ECONOMY AND JOBS

We cannot continue believing that prosperity for some must come at the expense of others.  This means recognizing that to prosper as a community, we must embrace our differences and work together for future generations. 

 This will be my duty as a Representative of Michigan’s 11th District.

Economy and Jobs

I know Michigan has the talent, expertise and work ethic to compete in today’s global market place. Michigan remains home to a vast network of entrepreneurs throughout our state, a second-to-none automotive supply chain, and a fantastic university system that still produces the nation’s finest engineers.  As a small business owner, I know what it takes for Congress to support both short and long-term growth in our economy.

The 11th District has become the new home of numerous life sciences firms, alternative energy and advanced manufacturing companies, largely because of the quality of life, economic resources and talent that our district, and the Metro-Detroit area, has to offer.  My job as a representative of Michigan’s 11th District will be to support these growing industries and help create a friendly business and working environment.

Here are some policies I support and will fight for as a member of Congress to benefit the 11th district:

  • Increased tax incentives for small businesses to hire new workers.
  • An expansion of the State Small Business Credit Initiative, a highly successful and innovative program to facilitate lending to small business and manufacturers. 
  • Investment in public transportation.
  • Lower corporate tax rates while eliminating loopholes for major corporations.
  • Lower the costs of higher education by making the reduction in student loan interest rates permanent.
  • Fight the predatory mortgage lending practices that led to a devastating rate of foreclosures in our neighborhoods.
  • Introduce fair trade legislation to level the playing field internationally, ending the unjust policies that leave our manufacturers at a disadvantage.
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Government Debt and Deficit

Congressional gridlock has paralyzed our ability to address our nation’s debt crisis.  Politicians in Washington have been more interested in the political battles of Red vs Blue than they are in sound public policy that benefits everyone.  It’s time we put an end to political infighting and address this crisis.

Our nation’s financial woes are the result of both revenue and spending problems.  The way to the balanced budgets of the late 1990s is to grow our economy, but this is much easier said that done.  Laying off teachers, firefighters and police officers at the state and local levels and cutting major public investments at the federal level only compounds our problems through depleted revenues and a shrinking tax base.  The solution involves:

  • Tax reform.
  • A balanced approach to deficit reduction: asking everyone to pay their fair share and trimming government waste and inefficiency.
  • Containing Medicare costs other than by reducing benefits.
  • Reigning in discretionary and defense spending.
  • Eliminating earmarks.
  • Improving public transportation development with high-speed rail.
  • Investing in a smart grid system.

 

FRONTLINE PHYSICIAN

Born and raised with humble beginnings in India, I left my birthplace for postgraduate training in health and medicine in Great Britain.  In search of opportunity and prosperity in my medical career, my wife, Sofia, and I came to the United States in 1982 and joined her family.  I began my career as a medical resident and worked my way up to become Chief of Medicine at Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center in Dearborn. My wife and son, Asad, and I live in the home we built in Canton.  Immigrating to Michigan was the best decision I ever could have made for my family. My wife is an accomplished artist, author and poet and my son is studying hard at the University of Michigan in preparation for medical school next year.  I am extremely proud of my family. 

In 2008 I was elected to the Canton Board of Trustees, the first Democrat elected in recent times.  It has been a great honor to work with the community and serve on the board of directors of the Canton Community Foundation and the Wayne County Senior Alliance with the shared goal of enhancing the quality of life for Canton residents.  While serving as a trustee, I worked with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to aggressively attract businesses, lower the personal property tax and offset the rising cost of water for our township.

I am running for Congress because, as a small business owner and physician, I've dedicated my career to helping others less fortunate than myself.  I have been very blessed to provide for my family and put my son through college.  However, many of my patients and constituents are not as fortunate and although they are hard working, skilled individuals they are unable to find work due to Michigan’s high unemployment rate. I know Michigan has the talent, expertise and work ethic to compete in today’s global market place. As a small business owner, I understand how jobs are created and I will work with the private sector to bring good paying jobs back to Michigan. As a physician, I understand how the financial and medical sides of our health system work. This experience has taught me how to treat the symptoms of a problem and when to treat the actual problem.

Americans are tired of all or nothing politics and failed divide-and-conquer strategies; they want an independent voice who can work across the aisle.  Recognizing that to prosper as a community, we must embrace our differences and work together for our future generations. In the end, we all can benefit from the opportunities that are afforded to each of us, without raising the burden on our seniors and the less fortunate.  I believe my unique skill set and experiences personally and professionally make me the ideal representative for the outstanding citizens of the 11th Congressional District.

Welcome to my website and I invite you to learn more about my views on health care, national security, jobs and the economy, and other issues I’m passionate about.  In the months ahead, I look forward to sharing my plan with each of you.

