Volume 1, Number 4

March 10, 1997

Setting the record straight

An interview with Rep. John Hostettler, IN-8th

By Scott Tibbs

Hoosier Review: There were some questions raised during the campaign about PAC contributions you took. Could you clarify your position on taking PAC money?
John Hostettler: I have never taken money from single issue or special-interest PACs, but I have taken money from political PACs, such as the Republican National Committee and the Friends of Newt. There is a big difference between taking money from a political PAC and a special interest PAC.

HR: There has been a great deal of discussion about HR 2500, Superfund Reform. Why is Superfund reform needed?
JH: The basic problem with Superfund is that we have only cleaned up 5% of the Superfund sites at a cost of $60 billion. Superfund is a haven for litigation, but little actual results. Lawyers get a lot of money, but very little cleanup is done.

HR: Much discussion has taken place on your view of gun control, especially the assault weapons ban. Are you still in favor of lifting the ban, and why?
JH: This ban is not on assault weapons. The actual assault weapons ban took place in the 1930's. I feel the ban is an infringement on the Second Amendment rights of Americans.

HR: What is your view on the campaign finance reform laws now before Congress?
JH: We should allow individuals to have as much say as organizations. I am not necessarily in favor of abolishing PACs, because the problem is not with the system, but with the people in the system. For example, Bill Clinton has broken the campaign finance laws, and his response to this fact is that we need to change the laws. Remember, 20 years ago PACs were supposed to be the solution, and now they are viewed as the problem. Just because we have new laws does not mean people will not break those laws.

HR: do you favor reform of the tax code, and what kind of reform do you favor?
JH: I favor a flat consumption tax. This will maximize freedom, as no federal agency will have the power to look into peoples lives and finances and invade their privacy. This will cause savings to go up by creating an incentive to save rather than consume, and it will create jobs. The consumption tax will promote freedom, economic growth, and will not punish achievement.

HR: Social Security appears to be in trouble. What do you believe should be done to save Social Security for the young generation?
JH: The largest danger to Social Security is the deficit. Currently, the government takes money out of SS to pay for other items in the budget. The solution is to take SS off budget, and balance the budget. The current debate on Medicare will be a precursor to the battle over SS. If we are able to secure seniors health security by reforming Medicare, we will be able to ensure seniors financial security by reforming Social Security.

HR: Do you support the Balanced Budget Amendment?
JH: No. We should not amend the constitution to do what congress has the power to do now. I have voted many times on initiatives to balance the budget, but we should not amend the Constitution to achieve what we can achieve now.

HR: Why did you vote Present on the question of whether Newt Gingrich should be Speaker?
JH: I felt the GOP could have done better on a leader for the party. My concern was that Gingrich may not lead well, that he could be timid after the beating he took during the campaign. Recent events in the Congress have proven this to be a well-founded fear.

Additional articles in this issue:

What's up with this cloning thing? By Eric Seymour

How will Deng Xiopang's death affect US-China relations? By Scott Tibbs

Chelsea Clinton's Birthday Party By T.J. Brown

Mike Trotzke

Sean Frick

Eric Seymour