Posts tagged ‘Illegal Immigration’

12/08/2011

Romney’s Economy: For Rich Insiders

Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, often called a Republican front-runner, should not, on issues regarding the economy, receive the vote of most Americans, because: 1) his tax policies would favor rich individuals and corporations; 2) his Free Trade policies would kill more manufacturing and U.S. jobs; 3) his promise to eliminate Public Broadcasting would reduce the flow of reliable and objective information; 4) his financial policies would save only the big banks and Wall Street; 5) his housing policies would do nothing for underwater homeowners; 6) his energy plans would ignore wind and solar, but would promote oil, gas, and nuclear special interests; and 7) his health insurance mandate idea will yield private insurance windfalls at the expense of taxpayers.

TAXES: While Romney said he wants to repeal tax breaks, he would in fact give more of them to the rich, by eliminating taxes on dividends, interest, and capital gains. He also wants to lower the corporate income tax rate from 35% to 25%. He appeared willing to tax the poor, when he said everyone should pay, regardless of income, though he did oppose Cain’s 9% national sales tax, which would have hurt the poor the most. Although Romney favors an expanded military role abroad, he opposes raising revenue to pay for it, because he thinks more taxes would only kill jobs. While he has said he wants to cut spending, he would run up even more debt, by staying in our unfunded War in Afghanistan. Although he said we should not pass massive debt on to the next generation, he was not sincere, since he will not stop wasting money on foreign military entanglements.

TRADE: Although Romney promised to issue an Executive Order identifying China as a currency manipulator, because they let the prices of their goods fall below market levels, and he pledged to sue them in the Dispute Resolution Body (DSB) of the World Trade Organization, to win the right to selectively impose tariffs, he has no intention of turning back the clock on Free Trade, or the WTO policies that have led to the death of many U.S. industries.

AUTO: Romney said the government should not have loaned money to GM or Chrysler, even though the act successfully saved thousands of American jobs. He would have let them go bankrupt.

JOBS: When Romney was asked to explain why people were laid off from the companies he acquired, he had little to say. He was however clear about his desire to fight unions, and his criticism of the National Labor Relations Board, for taking action against big business. He called corporate profits good, as he believes they trigger new hiring. He called Wall Street protesters people engaged in: “dangerous class warfare.”

FIRST AMENDMENT: While little harm would be done if Romney succeeded in abolishing the Endowment for the Arts, his desire to eliminate Public Broadcasting is a serious threat to the free flow of information, and an affront to those who respect the First Amendment. Those who routinely follow the PBS News Hour and BBC America, searching for reliable news from objective sources, find his desire a real threat to democracy, since we need PBS and the BBC to be informed citizens. As to faith, he correctly said the Founders appreciated the Freedom of Religion, and wrote a Constitution that respected all beliefs.

BANK CRISIS: While Romney said Fed chair Bernanke pumped too much money in the economy, he would not remove Fed power to do so, as he does not want Congress in charge of the currency. He defended President Bush for taking action to keep the banks open, adding we must prevent another contagion. When asked what he would do if the economies of the entire world were collapsing, he promised to take action.

HOUSING: Romney said the housing crisis was caused by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as they gave loans to people who could not afford them. He said slowing down the foreclosure process, buying up troubled homes, or giving a couple thousand towards the purchase of a new home, won’t solve the problem. He predicted home prices will not return, until the free market works.

ENERGY: Romney suggested developing our own oil, gas, and nuclear energy, to achieve energy independence. He said little about putting a new emphasis on solar, wind, or clean energy.

HEALTH CARE: Romney has been the greatest lobbyist the health insurance industry has ever had. He said a problem arose in his state, where 8% of the people had no health insurance, and they sought emergency room care, which shifted costs to taxpayers. He argued everyone has a personal obligation to buy health insurance, an idea he said he got from Newt Gingrich. He enacted a personal mandate and forced everyone to purchase coverage from private carriers. Although subsidies were provided for those who could not afford it, the Mass. plan did not create a more efficient government-run health care plan, like the single-payer system used in Canada. As to the U.S., Romney said Americans were not and are not satisfied with the status quo, because premiums are out of control. Many of Romney’s critics called the new National Health Care law signed by Obama, basically the same as Romney’s state plan. Romney tried, but failed miserably to convince them they were different. He argued the Mass plan was for one state, while the President’s, one-size-fits-all plan was for the entire nation. He argued Obama’s plan raises taxes and spends trillions. He promised a repeal of what has been called Obamacare, claiming we could save 95 billion a year. In a contradictory statement, he offered only to give the states waivers, so they could opt out. He also took both sides of the individual mandate issue, by first saying everyone should buy insurance, but then by arguing mandates are unconstitutional. In the event Obama’s law is repealed, or declared unconstitutional, the question arose as to what to do next. He acknowledged health care costs are disconnected from patient awareness, and people need to have a stake in the cost of health care. He accused the government of having too heavy a role. He advocated co-insurance for patients, but sounded like he did not realize most Americans already had that. Romney said he would turn Medicaid and Medicare over to the states and let them run health care.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Romney called the Social Security retirement program essential, and said it must be saved, not abolished. He called the use of trust fund money for other purposes criminal, and agreed to make the system sound. As to the unfunded prescription drug program, started by President George W. Bush, Romney would not repeal it.

IMMIGRATION: Romney wants no amnesty for illegal immigrants, a fence with agents to secure it, and an elimination of the magnet caused by states that give tuition breaks, and employers who hire illegal aliens. He would implement the federal E-Verify program. He said 4.5 million want to come here legally. He would admit those with degrees in math or science.

12/06/2011

Perry Should Not Be President

Texas Gov. Perry should not become the Republican nominee for President or VP, because his foreign policy would destroy the UN, violate international law, and expand our military role in the world. Perry does not understand economics. He would refuse to use Fiscal Policy during economic downturns. He would repeal corporate regulations that protect us all, and would not bust up entities too big to fail. His solution is to lower taxes for the rich, and increase them for the poor, by imposing a flat tax of 20% on all. He would not promote solar, but would instead advance gas and nuclear energy. On social issues, he would wreck Social Security Retirement, as we know it, by privatizing it. He would turn health care over to the states, and end federal Medicare and Medicaid. He would abolish the federal Dept of Education. On the issues, Texan Rick Perry simply does not deserve our vote.

FOREIGN POLICY: Perry asked why we contribute to the UN, and promised to defund it, a pledge that should work against him. He would use foreign aid to bribe recipients into approving U.S. foreign policy, right or wrong. Even though no nation attacked the U.S., or was named in a Congressional Declaration of War, Perry believes we are involved in a real war, and thinks nations at war have a right to use “enhanced interrogation techniques” to gather information, even though the Geneva Conventions we used in many previous conflicts, ban torture during wartime. Perry also has no reservation about continuing the use of Guantanamo Bay.

