Stephen Rollins, an Independent presidential candidate, is fed up with the United States government wasting billions of dollars of taxpayers' money every year. Rollins sat down with DigitalJournal.com to talk about his campaign and why he is running.
In December, Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn published his annual “Wastebook,” in which he highlights the billions of dollars in wasteful spending. Last year, Washington wastefully spent more than $6.5 billion in “unnecessary” spending.
What did Washington waste taxpayers’ money on this time? $10 million for a remake of “Sesame Street” in Pakistan, $113,277 for a video game preservation center in New York, $15.3 million for a super-bridge to nowhere in Anchorage and $550,000 for a Harvard documentary about how rock music helped the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Stephen for president?
Before entering adulthood, Stephen Rollins had shaken the hands of congressional leaders, mayors, sheriffs and other public officials and walked the hallways of the White House. He even worked on the campaign of the soon to be Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at the age of 10.
This wasteful nature in Washington is leading one successful businessman to run for the White House. Stephen Rollins, an Independent candidate, who has grown up around both business and politics his entire life, believes he can end the Washington status quo as president through leadership, experience and competence.
In the midst of launching a charitable organization for military families, the National Foundation for Military Family Support, Rollins has been campaigning in the U.S. to meet with voters face-to-face. In one instance, one lady, a widow, lost her home and now she and her kids are forced to live in a shelter.
Listening to this story broke his heart, but then he turned around and read Wastebook 2011 and realized the federal government is just throwing the taxpayers’ money to special interest groups, while its citizens suffer.
“It just really burned me and it’s not where you stand politically, but also having to answer to political parties,” stated Rollins, an accomplished professional in the sports and entertainment industries and a highly educated scholar with two Ph.D.s and three diplomas.
“I decided to enter this race as an Independent to raise more awareness to what is happening with our money as we continue seeing large numbers of unemployment, our tax situation is getting out of hand where we’re now the largest corporate tax rate nation in the world and yet nobody seems to come up with the correct answers, like controlling the budget.”
Noting wasteful expenditures, such as spending money to do research by gasoline generators and televisions for remote Filipino villages to study what TV watching does to families, Rollins believes this spending culture needs to cease because it doesn’t help Americans get back to work.
“It’s these reasons why I chose to step forward and let my voice be heard,” added Rollins. He explained if he can inspire apathetic voters to speak up and encourage them to vote for a candidate he or she believes then his entire presidential bid is worth it.
The politics of Rollins
“I’m a middle of the road guy. I don’t vote for party lines, I vote for people that I believe that stand on issues I believe,” explained Rollins, who noted he has met many people in the political landscape since he was a kid where politicos would be walking in and out of his family’s house.
“It’s just gotten to the point where I’ve decided enough is enough and I think party politics is what’s ruining our political system. It’s ruining Washington because it’s not about representing people for what they want you to represent them for. It’s about what kind of deals you can get to bring something to your district.”
Rollins has met several representatives that represent the party, but they want to vote for what his or her constituents had asked them to vote for. Unfortunately for voters in the district, the party orders the congressmen and/or senators to vote a certain way, which is contradictory to what their representatives wanted them in office for.
This is one of the many reasons he has decided to not affiliate himself with a political party.
When it comes to definitive expectations, Rollins wants to take a wait and see approach. If he stands a chance, he hopes he can persuade the political system and make a real difference. If not, he will congratulate the winner.
Is there anyone that Rollins has been inspired or influenced by? Yes, and like millions of Americans, his name is Ronald Reagan. Rollins, who briefly met with Reagan after he left office, enjoyed how the 40th U.S. president could bring people together.
“I liked the fact he wanted to work with anybody who wanted to work with him to try to make our country a better place.”
The Independent presidential hopeful was asked if he concurred with Reagan’s sentiment in that the success of an empire transpires when there is less taxation and higher revenues and the decline of an empire is when there is excessive taxation and less revenue. Rollins said he sees the logic in that and used the present day economic situation as an example.
