Posts tagged ‘Social Security’

11/04/2012

Undecided Voters: Social Issues

The better choice on each issue is in the left column, indicated by a (D) for Democrat, (R) for Republican, or (N) for neither.

(D) VOTING RIGHTS AND ELECTIONS: Which party is more likely to promote a constitution amendment to remove money from campaigns, or appoint Supreme Court justices willing to interpret large contributions as bribery? Romney goes in the wrong direction as he suggests getting rid of campaign finance laws. (1-16-12). Who is more likely to promote and protect the right to vote by removing unnecessary obstacles, and yet preserve the integrity of the system? Democrats clearly win this one.

(D) MEDICARE: Although the nation must get Medicare spending under control, Romney has no solution, for he would block grant it to the states, which would effectively kill it. (10-18-11) (11-12-11) (2-22-12). Not changing things for current retirees is just a way of screwing those who’ll retire later (1-8-12) Romney wants a premium voucher program, which inevitably will not cover increases in insurance company premiums (1-16-12).

(D) MEDICAID: Romney would also effectively end Medicaid by sending it to the states. (1-16-12). As he put it, he would get the government out of Medicaid. (1-19-12). The problem is a large segment of the population will prematurely die off.

(D) HEALTH CARE COSTS: Health care needs tough federal regulation to control doctor and hospital costs, as well as drug prices, but neither party openly proposes a solution. Since regulation is the only answer, and the modern Republican Party never advocates price controls, Romney cannot be the solution.

(D) OBAMACARE: Romney was wrong when he thought Obamacare would be declared unconstitutional. (12-10-11). He repeatedly promised to repeal it. (10-11-11) (10-18-11) (1-7-12) (1-16-12) (1-19-12) (2-22-12). He posed a good question when he asked what we would be replaced with. (10-11-11). He alleged Obamacare raises taxes 500 billion, cuts Medicare 500 billion, and is a government takeover. (10-11-11). He thinks eliminating it would save 95 billion annually (11-12-11) (1-7-12). Romney would give states health care waivers (9-22-11), which effectively would repeal it. Since the current health care system is dysfunctional, the greatest problem with the Republican position is their failure to suggest a rational intelligent alternative.

(D) INDIVIDUAL MANDATE: Romney argued people need to purchase health insurance to show their personal responsibility. (8-11-11) (11-9-11). He said uninsured persons are going to emergency rooms and taxpayers end up picking up the tab. (9-7-11). Romney insulted those who cannot afford health insurance by calling them “free riders.” (1-26-12). He later contradicted himself saying he opposed the individual mandate (1-23-12). The problem is even with a government voucher program, health care providers and health insurance companies will continue raising costs and premiums, and most will be priced out of coverage. Deductibles and co-pays will continue to rise. Prices need to be controlled and regulated. Since Republicans will never regulate, the vote has got to go to the Democrats.

(D) PRESCRIPTION DRUGS: Romney said he would not repeal the unfunded Prescription Drug Program started by Little Bush (9-12-11). The problem is we need drug price regulation, but the Republicans will never do it. Our only hope is with Democrats.

(D) SOCIAL SECURITY RETIREMENT: Social Security retirement should never be confused with Medicare, or other social welfare programs. The retirement plan, created in 1935, is the most successful and efficient program ever created by the federal government. It needs nothing, except to be left alone. While Romney called it an “essential program” (9-12-11), Republicans from Reagan to Little Bush have advocated phasing it out. So, even though Romney said we should save the retirement plan (9-7-11), he would be pressured by House Republicans to push a right-wing agenda, which is to privatize it. Although Romney said it would not change for current retirees (1-8-12), he would add a year or two to the retirement age (1-16-12).

(D) WELFARE: Romney would turn poverty programs back to the states (1-8-12), which would kill them. He thinks Obama is creating a welfare state (1-19-12), and the U.S. has become an entitlement society. (1-16-12). Romney would block grant Food Stamps (2-22-12), which would cripple the needs of the hungry.

(D) EDUCATION: Romney apparently thinks there is something wrong with teacher unions, as he said he would stand up them. (9-22-11) While he would test children in math and English (2-22-12), which is fine, too many Republicans push the idea of privatizing schools, a long range threat to our culture.

(D) EDUCATIONAL TV/PUBLIC BROADCASTING (PBS): In an shocking campaign promise, Romney said he would eliminate Public Broadcasting (11-12-11). At a time when more, not less, non-fictional programming on science is needed, why cut PBS? Personally, it’s the only benefit I ever received from the federal government. I can’t believe any candidate would eliminate it.

(D) ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: In Presidential elections, we don’t just elect a man; we choose a party to manage the agencies of government. If Romney wins, House Republicans will name the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Extremists like Republican Michelle Bachmann, who advocated abolishing it, will have influence. If Romney wins, we will have a weak EPA. We should prefer over-regulation, than the other way around. Although Romney said we can’t let pollution flow from one state to another (1-8-12), which implies a need for federal law, modern Republicans cannot be trusted to regulate.

(D) FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY (FEMA) The storm that just hit the East Coast is a good reminder of how bad it would be if FEMA had been abolished, or privatized. We need to remember we all sink or swim together.

(D) SUPREME COURT: It is likely the next President will appoint one or more Justices. A Romney win would tip the court to the hard right. The Court currently has four right-wing Justices: Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts (on most issues). Reagan’s appointee Kennedy completes the usual conservative majority, which has existed since 1972.

(D) ABORTION: The secular right to “liberty” found in the 5th and 14th Amendments allows women to have an abortion in the earlier stages of pregnancy, when the fetus is incapable of living outside the womb. As a practical matter, attempts to outlaw abortion have been a waste of time. Even if the anti-abortion crowd had another Justice, who would ignore precedent, and reverse Roe v Wade, subsequent attempts to convict women and doctors would fail. Prosecutors will never get 12 jurors to convict women or doctors, and there would be hung jury after hung jury. We live in a free country which has no official religious creed. People disagree as to whether life begins at birth, or some other point before the fetus can live outside the womb. Romney, a missionary for the very conservative Mormon Church, will almost certainly appoint right-wing Justices. He changed his position on abortion. Most recently, he said he is pro-life (12-15-11) (1-19-12). He said Roe v Wade was wrong, it should be overturned, and the issue should be left to the states. (1-7-12). His stand would only give religious fanatics the power to impose their religious views on a secular society, filled with many who want to be free.

