My coffee with Brad Zaun

By Tom Quiner


I had the pleasure of sitting down with Brad Zaun at my neighborhood coffee shop earlier this year. We discussed, what else, politics. (For out-of-state readers, Mr. Zaun is running for Congress here in Iowa against incumbent, Leonard Boswell, Democrat.)

A few things struck me immediately. Brad is a regular guy. He’s an easy guy to talk to. Let me tell you something else, he is passionate. He looks at government from the perspective of the little guy and the small business owner. He should know, because he used to own a hardware store.

He goes crazy over excessive government spending. And he has seen a ton of it at the state and federal level.

As a state legislator, he has been a thorn in the side of Democrats who have increased Iowa’s spending to record levels.

Brad characterizes himself as a blue collar Republican who believes in right-to-work laws. He talked about how the proliferation of government regulations strangles business and deters job creation. The Iowa code has grown by three inches since Governor Culver came in.

Brad Zaun struck me as a straight shooter, a good conservative who will do what he says he’s going to do.

As a side note, I’ve always thought of Leonard Boswell as a good guy, misguided in his liberal politics, but a good guy. I’ve been disappointed with Congressman Boswell’s personal attacks on Mr. Zaun. I’d prefer he’d be a straight-up sort of guy and try to defend his liberal voting record. He has been one of Nancy Pelosi’s staunches allies, voting yes on 14 pieces of liberal legislation promoted by the Speaker, including:

1. Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

2. New jobs bill

3. Stimulus


5. Lilly Ledbetter

6. Omnibus appropriation

7. Cap & Trade

8. Stupak Amendment

9. Government run healthcare

10. Doctor fix/budget gimmick

11. Estate tax

12. Debt ceiling

13. Jobs bill

14. Senate healthcare bill

Mr. Boswell lost his way this last session, veering so far to the left that he is totally out of sync with the way most of Iowa thinks.

Brad Zaun has not been tainted by the beltway. He is an energetic legislator who will help to stanch the fiscal bleeding caused by Mr. Boswell, Ms. Pelosi, and the rest of their party. We need a transfusion of new, sensible thinking to get America back on track.

Congressman Boswell can’t run on his record, because too many Iowan’s are just plain scared at the damage being done to our county by the big spenders in Congress.

To put things in perspective, in 1980 the Federal government spent an average of $2498 per citizen.

This year, the estimated numbers are $11,640 per citizen (or $4470 in 1980 inflation-adjusted numbers).

My liberal friends contend that the root cause of the deficits are “Bush’s tax cuts for the rich.”  But that doesn’t square with my analysis of the data.  For the decade of the 80’s, the government collected an average of $22,688 in taxes per citizen.  In the 2000’s, they collected an average of $29,427 per citizen.  (2009 receipts are estimated.  Numbers are inflation-adjusted in 1980 dollars.)

In other words, receipts have skyrocketed.  They are not the root cause of our deficit hemorrhaging.

Spending is the problem. And spending has exploded since 2006, the year Democrats retook Congress.

We need a whole bunch of Brad Zauns to help right the course.