Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Steve Lonegan watched last night’s debate with the four Democrats running for the open Senate seat. He told NJ Today Managing Editor Mike Schneider that the four Democrats are “virtually identical” and criticized what he called their “utter commitment” to the Affordable Care Act.
Lonegan said the Obamacare bill is collapsing under its own weight. “You have unions that don’t want to be a part of it,” he said. “They’ve postponed the employer mandate because they can’t get it in place because of its impact in the economy yet they have this ideological commitment to a bill that is really causing major trouble for the country. And they just don’t even want to admit there are problems with this bill.”
The Republican is confident that he can help repeal the Affordable Care Act. “New Jersey on Oct. 16, we’re going to set the tone for the rest of the country when we elect the first Republican U.S. senator from the state of New Jersey in 41 years and set the tone for the Republican ticket over the Senate in 2014 and then the de-funding and repeal of Obamacare,” Lonegan said.
Lonegan said he would dismantle the IRS in its current form if given the chance. “We’ve seen how invasive the IRS has become. That’s an inevitable consequence of the growth of big government,” he said.
In addition, Lonegan said he disagrees with the four Democrats — Cory Booker, Rush Holt, Sheila Oliver and Frank Pallone — who all said they would spend more money. “They call it investment. They think that the government is the answer to our problems and the government investing somehow in our economy is gonna grow the economy. Quite the opposite,” he said.
During the debate, Congressman Holt said the United States is a rich country and can afford investment. Lonegan said that means he wants to raise taxes on everyone. “When they say they want to raise taxes on the rich, that’s anybody that makes over $35,000 a year in their book. They think we’re all rich,” he said. “They want to raise taxes and raising taxes will further cripple the economy and you just cannot continue to fund all these government programs unless you continue to print dollars through the Federal Reserve Bank, which continues to undermine the value of American currency.”
Lonegan said he would be 100 percent behind eliminating the corporate income tax. “The corporate tax, although the least visible, is the most destructive because it takes away from the resources of corporations that could hire more people, pay higher jobs, invest in capital equipment,” he said.
He added that funneling money into more government programs, which the Democrats were advocating for, is not the answer. “We cannot afford more big government in this country, not with a national debt clearing a trillion dollars, massive budget deficits,” Lonegan said. “The reason the Federal Reserve Bank is keeping interest rates so low, it’s not to create economic growth. It’s so that the government can continue to pay its own debt and continue to borrow even more money. And that has to end.”
Lonegan debated the other Republican for U.S. Senate, Alieta Eck, and the pair agreed on most issues. Eck has said she wants to dismantle Medicaid. Lonegan said he hopes to eliminate Medicaid over time, first going to block grants for states. “We need to go back to charity care programs and alternative methods of providing care for the indigent, which we did in this country for a couple hundred years,” he said.
According to Lonegan, charity care hospitals went out of business because of over-regulation from the federal and state governments and because of malpractice lawsuits. “There are free market solutions to our health issues and not the government takeover of our health care. All four of these Democrats — 100 percent — support the government takeover of health care and we see that it’s not working,” he said.
Lonegan said he didn’t hear anything during the debate that surprised him, but he did support Holt’s position on the NSA and the Patriot Act. “He made the most sense of all of those candidates. He’s far left on everything else, but you know what? We agree on some things. We always will agree on some things. And that important issue I congratulate Rush Holt on his position and I think he’s forced the other Democrats to potentially take a position on the NSA intrusion into our privacy,” he said. “This upcoming election, Mike, is gonna be the biggest referendum on the United States constitution we’ve seen in an election in this country in a very long time.”