 

ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

Energy, Environment & the Great Lakes

Michigan should be leading the way in our pursuit of energy independence. 

Our factories and workforce are well-equipped to take advantage of the green technology movement.  Michigan already has the manufacturing infrastructure and technical know-how for this.  We’ve seen numerous lithium battery, hybrid car and wind turbine plants spring up all over the state and it’s time we put the economic foundation in place to let this industry thrive.  We can and we will out-innovate our global competitors with strong federal leadership and support.  Energy independence means a cleaner environment for our families, greater national security and long-term economic development.

Some members of Congress insist on a trade off between environmental protection and job creation, a false dichotomy.  Here’s how we can reduce dependence on foreign oil and protect the environment, while injecting life into our economy:

  • Institute a cap and trade system to enforce Renewable Electricity Standards of 25% by 2025.  With this system in place we can let our private sector do what it does best: innovate and make the best economic decisions about how to transform our economy into an environmentally sustainable one. 
  • Increase funding for energy efficiency tax credits.
  • Aiding families to weatherize their homes and reduce their carbon footprints. 
  • Establish an overarching policy toward CO2 emissions to create a marketplace for new industries instead of subsidizing green technology to compete with cheap and dirty coal. 
  • Resist the Big Oil lobby.  In this year alone, oil and gas companies have donated over $8 million to finance the 2012 elections.  They spend millions a year lobbying Congress to prevent U.S. investment in alternative energy sources.²

Protecting the Great Lakes

Our nation’s water infrastructure and supply are resources incredibly important to me, a resident of the Great Lakes State for 30 years.  I strongly support the efforts of the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to protect streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act.  About 2.2 million pounds of toxic pollution were dumped into Michigan's waterways in 2010.  These are waterways that feed into our Great Lakes, which provide about 12.8 million people with clean drinking water.  Protecting our streams and waterways under the Clean Water Act is a critical priority of mine that I will begin to fight for on day one as a Representative of Michigan’s 11th District.

 

NATIONAL SECURITY

                                       

National Security and Foreign Affairs

 

After eight long years of war, our troops are finally home from Iraq.

I commend the President for his leadership in responsibly ending the war in Iraq and to our troops for their bravery and sacrifice in service of our country.  I believe, in this time of economic hardship, that we need to have a serious discussion about our national security challenges and prioritize our defense spending to address these current challenges. 

It is time to end the war in Afghanistan.  The war is exploding our deficit while sacrificing our soldiers and international credibility at the same time.  The longest war in U.S. history has gone on long enough.  As a member of Congress, I will work to ensure that our troops have the equipment and supplies they need while aggressively advocating a new strategy.

I am a firm advocate of the use of smart power to address national security concerns and foreign affairs.  Preserving our national security means protecting our interests at home and overseas without inflaming hatred toward America or the west.  Combining diplomacy, aid, and military strength while promoting U.S. values like freedom of speech, assembly, and religion are hallmarks of smart power.  Secretary Hillary Clinton has shown great leadership here.  Our strategy in Libya was successful for these same reasons.  We supported the Libyans against Muammar Gaddafi without losing a single American life.  Our Libyan effort also cost far less than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.    

Smart power has also led to great successes in our fight against terrorism.  By making better use of our intelligence services and engaging in targeted strikes, the United States has taken out the world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden and several other key al Qaeda affiliates.  

 

MEDICARE - SOCIAL SECURITY

Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security

 

Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are public trusts, contributed to by hardworking Americans for benefit or our elderly and poor.  I absolutely oppose the privatization of these programs.  These are your programs and you’ve worked too hard to be denied their benefits.  As your Congressman, I will work to preserve Medicare as we know it and make sure Social Security will be there for our children and grandchildren.

Let Your Doctor Decide

 

Take health care decisions out of the hands of insurance 
companies and return patient care to qualified physicians.

 

Lower Prescription Drug Costs
In order to lower the cost of prescription drugs we need to 
increase competition. Dr. Taj will fight to have the FDA approve 
prescription drugs from Canada and Europe; and will work to 
change the law so Medicare can negotiate drug prices.

 

Protect Social Security and Medicare
Strengthen Social Security and Medicare by eliminating 
waste, fraud and abuse in order to lower costs and provide 
better care for everyone.

 

Social Security

Thanks in large part to Social Security, “the elderly poverty rate has fallen from 35% in 1959 to an all-time low of 9% in 2006,” reports the Congressional Research Service. Without Social Security, 44% of today’s elderly population would be forced to either live in poverty or attempt to find work in their old age. I believe that Social Security is too important for us to consider cutting benefits.

To preserve Social Security’s financial health in the future I will advocate raising the taxable maximum wage level, currently set at $110,100, which has not been changed (above inflation) since 1989.  Congress recently attempted to raise this ceiling to $180,000, which I support, but the proposal was left out of the President’s budget.

