Editor’s note: Last week we ran the first part of an interview with 8th Congressional District candidate and current Weddington Mayor Pro Tem Daniel Barry. Here’s the final part of our discussion with the 46 year old insurance executive, one of three candidates to file for the position so far.
UCW: On your website you support the Cut-Cap-Balance, what is your view of the recent debt ceiling agreement between the Republican House and the Democrat Senate and President Obama?
DB: I don’t think it does anything, to defer all this on to a super committee – anybody that’s a student of politics knows this thing is going to blow up. All they did was push it a little further down the road. It’s going to be “the issue” in the election of 2012.
We’ve got to have real cuts in spending, not cuts in growth like they spoke about in the 1980s, when they said they were cutting the growth factor – no, we need real cuts. We need to have a very serious discussion across party lines in both houses. It is not just Social Security. What Social Security needs is to move the retirement age up, which for me is 70 to 72. It is an easy fix and it will fix Social Security for years.
Medicare and Medicaid are an enormous burden on the government, the economy and the taxpayer. We’ve got to have a serious discussion about what we are willing to pay for and what we’re not willing to pay for. And I’ll use some examples, there are people that I know, in their 80’s that have had a double hip replacement – like they’re going to go climb Mount Everest and the government pays $150,000 for it. Why are we doing this? I understand that if you’re in that great of pain – sure, but if it is just two Tylenol and a walker at age 80? My grandfather lived for 15 years with a walker and two Tylenol and a double scotch. Why are we replacing hips? We have got to have a real serious conversation, I’m not talking about killing old people and that’s what the Democrats come back with, no – that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about maintaining the quality of life in your senior years – but a quality of life that is reasonable. If without Medicare and you didn’t have $150,000 in the bank, you wouldn’t be getting that double hip replacement, but now all of a sudden, the American people are paying for your hip replacement and its okay. We need to get to a better understanding about what the expectations of government is and providing this nonsense.
UCW: Many Republicans believe that compromise on debt and taxes was the wrong policy to follow. As a Congressman how would you navigate through issues that bring out such strident opposition from your constituents?
DB: Let’s talk about taxes. You know I have a fundamental belief that our tax rates are too high, let’s talk about individual tax rates. The second piece is that only 51 or 52 percent of the American people that earn wages enough to pay taxes, so if I argue that I want to bring taxes down and expand the base, there’s somebody out there whose taxes are actually going up, because I want them to participate in the system. So I want to expand the tax base, because I want everybody to participate. We all made this mistake, we all have this problem and we all – need to participate in coming up with a solution. But how are we sharing that burden, spreading that burden around? So, if you are in the lower tax rate or not paying taxes at all, you may be upset with my position or you may be benevolent and say “you know what, it’s time for me to participate in coming up with a solution”, but I want to be able to have those conversations. If that’s divergent from different members of Congress, so be it, but we’ll get in and duke it out until we come up with a good solution.
UCW: The eighth district geographically is quite large, how will that affect the logistics of your campaign and your campaign organization?
DB: We are going to go through the process of building a county by county organization. Every vote is important. Every voter is important and we want to make sure we are touching everybody that we can touch in a positive fashion, so they are there on primary day to vote for Dan Barry and then do that again in the general election.
UCW: Since 1994 when Republicans first gained the majority of the House of Representatives, confrontation with the opposition, regardless which party had the majority has been the rule rather than the exception. How do you view the state of politics on the national level?
DB: Wow, I would agree with that. It’s a blood-sport; it’s absolutely a blood-sport. That, there are no holes barred and it is very confrontational, it’s a battle. The days of the gentleman legislator are gone, hopefully the tenor of that is going to change, and I think I’ve demonstrated in my leadership in Weddington that you can disagree with each other without being disagreeable. You can vote differently and get up the next morning and go have breakfast together and have demonstrated that it is not personal, it’s about politics. Hopefully with good leadership everybody comes to that realization and we can disagree on issues and we can move our political agenda forward. We’re not doing anybody any good battling it out on Fox News or CNN or CNBC or the newspapers. It’s doing good, when we can get into a room and shape agreement that solves problems for the American people.
UCW: How do you view the Tea Party?
DB: You know I told the mayor Nancy Anderson [Weddington], don’t discount the tea party; to pay attention to what is going on. I think they have provided a great infusion of energy into the debate and a willingness to say, “I don’t care if I get reelected, I ran on a fundamental issue of spending reduction, deficit reduction and I’m willing to put a stake in the ground.” We watched them hold the government responsible until a deal was cut. Now I don’t like the deal that was cut, I think a lot of people didn’t like that deal. I think they will be a major player [Tea Party], if they organize, if they continue to be individual satellite organizations, we’ll see where this runs.
UCW: Do you consider yourself a Tea Party Republican?
DB: I can identify with a lot of the tea party principles.