MIDEAST: Perry does not seem to realize America’s bipartisan foreign policy is dictated by Israel’s desire to disarm all Muslim countries in the Mideast, North Africa, and Asia. He is ignorant of the history of the Palestinian people, as he said their desire to seek statehood in the UN was a travesty. He would engage the U.S. in a No-Fly Zone over Syria. He would impose sanctions against Iran, and would shut down their economy, even though they did no harm to us. He actually thinks Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran, are at work in Mexico, drawing up plans to come across our border.

ASIA: Perry lacks a vision of U.S. policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He thought we are making progress in Afghanistan and wants to “complete the mission,” but failed to define what it is. After our nebulous mission is completed, he wants to maintain a presence, but failed to explain why. He opposes a timetable for withdrawal, saying it would telegraph a departure, but did not mention why that would be so bad. He never explained the point of staying in Afghanistan. As to neighboring Pakistan, ostensibly our ally, he said they can’t be trusted, and he wouldn’t give them a penny, until they showed they had our best interests in mind, even though Pakistan is a nuclear power we cannot alienate.

IMMIGRATION: Perry correctly placed blame on the federal government for not securing the 1,200-mile Texas border. He said it would take 15 years and 30 billion to build a fence. Since it is unrealistic to maintain a wall from Brownsville to El Paso, he recommended strategic fencing where it matters, and predator drones to direct boots on the ground. He opposed amnesty for illegals, and said businesses who hire them must be punished.

ECONOMY: Perry does not seem to have a handle on economics. He proclaimed the death of Keynesian fiscal policies for dealing with economic problems. He should have instead recognized that Fiscal Policy is sometimes necessary during economic downturns.

ANTITRUST: “If a company is too big to fail,” Perry said, “it is too big,” but then he failed to go to the next step, by promising to break up big corporations under federal Antitrust law.

JOBS: Perry wants to do away with regulations, because he thinks they kill American jobs, but he failed to identify any specific ones he would eliminate. While he said he wants to focus on the unemployed, he provided no plan for lowering joblessness. He thinks people will risk capital if taxes are lowered, and that will create employment, but President Bush tried that, and yet millions lost their jobs under his watch. Perry showed his true opposition to working people, by promising to eliminate the TSA union.

MANUFACTURING: Although Perry said he wants to bring manufacturing back, he failed to explain how he would do it. His proposal to eliminate the Commerce Dept. would certainly not help.

ENERGY: Perry rightly said we should not rely on oil producing countries. Without government subsidies, he thinks 1.2 million jobs could be created, through energy independence. He would repeal regulations that affect the energy industry, and would eliminate the Energy Dept. He would not invest in solar, like Obama did, but instead supports nuclear, saying France gets 70% of their energy from it. He thinks climate change is not science.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Perry is bad news for the seniors of the future. He considers SS a Ponzi Scheme, saying it was wrong from the very beginning. He thinks it’s a lie to tell young people they will receive benefits. In his book, he wrote it should not be a federal program. He would privatize it, and essentially destroy it.

HEALTH CARE: Perry would also repeal federal health care, by giving block grants to the states for Medicare, and letting them administer it, changes that would ultimately get the federal government out. Perry opposed Romney’s and Obama’s approach, saying people don’t want mandates. As to prescription drugs, he disagreed with President Bush for establishing Medicare Part D, but would not now repeal that unfunded budget busting program.

EDUCATION He would eliminate the federal Dept. of Education.

BUDGET-TAXES: Perry thinks a Balanced Budget Amendment is needed. He said we raise taxes, but don’t get spending down. He promised not to spend money we don’t have. He opposed Cain’s 999 tax plan. He said Texas has a 6.25% sales tax and no state wants a 9% federal sales tax on top of it. He would instead impose a flat tax of 20% on all personal and corporate incomes.

11/25/2011

Republican Debate Defense (11-22-11)

The Republicans debated National Security issues on Nov. 22, 2011.

PATRIOT ACT: The Patriot Act undermines liberties, said Ron Paul. We can have security without sacrificing rights. He would protect the rule of law. Our Founders warned not to sacrifice liberty for security, something our government is now too willing to do. If we give up freedom and become a police state, the government will commit the crime. We would throw out much of what our revolution stood for. Huntsman said we need to balance individual liberties and security. We have to share intelligence, and work with governors. Romney said there is criminal law with constitutional rights, and a different body of law applicable to war. Perry said we must collect intelligence to keep the next attack from happening. Santorum said the last time we had a threat like this was in the Civil War when Abe Lincoln ran all over civil rights. Gingrich said there is a distinction between National Security and Criminal Law. We need to preserve criminal law rights, but strengthen the Patriot Act, so we can gather intelligence. He does not want to find terrorists after we lose a major American city. He wants to stop them from trying. Bachmann said technology changed and we must change the way we investigate. She said the attempted Detroit bomber was given Miranda warnings, even though he was not a citizen.

PROFILING: Paul asked what if a person looked like Timothy McVeigh? Romney said people, who are a lower risk, should be allowed to go through TSA screening more quickly. Perry proposed a law to criminalize TSA pat-downs, privatize the agency, and get rid of their union. Santorum would profile those most likely to commit crime, such as Muslims and younger males. We should look for the bomber, not the bomb. He favors privatizing the TSA. Cain called profiling targeted identification. Since terrorists want to kill us, we should kill them first said Cain.

INTERROGATION: Bachmann made the ridiculous statement Obama turned over the interrogation of terrorists to the ACLU. She also believes the CIA can no longer interrogate terrorists.

FOREIGN AID: Ron Paul said all foreign aid is worthless. We take money from poor people in the U.S. and give it to rich people in poor countries. We have endless war and foreign aid, but nobody cares about the budget. The biggest threat to our national security is our financial condition.  Santorum incorrectly said “Africa” was a “country” on the brink. The work we are doing, such as the Millennium Challenge, is essential for national security. It would be absolutely wrong to zero out foreign aid. We are the shining city on the hill that comes to the aid of those in trouble. We have saved military deployments by wisely spending not on our enemies, but on our friends in Africa. Cain said foreign aid should depend on results. Perry said if you are not going to be an ally of the U.S., do not expect a dime of our money.

