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Living in northern Virginia's 11th Congressional District since 1997, Gibson is a lifelong Washington area resident. With a Master's degree in Economics from the University of Maryland, he is Chief Operating Officer for a small business in Fairfax, Virginia.
Positions and Views
Gibson considers himself an "independent moderate" believing that free markets embody a democratic economy, and that subsidies and tax deductions distort markets. Further he holds the strong belief that "government and business are not 'them' – they are 'us' and we need both to work for us to succeed."
An advocate for a smaller national government, Gibson maintains that “a smaller government isn’t better government if it’s poorly managed. We need to reestablish government’s role, that is, provide public services and ensure that markets work. Government shouldn’t pick economic winners and losers, but it needs to ensure that buyers and sellers have enough data to make informed decisions and choices."
Gibson proposes that the executive branch reduce the number of cabinet-level departments to seven: State, Treasury, Defense (including Veterans Affairs), Justice, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and Commerce. ("New" Commerce would incorporate the other existing departments and become an advocate for the economy, free markets, consumers, and public goods – not specific interests or industries.) For balance, the House and Senate would reduce its committees to seven (one for each department) with three additional committees that span functions: Budget, Intelligence, and Congressional Operations.
By reducing the number of cabinet-level agencies, Gibson expects to create greater focus on mission, reduce overlapping overhead costs, and uncover potential efficiencies. Further by reducing the number of Congressional committees and limiting committee/subcommittee membership, he hopes to reduce legislative activism and grow member expertise.
Gibson advocates maintaining tax rates across economic cycles, incurring debt in a poor economy to to invest in infrastructure, education, and basic scientific research and retiring debt in good times. Though the short-term economic outlook remains poor, Gibson insists the long-term plan must emphsize debt reduction. Most importantly, Gibson states, Congress must fund all future commitments now rather than obligating future Congresses to fund those commitments.
Saying that "uncertainty is an anathema to household and business planning", Gibson proposes three broad-based revenue sources: a national sales tax, a business revenue tax, and a personal income tax – eliminating Social Security and Medicare taxes for employee or employer, unemployment taxes, commodity taxes, exemptions, deductions, and subsidies. Rates remain constant across economic cycles: 5 percent on all sales, 5 percent on top-line business revenue, and one rate (to be determined with long-term budget surpluses in mind) on personal income with the first $25,000 a year excluded to aid the working poor. Gibson claims that this structure would eliminate the need for annual tax filing for individuals, being replaced by an end-of-year IRS statement.
While stating that Congress must fulfill past compacts made with retirees, Gibson sees the need to reduce the overall scope and commitment to future retirees covered under Social Securty, Medicare, or other government pension or benefit plans. Believing that government should be the insurer and provider of last resort, Gibson proposes raising the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare and applying means tests to both programs. Further, pension and benefit plans within the Department of Defense must be funded now rather than left indefinite. Generally this moves all programs to "defined contribution" from "defined benefit" schemes. To balance these program downsizings, Gibson proposes that all tax-deferred plans and accounts be merged into a single annual IRA contribution of $25,000 per worker with the ability to catch up later in life should any annual contribution fall short.