(D) CONTRACEPTIVES: Romney did not think any state wanted to ban contraceptives (1-7-12), but he is part of a right-wing Republican Party willing to turn back the hands of time.

(D) GAYS: Romney, whose Mormon grandfather fled the U.S. and moved to Mexico, because he believed strongly in the right to have more than one wife, ironically wants to amend the Constitution to limit marriages to one man and one women. Why the Republicans want to control the life of gays, who are genetically predisposed, is a mystery. We live in free country. It’s time to leave gays alone. Although Romney opposes same-sex marriage (12-15-11) (1-8-12) (1-16-12), and would amend the constitution to stop gay marriage (1-7-12) (1-8-12), the Democrats have the better position, as they believe in personal freedom.

(D) GUNS: Neither party is doing much to control hand guns in cities. Romney signed an assault weapons ban when he was Gov. in Massachusetts, but now he says he is pro-gun (12-15-11). The Republicans offer little hope to control firearm violence.

(D) RELIGION: Romney served overseas in France as a missionary for the Mormon Church. (12-10-11). He said he would seek guidance and providence in making critical decisions (1-26-12). He thinks Obama is somehow attacking religious freedom. (2-22-12). I have no idea what Romney is talking about.

Advertisements
02/23/2012

Republican Debate in Arizona (2-22-12)

WAR: Paul correctly said a “pre-emptive war” is a “war of aggression.” We have been fighting offensive, not defensive wars. If we go to war against Iran, Paul said, it should be done properly, by first asking Congress for a Declaration of War. Gingrich foolishly said there are moments when you engage in pre-emptive war (also known as illegal aggression under international law).

DEFENSE: Paul predicted the Draft would be brought back, because we are in way over our heads. He said foreign aid ends up helping our enemies. Santorum thinks Defense Spending takes a smaller portion of the budget than in the past, and he would not cut it. Romney accused Obama of shrinking the Navy, Air Force, and active-duty personnel by 50,000 to 100,000. He would instead add ships, planes, and personnel by 100,000. He responded to Santorum’s problem with women in the military, saying they have the capacity to serve in responsible positions.

MIDEAST/SYRIA/PAKISTAN: Paul said Al Qaida is bankrupting us as they bogged us down in the Mideast, where we have spent 4 trillion in the last 10 years. We don’t have money for another war in Syria, he said. Santorum thinks Syria is a puppet of Iran. Romney said Syria shadows Lebanon, and threatens Israel. He wants the Alawites in Syria to abandon Assad. He is also concerned with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

IRAN: Paul said we don’t know if Iran has a nuclear weapon, but they cannot possibly attack anyone, because we have 45 bases, plus submarines, all around their country. All we are doing is making them feel threatened, and encouraging them to get a bomb. Sanctions are already backfiring, he said, because they cause Iranians to rally behind their leaders. We don’t have money for another war in Iran, Paul said. Gingrich accused Ahmadinejad of being a dictator, of denying the Holocaust, of wanting to push the U.S. out of the Mideast, and eliminate Israel from the face of the map. Romney wants crippling sanctions against Iran. He actually believes if Iran obtains fissile material, they will give it to Hezbollah and Hamas, who will take it into Latin America, where they will “potentially” bring it across the U.S. border, and then detonate “dirty bombs.” He thinks Obama told Israel not to take any action.

LATIN AMERICA: Romney thinks Hezbollah is operating in Latin America. He noted Northern Mexico is a problem.

IMMIGRATION: Paul wants us to forget about the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and deal with our own. We need to reward legal immigration, he said. He thinks the welfare state causes immigrants to cross over for benefits. Romney enabled his state police to take them out by enforcing illegal immigration laws. He fought for English emersion classes in schools. He said since e-verify allows employers to know who is here legally, illegals have dropped by 14%. Santorum would create a loophole in e-verify, by not requiring homeowners to use it. Gingrich said the failure to control our border is a failure of will. He wants a President who works with governors, not sues them. He said the fence between San Diego and Tijuana worked, even though it is in a densely-populated area. The further the fence was extended, the fewer crossed into California. He would move half the Dept of Homeland Security to border states to get the fencing done. He voted for a employer-sanction law in 1986, signed by Reagan, which was to have solved the immigration problem. He said people who do business in Mexico, do not want the border closed.

ENERGY: Gingrich does not want American Presidents to have to bow to Saudi Kings over energy. He believes Iran is partly responsible for what is going on at the gas pump, as one of every five barrels of oil goes through the Straits of Hormuz. We should get into the position where we could say we do not care what the Mideast does. If we opened up federal lands and offshore areas for development, Gingrich said, and replaced the EPA, the government would realize 16 to 18 trillion in royalties, and gas prices would drop to $2.50 per gallon.

BANKS: Romney said: “I didn’t want to save Wall Street banks.” He was worried the entire currency system would go down.

AUTO: Paul said the government should not be in the business of supporting auto labor contracts. He reminded the audience Santorum opposed the auto bailout. Santorum said he helped the airline industry after 911, because the government shut them down. He said Romney is not principled, as he was for the Wall Street bailout, but against helping Detroit auto workers. Romney admitted he wanted the auto companies to go through a “managed” bankruptcy, like the airlines did, to shed excessive costs imposed by the UAW. He took a contradictory position however saying: “No way would we allow the auto industry in America to totally implode and disappear.” Gingrich agreed a managed bankruptcy would have been best for the auto industry.

HOUSING: Paul said the government should not bail out housing.

HEALTH: Gingrich said when the government becomes the central provider of services, they inevitably move towards tyranny, as they force people to do things. Santorum promised to target Medicare for budget cuts. He pledged to repeal Obamacare. He said he always opposed Title X funds, but pushed abstinence-based program spending under Title XX. He accused the Mass health law of being the model for Obamacare. Romney said states have the right under the 10th Amendment to do what he did in Mass. He would repeal Obamacare, because he doesn’t think the federal government should cut Medicare by 500 billion.

