Allan Burns Seeks US House Seat from Rightwing Extremist (GA-07)
By Betty Clermont, Staff Writer, Atlanta Progressive News (August 27, 2006)
(APN) LAWRENCEVILLE Allan Burns, running against the powerful incumbent, US Rep. John Linder (R-GA), in Georgias 7th Congressional District, knows he has an uphill battle.
However, Burnss race is extremely important. US Rep. Linder is a proponent of the national sales tax which would replace all other federal taxes. Linders extremist plan would create a disproportionate burden on the poor to finance government, while letting the rich pay only a tiny fraction of their wealth, and possibly bankrupting the federal government. Linder and Right-wing radio talk show host Neal Boortz co-authored a book on the subject.
Democrats suffer a tremendous disadvantage, given the huge financial resources available to Republican candidates. Even without much money, though, anything can happen and I remain optimistic without being naïve, Burns told Atlanta Progressive News.
APN interviewed Burns following a Town Hall Meeting conducted by Linder at the Gwinnett Justice & Administration Center in Lawrenceville, Georgia, on August 24, 2006.
This was the only way to get both sides heard since Linder has refused to debate Burns and the Burns Campaign has asked what Rep. Linder has to hide?
Burnss first impression of US Rep. Linder was of the Congressmans arrogance, he said.
First, he arrived ten minutes late and never apologized for keeping his audience waiting. Then he allowed his constituents speaking from the audience to thank him repeatedly for allowing them to speak without thanking THEM for making the time and effort to be there. Thursday evening at 5:30 is a tough time for most people, Burns said.
Most of those present were the polyester-clad elderly, primed to burst into cheers and applause each time the subject of illegal immigrants was raised, which coincidentally happened to be the first question posed to the Congressman.
If I am elected, Burns continued, I would engage my constituents on a real basis; have public meetings on specific topics and more frequently. Congressmen and women get to spend a lot of time back in their districts. Three or four hours would have given more people an opportunity to speak. Linder showed a genuine lack of respect for his constituents.
Burns is campaigning for the well-being of all Americans. The father of six feels a keen sense of responsibility to do all that I can to make the future better.
Healthcare issues have moral implications as well as fiscal. While I may not have all the answers, if we as a nation committed ourselves to providing preventative medicine, as well as care for the sick, it would get done. Leaving the poor without access to regular medical attention and forcing them to use expensive emergency room care means we are paying a higher price one way or the other, Burns told Atlanta Progressive News.
Envisioning a type of dual system where those who could afford it would continue to pay for their own health insurance and treatment, Burns wants to make sure that there is affordable medicine for everyone.
Citing solutions suggested by former US President Jimmy Carter and US Rep. John Conyers (D-OH), Burns said, We CAN do it.
Energy is another important issue, Burns said. Referencing Linders earlier remarks calling for more domestic drilling of oil and natural gas, Burns said, We cant drill our way to energy independence. Linders solutions provide only a drop in the bucket for our energy needs. We need to develop renewable and non-polluting sources of energy - ethanol, wind, solar.
Burns also wants to create some self-sufficiency within US regions for energy production.
I favor a plan for local energy production, something within a hundred miles of most Americans. A decentralized system would reduce our dependence on foreign countries, eliminate the cost and hazards associated with vast pipelines and shipping, and be less susceptible to terrorism.
Burns harshly criticized Linders Fair Tax platform which calls for eliminating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and all tax revenues and replacing them with a national sales tax.
Its a red herring. Linder submitted a bill knowing it had no chance of being passed, solely as a fund-raising tool, Burns said.
It would have a draconian effect on our economy. Respected economists have shown we would need a rate at least two times higher than Linder suggests to produce the same revenue, Burns said of the so-called fair tax.
Would we be willing to pay 60% sales tax, not the 30% Linder and Neal Boortz claim is possible in their book? The wealthy spend proportionately much less of their income on purchases and therefore would proportionately pay less sales tax.
Leo E. Linbeck, Jr., is Chairman of Americans for Fair Tax and is also chair of Texans for Legal Reform, a PAC paying millions to limit the financial liability of tycoons when their companies are responsible for deaths and serious injuries.
Georgias 7th Congressional District includes parts of Gwinnett, Forsyth, Cherokee, Bartow and Paulding Counties.
As of 2004, Hispanics comprised more than 15% of Gwinnetts population.
A resident of Gwinnett, Burns owns his own small construction company and is familiar with our states dependence on Latino workers.
He favors an easier way for employers to verify the legal status of their employees. Also, Burns would like a more secure border.
Unlike Linder, Burns said the way we treat undocumented workers is a moral issue and believes that those already here should be provided a path to come out of the shadows and normalize their status. Linder uses words like amnesty to incite emotions.
Burns has asked Linder for a debate on several occasions. Its not like there were 25 candidates. Its only the two of us, Burns said.
The Congressman has refused. Linder has limited his public exposure to very few, and only carefully controlled, venues, for which, the media is partly to blame, Burns said.
On certain issues, Linder tries to have it both ways. He calls for enforcement of our borders but insists he doesnt want to build walls. He claims to be concerned about terrorism, but supported Dubai Port Internationals attempt to operate six U.S. ports. The Dubai company is owned entirely by the United Arab Emirates through which money was funneled to the 9/11 hijackers. We wouldnt allow our air traffic control system to be foreign-owned, yet Linder endorsed the Dubai proposal, Burns said.
Linder actually used the words Islamic fascism - loud cheers and applause - to respond to a U.S. citizen of Pakistani birth whose son had fought two tours in Iraq.
Burns said he has received support even from those who say they voted for Bush but are fed up! Every Georgia district outside Atlanta is solidly red; however, Burns said if Republicans become demoralized enough to stay away from the polls, independent voters are fed up, and the Democratic voter turnout is strong, we may just see a noticeable shift this election year.
About the author:
Betty Clermont is a Staff Writer for Atlanta Progressive News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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