WAR: Ron Paul said our needless and unnecessary wars have undermined our prosperity and liberties, and added to our deficits. We are too careless in the use of the word war. We did not declare war. We are against terrorism, which is only a tactic. Santorum agreed we are not fighting a war on terrorism, since it is only a tactic. We are at war against radical Islam, he said.

AFGHANISTAN: Huntsman said we need an honest conversation about our sacrifices over the past 10 years in Afghanistan. We ran the Taliban out of Kabul, upended al-Qaeda, held elections in 2004, and killed Osama bin Laden. We still need intelligence gathering, Special Forces, drones, and ongoing Afghan National Army training, but we don’t need 100,000 troops doing nation-building. 10,000 to 15,000 troops would due. The American people are very tired of where we find ourselves. He said we listened to generals in 1967, and that did not serve our interests very well. At the end of the day, the President must act as Commander-in-Chief. Romney said we cannot write off a major part of the world. We don’t want to literally pull up stakes and run out of town. We need a gradual transition responsibility over to the Afghan Security Forces. He thinks a withdrawal before 2014 would put at risk the sacrifices we made. We have been there for 10 years, and we are winding down, but it is not time for America to “cut and run,” a phrase borrowed from Nixon.  Of course the Commander-in-Chief makes the final decision. Romney actually thinks there is a very good prospect the Afghans are securing their sovereignty from the Taliban. If we pull out precipitously, as Gov. Huntsman suggests, we could see Afghanistan and Pakistan pulled into terror, and become another launching pad for going after America. Cain thinks if we pull out of Afghanistan “too soon,” there will be a power vacuum that Iran will fill.

PAKISTAN: Huntsman said Pakistan is a concern, because they have 100 nuclear weapons, and 160 million people. They have a Midrasha Movement, troubles along their border, and are at risk of becoming a failed state. He said an expanded drone program would serve our interests. Romney said only 12% of Pakistanis approve of us, we are not doing a good job. We need to bring Pakistan into the 21st Century. Perry said since Pakistan cannot be trusted, he would not send them one penny, or give them a blank check, until they showed they had our best interests in mind. Gingrich thinks we should be able to change the rules of engagement so we have a right of hot pursuit to enter sanctuaries in Pakistan from Afghanistan. Pakistan should not complain, if we kill people who are being protected on their land, and they are not willing to go after them. Bachmann said Pakistan is the epicenter of terrorism, where al-Qaeda and the Haqqani Network train. We have to take seriously their 15 nuclear sites. She would continue aiding Pakistan, because they are too nuclear to fail, but she would demand more from them. She called Perry naïve for not being willing to maintain an American presence in Pakistan.

IRAN: Ron Paul wisely said he would not support an unprovoked unilateral attack by Israel upon Iran. When Israel bombed the Iraqi missile site in 1981, he was one of the few Congressmen to say it was none of our business. Israel has 200 to 300 nuclear missiles, and they can take care of themselves. If they want to bomb something, it is their business, and they can suffer the consequences. We don’t even have a treaty with them. Why should we commit to send our kids and money endlessly to Israel? Why would they need American help? Huntsman said Iran is certainly going to make a nuclear weapon, but sanctions are not going to work, because Russia and China are not going to play ball. Romney said Ahmadinejad should be indicted for violating the Genocide Convention. Perry said we should sanction the Iranian National Bank. We need to use every sanction before a military strike. Gingrich would not want to see Israel use multiple nuclear weapons in Iran, because that would bring a future none of us would want to live through. He said we need a strategy of defeating and replacing the current Iranian regime with a minimal use of force. We need to defeat radical Islam wherever it may exist. We need to sabotage the only refinery they have. Putting sanctions on them is better than a war. He said a bombing campaign that left the regime in power would accomplish very little. We have to replace the regime, not just attack them. Bachmann said Iran is a real threat, because they would use nuclear weapons to wipe out Israel and the U.S. She thinks Obama appeased Iran. We are talking about Israel making a strike against Iran, she said, because Iran announced a plan to strike Israel. Ahmadinejad wants to eradicate Israel from the face of the earth. Can was asked: If Israel attacked Iran to prevent Tehran from getting nuclear weapons, would you help Israel? Cain said Iran may have 40 different weapon sites, and if Israel had a credible plan for success, he would support their attack, and would in some instances join Israel in violating international law.

ISRAEL: Romney said his first foreign policy trip would be to Israel to show the world we care about them. Huntsman said our foreign policy interests in the Middle East are Israel, and to insure Iran does not go nuclear.

PERSIAN GULF: Huntsman (apparently referring to Bahrain) said Obama missed the Persian Spring, and failed on that front.

LIBYA: Huntsman: We had no definable U.S. interest in Libya.

SYRIA: Huntsman said we have an American interest in Syria called Israel. We need to remind the world what it means to be a U.S. friend and ally. Romney would not impose a no-fly zone over Syria. He would instead use sanctions and covert actions. We should support the rebels. Perry supports a no-fly zone over Syria, because it would help dissidents. Cain opposes a no-fly zone and would instead pressure allies to stop buying their oil.

IMMIGRATION: Paul said if we give an easy road to citizenship, we will get more illegals. We should not require border states to provide free education and medical care. Romney said amnesty is a magnet as it only encourages more people to come illegally. He would allow those with degrees in math or science. He would cancel in-state tuition for illegal aliens, because people respond to incentives. Perry said we have to secure the border first. Gingrich, who voted for the Simpson-Mazzoli Act in the 1980s, created a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens, which some called amnesty. He though 300,000 would get amnesty, but it was granted to 3 million. This time we have to control the border. Those who just got here should go home. Those here 25 years who have families, paid taxes, and obeyed the law, should not be kicked out. He said we need visas for people with advanced degrees in science and engineering. He likes the part of the Dream Act that allows aliens to serve in the military to acquire citizenship. He would not separate families that have been together for 25 years. We are the party of the family, and we cannot destroy them. Bachmann opposed making 11 million workers legal. Steve Jobs moved operations to China, because he could not find 30,000 engineers. We need highly-skilled people.

MEXICO: Paul said the war on drugs is a total failure. We should handle drugs like we handle alcohol. Perry said we need border security with Mexico, because he thinks Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran are at work there with plans to come to the U.S. He promised that within 12 months of taking office, the border would be shut down. Cain thinks terrorists have entered the U.S. via Mexico. He would secure the border, enforce the laws, and promote a path to citizenship. Let people through the front door, not the side door.

LATIN AMERICA: Romney said Hezbollah is working in Latin America. Perry said Iran has one of the largest embassies in the world in Venezuela. Santorum also worries about Latin America.

CHINA: Perry said again Communist China is destined to the ash heap of history.

