I recently had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Igor Birman, candidate for Congress from the Seventh District of California. Mr. Birman believes as we do, that more liberty rather than more government is the proven strategy to achieve prosperity and promote the general welfare. He is exactly what America needs to sweep the failed government excesses of the Obama era into the dustbin of history.
Igor is an enthusiastic, positive and gracious man who is profoundly grateful to be an American. While we were in his campaign office he interrupted his activities to humbly thank a group of volunteers who were working the phones on his behalf. He tells everyone that his life story is “something that could only happen in America.”
Igor was born in the Soviet Union and experienced life without freedom, under constant fear of the ruthless, Russian secret police. When he was 13 Igor, his parents, his grand parents and his brother immigrated to the United States as refugees. For this blessing he thanks President Ronald Reagan and “the programs that he sponsored to bring Soviet Jews to America.”
Igor says the proudest moment of his life was when, at the age of 19, he and his 88 year old grandmother stood together, and took the oath of US Citizenship. He has earned a BA in Political Science, a law degree, is a member of the California Bar and an instrument rated pilot. Since 2009 he has served his adopted country as Chief of Staff to Congressman Tom McClintock who represents the adjacent, 4th Congressional District.
To become a naturalized citizen Igor swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. His campaign platform is inspired by a similar oath of allegiance Congressmen take, not to the President or even to constituents back home, but to the Constitution.
Even though Congress has enacted countless laws and appropriations that are not authorized by the Constitution, Birman promises to take his oath seriously. When any bill comes before the House of Representatives that includes functions or spending not authorized by the Constitution he will offer an amendment to strip out the Unconstitutional portions, generating a debate within the House of Representatives and hopefully across the nation as well. Igor believes it is his responsibility as a Congressman to be able to articulate and teach the people the reasons why it is in their best interest for the government to obey rather than disregard the Constitution. And he does just that with inspiring enthusiasm.
Igor’s positions on the issues are on his website but two issues we discussed at length would be of particular interest to Liberty Works readers:
No other law threatens such a large sector of the economy as Obamacare with it’s new taxes, new spending and maniacally complex regulation of medical service providers and health insurance. Igor would repeal Obamacare and implement steps to make medical care more available and affordable including:
- Allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines. It isn’t allowed now because regulations, and therefore costs, vary from state to state. A state can’t impose expensive regulations on its citizens if they have the freedom to choose a policy with less onerous regulation from another state. Igor points out that allowing interstate sale of health insurance would force state regulatory regimes to compete with each other for customer acceptance, forcing the political class to serve rather than command the people.
- Expand health savings accounts (HSAs). ObamaCare restricts the amounts that consumers may deposit into HSAs and forbids using HSA funds to buy non-prescription drugs. Igor would allow unlimited deposits into HSAs and remove the drug restriction.
- Give individuals the same tax advantages as employers and employees. Employers pay no income tax or payroll tax on health insurance expenditures. Employees receive health insurance free of income tax and payroll tax. Individuals who buy their own insurance should, but do not get the same treatment.
- Allow people to form groups outside of employment to buy group health insurance. Religious groups, trade associations and other entities should be able to purchase the same group insurance that current law restricts to employers. Because these policies would cover large groups they could accept people with preexisting conditions who have been unable to purchase individual health plans.
- Reduce the costs of unnecessary litigation born by health care providers through tort reform.
The only legitimate purpose of taxation is to raise money to fund the Constitutionally authorized functions of government. Yet the US individual and corporate tax codes are both riddled with thousands of special provisions that are designed to manage the behavior of taxpayers, often for the benefit of politically connected special interests.
One of Igor’s arguments for tax reform is that the current tax code distorts price signals. Natural, or undistorted price signals influence the behavior of both consumers and producers. Prices that are too high soften consumer demand and motivate additional producers and additional production. Thus, prices eventually decline. When prices are too low the least efficient producers, making the smallest profit or suffering losses redeploy their capital to different markets, where price signals call for more production. The result is continuous, market driven adjustments in production.
But government interferes with and distorts natural price signals with tax penalties and tax subsidies designed to alter behavior or benefit those with political connections, making the overall economy less efficient and reducing economic opportunity.
Igor would dismantle the current tax code and replace it with either a consumption tax or a flat income tax with no deductions.
Liberty Works strongly urges readers to support the Igor Birman for Congress campaign