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Out & About in Cleveland

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"Six Point Plan for America": Mark Everson, GOP 2016 Presidential Candidate at the City Club of Cleveland

On Friday, April 3rd, we went to the City Club to hear GOP Presidential Candidate Mr. Mark Everson talk about his "Six Point Plan for America." Mr. Everson has held several positions in the federal government and in the state of Indiana. Most notably he was the 46th Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service from 2003 to 2007 but, and this was of particular interest to us, for a time during the 1980's he was Deputy Commissioner of Immigration and Naturalization Services and oversaw the implementation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 which provided for amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Thus, we were anxious to hear what he had to say about immigration reform and we were very hopeful when Mr. Everson, upon hearing that we were from Margaret W. Wong and Associates, said, "Most immigration attorneys like what I have to say." Prior to his arrival, we had a good lunch with Ms. Maria Ivanovich, an old friend of Margaret W. Wong's; Ms. Jewel Moulthrop, the mother of City Club President/CEO Mr. Dan Moulthrop (we told her we thought Dan was a nice guy and she concurred); and a gentleman named Don who had been sick for a while but was now feeling better so Mr. Moulthrop welcomed him back and Don got a round of applause.

We had a few minutes before the program started to finally have a conversation with Mr. Bob Young who is there almost every week. As it turned out, Mr. Young was involved in the Beachwood Chamber of Commerce where he worked with other concerned people to help 5 or 6 people immigrate to the United States and provide resources for them as they started small businesses. As he recalled, they were mostly in the "high tech" field and they came from such places as France, Germany, and Israel. Mr. Young told us that he has a copy of Ms. Wong's book, "The Immigrant's Way."

Two other people that we met on this day were Mr. Ken Weber, the President and CEO of Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland and East Central Ohio as well as Mr. Jeff Weiss, CEO of The Freedonia Group, Inc. that sponsored the program. Mr. Weiss told us that he is also an attorney and had referred clients to our office.

During his presentation, Mr. Everson said that the six most prominent things that he would do if elected President of the United in 2016 were:

  • Do away with the federal income tax for those earning a low or moderate income (i.e. middle class) and replace it with a consumption tax.
  • Curtail the abuses of large banks that are ultimately harmful to the smaller, more local banks and the U.S. economy as a whole. This was the subject that he talked about the most; he would place a 95% income tax on the CEO's of banks that break the rules. ***Reinstate the military draft and make sure the it applies to those of all income levels. He said that it was "shared sacrifice for the common good."
  • Reform entitlements such as social security "before it is too late." He didn't like the idea of taxing benefits for the well-to-do but he would consider means testing.
  • Seek a constitutional amendment limiting the length of a U.S. Presidency to only one five or six year term so that the President could devote himself to doing his job and not have to worry about being re-elected.
  •  Push for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Along these lines, Mr. Everson said that he believed that President Obama's Executive Action pertaining to this matter was "unwise and wrong" but far-reaching reform is clearly needed. Of course, he would stress security measure along the borders, universally apply the e-verify system, and shorten the time period that applicants would have to learn the English language than what was in the bill passed by the United States Senate.

But he also favored a path to citizenship because it would ultimately mean that we could all move forward and be less fractured and thus "build a strong, cohesive democracy." What's more, he acknowledged the impracticality of tracking to track down and comprehend all of the undocumented people currently living in the United States. He said that family unification was very important and those who are making a positive contribution to our society should be allowed to stay.

He did not, however, favor a special path to citizenship for agricultural workers because they are here for the purpose of earning money to send home to their families which they will re-join when their work is finished.

After he was through, we told him that we had spoken with nursery owners and they were frustrated because, as things stand now under this program, it is very difficult for them to retain an exceptional worker and help him/her get a green card and ultimately become a citizen. Mr. Everson listened and acknowledged that there might be a few exceptions.

We really liked it when Mr. Everson said in public that we used to be one community and comprehensive immigration reform would pull things back together. He was very firm when he stated that, "we can't kick the immigration can down the road any longer."

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