If Mike Haridopolos needs to back up his conservative cred, he can dust off the book he published in 1998, a forerunner to another text that has become an issue in the U.S. Senate campaign.
Throughout 10 Big Issues Facing Our Generation, Haridopolos espouses a decidedly conservative viewpoint that seems perfectly relevant today. Sounding alarms about government spending ("The national debt is over 5.4 trillion dollars: $5,400,000,000,000!") he calls for a balanced budget amendment.
"The threat to democracy today is not a foreign foe, but ourselves," he wrote. "Great movements often fall from within and we must not let this happen."
He also takes on more controversial subjects. "There must be a gradual move to a completely privatized Social Security system in order to meet the challenges presented by impending demographic changes."
"The conservative position is that competition, not government cost controls, will lower medical costs," the book read under the heading Medicare. "We must allow our seniors to choose their health care providers. They may choose an HMO, PPO or other plan. We should take government out of the equation altogether."
Haridopolos provides the conservative viewpoint and a fellow Brevard Community College professor provides the liberal one. A sample of the conservative positions:
"The solution is a simple flat tax without deductions at a rate of 17 percent of all wages."
On school choice:
"Allow real competition even with private and religious institutions. The schools that perform best would receive necessary dollars for the incoming students."
On the environment:
"The EPA must either be more flexible with American business or cease to exist." Under a section called compromise, the book says a "market-based incentive system should be developed to allow businesses to buy and sell pollution vouchers to other businesses."
Haridopolos' co-author said earlier this year that they each made about $500 off the book. Big difference from the $152,000 Haridopolos earned for Florida Legislative History and Processes.