EDUCATION: Paul said the Constitution gives the federal government no power in education. He said Santorum is a fake, because he votes for No Child Left Behind, but now he wants to get rid of it. Santorum said he is a home schooling father of seven children. When he voted for No Child Left Behind, it was a mistake, and he now thinks the federal government should get out of education. Romney agreed children should be tested in math and English before they graduate. Gingrich would shrink the federal Dept of Education down to nothing but research. He thinks teachers unions only care about protecting bad teachers.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Santorum said we need to “deal with” Social Security. He said “all” the seniors in Pennsylvania rely on it, because the rich ones moved to Florida and Arizona.

WELFARE: Santorum said poverty in single-parent households is five times greater than two-parent homes. His solution is to go after food stamps (to make sure hungry people go without). Romney would block grant Medicare, housing vouchers, and food stamps to the states.

GOVERNMENT: Romney would link government pay to private sector pay. Gingrich would repeal 130-year-old civil service laws.

BUDGET/DEBT/TAXES: Santorum said he was rated most fiscally conservative in his 12 years in the Senate. He explained earmarking is abused, and would oppose their use as President. We cannot default on the Debt Ceiling, he added. He said Romney is now suggesting raising taxes on the top 1 percent. Romney said the earmark process is broken, and he would ban it, because it opens the door to excessive spending. He supports a line-item veto to deal with earmarks. He would ask if a program justifies borrowing from China to pay for it. He claimed he balanced his state budget all four years. Santorum said the only reason Romney balanced his budget was his state constitution required it. Gingrich wants a balanced budget. He would eliminate capital gains taxes on more than just those earning less than $200,000. Paul said he never voted for a budget deficit, or an increase the National Debt. He said we pay gas taxes into a trust fund, and should get our fair share, but they spend it overseas.

CONSTITUTION: Paul said he is the defender of the Constitution and liberty, and his platform is the road to peace and prosperity. The Constitution does not provide “women’s rights or men’s rights,” There are no group rights. He said we take an oath to our office, not to a political party to vote the way they want.

RELIGION: Romney alleged we have never seen attacks like these against religious conscience, freedom, and tolerance.

ABORTION/CONTRACEPTION: Paul said the government should not spend money on abstinence. Pills don’t cause immorality, people do. Romney alleged Obama was trying to require Catholics to provide birth control, sterilization, and morning-after pills. He said he stood on the side of life, when his legislature refused to define it as starting at conception. He vetoed a bill regarding embryo farming and cloning. He said liberals go crazy over teaching abstinence. He denied requiring Catholic hospitals to provide morning after pills. He said the Mass. health law did not require contraceptive coverage. He said Santorum opposed contraceptives, but voted for Title X. Gingrich claimed state senator Obama voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived abortions. He wants Planned Parenthood to get nothing. Santorum said, if elected, he would talk about the “dangers of contraception.” He illogically added we have a problem of children born out of wedlock. He said this doesn’t mean he wants a government program to fix it.

ADOPTION: Romney sided with Catholic adoption agencies regarding their preference for placement in homes with a man and a woman. He wanted the Catholic Church to stay in the adoption business, as they were responsible for half of them in Mass.

01/19/2012

Republican Debate: S. Carolina (1-16-12)

DEFENSE SPENDING: When Ron Paul was asked if his policies would eliminate military jobs in South Carolina, he said he wants to cut spending overseas. Spending 1 billion on an embassy in Iraq, he said, is not defense, it is waste. He would follow Eisenhower’s admonition about the military-industrial complex, as he said, we don’t need 900 bases in 130 countries. Romney wants a military so strong no one would test it. He apparently believes our navy is now smaller than it was in 1917, and our air force is smaller than it was in 1947. (Does he really think this?)

FOREIGN POLICY: We should declare war before getting into one, Paul lectured. We no longer declare war. We now use the doctrine of “pre-emptive war” to start them. We don’ t even have enemies. We bomb countries and then wonder why they get upset with us. Paul was booed as he said we wouldn’t like it if other countries did to us, what we do to them. Paul was also booed when he said we should follow the Golden Rule in foreign policy.

AFGHAN: Paul wants to bring our troops home. His support is from military personnel, sick and tired of war. We are not leaving Afghanistan, even though 80% of America wants out. When Paul was in the Air Force (1962-68), he served in the Afghan-Pakistan region, and remembers the Taliban were our allies, when we opposed the Russian intervention. He warned us not to mix the Taliban, who oppose foreign intervention, with al Qaeda, who seek to kill us. Romney would not negotiate with the Taliban, because he thinks they declared war on us. He said Obama’s announcement of a withdrawal, weakened our ability to negotiate.

IRAQ: Paul said we are still in Iraq. Romney believes incorrectly we “had to” go to war “in the case of Iraq.”

IRAN: Paul said regarding Iran, they are building up for another war we don’t need.

PAKISTAN: Paul believes we have a flawed Pakistan policy.

SYRIA: Santorum said Syria is a threat to Israel. He wants to bring about the removal of Assad, but opposes U.S. intervention.

TURKEY: Perry, who lived in Turkey while in the Air Force in the 1970s, made the ridiculous and stupid argument they have been taken over by Islamic terrorists. He said their membership in NATO should be re-evaluated, and their foreign aid should go to zero. He lumped Turkey in the same category with Iran and Syria, even though these countries are vastly different.

RULE OF LAW: Paul denied he opposed the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. He in fact voted for the authority to go after him, following 911. He asked: What is so bad about capturing people? We captured Saddam Hussein, tried him, and hung him. Adolf Eichmann was also captured, given a trial, and executed. Why didn’t we try to get information from bin Laden? Gingrich said we need to just kill America’s enemies, not capture them. Romney also said the right thing for Osama bin Laden was a bullet in the head. He said we have a right to detain al Qaeda in prison, as enemy combatants, and deny them due process of law. Paul said the Patriot Act eliminated the 4th Amendment. The Defense Appropriation Act allows us to take citizens under suspicion, and hold them indefinitely, without a lawyer, or the right of habeas corpus. 260 al Qaeda have been tried and convicted Paul said, and we don’t need to give up on the judicial system. Perry said terrorists who cut off heads and hang contractors from bridges, commit despicable acts, not the Marines who urinated on corpses.

IMMIGRATION: Romney opposes favoritism or special routes to citizenship. We have to stop the flood of illegal immigration, he said. Perry would secure the borders.

JOBS: Gingrich claims he and Reagan created 16 million jobs and he and Bill Clinton added another 11 million. He wants to find ways to help the poor learn how to get a job and someday own it.

