Earlier this week, LibertyBuzz sat down with Drew Thompson, a Libertarian candidate for the United States Congress, to ask him about his campaign, his stance on the issues, and the Liberty Movement.
LibertyBuzz: Hi Mr. Thompson! Thank you for taking the time to have this interview. Can you begin with introducing yourself to those who are not familiar with your work and campaign?
Drew Thompson: Sure. I am the Libertarian candidate here in Indianapolis, Indiana for the 7th Congressional seat in the U.S. Congress.
I announced my run for Congress on March 18th, which is my birthday. I’ve lived here in Indianapolis for seven years now. I’m a native Hoosier, I grew up in the small town of Terre Haute, Indiana. near the Indiana and Illinois border. I went to Indiana University and then to law school at the University of Illinois.
I’ve been licensed to practice law for around twenty-six years. I’ve had some extensive stints with the American Cancer Society and also ran an organization called the American Foundation for Clinical Pharmacology for a couple of years. In my twenty-six years in practice, about fifteen of them are dedicated to practicing law. The rest has been working in nonprofit business work.
LB: Why do you believe legislation passes has failed to create enough jobs in America?
DT: I don’t believe legislation actually creates jobs. I think it’s much more likely to create impediments to job creation.
For example, any time you put a tax on business interests you make it harder for the business owner to make decisions that are the most economically viable. I think that legislation is also mishandled by Congress in a couple of ways, the biggest of which being the over-delegation of regulatory responsibilities.
The Constitution provides that Congress shall legislate, yet what happens is that Congress passes a law and then turns over the rest of its legislative responsibility to the executive branch. Then regulators are employed to create mountains of regulation that are often hard to read or hard to understand and create roadblocks to businesses acting efficiently as they should in the marketplace.
LB: On your website, you mention introducing legislation to end the abuses of corporate welfare. Can you explain in further detail how corporate welfare hurts the everyday American and what impact ending it might have?
DT: Every time the government chooses to take tax dollars from people here in Indianapolis and give money back to a large corporate entity or any sized corporate entity:
Wall Street, offshore, or whatever they may be, they’re sucking money out of a local economy and putting it into the hands of a bank. They’re also distorting economic incentives and choosing winners and losers. The winners turn out to be, generally, the large corporate interests.
The losers, picked by the government, are usually you and me. We’re not getting the benefit of that. Arguably, corporations can say that they are, but if you have practiced law for as long as I have, you’ll see how corporate interests handle the benefits they get from the government, and that is generally to use against consumers, to protect their own interests, and to further expand their own profits.
I’m not opposed to profits, I’m just opposed to the government subsidizing companies that can neither earn a profit on their own or shouldn’t be functioning in the marketplace regardless. Here in Indiana, Mike Pence, on his last day before he was announced as the vice presidential candidate for Donald Trump, came out to the innovation showcase here in Indianapolis near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and made this grand announcement that the state of Indiana, through the general assembly and his administration over the next year, was going to put a billion dollars of taxpayer money back into the economy, into startup companies called “innovators.” The problem with that is that regulation kills innovation and subsidies kill innovation too.
Out of that billion dollars, it is likely that very few companies will see that money, and a lot of companies that might have better ideas, or might have been able to compete in the marketplace, will get left out. If you look at the subsidies for the FHA to mortgage protection, that mortgage protection ends up going to big banks.
This is a marketplace dealing with foreclosures and downturns in the housing market. When the government comes in and bails out the big banks, then you have empty houses sitting on the market for years and years, a continuing depression and housing crisis, and the market doesn’t adjust the way it should. It’s very hurtful to the economy and to the average consumer to have the government so involved in what we do.
LB: How has Obamacare been harmful to our healthcare system? How would investing in market-based solutions be better?
DT: Before Obamacare became law, I was paying $232/month for health insurance. Today I’m paying $576/month. This is just a personal example, but I feel it is a very typical scenario.
My brother is an insurance agent, and he’s decided to quit underwriting insurance for the small businesses that he writes auto insurance, business insurance, and property insurance for because it’s just too difficult and you don’t make any money doing it.
Another good friend I have is still struggling to continue underwriting insurance. He says the stories are consistent. And it’s not just the increase in premiums. It’s also what you pay when you go to the pharmacist. When you go to the pharmacist, you find that what you used to pay $15-$20 might be $246 now.
There are a lot of people that feel that they have benefited from Obamacare, and I feel that is a ruse. It’s a ruse because what happens is incremental harms from big government programs like Obamacare. Today, someone who didn’t have health insurance a few years ago because they weren’t making enough money to get it may have health insurance for the first time and they might be reasonably happy with the coverage that they have, but it can’t last.
Economically, Obamacare is being subsidized substantially right now, and overtime, what will happen is the people that are benefiting today are going have to pay more and more, and they are going to receive fewer and fewer services. The good news stories about Obamacare ultimately don’t stand up to the true economic test at all.
LB: In light of recent shootings, how do you rationalize protecting the Second Amendment over the safety of everyday citizens?
DT: I believe the Second Amendment does protect everyday civilians. I believe that the Second Amendment is what protects us most. I think that if we didn’t have the Second Amendment, it’s not true that the people who have committed these horrible atrocities wouldn’t have done them and wouldn’t have guns.