 

Medicare and Medicaid

As a physician, I know the importance of preserving Medicare and Medicaid, and also how to do it. Access to top-notch health care is a fundamental human right.  Doctors can’t do their jobs when politicians get in the way. 

Containing Medicare and Medicaid costs cannot happen without addressing the larger financial burden on health care: the increasing prices of pharmaceuticals, a shift from less intensive treatments to those more technologically advanced, the health lobby, and an increased focus on managed care. 

The Affordable Care Act is projected to reduce Medicare costs from 6.8% to 5.3% by 2017, but I think we can do better.  We can begin by…

Introducing legislation to streamline medical recordsto reduce overhead costs, and create more incentives for preventative care.

  • Creating a patient-outcome model of health care based on patient outcomes and quality care. 

  • Fix the federal deficit. A recent Congressional Budget Office report shows that reducing health care costs and ending the Bush tax cuts will make Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security affordable in the coming decades without cutting benefits.1 

  • Reducing the cost of pharmaceuticals by creating more competition and ending price discrimination across borders.

 

HEALTH CARE

Much more than just dollars and cents are at stake in the health care and pharmaceutical industries.  When insurance companies raise rates or deny coverage to increase profits, or when pharmaceutical companies increase costs because the demand will be met regardless, the well-being and general health of millions of people are affected.  When middle-class Americans are forced to pay upwards of $8,000 a month for cancer treatment medication, it’s obvious our priorities are not in the right place

As a physician with 40 years experience practicing medicine, health care is an issue I am very passionate about.  Throughout my career as Chief of Medicine at Oakwood Hospital, I have focused on improving the quality of care patients receive. I have instructed other doctors in quality care, resource utilization and medical education.  I was encouraged by the President's efforts with the Affordable Care Act as there are good reforms in this law.  However, we can do better with a PATIENT-OUTCOME MODEL and a focus on EFFICIENCY and QUALITY CARE.

Patient-Outcome Model

Throughout the health care reform debates I kept hearing fears of the government coming between you and your doctor.  What we have now are insurance companies coming between people and their doctors either by denying coverage outright or making it too costly for average families to get regular check-ups.  Speaking from experience, I can say that you can't just go in when you're sick or having some kind of emergency.  Instead, prevention is the key to better outcomes for patients.  It is also less costly to treat a problem early on than to wait.

One of the hallmarks of the Affordable Care Act is its treatment of people with pre-existing conditions.  I am glad that insurance companies can no longer deny children coverage on the basis of a pre-existing condition, with adults to be protected in 2014.  People with pre-existing conditions are the most vulnerable and in need of health care.  Insurance companies have used heart disease, diabetes, a history of cancer, ADHD and many other diseases to make people pay more out of pocket to manage their conditions. These costs can add into the thousands per month.

I would like to see us develop and implement protocols and incentives for evidence-based medicine.  We should be using data-driven medicine focusing on patient outcomes and quality care. In Congress, I will introduce legislation for a patient-outcome model with Accountable Care Organizations for doctors to work with each other in the interest of their patients.

Efficiency and Quality Care

We must continue to focus on promoting efficiency in our health care system.  The Affordable Care Act ensures that 85% of the money spent by health insurance companies must go toward actually providing health care. One of the reasons why our system is so expensive is that health insurance companies have been spending upwards of 30% on so-called overhead expenses like administration.  Medicare, by comparison, functions more efficiently and can be focused more on patients by having an overhead of about 5%. The Affordable Care Act has addressed overhead costs but we can do more to streamline the process. We need to be more focused on patient outcomes.  Health care companies shouldn't be passing the costs down to you, the consumer.  We can reduce costs by implementing electronic medical records keeping and a single billing system which would further streamline health care and reduce costs. We should work with prescription drug companies to reduce the costs of prescription drugs and make generics more readily available.

A patient-centered model with a focus on efficiency and quality care can make our health care system better for all Americans.

 

IN THE NEWS

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr

Monday, January 16, 2012

 

Dear Friend,

Today we commemorate the life and legacy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. left our nation. He continues to be an inspiration in all our lives and is dearly missed.

Dr. King spread a message of peace, love, and social and economic equality. The message he delivered made a great impact on the lives of all Americans irrespective of the color of their skin or their political views. 

Unlike the political climate of today, Dr. King, assembled peacefully and never used fear or hate when speaking about the opposition. He was a true statesman and he used his pulpit to change the face of our country. Let us remember Dr. King's words as we honor him today, "I have decided to stick with love, hate is too great a burden to bear".

I plan to follow Dr. King's example by spreading his message of peace and equality for all as I run for Congress.

Have a wonderful day,

 Tjaj

Dr. Syed Taj
Candidate for Congress
Michigan's 11th District

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