UNEMPLOYMENT: Santorum thinks it’s wrong for the federal government to uproot state unemployment programs by extending benefits. Gingrich would connect UC to job training.

LABOR: Santorum admitted voting against a right-to-work law, saying he is from a non-right-to-work state. Perry claimed the NLRB is telling South Carolina, a right to work state, what to do.

FINANCE: Perry advocates repealing the Dodd-Frank financial regulations. Romney vowed if Europe has a financial crisis, he won’t give a blank check or go over there to save their banks.

VULTURE CAPITALISM: Gingrich asked Romney to respond to questions about taking money out of companies, walking off with profits, and letting them go bankrupt. Bain invested in over 100 companies, Romney said. Four created 120,000 jobs, while others lost jobs. He said Staples, Bright Horizons, the Sports Authority and a steel company in Indiana added 120,000 jobs. He was asked about American Pad and Paper, which after being purchased for 5 million, borrowed money, took 100 million in profit, and then went bankrupt. Romney said people who lost jobs were offered new ones in other plants. Perry accused Romney of picking a company apart in Georgetown, SC and causing people to lose jobs. Romney said the SC steel mill closed down, because of dumping from abroad.

ENERGY: Romney would take advantage of our natural resources and would use oil, coal, gas, and nuclear.

HOUSING: Perry thinks the federal government via Freddie and Fannie should get out of the housing market.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Romney would make no changes for those 55 or older, but he would add a year or two to the retirement age. Gingrich said Chile has a system that yields 2 to 3 times the government payment. He would make all Americans investors.

HEALTH: Romney wants a premium support program for Medicare. He would send Medicaid back to the states. He would repeal Obamacare.

BUDGET: Romney claimed to have balanced the Mass. budget every year. Perry wants a Balanced Budget Amendment.

TAXES: Romney claimed to have reduced taxes 19 times in Mass. He said tax rates are too high. He would reduce the top rate from 35% to 25% and eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains. When asked if he would release his tax returns, he said he had not planned on it, but maybe in April, if he becomes the nominee. Perry said the highest federal income tax rate should be 7%. He would have a flat tax of 20%, but would allow home mortgage, local taxes, and charitable deductions. He would get rid of capital gains taxes. Santorum wants just a 10% and a 28% rate. He would cut corporate taxes from 35% to 17.5%. Manufacturing would be treated differently, because they are in competition with the rest of the world. Gingrich wants a flat tax rate of 15%. Paul would reduce income taxes to zero.

DISCRIMINATION IN LEGAL SYSTEM: Paul said blacks are imprisoned at a rate four times greater than whites for victimless drug-related offenses.

VOTING RIGHTS: Santorum asked Romney if X-felons who have done their time should be allowed to vote. When Romney said he didn’t think former felons should be allowed to vote, Santorum reminded him that Mass allowed even those who still on probation or parole to vote, and asked Romeny why he did not try to change that law. Perry said South Carolina is at war with the federal government over their voter ID law.

CAMPAIGN ADS: Romney hoped super-PACs would run accurate ads. He favors getting rid of campaign finance laws. He wants campaigns to run their own ads, and take responsibility for them. He said he could not talk to Super-PACs running his ads.

EDUCATION: Gingrich said No Child Left Behind is a failure, as teachers teach to the test. He would eliminate Dept. of Education

ENTITLEMENTS: Romney thinks Obama is making the U.S. an entitlement society, another European social welfare state.

POVERTY/FOOD STAMPS: Santorum believes three things are need to avoid poverty: a job, high school diploma, and marriage before having children. He claims Obama no longer promotes marriage as a way of avoiding poverty. Gingrich claims 185 different federal bureaucracies deal with low income Americans. He thinks Obama wants to maximize dependency. He called him “the best food stamp president in American history.” When he was asked if it was insulting to suggest black kids should work as school janitors, and blacks should demand jobs, not food stamps, he said no, to wild applause from a white audience of prejudiced South Carolina Republicans. He believes NY pays their janitors an absurd amount of money. The crowd booed Juan Williams as he asked Gingrich if he was belittling racial minorities about a lack of a work ethic, and by saying Obama was a food stamp president. Gingrich said more people than ever went on food stamps during the past three years of the Obama administration.

RELIGION: Perry thinks Obama is at war against organized religion. He claimed the Catholic Church cannot receive federal funds, because of their position on abortion.

GAYS: Romney said he supports equal rights regardless of sexual orientation, but he has always opposed gay marriage.

GUNS: Gingrich accused Romney of signing a ban on assault weapons and of increasing fees on gun owners by 400%.  Romney said the Mass law was supported by both sides. Santorum said his support for trigger locks and background checks was backed by the NRA. He banned lawsuits against gun manufacturers, where injuries were sustained despite proper use of a firearm. Paul said we should not have national tort law, since these issues should be dealt with by the states. Santorum said lawsuits would have gone forward in liberal states, if there was not a national ban.

ABORTION: Gingrich opposes abortion and China’s one-child policy.

01/17/2012

Republican Debate: New Hamp (1-8-12)

FOREIGN POLICY: Paul said we need someone to challenge our huge empire overseas and the amount we spend on it. Elections are held overseas, he said, but we refuse to accept results. We can no longer have 900 bases in 130 countries, he said. Santorum argued the problem with Paul is all the things Republicans like about him, he cannot accomplish, and all the things they worry about, he can do on day one. As commander-in-chief, on day one, Paul could pull all our troops back from overseas. We would no longer have the 5th Fleet in the Persian Gulf. Perry also disagreed with Paul, saying overseas spending is not our biggest problem.

DEFENSE SPENDING: Huntsman said Defense should not be a sacred cow. If we cannot find cuts in the Defense, we are nuts.

IRAN: Santorum argued Iran has a theocracy which believes the afterlife is better than this one. They are different than the Soviets, China, or North Korea, as they would actually use nuclear weapons, since they value martyrdom and would die for Allah.

PAKISTAN: Even though Pakistan already has nuclear weapons, Santorum said they are a secular state, and not theocratic.

SOCIALISM: Perry believes Obama is a socialist. Paul said there is a socialism for the rich. The banks, and military industrial complex run the entitlement system, and benefit from it.