I think it’s a matter of what goes on in our hearts and in our minds rather than the weapons that other people have. I see that there are classes now to train ordinary citizens not just self defense but community defense, and its unfortunate that that’s necessary, but it’s the world we live in.
I think that what we have is so much unnecessary tension, racially and socioeconomically. If more Americans just reached out to their neighbors and found more ways to gain harmony and interact with people, if we practiced the Golden Rule more and effusively, that is what will reduce the violence we see today.
In terms of protecting everyday citizens, obviously, the government’s not doing it for us, and it’s always been left to us to do it for ourselves. It’s unfortunate, it’s sad, and it’s tragic where we are now, but I don’t see taking away our Second Amendment rights having any benefit or helping us at all.
LB: What is your view on Common Core? Is there anything you would do to improve public education?
DT: When I went to our state party’s convention, there was a debate between the libertarian candidates for governor, and that was a question posed to the candidates.
Rex Bell, who is now our candidate for governor, made the response: “I think it’s time that we separate state from just about everything, not just separation of church and state.” In terms of public education, the best answer that I have is the best economic answer and the best answer for the system.
The closer we get education to home, the more accountability that’s brought down to the level of parents and local communities working together, and the more effective our education system will be.
The further we’ve gotten education regulations and standards away from people’s communities, the less effective it’s been, the more money that’s been spent, and the lower the test scores get. For the last generation, there’s almost been an inverse correlation between the per capita spending on education in the particular state and the test scores of the students in that state.
I’m not a believer in Common Core. I think that we ought to scrap it and that we ought to return the responsibility of education back to the local communities and the parents of the children that use the schools.
LB: How are you connected to the Liberty Movement? Do you have any plans to help it grow?
DT: I have an extraordinary desire to help this movement grow. We have two old parties that have statist candidates running for office. We’ve got the Green Party, which has a little different options but is ultimately a statist party in itself.
And then we have one option from a party that wants to return freedom to the people. That’s the Libertarian Party. The Liberty Movement truly is bigger and broader than all of the party.
However, I think without the political or electoral success within the Libertarian Party, the Liberty Movement is always going to be challenged to have the impact that we would like to. There are so many disruptive things that are going on economically that are exciting, interesting, and invigorating.
My goals are, after this election cycle, to form an advocacy group that really champions crowdfunding opportunities, allowing people to invest in private companies more than they have been allowed to previously by our government in the past and help see small and emerging, disruptive businesses grow.
I plan to be as involved as I can in both the party and outside the party, regardless of the results of this election.
LB: What, in your view, is the greatest failure of the Obama Administration? The greatest success?
DT: Complete candor. If I’m going to be viable as a candidate, I need to be transparent, and that’s what I’m going to do. I think President Obama was handed a golden, historic opportunity.
I’ve heard quotes from his wife’s speech last night, and there were thing that she said that illustrate this point. Her pride in seeing her children play on the White House lawn as the daughter’s of the President of the United States in a house that was built my slaves… That should make every American proud.
However, I do think that the president has missed the historic opportunity to bring Americans together and healing and reducing the divisions between people. He is an intelligent man, he is well spoken, he is articulate, and so many people listen to him and really like him. Some even crossed over from the Republican Party to vote for him.
Yet, instead of really bringing these people together, I think we find, eight years after he was first elected to office, that this country is as divided as it’s ever been. While I think that Obamacare and the overuse of executive orders are huge, I really think that his lack of bringing the American people together for a shared, common vision is his greatest failure.
As far as his greatest success, sure every president deserves credit where credit is due, the thing that comes to mind is his ability to reach Osama Bin-Laden and, essentially, bring him to justice. However, I think, it wouldn’t be fair to the president to say that was his greatest success. Really, it was the job of the White House when he took office. But when I think about the successes of the Obama administration, I struggle to think of things that he’s done that I feel proud of as an American.
In 2012, before he was elected, Congress passed a JOBS Act, and he signed it into law. Yet four years after if was signed into law, we still did not have one Title III crowdfunded securities offering in the economy. Four year after the law was passed. Nothing. There’s nobody to thank for that except for the Obama administration. I wish I could be saying today that America is on a healing path and that things like the JOBS Act had functioned appropriately and had enabled small businesses to succeed.
But that’s not what I see happening today, and so I have a lot of disappointment with our president.
LB: If someone is interested in helping your campaign, what should they do?
DT: They should definitely get in touch with our campaign. They can write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and They can also go to my website and send me a private message. They can certainly make any sized donation, and that is greatly appreciated and will help us and our campaign.
Go to drewthompson2016.com, click contribute, and you’re in. As far as the volunteer opportunities we have, interviews and any type of media attention we can get helps us. We need name recognition. Anything people can do we really appreciate.
LB: Thank you for taking time out of your day to speak to us! Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
DT: You asked me earlier about helping the Liberty Movement, and that’s a really big deal to me. I see a day when we can elect a caucus, a coalition, in Congress and virtually every state legislature, where the Liberty Movement is effective.
Until we do that, we’re not going to reverse the trend of overregulation, over-taxation, over-legislation, and taking away our civil liberties and privacy rights. I want to help that movement come to fruition. A big part of what I’m going to do after this election is to focus on the 2018 campaigns, particularly for people who run for Congress, and try to help them out in any way I can. …