Candidate Full Name:
5th Congressional District
Committee to Elect Matt Reichel to Congress
Campaign Office Mailing Address:
1728 W. Carmen, #3F
Chicago, IL 60640
Candidate did not provide
Please tell us about yourself, your background and why you believe you are qualified to hold this office.
I am a seasoned peace activist and journalist specializing in criticizing the rampant greed and superficiality within the echelons of American power.
Between, 2000-2004, I worked in various capacities with Peace Action, the nation's largest grassroots peace and nuclear disarmament organization. I then spent three years in Paris, France studying diplomacy and international relations, while also working actively within several social movements, including the successful opposition to the Contrat Première Embauche (CPE), the Chirac government's proposed right-wing labor reform.
Since returning to the states, I have obtained invaluable campaign experience working with the Dennis Kucinich for President 2008 campaign, followed by the Congressman's re-election campaign in his Cleveland district.
Please tell us your general views about the role of government and some of the most important things you would like to accomplish in office?
The role of government in the United States is purposely designed to be minimal: the government is responsible primarily for protecting the economic and military security of American citizens. As such, I am opposed to all un-due intrusions into individual liberties, from the war on drugs to the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act and FISA, to the un-constitutional streamlining of economic decision-making through totalitarian international organizations such as the IMF, the WTO and the World Bank.
As Congressman, I will fight to vastly reduce the size of government by working to repeal NAFTA, abolishing the aforementioned international organizations, and then shutting down the American imperial presence in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. I also support conducting an internal audit of the Pentagon so as to reduce the military budget by 50% over the period of five years. This will open up more than enough federal tax dollars for spending on a genuine stimulus plan: $500 billion dollars to be primarily spent on Green industries such as public transportation and alternative energy sources.
The current economic crisis is squeezing the middle class. What should Congress do about it? What specifically would you do if elected to Congress?
In order to cure our economic malaise, we must fix the structural deficiencies that allowed the problem to promulgate in the first place. Trillion dollar handouts, such as we've seen from both the Bush and Obama administrations, are not the appropriate solution to this debacle. Firstly, we must stop spending money we don't have: between budget deficits and current account debt, we have run up over $10 trillion IOU's, most of it to China. This is a threat to our national sovereignty, security and the stability of our political institutions. As such, I will vigorously oppose all future bailouts and seek to stop payouts on those already approved.
Secondly, I will support a temporary take-over of the banks. I propose a 5-year plan wherein the federal government manages the banking sector while instituting structural reforms that will guarantee fiscal prudence and future economic stability. This is not "nationalization," which is something I oppose; this is merely a temporary take-over, an extreme measure that unfortunately must be taken in these extremely serious times.
Thirdly, I support cutting the Pentagon budget in half during these five years, because it is primarily military appropriations that are bankrupting the federal government. In order to accomplish this, we must immediately return all troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and then run an enormous government audit of the Pentagon so as to cut out all of the corporate bloat and corruption that costs Americans billions of dollars every year.
Fourthly, I will call for the institution of a "Tobin Tax" on financial transactions. Over $1 trillion annually is traded in the financial markets throughout the world, and nearly none of it is taxed. This begs financial speculation and corruption because it removes the surest pillar to price fixing and other financial tricks that over-zealous investors might engage in. Adding the tax could also potentially raise billions of much-needed dollars to our treasury at a time that it is bankrupt.
Fifthly, I will call for the re-institution of the Glass-Steagall Act, an important pillar of protection against the wild speculation that has been a major cause of our current economic malaise. The Act was initially passed during the Great Depression to rescue the still solvent banks that hadn't been bum rushed by Wall Street. The same cure is needed today, and it is extraordinarily unfortunate that the Clinton administration repealed the act in the first place.
Lastly, I will join Congressmen Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul in calling for the abolition of the Federal Reserve: a private coalition of major banks that control the money supply. Decisions on the production of dollars should be in the hands of the federal government, and by extension, the people. This will prevent us from pursuing monetary policy purely in the interest of Wall Street, while returning a great deal of national sovereignty to our financial system.
What are some of the main things you would do to help create jobs in Illinois?
As part of my 5-year stimulus plan, I would spend $500 billion tax dollars freed from Pentagon bloat on an ambitious Green works project wherein we create 10 million jobs nation-wide by re-building our inner-city public transit systems, our national rail line, Amtrak, while constructing new green power plants throughout the country.
What do you think can be done to bring short-term stability to gas and energy prices? Also, what do you think is the best strategy - to both affordably and responsibly - provide for the nation's future energy needs?
In the short term, I propose creating an energy assistance fund paid for by U.S. taxpayers to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society are given relief from excessive energy expenses.
In the long term, the most cost effective and ecologically prudent way of efficiently delivering energy to all Americans will be to invest in alternative forms of energy, which I propose doing in great abundance with the aforementioned $500 billion Green Works stimulus package.
Is there anything that can be done to make health care more accessible and affordable in Illinois? If so, what would you do?
This country absolutely must join the rest of the developed world and institute a system of universal single-payer health care. My first act as congressman will be to sign on as a co-sponsor of HR 676, John Conyers' universal health care bill.
Continuing with a market approach to health care will continue to fail, while costing the American tax-payer billions of dollars in insurance company bureaucracies.
Please state your general views about the war in Iraq.
I was opposed to this disastrous invasion before it started and was actively engaged in organizing the anti-war movement for 4 years as a staff member of Peace Action.
Through greed in our political and economic class, we have perpetuated a moral cesspool in the Middle East that has turned the United States into the enemy of the world, while concurrently bankrupting the American citizen.
This war, along with the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, cannot go on any longer, lest the United States commence a fall not seen in history since the implosion of the Roman Empire.
What are your thoughts on how to deal with illegal immigration? Also, what do you think should be done about illegal immigrants who are already here in the U.S.?
Illegal immigrants currently here should be granted blanket amnesty and put to work. Of the ten million new jobs I intend to create, I propose reserving one million of them for illegal immigrants willing to agree to a new path to citizenship, wherein they work for five years and are rewarded for a solid work ethic with the opportunity to apply for citizenship.
However, in the long run, we need to cut off the source of the rampant and uncontrollable immigration by repealing NAFTA, canceling the WTO and reversing years of commitment to a neo-liberal economic mantra that has sent labor standards racing to the proverbial bottom. Latin America has structurally been denied the opportunity to diversify their economies, invest in growth-inducing industries, and to offer sustainable and just employment for the vast majority of their citizens.
If we repeal NAFTA and end this nation's addiction to neo-liberal economics, we will slowly begin to make illegal immigration obsolete.
What ideas do you have for improving our education system and for making our colleges and universities more affordable?
Education is a human right, and, as such, the federal government must play a role in guaranteeing that right for all Americans. I propose spending $200 billion over the course of five years on a comprehensive education reform bill that will guarantee free high quality education through the bachelors' level for all qualifying students. I believe that all state schools should be completely free, and that this would help solve our debt crisis by ensuring that individuals remain solvent through their young adult years.
What are your highest priorities for protecting the environment in Illinois?
Protecting the environment means investing in Green jobs: creating an inextricable link between one's financial well being and their ecological well-being. Pushing for my aforementioned $500 billion Green Works project in the congress will be my top environmental priority.
In the mean time, much can be done to catch the United States up to the rest of the western world, such as committing the U.S. to the Kyoto Protocol, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention to Combat Desertification.
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