CAPITALISM: Gingrich referred to a NY Times report that said Romney’s Bain Capital engaged in behavior which looted a company and left 1,700 unemployed.

RECESSION: Romney does not blame Obama for the recession, but claims he is responsible for getting us deeper into it and causing it to go on longer.

BANKS: Romney argues the Dodd-Frank Bill made it harder for community banks to make loans.

LABOR: Perry thinks there is a federal law that forces states to enact right-to-work laws. He claims he is not anti-union, but instead pro-jobs. Santorum would sign a national right-to-work law. Romney said the anti-union right-to-work laws make sense for the entire nation. He also claims Obama stacked the National Labor Relations Board with “labor stooges.”

ENERGY: In response to a question regarding home heating oil prices rising in NH to $4 gallon, because Obama cut the program that helps low income people, Huntsman said we need to disrupt the oil monopoly. Paul wants energy deregulated. He said subsidizing it is not the way to do it. Gingrich wants federal lands and offshore areas opened for oil and gas development. Romney said air pollution is a reason to switch to natural gas, located in the Dakotas, Penn and Texas, which costs only a fraction of oil.

ENVIRONMENT: Romney said we are responsible for clean air and cannot allow pollution from one state to flow to another state.

HEALTH CARE: Huntsman agrees with the Ryan plan which would remove 6.2 trillion from the budget over 10 years. Medicare should not be a sacred cow, he said. He would impose means testing. Gingrich called the new Ryan-Wyden bill more sensible. Paul explained medical care is not a right, like liberty, but rather an entitlement. He explained federal employees have a choice of plans. If they opt for a more expensive one, their co-insurance costs are higher. Romney would cut Obamacare and save 95 billion a year. Santorum opposes subsidizing high income seniors and supports anti-socialist approaches like Medical Savings Accounts, Medicare Advantage, based on premiums, and Medicare Part D.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Romney does not want to change Medicare or Social Security for current retirees.

POVERTY: Romney said federal poverty programs need to be sent back to the states. Given the bureaucracy, he thinks very little actually reaches those who need it. Santorum would block grant food stamps and housing and send them back to the states.

AGENCIES: Perry would eliminate the Energy, Commerce, and Education Depts. Romney would cut a whole series of programs.

TERM LIMITS: Huntsman said, as a candidate for governor, he talked about term limits and campaign finance reform.

BUDGET: The only people who would be in pain through budget cuts are crooks, Gingrich said. Romney said we need to stop the extraordinary spending going on for the past 20, 30 to 40 years.  Paul said his 1 trillion dollar proposal to cut spending would not begin with Social Security, but rather overseas spending. He would return to the 2006 budget. Perry said spending is the biggest problem and wants a balanced budget amendment.

TAXES: The right course, Romney said, is not to raise taxes. Huntsman said loopholes and deductions weigh down our tax code by 1 trillion dollars, and give rise to lobbying on Capitol Hill. We must say good-bye to corporate welfare and subsidies.

FAMILY: Santorum believes the breakdown of the American family is undermining America, as he pointed out the rate of poverty in single-parent families is five times higher.

GAYS: Romney would not discriminate against gays. He appointed people to the bench regardless of sexual orientation, but does not favor same-sex marriage. Santorum said every person should be treated with respect and dignity and should have equal opportunity, but he opposes adoption by gay couples.

ELECTABILITY: Romney will have a very hard time getting elected, Gingrich argued. Romney called himself a conservative, who balanced the Mass budget 4 years straight, and cut taxes 19 times. Santorum pointed out that if Romney was such a great Mass. Gov, why didn’t he run for re-election? He said Romney lost a race to Sen. Kennedy in 1994 by 20 points. When Romney claimed politics is not a career for him, Gingrich told him to drop the “pious baloney.” He said Romney has been running for office since the 1990s.  Paul doesn’t think the Republicans will do well with a candidate who endorsed the single-payer system and TARP bailouts. Paul sponsored 620 measures, but just 4 made it to the floor, and only 1 became law.

01/16/2012

Republican Debate: New Hamp (1-7-12)

QUALIFICATIONS: Huntsman repeated he lived overseas four times and managed two American embassies, one in China. Santorum mentioned his eight years on the Armed Services Committee, as qualification for Commander-in-Chief.

TERROR: Santorum said Obama is trying to make the war on terror politically correct by removing the words “radical Islam” from every defense document.

DEFENSE: Santorum argued government has a role to play in defense. Romney accused Obama of wanting to shrink the military, and Perry said he is cutting 1 billion in defense spending.

MILITARY SERVICE: Paul, who was drafted and served when he was young, noted 40,000 were seriously injured in our recent wars, while 8,500 died, and those who received 3, 4 or 5 deferments and did not serve, have no right to send our kids off to war. Gingrich said during the Vietnam War, he was married and never requested a deferment. He claimed he was somehow ineligible for the draft. Paul said when he was drafted, he went despite being married with two children. Romney, who received several deferments during Vietnam, finds it extraordinary that only a few families are paying the price for freedom.

AFGHAN: Huntsman said we drove the Taliban from power in Afghanistan, ran al Qaeda out into sanctuaries, held free elections, and eliminated bin Laden. It is time to come home and stop nation-building. He thinks a civil war is around the corner. He would leave behind only Special Forces and 10,000 troops for intelligence gathering. Romney would listen to the generals on the ground, and without reason, said he would wait until 2014 to withdraw. Huntsman said we deferred to the generals in 1967 and did not get good results.

IRAN: Paul said he does not want Iran to get a nuclear weapon, but putting sanctions against Iran will only lead to the unintended consequence of pushing them into the hands of China. Romney accused Obama of not imposing crippling sanctions against Iran. Santorum wants to help the revolutionaries in Iran as he called the situation the most pressing issue of the day. Gingrich worries more about the closing of the Straits of Hormuz, since one of six barrels of oil flows through it every day.

IRAQ: Perry wants to send troops back into Iraq now. He worries Iran will enter Iraq. Romney would not now send troops to Iraq.

TRADE: Romney said China and European states opened 44 different trade relationships with various nations around the world. We have to do the same for American goods, claiming Obama not. He also said China manipulates their currency and if you artificially hold down its value, you make your products lower-priced and kill American jobs. Huntsman said its nonsense to think you can slap a tariff on China your first day in office as Romney would do. He said Romney would take us into a trade war where we would get tariffs in return that will hurt our exports. Romney said China does not want a trade war, because they sell more to us than we sell to them. He would hold China to free and fair trade rules. Gingrich said we cannot compete with China with an inferior infrastructure.

