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GOP nominee for U.S. Senate seat in Maryland has 'passion for economics'

September 21, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com
  • Dan Bongino
Dan Bongino

In every election cycle, there’s the potential for a Scott Brown to carry the day, and Dan Bongino wants that role on Nov. 6

Brown, the Republican senator from Massachusetts, was the surprise winner of a special election in January 2010 to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Bongino, the GOP nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from Maryland, is hoping for the same outcome in his race against incumbent Democratic Sen. Benjamin Cardin.

A former Secret Service agent, the 37-year-old Anne Arundel County resident won a 10-way race in the April primary with 34 percent of the vote.

Bongino said he threw his hat into the ring because he felt there was “an utter collapse of any sense of leadership or dignity” in national politics.

“I felt like my wife and I didn’t have any skin in the game,” Bongino said during a meeting this week with the editorial staff of The Herald-Mail. “We had to decide, are we doers, or are we talkers?”

Bongino said he has a “passion for economics” to go with a master’s degree in business administration and another master’s degree in psychology.

Although there are economists who will editorialize one theory or another “like they are giving you hard science,” Bongino said he would like to see “a commitment to nonideological economics” in government.

Corporate tax rates of 35 percent in America can be lowered while maintaining tax revenue, Bongino said. He said what companies actually pay is about 16 percent because of various deductions, credits and loopholes provided in the tax code.

The Obama administration has proposed allowing the capital gains tax to revert from the current 15 percent to 20 percent in 2013, with an additional increase for the highest earners, according to a May 30 article on Bloomberg.com.

“The increase in capital gains doesn’t hurt Warren Buffett ... It hurts pension funds” that many in the middle class rely on, Bongino said, referring to the billionaire investor.

The candidate has signed a balanced budget amendment pledge, but said getting the national debt and annual deficits under control is “definitely a long-term problem that is going to require a long-term solution.”

That includes curbing the growth of entitlement spending in Medicare and Social Security, Bongino said. Income means testing would be one way to do that, as would indexing benefits to longevity, he said.

Bongino said he favors introducing market forces into the Medicaid program with premium supports. Those on Medicaid could stay with the program, or be free to choose a private insurance plan.

If the private plan cost more than Medicaid, a person would pay the difference, Bongino said. If a person picked a plan costing less than Medicaid, they would be reimbursed for the difference with a tax credit, he said.

Congress had a plan before them for reducing the deficits, the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Plan, but it was not enacted, Bongino said. Solutions subsequently offered by either party have been “demonized” by the other party, he said.

“Everybody punts the football down the road and it’s seen as a solution,” he said.

Bongino attended a public school in New York City that he described as “a failure factory,” and credited his education to being accepted as a “charity case” to a Catholic school.

School vouchers and school choice would allow more parents to get their children out of failing schools, he said.

“Choice,” Bongino said. “It works every time.”

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