Austin Petersen embodies the ideals of liberty set forth by the constitution

By Brandon Bartlett |

The 2018 midterm elections could have a significant impact on which political party holds the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Many think the general election in Missouri will be between Attorney General Josh Hawley (R) and current Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), but it might not. There is another GOP candidate running against Hawley, Austin Petersen, who is arguably a better choice for Missouri and the U.S.

Petersen was born and raised on a horse farm in Missouri and graduated with a degree in fine arts from Missouri State University. Petersen also ran as a presidential candidate in 2016 for the Libertarian Party. According to his campaign website, he “is a homegrown Missourian with a lifelong passion for liberty,” and from what he has said about policy, it seems this passion is the foundation of Petersen’s political philosophy. Petersen is “pro-life, pro-liberty, and pro-constitution,” and his priorities are healthcare, jobs, taxes, government spending, criminal justice reform and foreign policy.

Petersen is all for repealing Obamacare. He says this is because regulations on health care reduce the options consumers have and make the options they do have more expensive. According to ehealth.com, since 2013 health insurance premiums have increased by 99 percent for individuals and 140 percent for families. Repealing Obamacare is an important step in opening the healthcare market to more competition. Petersen holds a similar stance on the jobs as he does healthcare: He wants the government to stay out as much as possible.

During an interview with Frank Camp, who writes for The Daily Wire, he said, “In an ideal world, we would get rid of the income tax. The Founding Fathers didn't pay income tax, they paid the government through lotteries, tolls, and fines.” While this would be ideal, he also states that “the best situation for the United States is to cut the rates to a flat tax of 15% across the board.” He is very opposed to the current progressive tax system, which disproportionately taxes those who are more successful. Petersen says he likes to ask the question “If the cigarette tax is meant to discourage smoking, what is an income tax supposed to discourage people from doing?”

Of course, to be able to lower taxes without plunging the country further into debt, the government needs to cut its spending. He believes “the American people have to balance their checkbooks, and so should the federal government.” The government spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year to pay off a small fraction our now $21 trillion national debt. Petersen says we need a balanced budget amendment added to the Constitution that would make it unconstitutional for the federal government to run annual budget deficits, according to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. This type of amendment has gained support with some Republicans in the House of Representatives after the passing of a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill.

Petersen sees a great need to reform our criminal justice system by ending the war on drugs and getting rid of mandatory minimum sentences, which infringe on a judge’s ability to sentence a convicted criminal as they see fit. He claims the war on drugs in America has been costly and ineffective because “you can build the tallest wall in history, but smugglers will find a way to get under it, or go around it.” He relates the war on drugs to prohibition and says that part of the reason drugs are so dangerous is because they are made on the black market just like bathtub gin was. His proposal would be to treat drug abuse as a medical problem that requires a compassionate solution which would push addicts to get help rather than slapping them with a prison sentence.

The final priority is foreign policy. He fully believes in standing up to foreign threats to the U.S., its allies and its interests, but only after a debate and vote in Congress as the Constitution intended.

Although it isn’t listed as a priority, Petersen is also a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. He understands that the reason the Founding Fathers included it was to have a last line of defense against a government gone tyrannical. His response when asked about assault weapons bans during an interview with The Daily Wire was, first, to point out that assault weapon is a made up term that can apply to anything used to harm another person and secondly, that we should be talking about advancing our Second Amendment rights rather than restricting them. He thinks the solution to mass shootings such as the one in Las Vegas is to get rid of gun free zones and to teach kids about guns and how to safely handle them. If you live in the state of Missouri and care about your freedom as a citizen of this country, then Austin Petersen deserves your vote and support.

 

This article was published on the Maneater Student Newspaper on April 10, 2018 and was written by Brandon Bartlett