VULTURE CAPITALISM: Gingrich accused Romney of making spectacular profits by stripping American businesses of assets, selling everything to the highest bidder, and killing jobs for big financial rewards. He opposed leveraged buyouts, where money is taken out and workers are left behind. He said Bain bankrupted companies and laid off employees. Romney said companies must downsize before turning around and making a success. Bain invested in over 100 businesses, he said, and on balance claimed 100,000 jobs were added. Steel Dynamics in Indiana added thousands, Bright Horizons 15,000, Sports Authority 15,000, and Staples 90,000. Romney said sometimes they were not successful.

MANUFACTURING: Huntsman thinks we can win back investment and have a manufacturing renaissance.

FINANCE: Paul thinks we are in a 40-year financial bubble which is bursting and we must liquidate the debt. Romney opposed the Dodd-Frank bill.

CLASS WAR: Santorum said there are no classes in America; there are middle income people

JOBS: Romney hopes the economy is turning around, because there are 25 million unemployed or who stopped looking. Obama’s policies have made the recession deeper, he argues. Perry wants New Hampshire to pass a right-to-work law, and Paul said Santorum voted against right-to-work laws.

REGULATIONS: Perry thinks Americans want less regulation.

ENERGY: Romney said our policies keep us from using our own energy. Perry wants to open up federal lands and waters to more domestic energy drilling, so we are not hostage to countries hostile to us. Gingrich wants an energy plan free of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela. Santorum served on a coal company board.

TRANSPORTATION: Gingrich said we must make investments, because we cannot complete with China with an inferior infrastructure. Romney advocated improving our infrastructure by rebuilding bridges, roads, rail beds, and air transport systems.

HEALTH: Romney opposed Obamacare. Huntsman said he reformed health care in Utah, without an individual mandate. Paul said Santorum voted for the Prescription drug program.

EDUCATION: Paul said Santorum voted to double the Dept of Education.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Santorum said he voted for SS reform.

BUDGET/DEBT: Paul said Santorum is a big government person who voted to raise the debt ceiling five times. For the past 26 years, Paul voted against appropriations bills. Perry wants to get rid of what he called corrupt spending. Santorum said increases in the debt ceiling have happened for 200 years.

TAXES: Huntsman would eliminate 1 billion of loopholes in the tax code. He implemented a flat tax in Utah, and said the Wall St Journal endorsed his tax plan. Santorum would keep only the deductions for health care, housing, pensions, children, and charity.  He would cut corporate income tax in half, down to 17.5%. He claims the 35% rate is the highest in the world. Romney said we must have some taxes to pay for our military, but noted government has grown from 27% in JFK’s day to 37% now. He repeated a pledge to eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains. Perry thinks Americans want less taxation.  Gingrich would reduce capital gains to zero, corporate income tax to 12.5% and he would abolish the death tax. He would allow 100% expensing for all new equipment.

TERM LIMITS: Huntsman wants Congressional terms limits.

DISCRIMINATION IN LEGAL SYSTEM: Paul said the legal system discriminates, as it arrests and imprisons blacks for drug offenses far more than whites. They get the death penalty more often, he added.

CONTRACEPTION: Santorum believes there is no constitutional right to privacy, and states have a 10th Amendment right to ban contraception. After being directed to Griswold v Conn (1965), in which a state law banning contraception was challenged, Romney doesn’t think any state today wants to ban contraception.

ABORTION: Romney said Roe v Wade (1973) was not decided correctly because he thinks the issue should have been left to the states. He wants the ruling overturned.

PRIVACY: Paul correctly informed everyone the 4th Amendment contains privacy protections. Santorum agreed there is a right to privacy in the 4th Amendment.

GAYS: Huntsman, married 28 years with 7 children, thinks civil unions are fair. Santorum said gay marriage is not a federal issue, but marriage itself is because we need one law on the topic. We cannot have someone married in one state, and not in another. He wants a federal law that bans adoption for gay couples. Romney would amend the constitution as to gay marriage. Gingrich said gays ought to be able to designate friends in their last will or who can make hospital visits, but not through marriage, which should be reserved to one man and one woman. Perry favors a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Gingrich, Santorum, Romney all got it wrong when they said in succession if they were not debating they would be watching the championship college football game. The game was actually not on until a few evenings later.

12/13/2011

Republican Debate in Iowa (12-10-11)

Six of the remaining Republican candidates, with the notable absence of Gov. Huntsman, debated in Iowa on Dec. 10, 2011.

CANDIDATE HARDSHIPS: Romney admitted he didn’t grow up poor. If people are looking for that background, he said, he is not their man. He said his father taught him hard work, by making sure he had jobs, such as serving overseas for his church. While debating health care, Romney however showed how out-of-touch he is with normal people, by offering to bet Perry, not $10, but $10,000, over the content of his book. Perry explained his family didn’t even have running water, until he was a 5-year-old. Paul worked his way through college, saying they didn’t have much. Bachmann got a job at age 13, when her mother divorced, and her family dropped below the poverty level. Gingrich’s father was in the army, causing him to move about a lot. Santorum was happy to have lived in a modest setting with a father and a mother.

FOREIGN POLICY: Paul would stop being the policeman of the world, allowing us to cut billions from overseas spending. He said we don’t need another war in Syria or Iran. We pretend we are leaving Iraq, he said, but we still have 17,000 contractors there. He would get rid of the new embassy in Iraq that cost 1 billion.

IRAN: Perry thinks Obama could have retrieved or at least destroyed the Drone recently downed by Iran. He believes China and Russia now have the Drone’s highly technical equipment.

SPACE: Romney disagreed with Gingrich’s idea to establish a lunar colony to mine minerals from the moon. Gingrich said he only wanted to prompt kids into dreaming of going to Mars.

