It is time for an average person to represent the People of South Carolina, and Steven Prouse is the best candidate for the position. Steven was born and raised in Gilbert, SC and lives with his family in Lexington. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of South Carolina and has worked in retail and banking before moving into project management where he has effectively managed budget and resources for several large corporate re-imaging programs. He's an independent, middle class father who has watched as the two major corporate parties have battled each other leaving many Americans searching for an alternative who will work to secure the rights of the People, not the fattening of their own pockets. Steven will remain independent and approach all Senate business with a measured, critical approach seeking advise from experts on both sides of any issue.
Steven believes in term limits for all Congress persons and will work through his self-imposed 2-term (if allowed 2 terms) maximum to bring term limits to the forefront.
On the issues:
ECONOMY & TAXES
The strongest economy resulting in the most stable upper class and increased charity for the needy comes from a thriving middle class, and growing the middle class includes a push toward individual innovation and entrepreneurship. It also comes from restructuring corporate welfare so that the winners from the last several decades are allowed to walk on their own and minimal temporary support is given to emerging industries so as to foster competition.
Free trade agreements have been tried and have failed resulting only in lower real income for the American People. Fair trade is required. Multi-national corporations should be welcome in America, but they should adhere to basic human rights and living wage requirements. Where as free trade fostered sweat shops and child labor, chains the United States threw off long ago, fair trade will require large corporations to treat the People with equal respect and dignity.
While regulations are necessary, those regulations should exist to guarantee government's primary duty: securing individual liberties. There is a cost to doing business. The many regulatory codes have grown beyond this essential task and are now hindering independent entrepreneurship. The codes must be reviewed for their impact and streamlined so that each American will have the same opportunities as large corporations to start and grow their business.
The tax conversation is out of control between two factions who either worship money as an idol or who would have government seize too great of a chunk of an individual's property. It's time for some common sense tax reform. Wipe the slate clean. End tax practices that favor exporting American jobs and end pages upon pages of confusing tax exemption. Ending governmental control over what religious institutions can say by ending it's ability to choose "valid" religions through tax exemption recognition will guarantee First Amendment rights to all religious institutions. A simple tax code would benefit all and allow for individuals and businesses alike to forecast the impact a streamlined government would have on them.
A budget isn't a hard thing to manage. Sadly, too many special interests and fat cats have their fingers in the cookie jar. A significant amount of spend reduction can be found by simply taking government out of the role of nanny. Ending spend-it-or-lose-it policies with departmental budgeting is common sense and allowing department heads to benefit from not spending money while performing the duties of their department would reduce spending significantly. Another requirement is to consolidate the many redundant positions and departments which have created a bureaucratic quagmire.
American interests must be protected, but the current influence-through-empire mentality has only served to spend us into a massive deficit and strip all individuals (both American Citizen and non-citizen alike) of basic human rights. Preemptive war on the other side of the world does not secure our borders or do anything to make us safer. In fact, it has served only to unite fundamental, anti-US zealots and give them a reason to retaliate. We're not the nanny of the planet and we shouldn't pretend to be. Our nation is best secured with our military resources at home with their families and living in their communities.
Education is a right and an investment in our next generation, and should be treated as such. There are a lot of things broken within our education system that can be fixed by updating and streamlining the Department of Education. We must end mandatory "teach the test" practices immediately and restructure how the Department of Education sets standards. It should set base line practices for the states which teach accepted, peer-reviewed content for each subject in a way that fosters creative and critical analysis. Grammar, math, science, economics, history, civics, and the arts - to name but a few - are all subjects that should be expanded, not contracted. We need to teach our next generation the value of personal responsibility and self determination, not how to regurgitate basic talking points. With the base line in place, Federal control of public education should end.
The road to a free People is paved with the government prioritizing the rights of the individual. Unless a person is directly violating the rights of another, their activities shouldn't be regulated. Moral decisions should be left to the individual who will find much more comfort and guidance from their family, friends, community, and religious institutions than from any government mandate. The will of the majority must always be tempered by the rights of the minority.
"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates his duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself." - Thomas Paine
ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT
We have proven the viability of alternative fuels and must stop choosing a winner through vast subsidies. Yes, the United States has oil that should be drilled. Yes, we need more private investment in our refining capacity so that we're not selling our oil only to buy it from unstable countries or tyrants who break the backs of their own people for wealth and power. But oil is not our only source of energy and it's high time to level the playing field. Equal taxation on energy sources and an end to centuries old subsidy programs while temporarily investing in technological innovation will get us to a secure and self-sustained energy market.
We are called to be good stewards of the earth and this should be something that we keep in mind as we reformat business regulations. Environmental policies should be where the science is, not where our money worship is. But we must also use a bit of common sense. When an animal has a larger carbon footprint than a vehicle, we have to stop pretending that better fuel efficiency is our only path to a better environment. We should not allow entities to poison our natural resources in order to make a quick buck and we should allow a market to grow that makes better and cleaner technology to grow, but we must do so in a balanced, evidence-backed manner.
INTERNET & TECHNOLOGY
The internet is the modern public access channel and one of the few remaining resources for real information sharing. Government regulation over content (or government allowing private regulation over content) should not only be frowned upon, but explicitly banned. In an effort to secure the People's right to freedom of speech, we must protect the internet and foster research and development of new technologies.
American citizens have the right to own guns. It's as simple as that. Protecting those rights is one of the roles of our government. A measured approach to regulation and registration must be our path because individual privacy should be secured and prohibition only creates a black market. Dealing with issues such as gun control in a manner that focuses on States rights and allows for open and clean ownership will ensure a safe community.
The government and those individuals who make up the government aren't experts in health care. Neither are many who work in health insurance. Our current system has allowed for an insurance monopoly over personal health choices and the Affordable Care Act has allowed government entry into the arena leaving the individual and their doctor virtually powerless to make decisions for themselves. A new approach is required and options must be explored because good health is analogous to life and the pursuit of happiness - two very important inalienable rights.
An open market allows for providers to set their own prices and for the consumer to choose from whom to buy. The health market doesn't allow the provider to set their own prices and the consumer has only limited choices from which to choose.
While there are tons of ideas for fixing our overly costly yet anti-innovation system, we must start with a reduction of both governmental and private insurance powers in health care. Clear, up front cost communication will help with individual decision making and the idea that insurance providers won't pay specific doctors must be eliminated. Patients must be given a clear channel to see what is covered and how much it will cost them based on what the provider will charge and the insurance company will cover. Price fixing needs to become a thing of the past as should the idea that a life-saving procedure is somehow outside of the patient's price range.