilians in Afghanistan and oppressing the Polish poeple? Apparently, the incumbent trusts them. But Lech Walesa doesn't, and I don't either. The nuclear race must be declared over. Let's hope the present negotiations are taken seriously by the U.S.S.R. Let's pray the START talks succeed where SALT failed. Let's reduce arms for a lasting peace.
Services: Before talking about more spending, let's reshape present spending for social services: First, guarantee that money goes direct ly to the truly needy, unencumbered by a sea of red tape. Second, eliminate waste and fraud; don't just talk about it. Third, shift responsibility for many programs to state and local governments. Local officials, after all, are better able to make intelligent, caring decisions about specific needs in their communities. Fourth, restrain the overall growth of government and free the private sector to create jobs and opportunities, eliminating altogether the need for some social expenditures. It's time to establish a "negative" income tax. This would give refunds to those below the poverty level directly, without added government programs, administrators, auditors, accountants, etc. Let the recipients decide how the money should be spent.
Social Security: It is disgraceful that Congress plays politics with Social Security. Two thoughts should be remembered: 1) Our elderly should be spared worry about benefits. They deserve what they were promised, including increases for inflation. A deal is a deal. In 1981 and 1982, beneficiaries received 11.2 and 7.4 percent increases. 2) Those still working should know their contributions will provide a fair return at retirement. Congress mishandled the system by promising benefits without planning. In 1950, there were 16.5 workers paying in for each beneficiary; today, on ly 3.3 workers per beneficiary. Obviously, we must reform the system and make it actuarially sound. For example, foreigners no longer living in America should receive only what they paid, nothing more (saving $2.4 billion.) The system's focus should return to its original concept: a supplemental retirement system, not a welfare program. The system must be self-sufficient, not funded from general revenues.
Budget: Absolutely. For 19 of the last 20 years, fiscal sanity has been ignored by the spend thrifts in Congress, creating deficits which pushed the national debt over $1,000,000,000,000 (a trillion.). Present interest payments alone exceed $100 billion. Is it any wonder that the economy is in a tailspin? That interest rates were at a record 21.5 percent and inflation nearly 13 percent when we "fired" Jimmy Carter? Only a balanced budget requirement (permitting exceptions during national emergencies) will allow us to put our financial house in order. After all, 40 of 50 states require balanced budgets by constitution, including Maryland, and 31 have called for a federal amendment. This amendment will give Congress the backbone to control runaway spending. Yet, the incumbent opposes the amendment. He believes in spend, spend; tax, tax: elect, elect. It's time for the people to say "Enough."
Elizabeth W. Spencer (R), 56, of 734 Tiffany Ct. (P. O. Box 3206), Gaithersburg, was a member of the county Board of Education from 1974 to this year. She has served on the Ottawa, Kan., school board and has been a teacher, secretary, farmer and member of the county Human Relations Commission.
Freeze: I favor a freeze on nuclear and conventional arms provided it is not unilateral on our part. Any reduction in our ability to defend ourselves and to deter aggression must be accompanied by actions and continuing meaningful assurances by others, most especially the Soviet Union, that they will do likewise. The difficulty and complexity of negotiations with the Soviet Union is sufficiently great without the added constraints of binding congressional freeze resolutions. Past and continuing armed colonialism on the part of the Soviet Union and its surrogates is a fact, and international agreements have often been grossly violated. Further, without restraints of some kind, even a bilateral freeze does not prevent increasingly dangerous proliferation. The country's foreign commitments must be re-examined in the light of present realities and trends. The SALT (now START) talks must be continued. Unrestricted, sincere, continuing negotiations towards arms freeze and reductions make sense to me.
Services: It is the duty of a caring society to provide for those amongst us unable to care for themselves. I t is the obligation of this country never to forget this duty. The responsibility falls party on private philanthropy and extended families, partly on local and state governments, partly on the federal government. Clearly, the problem is one of balance of obligations maintained in accordance with a clear perspective on suitable roles and relative contributions. Funding any new, needed federal programs implies finding corresponding savings in existing programs. Congress has lacked a clear perspective and has shown little insight into the difficult problem of maintaining balance, hence the ever-shifting and ever-increasing load resulting from out-of-date entitlement rules. Re-examination of entitlement rules, some shift back to local and state governments in slow and orderly fashion and development of better congressional perspective on the balance are my priorities.
