2014 is an election year in Missouri, and Examiner.com is sitting down with some of the candidates for key races so that the voters will be able to make informed decisions. The next in this series is a phone interview with congressional candidate Bill Slantz, the Libertarian Party nominee for Missouri’s Second Congressional District.
Bill Slantz is the Libertarian Party candidate for US Representative from Missouri’s Second Congressional District. Slantz is the owner and founder of the W.G. Slantz Company, a radio and television consulting firm specializing in music performance rights. He has lived in St. Charles County since 1997, when he re-located his company to Missouri from New York City.
We spoke with Slantz regarding his run for the United States Congress.
Why are you running for office?
I get that a lot, there are a couple of different reasons. The first is that I haven’t served my country in any other way, not in the military or in office in any capacity. I see this as a way of serving my community and the people of the country. Whether or not I am actually elected as a United States Representative, being part of the debate is serving the greater good. The second reason is that I have a background in running small businesses and have developed leadership skills that could go a long way in guiding others in finding a lost pathway.
What are your qualifications?
I have been in a leadership position in business for a large portion of my life. I tell people I started when I was 12 running my own paper route. I have been an executive in large and small businesses for the last 30 years, and I can look at this with leadership views, as a citizen not as a politician.
Third party candidates have a reputation for being spoilers for the two major parties. Do you agree with this assessment?
We certainly can be a spoiler, but I don’t like using that angle because it is not our mission to be a spoiler. A lot of people put that label on us, of being a spoiler. As far as libertarians are concerned there isn’t much difference between democrats or republicans, the results are the same, ...trying to solve our problems with more government.... I don’t look at myself as a spoiler, but I recognize that I can spoil the dreams of democrats and republicans.
Why do you think that you have a better chance than past third party candidates?
I don’t. But, I am self-employed and I can dedicate some time to it, but I have no more qualifications than many other third party candidates other than that I am willing to do it. I have a pretty good understanding of the issues, we’re in a lot of trouble in this state and in this country. I’m as qualified as you to run for the office, you should also consider a run, we could use you We need common folks running this country, not career politicians.
Same-sex marriage appears to be heading toward legalization in most states. If elected, how will you ensure that the LGBTQ community will gain equal rights?
I’m totally for it. I really don’t believe the government should be involved in marriage at all. It’s not a government issue, they shouldn’t have a say. The only reason it is, is because of money, the government believes they should be in control of managing debts. There are about 2100 laws regarding marriage; taxes, survivor benefits, etcetera. It’s very difficult to do away with government involvement, my first position is to remove government completely from marriage. I would introduce legislation to do exactly that. I would introduce legislation to legalize same-sex marriage. You’ve got to think bold as a third party candidate, go for the jugular. Introducing legislation to legalize same-sex marriage would be one of the first things I would do. We have so many laws on the books that benefit or recognize married couples that don’t recognize other people. On top of introducing the legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage I think it’s important at the same time to address the other fringe laws that benefit married couples, everything from survivor benefits, health care, tax codes, I would go after all of that.
What is your opinion on oil fracking?
I don’t have a strong opinion on oil fracking. I’m a free market guy. I’m against eminent domain, and when I say I’m against it I mean that if a property owner wants to sell willingly to an oil company then I think that property owner has that right, as long as they are not coerced. As far as fracking is concerned I think it should be allowed as long as we’re not bringing harm to another person’s property.
Do you support an increase in alternative forms of energy, including green energy such as solar and wind?
I believe in the free market. I think that energy companies can provide a product that we may buy and use, on their own two feet, I would support them. If they can’t make a profit, there is no way I would agree to tax subsidies to get them started. There are plenty of venture capitalists that they can get money from without getting taxpayer subsidies. If you can make a profit, go for it. Without help from taxpayers!
Do you support the legalization of marijuana?
Absolutely, but you know it’s just the tip of the iceberg, the first step. Again, you want to think bold when you’re a libertarian. I would legalize all drugs, make them all over the counter, have no prescriptions for anything. I don’t look at marijuana as being a drug any more than alcohol is. Drug laws are some of the most harmful laws on the books. We should completely legalize marijuana and many other drugs, if not all. This action would also eliminate many other problems with our overcrowded prisons, courts, illegal immigration, just to name a few. A lot of these problems would go away by just legalizing drugs.