“You’re getting taxed the wazoo, so to speak. You’re not going to be going out shopping for goods and services as much now because such a large chunk is being taken away,” stated Rollins, an Atlanta-born filmmaker. “If you decrease the tax burden on the everyday worker [then] that everyday worker is gonna have more money and is going to go out to spend money into the local and national economy.”
Solutions to issues
It’s easy to address what ails a nation, but it’s not often politicos, pundits and the electorate provide solutions to these problems. What does Rollins want to do? Tackle the budget with a “fine tooth comb” and lower the size of government, but notes there are many things going wrong with the United States.
“I believe we need to turn that around and start reversing and downsizing the government, which is going to be a situation for less tax burden on citizens and that’s going to start slowing the $15.7 trillion national debt. I think by those first measures, things are going to start slowing down,” explained Rollins.
Rejuvenating the budget is a pertinent step for Rollins, who says once you sit down with the budget you must make “extreme choices and start suspending and/or eliminating programs that we do not deem necessary for the day-to-day operations of our country for at least the next two years.”
He does urge caution if the budgetary issues are not addressed. Rollins sincerely feels if the budgetary mess is not solved then this will lead to even more issues in the future and around the world.
“So many countries base their currency off the strength of the American dollar and the American dollar just continues to weaken.”
Throughout the GOP primaries, there were two budgets that made headlines: the Paul Ryan budget and the Ron Paul budget. Rollins admitted he hasn’t studied either plans in-depth, but did say there are many elements from Paul’s plan, which would cut $1 trillion in the first year, he likes.
“There is a lot I can agree with on his stances about there’s too much power in the government with our money, with their ability to spend our money,” maintained Rollins. “I think we share the same positions on many things where the government’s form on spending has to be reformed, the spending has to be returned to the people and to really start making drastic cuts.
“Like Mr. Paul has mentioned, cut wasteful spending, special interests, earmarks and I think those are great first steps and there are elements to both plans I’ve seen; Paul’s plan I can relate to a little bit more from what I’ve seen and studied at this point.”
Many administrations have promised over the years they would implement fiscal restraint, but each year the budget increases, the deficits go up and the national debt soars. Rollins thinks there’s a solution to this problem: go directly to the representatives.
In a Rollins administration, he would go to each and every congressman and senator’s office face-to-face to get his point across and tell them it’s a two-way street. “You work with me, I work with you.”
Rollins explained if a representative ever wanted his support for an initiative or re-election efforts then he or she would need to do what is right.
“We have a mission here and that’s to recover our economic physicality and any acts such as special interests spending will not be tolerated by my office,” passionately said Rollins. “It’s in everyone’s interest to work together to make sure we get this thing back on track to the leader. We’ve been that leader everybody else tried to emulate [and] to follow. And what we’re doing right now, we’re the last country that you want to emulate.”
During the years of President George W. Bush, according to Rollins, the federal government spent too much and in just four years, President Barack Obama has doubled that spending.
In order to stop this pattern, an administration or a government in general need non-partisan people in key situations, cabinet positions and congressional and senate committees.
When the incumbent president ran for office, Rollins felt Obama was smart, clear and eloquent and he had confidence that Obama had the right people in his team. Unfortunately, according to Rollins, “it’s a very scary time” because of the lack of progress, the expansion of government, the dramatic increase in spending and high unemployment.
“50 years ago, people dreamed the American Dream,” said Rollins. “They came here to find prosperity, to get employment and to have their own business. It has now become the American Nightmare.”
Since March, Rollins has traveled to California, Texas, New Mexico, Missouri, Illinois and the District of Columbia. He plans to travel elsewhere in the U.S. to speak with voters. Throughout this year, he has participated in press interviews, staffed his campaign organization and established offices in several states, like New York, Texas and Hawaii.
His campaign just finished shooting its first commercial and is about to secure the national broadcast slots to air the commercials in the next few weeks.
“We’re just hoping to grow from there,” concluded Rollins. “It’s amazing how far we’ve grown just within the last two weeks.”