BUDGET: Paul said they are not cutting anything out of anything. It’s all just talk. They are nibbling away at baseline budgeting. There is nothing cut in the military. On the Hill, they are hysterical, because the budget is not going up as rapidly as they want. It’s a road to disaster, and we better wake up. Huntsman said a 70% debt-to-GDP ratio in the U.S. is a national security problem, because when it gets too high, we will stop growing. Japan is in their third decade of no-growth. We have to have an honest conversation about debt and sacred cows. Everything has to be on the table, including the 650 billion dollar Defense budget. Romney said they cut 350 million for the F-22. They delayed aircraft carriers. They stopped the Navy cruiser system. They are not going to build Air Force bombers. They are trying to cut troops by 50,000. Perry said Obama has been a failure in terms of budget leadership. He would impose a flat tax of 20% on corporations, and would cut spending. Santorum said he would compromise and give on some things. Gingrich would reform Social Security by using the Chilean model, which he believes would not hurt anyone. He said there is something wrong with a system where it takes 15 to 20 years to build weapons, but Apple can change technology in just nine months. Bachmann said four years ago we were 8 trillion in debt, now we are 15 trillion in debt. We are sending interest money and our power over to China.

11/02/2011

Huntsman: Obama’s Greatest Threat

Former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, a man who sounds reasonable, and who previously served Presidents Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, and Obama, correctly said he is the only Republican who could attract independents, yet the conservative base of the GOP has disregarded his sound advice, while they drift towards the vague set of principles outlined by Gov. Mitt Romney.

AFGHAN: Huntsman would take votes away from Obama in foreign policy with his pledge to bring American troops home from Afghanistan. In no uncertain terms, he said, after 10 years of war, it is time to get out, and do nation-building here in the U.S. Only the people of Afghanistan can save Afghanistan, and only the Pakistanis can save Pakistan, Huntsman said.

CHINA: As a former Ambassador to China, Huntsman said a President should know something about China, and have a dialog with them. He understands international trade, as he worried sanctions against China over currency manipulations would only lead to retaliation, since we also manipulate our currency. A trade war, he said, would only hurt U.S. agricultural exports.

OIL: With respect to fuel for our cars, Huntsman wisely observed the true cost of gas includes federal spending to keep the Persian Gulf sea lanes open. Gas prices are otherwise determined in the market, he said, and cannot be controlled by government.

GAS: As to environmental regulation, Huntsman, a global businessman, said the EPA hurts corporate expansion. He accused the EPA of running a “reign of terror.” He wants natural gas developed, since he thinks wind and sun can’t be used right now.

IMMIGRATION: Huntsman wants legal immigration fixed. Two of his seven children, from India and China, help him see the issue through their eyes. He favors securing U.S. borders, but is reluctant to send all illegals home. While he was the Gov. of Utah, he let them obtain Drivers Licenses.

HEALTH CARE: Huntsman, out in front of the curve, asked how the health care issue would be resolved, if the Republicans succeeded in repealing Obama’s law. He said the plan to reduce the uninsured by simply mandating coverage is wrong, since the problem is the affordability of health insurance. He noted the IRS is gearing up with 19,500 employees to administer the insurance mandate, but he wants a health care solution that works in the market, and wants to experiment at the state level.

DEBT-TAXES: Huntsman wisely said he would never let the U.S. default, but called the National Debt a cancer. He refused to make any tax pledge, but said this is the worst time to increase them. He worked with a flat tax in Utah, but appeared to be willing to keep federal income tax brackets of 8%, 14%, and 22%.

CORPORATE WELFARE: Huntsman would eliminate corporate welfare, subsidies, tax loopholes, and deductions for individuals, as recommended by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles Commission.

JOBS: Huntsman said it is tragic 15 million are unemployed. He thinks he can create jobs through regulatory reform, repealing the health care law, changes in the tax code, energy independence, and by terminating corporate welfare. He wants to create an environment favorable to business, and thinks he could regain our industrial base by lowering taxes and lessening regulations.

CIVIL UNIONS Huntsman, a Mormon, said Civil Unions are acceptable, and asked Republicans to do a better job on equality.

SCIENCE & EDUCATION: Huntsman said Republicans should not be anti-science. He thinks early childhood literacy is important, but wants education local, with no unfunded mandates.

CONCLUSION: Huntsman has a good resume. His foreign policy on Afghanistan is correct. He understands China. He would develop domestic gas. He would increase legal immigration. He correctly sees the health care problem as one of uncontrolled costs. His desire to eliminate corporate welfare, subsidies, tax loopholes and deductions is good. He was right on the Debt-Ceiling. His jobs plan is vague. He supports civil unions. He stood up for science in schools. Fortunately for Obama, the Republicans do not appear willing to support candidate John Huntsman.

10/31/2011

Gingrich Sees Problems, But No Solutions

FOREIGN POLICY: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich often points out what is wrong, but offers no solutions. He said Obama was mistaken to intervene in Libya against Gaddafi. He thinks Greece should not belong to the European Union, but offers no answer to the Euro Crisis. He expressed concern over trade with China, but stated no Free Trade alternative. He worries about civil war in Mexico, but has no suggestions. He named North Korea and Iran as threats, but said nothing of what he would do. He predicted a more dangerous Pakistan, but did not say how to divert it. He said Reagan was wrong to trade arms for hostages, but did not say what he would have done. He wants loyalty oaths.

FOREIGN AID: Newt came up with a bad idea to replace direct foreign aid to developing countries with a system of bribery conditioned upon whether or not their votes in the UN are consistent with ours. His approach would force nations to choose between receiving aid, or exercising free and democratic votes.

FEDERAL RESERVE: Newt was correct to demand a release of all Fed documents, and an audit of the agency, as he suggested they have too much power, deal with billions in secret, and fail to explain why they bail out one group over another.

HOUSING CRISIS: Gingrich correctly said the Countrywide lobbyists made it too easy to buy a home during the past decade, but neglected to discuss a solution to the current housing crisis.

LABOR: Gingrich showed a lack of fitness for the White House as he suggested dismantling the National Labor Relations Board. Newt wants paychecks instead of food stamps, which is fine, but failed to explain where jobs would come from. His idea to make the unemployed get job training would depend on the details.

IMMIGRATION: Newt’s plea to “secure the borders” sounds the same as other Republicans, but he skips over implementation. It’s fine to suggest a modern visa program, to require U.S. History in schools, and to establish English as our official language, but it is doubtful Newt would actually go ahead and force employers to verify the Social Security numbers of job applicants.