Social Security: The Social Security program, in which everybody has a present or future stake, just continue to fulfill its obligations to retirees. It must function to avoid parents becoming a burden on children. It must fulfill its promise to younger working people who are now paying the cost. The program was initiated to be self-sustaining. This goal can be achieved if all of us work toward it. Stakeholders may need to give a little more and/or take a little less. Payroll taxes may have to increase, people may have to retire later in life proportionate to increases in life expectancy and retirees may have to be asked to take smaller semiannual increments. Retirees' cost of living adjustments must be realistic; retirees should not receive more than their replacements on the same job. Payroll taxes for Social Security coverage may have to be expanded and more workers covered.
Budget: A balanced federal budget is a necessary goal. I would much prefer some alternate route to the necessary congressional discipline of matching income with outgo. A few years ago, Congress passed a budget reform act which requires several steps, and meeting several deadlines, as a sort of self-imposed discipline. But, in practice, it chose to ignore its own law. There has been no finally adopted budget for recent fiscal years--just continuing resolutions, with the constitutional role of the House almost forgotten. This irresponsibility and lack of courageous leadership, major reasons for my candidacy, are not easily cured by pronouncing judgments that Congress must be better. The only sort of budgetary discipline thus far proposed which Congress cannot ignore is the constitutional amendment with its obvious flaws. Until a better proposal is found, however, I must take this amendment seriously.
Kurt Summers (R), 48, of 10500 Grosvenor Park, North Bethesda, is director of program control for Space Communications Co. He has been a homebuilder, peace officer, drama coach, aerospace program administrator and space industry project manager.
Freeze: I do not support a nuclear freeze while the Russians have any measure of advantage in strategic weaponry. It is cowardly and irresponsible to talk of a freeze at a time when Russia is busy colonizing through aggression many countries around the world. Colonizing either through its active participation or supplying arms and training terrorists or by Russian supplied surrogates. With Russia becoming more bold and reckless, this is not the time to discuss a nuclear freeze; rather we should continue to counter the present imbalance. Then, pursuing bilateral reduction of strategic weapons, which must include verifiable assurance of equal nuclear strength. The freeze could then be negotiated, with safeguards, to monitor the reduction and remaining arsenals. The real answer to control is when we (the U.S.) actively develop our defense capabilities in space, then nuclear weapons would become a thing of the past, no longer viable.
Services: There must be immediate changes made in the rules and administration of social programs. The truly handicapped would continue to receive aid. However, the other entitlement programs require drastic changes. The other aid programs, excepting unemployment compensation, require the following: Welfare aid cannot exceed 18 months, cumulative, in a 10- year period, and everyone able to work must work in order to receive aid, a minimum of 30 hours a week. We must stop rewarding people for having children out of wedlock, quitting their education before acquiring work skills and being perpetual welfare slaves. Those of us who spend most of our lives working very hard for our homes and possessions are sick and tired of paying for those individuals who act irresponsible and don't want to be troubled themselves by working for their possessions.
Social Security: If Social Security is to survive, it must undergo some changes. However, these changes must protect the income of those already receiving Social Security. As a reminder, it is important to note that when Social Security became law, 65 years old was about five years beyond life expectancy. Today, the average life span is about 76 years. Therefore, we must do the following: 1) Eliminate mandatory retirement. 2) Permit eligible S.S. recipients to earn three times their benefits without penalty. 3) If a person chooses to work beyond eligible retirement age, the individual pays no federal taxes, until taxes, which would normally have been withheld, exceed the amount the individual would have received under Social Security. If the amount of federal taxes per year do not equal earned S.S. benefits, the person would receive the difference. 4) Move eligibility for Social Security to five years beyond the actuarial life expectancy. 5) Individual can only benefit from one government retirement program.
Budget: Since our legislators have abrogated their responsibility to balance the budget for 19 our of the last 20 years, there must be a constitutional amendment passed requiring a balanced budget. Of course, an exception would be if we were at war. We, the taxpayers, are tired of getting taxed upon our taxes. That is, first we pay our federal taxes, then because Congress doesn't have the ability to balance the budget, they borrow money, which means that we taxpayers have less money to borrow. Therefore, interest rates go up. Then, as interest rates go up, so does inflation. So, we, the taxpayers, get it three ways--high taxes, high interest rates and high inflation. The higher these are, the less money we have for purchasing power. All of this is caused by our members of Congress inability to keep federal spending down. Yes, an amendment is needed for taxpayers to survive.