PALESTINE: Paul correctly explained: when the Ottoman Empire ruled the Mideast, neither the Israelis, nor the Palestinians, had independent states. He suggested letting the people in that region deal with their own problems, as we cannot be the policeman of the world, or settle their disputes, because we are broke. Gingrich, ignorant of history, called the Palestinians an “invented people.” He labeled all of “these people” terrorists. He accused them all of teaching terrorism in schools. He exaggerated, suggesting Israel was getting rocketed every day. He believes the Palestinian “right of return” to their homeland, now illegally occupied by Israel, is based on a historically false story. He incorrectly suggested the word “Palestine” did not become a common term until after 1977. The Chief Palestinian negotiator correctly observed Gingrich’s statements will give Bin Laden like extremists, ammunition for a long time. Romney agreed with “most of what Gingrich said, except the Palestinians are an invented people.” He criticized Obama for wanting to go back to the 1967 borders, as he thinks this would only make things more difficult for Netanyahu. Our disagreements with Israel, he said, should be conducted in private. Bachmann went to Israel in 1974 and worked on a kibbutz. Before she would make any statements about Israel, she would first call Netanyahu to seek his permission, by asking him “would it help if I said this?” She thinks all Palestinians teach their children to hate Jews. Santorum said “the Israelis have a right to determine what happens on their land,” but incorrectly believes, “the West Bank is Israeli land.”

IMMIGRATION: When Gingrich was asked how many years an illegal alien would have to live in the U.S. to get special consideration, he said the issue would be turned over to local review boards, who would consider whether they had been a good local “citizens,” or belonged to a church, before granting residency, not citizenship. He doubted there are 3.5 million who have been here 25 years. He wants severe penalties for employers who hire illegally. Romney said amnesty would give rights to education and health care. He does not want to encourage another wave of illegal immigration and would make them get in the back of the line with everyone else who wants to come here. Perry would enforce the immigration laws already on the books. He would not do catch and release, or sue states like Arizona.

WALL STREET: Bachmann opposed the Wall Street bailout, as they made foolish decisions, took profits in good times, but when things went bad, their losses were socialized. Paul said the Middle Class is being destroyed, and things are only going to get worse.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Perry accused Obama of defunding Social Security through a payroll tax cut. We can’t fix the Trust Fund by taking resources away from it. Either you care about Social Security, and you fund it, or you don’t, he said.

HEALTH CARE: Bachmann said Gingrich advocated for an individual mandate for over 20 years, and Romney implemented socialized medicine in his state. Perry also accused Romney and Gingrich of favoring the individual mandate. Gingrich said the mandate idea arose in the 1990s in response to Hillary Care. Newt said he fought Obamacare every step of the way, incorrectly arguing if Congress can make you buy insurance, they could make you buy anything. He said the whole third party payer model, public or private, has become difficult and expensive, suggesting we return to a doctor-patient relationship, with Health Savings Accounts, so people are involved in their own health care costs. Santorum opposed the mandate in 1994, while a Senate candidate, and supported Medical Savings Accounts. Romney authorized the mandate in Mass, because three of four supported it. He said Obama’s plan does three things Mass. did not do: 1) raise taxes 500 billion; 2) cut Medicare 500 billion; 3) take over health care. Obama’s plan, he said, is wrong, and should be repealed, because it cuts Medicare and raises taxes. He thinks the Supreme Court will declare it unconstitutional, as it violates the 10th Amendment. The right course, Romney said, is to let each state experiment.

JOBS: Gingrich thinks he will create jobs by lowering taxes, repealing regulations, and developing energy. Romney said jobs are not created in Washington, but in the private sector. He would do seven things to create jobs: 1) lower tax rates; 2) change regulations; 3) alter trade policy; 4) use energy resources; 5) curtail the NLRB; 6) use human capital; and 7) limit government spending. Paul thinks jobs are related to financial bubbles, caused by excessive credit, stimulated by the Fed. The debt, he said, inhibits economic growth. Instead of liquidating it, it was dumped on the American people. Paul said the culprit is big government spending. Bachmann thinks she would create 1.4 million jobs by legalizing American energy. She would cut Obamacare, as she believes it will cause a loss of 1.6 million jobs. Santorum said 21% were employed in industry, but now it’s only 9%. To revitalize it, he would eliminate income taxes on manufacturing.

LABOR LAW: Romney does not agree with Gingrich’s idea to abolish Child Labor laws, or have kids clean schools. He said those laws don’t need changing. Gingrich thinks kids should learn to work at an early age, saying janitors in New York are paid twice as much as teachers, and children should take their jobs.

HOUSING: Paul said Gingrich supported TARP, and received a lot of taxpayer money from Freddie Mac, which is essentially a government organization. Gingrich denied being a lobbyist for any government agency. He said he was only paid to give advice. Paul reminded Gingrich he took taxpayer money.

ENERGY: Gingrich said he testified against “cap and trade” and helped defeat it in the Senate, the same day Gore testified for it.

TAXES: Gingrich would eliminate capital gain and death taxes, and would lower corporate income tax rates to 12.5%. Perry wants a flat tax of 20%. Bachmann would abolish the entire Federal Tax Code, and replace it by lowering tax rates for individuals and businesses, and increasing them for the poor, by making sure everyone pays. She said 47% pay no federal income tax. She opposed the payroll tax cut for ordinary Americans, because she called it a gimmick that took 111 billion from the Trust Fund, forcing us to go to the Treasury for the difference. Romney called the payroll tax cut a Band-Aid.  He repeated his desire to help the rich, by eliminating taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains.

FAMILY: Perry said if you cheat on your spouse, why wouldn’t you cheat on anyone? Santorum would not go so far as to say character is a disqualifier, since people make mistakes, but said it’s a factor. Gingrich admitted, as a 68-year-old grandfather, he made mistakes, but went to God for forgiveness, and the question now is whether he can be trusted. Bachmann declared herself an unashamed and unapologetic Christian. Paul, married for 54 years, said marriage vows are as important as the oath of office. If we took our oath seriously, he said we would get rid of 80% of government, have a balanced budget, not be the policeman of the world, not have a Fed Reserve, and not invade the privacy of citizens under the Patriot Act.

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.

11/18/2011

Republican Debate: Michigan (11-9-11)

The Republicans debated in Michigan on Nov. 9, 2011:

CHINA TRADE: Romney would sue China in the WTO, because he said they are unfairly cheating, and not playing by the rules, as they engage in predatory manipulations of their currency, and make Chinese goods artificially low-priced. Huntsman warned randomly slapping tariffs on Chinese goods would trigger a trade war, which is not a good idea, since China would do the same to our exports. Santorum called tariffs a tax on “you.”