HEALTH CARE: Like other Republicans, Newt would repeal the new health care law, and just like them, he offers no answers to the health care and health insurance crisis. He was critical of the insurance mandate imposed in Massachusetts, but failed to suggest any regulations to control health care costs or insurance premiums. Newt makes simplistic attacks on Medicare by referring to abusers as “crooks,” but throws the baby out with the bath water, as he thinks young workers should have a right to choose, code for destroying the system as we know it.

ENERGY: Gingrich wants a safe way of taking care of nuclear waste, but he fails to explain how that is even possible.

TAXES: Gingrich appeared to be heading somewhere when he said GE paid no income taxes, but then he failed to suggest a solution to corporate tax avoidance. He instead pushed the discredited idea of eliminating Capital Gains Taxes.

EDUCATION: Gingrich would divert badly needed public tax dollars to religious schools by expanding Pell Grants for K-12.

NO SOLUTIONS NEWT: Gingrich offered no solutions to our trade deficits with China, violence in neighboring Mexico, or the Euro Crisis. He seeks to bribe votes in the UN. He has no answers for the Housing Crisis. He would make life harder for working people by dismantling the NLRB. He had no realistic solution to the flow of illegal immigrants. He stated no answer to the galloping cost of health care, and health insurance premiums. He wants to destroy Medicare as we know it. He appears willing to use nuclear power, but has no solution for nuclear waste. He would help bankrupt the federal treasury by giving capital gains taxes away, and by diverting public funds to religious schools. With answers like those suggested by Newt, who needs problems?

10/19/2011

Republican Debate: Nevada (10-18-11)

The Republican Presidential candidates debated in Nevada.

DEFENSE SPENDING: Ron Paul said there is a lot of money in the military budget that does no good. We have an empire with 900 bases in 150 countries, and would be safer if we were not in so many places. Why keep troops in Korea, Japan, or Germany? We have more weapons than all other nations combined, Paul said, enough to blow up the world 20 to 25 times. Bachmann said defense spending should be on the table, but not 500 million. Gingrich would determine our threats, and calculate the cost of a response. Santorum would not cut a penny of military spending.

AFGHANISTAN: Ron Paul said the U.S. should withdraw from Afghanistan, because the Soviet Union was brought down by entering that country, and the same thing will happen to us.

FOREIGN AID: Romney said we spend more on foreign aid than we should, and we should let China do it, because it makes no sense to borrow from China to give aid to others. Paul would cut all foreign aid, including aid to Israel, saying the Constitution does not authorize it. Aid to Israel does not help, but only teaches dependency. We take from the poor, Paul said, and give to the rich in poor states. He said look at the aid we gave to Egypt. We spent billions pumping up a dictator, and yet they are hostile to us. Cain would give foreign aid to friends, like Israel, but not enemies. Bachmann opposed cutting foreign aid to Israel, since she believes they are our greatest ally.

ISRAEL: Bachmann incorrectly accused Obama of being the first president since Israeli independence to put daylight between our nations. (She never studied Eisenhower’s stand at Suez in 1956)

UN & PALESTINE: Perry thought it was a travesty for the Palestinian Authority to go to the UN to seek statehood. He asked why the U.S. is contributing to the UN. He would defund it.

LIBYA & IRAQ: Bachmann wants Libya and Iraq to reimburse us for the cost of bombing their countries. She wants our troops to have immunity for any and all wrongdoing committed in Iraq.

IRAN: Bachmann accused Iran of an attempted assassination on U.S. soil. The number one global issue, she said, is Iran and nuclear weapons. She called their leader a genocidal maniac, but offered no proof to back up her claim. Santorum also said our central threat is Iran. Neither candidate explained how or why they see Iran as a credible threat to the U.S.

TERROR: Paul said Reagan negotiated with Iranian terrorists for a return of hostages. Gingrich said Reagan made a mistake. Bachmann would not release anyone at Guantanamo. Can would not negotiate. Santorum would never negotiate, period.

WALL STREET: Cain had said: “Don’t blame Wall Street, don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job, and you are not rich, blame yourself.” He said Wall Street did nothing wrong; they did not spend a trillion for no good. Protesters should be in front of the White House, Cain said. Ron Paul accused Cain of blaming victims. He would protest in front of the Federal Reserve and in Washington. The bailout was supported by both parties, Paul said. They bailed out big corporations, who ripped off people in the derivatives market. They thought the world would end if we did not bail banks out. The middle class got stuck. Paul said if money was given out, it should have gone to people who lost their mortgages, not the banks. Romney called the protests dangerous class warfare, and said Obama is to blame over the past three years, as he says he has no idea how the private sector works.

HOUSING: Santorum said Romney, Perry, and Cain supported TARP. Cain said people on the top who took risks got bailed out in 2008, but the market should have been allowed to work. Perry wanted Congress to act, but did not want TARP. Santorum said Perry supported the particular TARP plan on the House floor. Romney said government should not give a couple thousand dollars to buy a new home, or to keep banks from foreclosing.

JOBS: Perry wants to focus on the 9% unemployed. Santorum said no more products “Made in America” hurts the middle class. Gingrinch wants America off food stamps and on paychecks. Romney said half the jobs created in Texas were filled by illegals.

IMMIGRATION: Texan Ron Paul said a fence is not the answer to illegal immigration. We worry more about the Afghan and Pakistan borders than our own, Paul said, and need to bring our National Guards home so they can guard our borders. Perry blamed the federal government for failing to secure the 1,200 mile Texas border, and for the huge number of illegals looking for jobs. Businesses who hire illegals ought to be penalized, Perry said. He does not want to repeal the 14th Amendment as to citizenship by birth. A fence could be built, Perry said, but it would take 15 years and 30 billion. He instead recommended strategic fencing where it matters, and predator drones to direct boots on the ground. Perry accused Romney of hiring illegals to work on his property, but Romney denied it, saying it’s hard to know if lawn care contractors employ illegals. When he learned they hired illegals, they were let go. Perry also accused Romney of offering amnesty to aliens. Romney said Perry was the one open to amnesty, and accused him of creating a magnet by giving aliens a $100,000 tuition credit, a practice that must end. We must stop employer magnets by enforcing E-Verify. Romney also said 4.5 million want to come here legally in an orderly way. He said Perry’s Texas had a 60% increase in illegal immigration, while California and Florida had none. Cain would build a fence and have it electrified. He would promote a path to citizenship, and shut the back door, so people could come in the front door. He wants to empower states. Bachmann accused Obama’s aunt and uncle of being illegal aliens. She took a pledge to build a wall, saying illegals cost 113 billion a year. She would also enforce English as the official language. She said they cross the border to have anchor babies and the welfare that come with it. Gingrich said to 50 million Latinos, not all of whom are illegal, that America is the most open nation to immigration in history.

