Bob Ries has one of the most oddly delightful campaign pitches you’ll ever hear.
“I just turned 70, so with me you get built-in term limits,” he said.
Ries says that line as a joke, but he is dead serious about wanting to go to Congress. He is running as a Republican in the 5th District, a seat currently held by Democrat Jim Cooper.
Ries claims other credentials.
“I’m the only senior citizen. I’m a military veteran and small business owner, with a degree in economics,” he said.
So what would he do in Congress?
“I would follow the Constitution,” said Ries, who says Cooper has voted for many bills requiring unfunded mandates for states.
“I have $10 in my pocket for anybody listening who could look at the Constitution and find anywhere in there where our founding fathers said it was OK for the federal government to tell the state governments how to spend their money,” he said.
He cites the new health care law, which requires coverage, as an unfunded mandate.
“That is in violation of the Constitution in a number of areas,” Ries said. “Article I, Section 8, third clause, regulates commerce among the states. I used to teach economics, and my definition of commerce, at least from what I understand, was the transferring of goods between a buyer and a seller, and it’s a voluntary purchase. It’s not a mandatory purchase.”
Ries taught courses in economics, money and banking, and retail management at International Business College.
“So I’m a businessman going up there for the business of government,” Ries said.
His road won’t be easy. More than a dozen people are competing for the Republican nomination before they can even get to face Cooper.
“If we can’t beat Jim Cooper with quality, we ought to do it with quantity,” Ries said.
Ries says he has a plan that would jumpstart the economy within 60 days. Here it is:
You do what state and municipal governments have been doing for years, offer tax incentives to businesses to come in and improve the economy. It would be on a voluntary basis. Any lending institution that will lend over the next six months, giving them a specific window of time, would do so at 3 percent interest. The lending institution would never have to pay taxes on that interest they receive. That way, people who have a home mortgage could refinance or cut their payments by about half. That would leave homeowners with enough income to make other purchases. Construction companies would benefit. People could buy cars, which would help the auto industry. Small businesses could borrow money for growth. It would create more demand in the economy, and it would result in more jobs. People who are working pay more taxes.
“The University of Arizona did a study. For every dollar put in the economy the result is $10 in return, so the program would pay for itself,” Ries said.
Ries says another big complaint of his is that Congress seems to make up its rules as it goes along.
He also has a plan for health care reform. First, he says, establish specific awards in court for proven acts of malpractice, which will reduce the amount of defensive medicine practiced. He would let people shop for insurance across state lines. He would establish medical purchases in this country along the lines of most-favored-nation status, with “most favorable customer” status, which will prevent medicine being sold for lower prices in other nations. He would make insurance policies portable, and no one over 35 could be denied coverage if they have a pre-existing condition.