EURO CRISIS: As to Europe, Romney said they should take care of their own problems. What is happening in Italy and Greece, he said, is where we are headed if we don’t change. When asked about U.S. contributions to the IMF used to help the Euro Zone, he said the U.S. must focus of our own deficits. Huntsman warned if we do not get on top of our debt, we will soon look like Europe. Cain said there was not a lot we could do about Italy, because they were already beyond the point of return.

OCCUPY WALL STREET: Huntsman wants to be the President of the 99% as well as the 1%. He agreed we should not bail out corporations, because we spent trillions with nothing to show for it. He disagreed with the anti-capitalism message some made.

BANKS: Huntsman is concerned about “too big to fail” and wants a proper size for banks. We must address the problem of banks too big to fail, because they are setting us up long-term disaster. He said six institutions have 9.4 trillion or 60 to 65% of our GDP with implied taxpayer guarantees of protection, which is unfair to taxpayers. They need to be “right-sized.” The banks need to pay to take the risk away from taxpayers. Cain wants to get regulators off the backs of the banks.

FEDERAL RESERVE: Gingrich would fire the Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, and would audit the Fed with a complete disclosure so we know who was bailed out and why. Paul said the Fed is engaged in price-fixing by setting interest rates well below market levels. We are cheating the elderly of interest income they could earn on their CDs, as banks get loans at zero percent.

HOUSING: What about the 25% who owe more to the bank than their house is worth? Gingrich said “short sales” need to be easier. He thinks the banks profit more from foreclosing than by doing “short sales.” He thinks unemployment is keeping housing from coming back. Romney said holding off the foreclosure process, like the president has done, won’t work. The government cannot buy up all the homes in America. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac gave loans to people who could not afford to pay them back. We won’t see home prices return, unless we let the market work. Bachmann said at the time of the meltdown, 50% of homes were financed by Freddie and Fannie, and now its 90%, and yet they want another 7 billion. Cain would make Freddie and Fannie private entities. Paul said the housing debt has to be liquidated, as we are just prolonging the housing bubble agony. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac just keep demanding more money, Paul said.

CORPORATIONS: Romney said it is not a choice between job creation and maximizing profits. Profits help expand businesses and cause them to hire people, he said. Profitable enterprises hire people. He accused the Democrats of not liking business. Perry wants the market and private sector to make decisions. He would let consumers choose winners and losers. He said if a company is too big to fail, it is too big.

LABOR: Cain said the NLRB should not be telling Boeing what to do in South Carolina.

REGULATIONS: Perry said regulations are killing America, and we need to pull back on them. If it kills jobs, do away with it, he said. He would eliminate three agencies, Commerce, Education, but he could not remember the third, until someone prompted him to say EPA. But then he recanted, and said not the EPA. He later said he was trying to remember the Energy Dept.

AUTO BAILOUT: Romney said the auto bailout was wrong, adding they should have gone through a managed bankruptcy. He opposed giving GM to the UAW, and Chrysler to Fiat. Huntsman did not think the 68 billion dollar auto bailout was a good use of taxpayer money. He said Americans are sick and tired of bailouts.

ENERGY: Huntsman wants energy independence. Bachmann said we need to legalize American energy. Santorum wants to produce energy in this country. He wants to cut all the subsidies, and let the market work. He does not favor incentives to get energy businesses going.

HEALTH: Huntsman said we need to address health care cost containment with the 50 governors. He would not have a costly mandate. Half of health care spending is nonsense, he said. We have to get cost out of the system. Patients need to be empowered. We need truly affordable insurance. Paul supports medical savings accounts and would allow opt-outs from Obamacare. We need market forces in medicine, he said. Perry said if Medicare were run by the states, it would save a ton of money. Romney would let the states do their own programs, but thinks individuals must have insurance. Health care has to work more like a market, where people have a stake cost. The malpractice system is nuts, he said, and should be taken over by the federal government. He said government is playing too heavy a role, and patients need to have a stake in cost. He was asked about providing subsidies for those who cannot afford health insurance. Gingrich would turn health care over to the states for experimentation. Bachmann said health care is too expensive. She said Obama promised we would save $2,500 per year in premiums. We need to end the insurance monopoly in every state and allow a free market. Santorum wants the government out of the health care business, and replace it with a consumer driven market.

SOCIAL SECURITY: Gingrich said President Johnson put Social Security into the general budget, and politicians now hide behind it. The money is there and available and the country ought to pay the debt it owes to those who put it there. Bachmann opposes an extension of the payroll tax cut, because it is blowing a hole in the Trust Fund. Perry talked about going to some kind of vague blended price and wage program.

EDUCATION: Paul said there is no authority in the Constitution for the federal government to be involved in education. He would get rid of student loans. Gingrich was asked about student loans and the fact they cannot be wiped out in bankruptcy. Perry said we have to control college Boards of Regents.

SPENDING AND DEBT: Romney said we cannot continue to pass massive debts to the next generation. Romney wants to cut spending. Paul said spending is taxing. He would cut 1 trillion from five departments in his first year. Bachmann said Washington receives 2.2 trillion but spends 3.7 trillion.

TAXES: Bachmann believes taxes cause jobs to leave the U.S. We have the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the world, she said. If state and federal rates are combined, she claimed we have a 40% corporate rate. Capital went to places where rates were falling. We have to lower our rates. Santorum was asked if his proposed zero tax on manufacturing would be flatter, simpler, or fairer. He said he was not picking winners and losers. He said the government made us uncompetitive, and we need to compete on taxes. Perry proposed a 20% flat tax on personal and corporate incomes. Cain would throw out the current tax code. We need something simple, since complexity is costing 430 billion a year. He wants all treated the same, without winners or losers. Romney was asked why he was holding on to the progressive income tax. He said he wanted flatter rates.  He wants special breaks removed. He would reduce the corporate rate from 35% to 25%. Bachman said there is something wrong with the income tax when only 53% pay it, and 47% do not. She wants everyone to pay something. Huntsman wants to phase out loopholes, deductions, corporate welfare, and subsidies. He would lower rates.

HARASSMENT: Cain said he was being tried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded sexual harassment accusations. Voters don’t care about the character assassination, he said. Romney would not say if a CEO like Cain could be kept.

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.