ENERGY: Paul said it’s wrong for 49 states to dump nuclear garbage in Nevada. Romney said Nevadans should have the final say and not have it jammed down their throats.  He wants energy independence, using our own natural resources. France gets 70% of their energy from nuclear power, Perry said. He wants 1.2 million people working on energy. We shouldn’t rely on OPEC, saying we should be energy independent. We need not subsidize energy. Gingrich wants a safe way of take care of nuclear waste.

HEALTH CARE: Paul said we need more medical competition. Americans should be allowed to opt out of Obama’s health care. Bachmann said even the Obama Administration realized they cannot afford Long Term Care. Santorum said Obama failed to focus on the cost of health care, which is the real problem. He said Romney has no credibility, since Obama’s plan was basically his. Romney called Obama’s plan unconstitutional, which should be repealed, as it is a huge burden on the economy. He would turn Medicare over to the states. He said his plan for Mass. was not for the entire nation. The idea of the individual mandate came from Gingrich, Romney said. His state relied on private insurers. The uninsured got private not government insurance. When it comes to knowledge about health care, Romney said I am the doctor. Gingrich admitted supporting the individual mandate in opposition to Hillarycare, but the Heritage Foundation came up with the idea. He said a small business is Mass. is being ordered to pay a fine of $3,000 for not paying $750 month in premiums.

TAXES: Cain tried to defend his 999 tax plan, which would impose a 9% federal sales tax and repeal all tax breaks. He argued it would remove all hidden income taxes in goods and services, and was not a value-added tax, but a single tax, which was revenue neutral. He failed to convince anyone it would not raise taxes on those making the least. Bachmann, a tax lawyer, also wants to abolish the tax code, but said Cain’s 999 plan would destroy the economy. She warned if Congress was given a new sales tax, it would never go away. She argued it would be applied against products at every stage of production. Everyone should pay taxes, she said, even if it is only $1. Santorum said 84% of Americans would pay more under Cain’s plan, which eliminates all deductions and exemptions. Getting rid of deductions would mean those with home mortgages would pay more, and people with three children would pay the same tax as a single man. He favored cutting the tax rate for manufacturing to zero. Perry, whose state already has a 6.25% sales tax, said Nevada’s is 8%, and New Hampshire’s is 0%, but no state wanted a 9% federal sales tax; they want flatter and fairer taxes. Romney said to a cheering crowd, Nevada does not want a 9% federal sales tax on top of an 8% state sales tax.  Paul opposes Cain’s plan, because it is regressive and increase taxes. He would replace income taxes with nothing. Gingrich wants to reduce capital gains taxes to zero.

RELIGION: Perry disagreed with the pastor who said Mormonism is a cult. Romney said the Founders appreciated the Freedom of Religion. The Founders went to great length to create a nation with a Constitution that respected all.

09/30/2011

Immigration Affects Jobs and SS Funding

Although the U.S. Constitution expressly delegates to the national government the power to legislate over Naturalization, states such as Arizona and Alabama, have been writing their own laws to deal with immigrants, which are being challenged in the federal courts.

On Sept. 28, 2011, a federal judge in Alabama upheld part of a state immigration statute that checks the status of public school students, but threw out other parts, since a state may not override the federal government on naturalization topics.

The judge has not yet ruled on whether Alabama can make it unlawful for an illegal alien to: 1) solicit work; 2) attend public colleges; or 3) prove legality by any means other than federal verification. She has yet to decide on whether anyone may: 1) transport or harbor illegal immigrants; or 2) stop on a road to hire temporary workers. She has yet not addressed whether businesses may: 1) hire illegal immigrants in place of legal workers; or 2) deduct their wages from corporate tax returns.

In any event, from the issues raised, it is clear lawmakers in Alabama are opposed to illegal immigration. A more interesting question however is whether they would support an increase in legal immigration, since the flow of foreign workers to America profoundly affects our economy, one way or the other.

On the one hand, increasing barriers to illegal and legal immigration shrinks the work force, and reduces unemployment. In the roaring 1920s, the door on immigration was slammed shut, and almost any American who wanted a job, was able to get one.

On the other hand, when the Social Security System began in 1935, most families had seven children paying in for every recipient taking money out. Since Americans now have only one or two children, the number of above-board workers paying taxes into the Social Security Trust Fund must be increased, by welcoming more legal immigrants in our work force.

We have a choice. Block all illegal immigration, and also refuse to increase legal immigration, hoping this will put Americans back to work, without contracting the economy; or we can increase legal immigration, expand the economy, and shore up the future of Social Security. There is no neutral position, for no matter which path we take, there are economic consequences.

09/27/2011

Republican Debate Orlando (9-22-11)

The Republicans had another debate on Sep. 22, 2011 in Orlando.

FOREIGN POLICY: After 10 years of war, Huntsman said it is time to bring troops home and to project America’s goodness. He said only Afghanistan can save Afghanistan, and only Pakistan can save Pakistan. Romney believes it is wrong to criticize Israel for illegally constructing settlements in occupied Palestine. He thought it is unacceptable for Iran to become a nuclear power. Santorum, also pandered to the Israeli Lobby, saying he would not remove any troops from the Iraqi region, as he wants to fight to win, and would stay until we succeed. He wants better relations with Pakistan to ensure nuclear weapons do not fall into the wrong hands. Perry would use India as an ally to deal with Pakistan. Gingrich predicted Pakistan will become more dangerous in near future. He would eliminate government to government foreign aid, and would deny money to any state that does not vote with the U.S. in the UN. Cain was against the Palestinians, but did not explain why. He said if you mess with Israel, you mess with the U.S. While Johnson would promote trade by allowing direct flights to Cuba, Bachmann opposes them, because she thinks Cuba is still a state sponsor of terror.

GAYS IN MILITARY: Santorum would reinstitute don’t ask don’t tell in the military, saying they should keep it to themselves, and sexual activity has no place in the service.

JOBS: Ron Paul said jobs are created by people, not governments. Santorum’s job solution is to abolish public sector unions. Perry would create jobs through energy independence and the repeal of regulations. Huntsman said the 15 million unemployed need tax, regulatory, and energy reforms. Bachmann thought employers are not hiring because of Obamacare. Johnson neighbors’ two dogs created more shovel-ready jobs than Obama. Cain said we just need leadership. Romney, a conservative businessman, quipped: to create jobs, you have to have had one. Gingrich said the economy will turn around when Obama loses. He would require unemployment recipients to go through state training programs to qualify for benefits, saying it is wrong to give money for nothing.