Do you have any any lasting concerns about the regulatory and safety of marijuana?
I don’t. I am not as pure a libertarian as some others, but I do like the knowledge that a child can’t walk into a Walgreens and buy a bottle of vodka without being 21 years old. I’m a little more comfortable not allowing a minor walk in and purchase whatever they want. I do see a need for some kind of maturity check before you allow minors to start down the road of alcohol and drugs. Once you’ve gained enough years of experience, whether it be 16, 18 or 21, maybe all of these depending on the drug and substance we’re dealing with. I am in favor of restrictions to minors. Some people are going to be substance abusers, be it alcohol or any other. They’re going to do it no matter what. Just because you make it illegal doesn’t mean you’re going to stop it if they have that sickness, that type of personality.
What is your opinion on gun rights?
Well this is a big one here. It’s almost like my statement on same-sex marriage, I don’t think the government should have any business in gun rights. You have the right to bear arms, it’s an inalienable right given by our creator. There should be no checks and balances, no permits, none of that should exist. I should have the right to own a firearm and nobody needs to know about it. Bill Slantz and the Libertarian Party are in support of the Second Amendment without IDs, criminal background checks, or anything like that.
What, if anything, will you do in order to make the Affordable Care Act more palatable to your constituents?
I would definitely try to do away with it, this is true of anything the government sticks its nose into. But the camel’s nose is under the tent. So many new laws and regulations in this, you have to do something with those too, and I’d make the attempt. But the ACA is not the problem, insurance is not the problem. It’s the regulations put in by pharmaceuticals, medical equipment manufacturers, the licensing of doctors and nurses. It’s these things that have caused the expenses to get so high, and it’s high by design. They’re purposely driving up the cost of medical care in this country to the point where you need insurance to pay for it. If we can completely deregulate that industry we would drive the cost way down to where most people could pay in cash. Rather than getting rid of ACA, I’d deregulate, go after med equipment manufacturers regulations, pharmaceutical companies regulations, relax doctor and nurse licensing, doing this will make health care much, much less costly. Another thought; you don’t have to go to your car insurance company every time you want to fill up your gas, change your oil or a flat tire or a spark plug, why do we look to health insurance companies every time for routine pharmaceuticals like birth control and antidepressants? These are things that should be out of pockets expenses, reserving insurance for the catastrophic
Do you support school choice in the form of vouchers?
I do support school choice in the form of vouchers, I support school choice, period. I think a parent should be able to choose how and when their child is educated. I don’t think a person without children or those whose children have grown up and moved out, or those that are children themselves should pay. If you have children you should be responsible for their education. As far as choice, you should be able to educate your children anyway you see fit. Vouchers are certainly a solution, but it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. You need to get much bolder than that. A lot of people complain about public schools, we spend ten to twelve thousand dollars on each child each year K-12 here in Missouri. If you were to convince people one by one that you could do it for less than ten to twelve thousand per year eventually the need for public schools would just go away. So you see, you don’t have to do away with public schools, you can make them go away by eroding the need for them.
Do you support an increase in the minimum wage?
Absolutely not, no, no. I can answer that very simply and quickly: no. The minimum wage will not help people afford more, when you start mandating companies to pay more they will have to defer those costs. We will all pay more for goods and services, including minimum wage earners and they’re the ones who’ll get pinched the worst. The cost of groceries, food, fuel, it all goes up. They’re the ones who can least afford that.
How would you handle the current immigration crisis?
There are two items going on here. Immigrants should be allowed to enter this country as they wish, it’s a great country with great opportunities. Immigration should still be encouraged. Illegal immigration is another story, it’s wrong. I don’t look at trying to stop them by putting up a fence, more armed guards, that won’t work. You take away the incentives. If you legalize drugs, if you were to get rid of the welfare state, if there weren’t food stamps, if there weren’t freebies for them, you eliminate the incentives. I don’t see the illegal immigration problem as a border control problem, it’s an entitlement and illegal drug problem. You would take a large percentage of illegal immigration, at least slow it down considerably.