Ben believes in economic and personal liberty, removing barriers to business such as excessive occupational licensing, eliminating regressive taxes like the car tax and the grocery tax, and privatizing the ABC. Ben also believes that in order to be effectively free, we need access to the basic tools that allow us to participate in society: universal healthcare, public education, free community college, and strong social safety nets.
Republicans are NOT the party of limited government. One of the biggest lies in politics is that the Republican Party is the party of limited government. That’s even more obvious now that they’re the Party of Trump. Ben is categorically opposed to laws such as Senate Bill 1578, the Republican-sponsored, anti-Airbnb bill that creates massive fines just for using an online app to rent out your house for a weekend. This kind of ridiculous market interference exemplifies crony capitalism through collusion with the hotel lobby who didn’t like the competition, and is a perfect example of why Republicans are NOT the party of limited government.
Right to work laws are market interference. Ben believes that strong unions are engines of freedom from big corporations and essential to a robust middle class, and that collective bargaining is a free market force which the government shouldn’t violate. Workers and businesses have the freedom to bargain and make contracts. Right to work laws prohibit businesses and workers from drafting mutually beneficial contracts, and are unjust market interference.
Regulations kill jobs. Ben saw firsthand in Seattle how lifting marijuana regulations created small businesses overnight, and how enacting e-cigarette regulations killed small businesses overnight. The only regulations Ben supports are ones that prevent demonstrable harm or fraud, such as child safety regulations.
Cut regressive taxes like the car tax. The Virginia car tax is one of the most regressive taxes in the country. An automobile is necessary for every family to pursue a basic living, and annually taxing the ownership of a basic necessity places an unfair burden on the people who can least afford it. Ben will work to finally remove this hated tax, a promise made by Republican governor John Gilmore that like so many Republican promises has been left unfulfilled.
Strong social safety nets. Ben believes that America is strong when we are free, and we’re not free when so many of our friends and neighbors are one job away from homelessness. Ben believes that the winners in our society should pay more taxes to protect social security and medicare, guaranteed income, food and housing assistance, free cash-based healthcare, and free community college tuition for anyone who needs it. Protecting the basic freedoms of all Virginians will grow our economy.
Local governments should make local economic decisions. State and local governments should have the freedom to make economic decisions like raising the minimum wage on their own, without being restricted by federal control. Ben was glad to see that Governor McAuliffe vetoed House Bill 1753, which would have taken control of the minimum wage away from local governments, and he was not surprised to see that so many big-government Republicans voted for it, including Delegate Freitas. If Arlington or Culpeper want to raise their minimum wage on their own, then we should be free to do so without state oversight. Ben strongly agrees with our terrific Governor that “Decisions regarding municipal contracts should be made by local leaders who fully understand local needs.”
$15 Big Business Minimum wage. Ben thinks of the minimum wage as a very efficient form of taxation that bypasses inefficient government bureaucracy because it is sent directly from employers to employees. Furthermore, because minimum wage earners must spend their income entirely on basic necessities, minimum wage is returned directly to the local economy. Ben supports efficient progressive taxation that stimulates the local economy, and would be willing to support for big businesses a $15 minimum wage, but not at a Federal level and only if it is accompanied by exemptions or significant tax cuts for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees to offset the cost. Small businesses typically have much narrower profit margins than big businesses, and a flat $15 minimum wage would disproportionately and regressively affect small businesses.
Privatize state-run liquor stores. We have outgrown Prohibition. Virginia has some of the most expensive alcohol prices in the country. Extensive regulations stifle businesses. Let’s abolish the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
Legalize marijuana. Ben supports full legalization of marijuana. Even the American Conservative knows that the Party of Trump is wrong on marijuana. Let’s get rid of this archaic regulation and promote a thriving industry.
Keep vaping legal. E-cigarettes save lives. Ben supports the Cole-Bishop amendment.
Immigration grows the economy. We need more immigration, not less. Virginia is growing at its slowest rate since the 1920’s. Increased immigration means bigger markets, which means more jobs. Ben will fight against HB5008 and similar bigoted, anti-immigration bills that both offend our basic sensibilities and also slow our economy.