U.S. BUDGET & TAXES: Huntsman said this is the worst time to raise taxes, and would instead eliminate corporate welfare and phase out loopholes. Johnson would stop spending $10 for every $6 we raise, and would balance the budget. He would cut 43% of the federal budget, including 43% of military spending. Romney, clearly out of touch, thought he would help the Middle Class by eliminating taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains. The unrealistic Bachmann first said we should get to keep every dollar we earn, but later said money is needed to run the government. The untested Cain would throw out the entire tax code, including employer matching Social Security, and would create a 9-9-9 plan, including a new regressive 9% federal sales tax, a 9% corporate tax, and flat 9% income tax.

ENERGY: Huntsman wants to develop natural gas, because we cannot use wind or sun right now. Cain claimed the EPA is regulating dust and so he would eliminate the agency.

IMMIGRATION: Perry spent more time on immigration than anyone, he said, as Texas has a 1,200 mile border. He wants to stop illegal immigration, but said a 1,200 mile wall is not going to work. He joined the AZ lawsuit, but gave in-state tuition to illegal aliens. Fellow Texan Ron Paul would give illegal aliens nothing. Santorum said Perry is soft on immigration, and illegals should be treated like any other out-of-state person. Romney criticized Perry for giving in-state tuition to illegals, saying it draws them into the country. He would crack down on employers who hire illegals. Gingrich wants secure borders, English language education, and a modernization of visas. He wants to know what employers object to regarding the verification of Social Security numbers.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Romney said Perry does not want Social Security to be federal. Romney would make the current system sound. Cain wants to fix SS by using the Chilean model.

HEALTH CARE: Romney adopted the Mass. health care mandate to deal with the 8% in his state who were uninsured. He said the federal law is not the same, and wants states to have waivers. Huntsman said the health care approach is wrong, since we need affordable health insurance to reduce the number of uninsured. He would let the states experiment. Perry was asked why 25% are uninsured in Texas and it ranked 49th in Medicaid. Each state, Perry said, should deliver their own health care. He disagreed with President Bush for establishing Medicare Part D and called Romney’s state plan the same as Obama’s. Bachmann attacked Perry for surrendering parental rights to the drug companies and mandating injections to 12-year-olds. Cain thinks he survived cancer, because he was not on a bureaucrat timetable.

CHURCH & STATE: Bachmann correctly said Jefferson valued religious liberty and we should not have a state or national church. This does not mean we are not people of faith. She said we should be able to exercise our faith, but failed to say who was denying it.

STATES RIGHTS: Ron Paul said the federal government has no authority to run schools, the economy, or our personal lives, and he would veto all bills that violate the 10th Amendment.

EDUCATION: Ron Paul wants the feds out of education, saying nobody likes No Child Left Behind. Johnson said 11% of federal spending goes to education with strings attached, which he would cut. Huntsman thinks early childhood literacy is important, but wants education local, with no unfunded mandates. Bachmann and Cain want local control, and would get the Feds out. Perry supports school choice, a local issue. Romney would stand up to teacher unions, another local issue. Gingrich would add Pell grants for K-12, but would get rid of federal regulations.

ABORTION: Ron Paul said abortion is a state, not a national issue. He asked how they could police the day-after pill, since such laws are not going to solve the problem.

TORT REFORM: Perry raised another state issue by warning trial lawyers not to file frivolous lawsuits in his state.

VICE PRESIDENT: When asked who on stage would be their Vice-President, Romney was typically vague, saying anyone could serve. Bachmann wanted a strong constitutional conservative. Gingrich would pick someone capable. Ron Paul would choose once he reaches the top tier. Johnson would pick Ron Paul due to monetary issues. Huntsman surprised reasonable people by picking Cain, who has no government experience. Perry wants a cross between Cain and Gingrich. Cain would pick Romney or Gingrich. Santorum would choose Gingrich.

09/13/2011

Republican Debate Tampa (9-12-11)

Since the Republicans debated less than a week ago, CNN hyped up this one by introducing the candidates like starting players in a sporting event, and a woman sang the National Anthem, as if a game was about to start. If tax dollars could have been wasted on flying jets overhead, they would have done that too. But the big opening did not save the debate from becoming the usual bashing of President Obama, filled with generalized political philosophy.

FOREIGN POLICY: Ron Paul said he was tired of all the militarism and waste associated with it. We have 900 bases around the globe in 130 nations, he said, and we cannot be the world’s policeman. It angers foreigners, Paul said, when we occupy their lands. Santorum accused Paul of blaming 911 on the U.S., while the former Senator seriously thought the hijackers only wanted to kill us because we stood for freedom. Paul had to educate Santorum, saying we were attacked on 911, because we had troops in Saudi Arabia, and allowed the Palestinians to be harmed, comments that triggered boos from an obviously uninformed audience. Perry declared it is time to bring the troops home, but contradicted himself saying, we needed to maintain a presence. Huntsman said it’s time to get out of Afghanistan. Gingrich was concerned with North Korea, trade with China, Iran, and a civil war in Mexico.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Ron Paul said Social Security retirement funds should not have been used to fight wars. Social Security is an essential program, Romney said, and taking funds from it for other purposes was criminal. Perry said it must be saved for seniors and transformed for future recipients, even though in his book he wrote it should not be a federal program. Cain wants young workers to have options. Bachmann said Medicare is bankrupt and retirement must be reformed. Gingrich said more than 70 billion of Medicare is paid to crooks, no changes should be made as to seniors, but young workers need a right to choose. Santorum said older voters just want truth. Huntsman claimed to have the answers.

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: As to prescription drugs, Perry and Romney would not repeal the program which was started under George Bush. Paul said we first need other reforms, like stopping wars overseas. Bachmann said we cannot provide everything for everybody.

HEALTH CARE: Romney tried to distinguish the Massachusetts plan from the federal approach. He said patients do not know how much their care costs, and showed how out-of-touch he is with average people, as he advocated co-insurance payments, which most Americans unfortunately already have. When the candidates were asked if they want people with no health insurance to die, physician Ron Paul said no one was turned away when he was a doctor, as churches took care of them. Bachmann said we should not force people to buy insurance. Cain wanted Obamacare repealed, saying we need market reforms.

UNEMPLOYMENT & JOBS: Regarding employment, Huntsman said it is a tragedy affecting millions, and we need to create jobs through regulatory reform, repealing Obamacare, changes in the tax code, energy independence, and an end to corporate welfare. Romney put the audience to sleep as he rattled off seven things he would do as to taxes, trade, energy, the budget, and so on. Perry claimed Obama created zero jobs, and he should not spend money we do not have. Perry claimed to have created jobs in Texas, while the nation lost them. He thinks people will risk capital and create jobs, if regulations and taxes were lowered. Bachmann thinks more free trade will create jobs. Gingrich correctly said most jobs are created by the American people and not the government. Paul said we are wasting money overseas, noting it cost 1 billion to build an embassy in Baghdad. Huntsman claimed to have had the best managed state as he said we must create an environment favorable to business.

IMMIGRATION: Texas Gov. Perry, whose state has a 1,200 mile Mexican border, said the federal government must secure it, but it is not realistic to maintain a wall from Brownsville to El Paso. Perry, who opposes amnesty and the Dream Act, had to defend his decision to allow illegal aliens to receive in-state tuition, as the Tea Party audience booed. He said he wanted them in college instead of doing nothing on welfare. Former Utah Gov. Huntsman would secure the border, but gave Drivers Licenses to illegal aliens. Romney said build a fence, but enforce the law and give no tuition breaks or Drivers Licenses to illegal aliens. Santorum wants more fences and security, more legal immigration, and English spoken by everyone. Although Bachmann wants aliens to learn English and History, no one suggested she learn history. Huntsman said Homeland Security needed to be fixed.

FEDERAL RESERVE: Cain apparently served on the Kansas City Federal Reserve and said we need to focus on sound money. Bachmann would not re-appoint the Fed chair, saying he should not use his unlimited power to make loans to private businesses and foreign countries. Perry said we need a strong dollar and the Fed should not be used to cover up bad federal policies. Romney wants a strong currency, Fed oversight, but he did not want Congress in charge of the currency.

TAXES: Cain would throw out the entire tax code and replace it with a flat 9% tax on businesses and sales. Santorum would attract manufacturing by relieving taxes on new manufacturers. When a young man asked how much of his paycheck he should be allowed to keep, Huntsman said the tax brackets should be 8%, 14%, and 22%. Gingrich wants people to keep more of what they earn, saying GE paid no taxes whatsoever. Romney actually thought he would help the Middle Class by eliminating taxes on dividends, interest, and capital gains.

ENERGY: Cain said energy independence requires the EPA to get out of the way. He would appoint those abused by the agency.

TORT REFORM: Perry showed deep hatred of trial lawyers, as he thought tort reform would actually make a difference federally. Cain wanted the loser of lawsuits to pay the winner’s costs, not realizing the insurance industry routinely opposes such proposals.

EXECUTIVE ORDERS: Paul said Executive Orders are only appropriate when moving troops and they should never be used to legislate. Perry admitted he used an Executive Order in Texas to require a vaccine, and he should have run it by the legislature. Bachmann accused him of issuing the order, because he received campaign contributions from a drug company. She and Santorum both said government should never force people to have vaccines.

09/08/2011

Republican Debate California (9-7-11)

One year and two months before the 2012 election, Republicans gathered to attack President Obama again in yet another debate.

FOREIGN POLICY: Huntsman said bring the troops home so we can do nation-building here. Perry complimented Obama for keeping Guantanamo open and executing Bin Laden. Bachmann felt it was wrong for Obama to tell Israel to return to the 1967 borders. She opposed the Libyan operation, saying no American interest was involved, and we did not know the rebels. She wanted to disarm a potential Iranian nuclear threat. Santorum opposed isolationism and wants the U.S. to become a force for good.

JOBS: Although Republicans usually say the private sector and not the government creates them, Perry took credit for 1 million new ones in Texas. Romney also claimed he made new jobs, by understanding how the economy works in the private sector.

IMMIGRATION: Perry said the El Paso border was unsafe and federal border security support was needed. Romney wanted no amnesty, a fence, agents to secure it, and an elimination of the magnet caused by employers who hire illegal aliens. Gingrich wanted everyone, including Americans, to learn English and U.S. History. Bachmann said immigration worked through the 1950s, before the rules changed. Cain wants the federal immigration issue to be given to the states. Huntsman said two of his seven children were from India and China, and he saw the issue through their eyes. He wants legal immigration fixed. Paul said states should not be forced to provide benefits for illegal aliens.

BUDGET & FEDERAL RESERVE: Perry wants a Balanced Budget Amendment, saying the Keynesian approach is dead.  Romney said the Fed pumped too much money into the economy. Gingrich would fire Fed chair tomorrow and audit the agency.

TAXES: Cain came up with a wild proposal to increase sales taxes to 9%, even though it’s regressive and disproportionate as to the poor. He was questioned about a corporation that earned 14 billion, but paid no taxes. Hunstman would make no tax pledge Romney said all should pay taxes and wanted dividends tax free.

RETIREMENT: Romney said we must save Social Security, not abolish it. Perry said it was a Ponzi Scheme, wrong from the very beginning, and it needed change. It’s a lie, he said, to tell young people they will receive benefits some day. Cain wanted to set up private accounts with personal names on them.

HEALTH CARE: Romney said those without insurance simply went to emergency rooms, forcing taxpayers to pay. He promised waivers from the new law to states who wanted them. Perry was asked why 25% in Texas had no health insurance and ranked dead last. People don’t want mandates, he said, as he suggested Medicare block grants for the states. Bachmann claimed “Obamacare” regulations (which haven’t taken effect yet), are “killing jobs.” She said the law took over one-sixth of the economy and hard work is needed to repeal it. Cain said insurance mandates are unconstitutional. Gingrinch said they all want to repeal the law. Huntsman, out in front of the curve, asked how they would solve the issue once the existing law was repealed.

ENERGY POLICY: Romney suggested developing oil, gas and nuclear power. Huntsman said gas prices are determined in the market and government cannot dictate them. The true cost of gas, he said, includes government spending to keep the Persian Gulf sea lanes open. Bachmann said a gallon of gas was $1.79 when Obama took office and we needed energy jobs in America. She was asked to explain her suggestion to drill in the Everglades. Gingrich would drill in Alaska. Perry thought climate change was not science.

FEMA: Paul said it didn’t exist before 1979. He would let private airlines take over the TSA.

EDUCATION: Gingrich would give Pell Grants to kindergarten through 12th grade. Huntsman said Republicans cannot be anti-science. On poverty, Santorum said he reduced it through welfare reform, and wanted to eliminate the dependency culture.

DEATH PENALTY: Perry received great applause from the partisan audience as he said Americans support capital punishment, and he slept well after executing more prisoners than any other state.

As to their fitness to serve, Huntsman, a former governor and ambassador, said he served 4 presidents: Reagan, Bush I, Bush II and Obama, and only he would be able to attract independents.