Month: July 2015

Not The Donald

I’ve been having an ongoing conversation with my wife about Donald Trump since he started making noise about running for President in 2016.

Actually my wife and I have had ongoing political conversations since we met 15 years ago. Despite our seemingly opposite viewpoints on several issues, we married and have survived some pretty heated debates.

I started this blog as a way to collect my thoughts and share with her and other family members, but I have my doubts if any of them read it.

Anyway, Donald Trump.

The wanna be president?  A blow-hard with some weird hair style?  The guy who led the “birther” movement which claimed that President Obama was not born in the United States?  The leading Republican Candidate in the polls?

According to the website Real Clear Politics that has a listing of the latest polls, Trump is polling better than any of the other Republican candidates.  His biggest lead was a week ago when he scored a 24.  #2 was Scott Walker with 13 and Jeb Bush had a 12 for 3rd place.

Let’s do some math. 13 from Walker plus 12 from Bush = 25.

Add in the poll numbers from the other candidates and you end up with Trump 24, everyone else 68.

(These numbers are from the ABC/Washington Post 7/16-19 poll).

The talking heads on radio and TV are misinterpreting the meaning of the poll.

They say Trump is the Republican Favorite.

No, he is not.  He leads the polls and that’s it.

Turn it upside down.

68% of the people polled picked someone other than Donald Trump.

The Donald only got 24%.  8% said none of them.

Trump is getting all the media coverage.  He was a known name before this election cycle.  The other candidates are simply not known yet.  I don’t know the differences between each of the candidates, at least not all of them and I am not going to start paying a whole lot of attention, now change that…

I am not going to do a lot of research until a few months from now.

I hear the talking heads tell us why we should or should not like: Bush, Walker, Rubio, Paul, Christie, and all the others, but it’s all fluid, not solid.  No one stands out as a clear leader yet.

Once we get the first debate out of the way and maybe the second debate, I’ll do my research on the real candidates that are still running and see who matches my list of what I want.  No one will.  I know that, but somewhere down the line I’ll pick someone by the time we have our Indiana primary in May. Or vote for Bernie?

But no, Not The Donald.  If you listen closely to what he says he will do, he is making claims that he would do stuff that the President of the United States does not have authority to do. That alone disqualifies him in my book, (along with plenty of other reasons.)

 

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My Political Views Contradict My Political Views

The labels that we assign people politically are limiting and completely screwed up.

Last month I was one of about 30 people who showed up to an invitation only gathering to see and hear a presentation about a local environmental group.  Even that previous statement has some misleading stuff in it.  I said it was by invitation only which was true.  But how do you get an invitation?  From anyone else who got an invite.

The words we use and/or the news media uses shapes our perceptions and views if we let them.  As we prepare for the “running of the bulls.” (bulls is short for another word. Just add “hit”). Sorry I got distracted.  Running of the bulls, also known as the Race for the President of the United States, is in full swing and it’s time to be perfectly clear about stuff that is impossible to be clear about.

Thus the title to this piece, My Political Views Contradict My Political Views.

I’ve been labeled a conservative but I have liberal leanings.

I often vote for Republican candidates, but more and more vote for Democrats and 3rd party folks too.

I believe that our governments has overstepped their authority and we should flush it away and start over.

Except, I fear the process that we have to do that will create a system worse than what we have now.

Very few people know the powers that are assigned to the Federal government versus the State and local governments.  And only a fraction understand the system of checks and balances that were set up a couple hundred years ago that gave certain powers to different branches of our Federal government and restricted their powers at the same time.

The Constitution of the United States and our current Federal government is actually the 2nd system that the original 13 colonies tried to live under after declaring our Independence 239 years ago.  Look it up if you are unaware of this.

The Constitution with the original 10 amendments known as the Bill of Rights, along with the additional amendments that have been added since are the rules and laws that we as a United States of America are under no matter which of the 50 states we are in.   I live in Indiana.  If I travel east 20 minutes or less, I can be in Ohio.  While I am in Ohio, I am subject to their laws and the Constitutional laws of the United States.

We as Americans have demonstrated that we have a heart.  We want equalness and fairness for all.  But we have allowed our Federal government to overstep and to step on the individual states authority to make their own laws.

Do you know how 55 became the legal standard for a speed limit for most states for decades?  From Wikipedia: The Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act was a bill in the U.S. Congress that enacted the National Maximum Speed Law. States had to agree to the limit if they desired to receive federal funding for highway repair. The uniform speed limit was signed into law by President Nixon on January 2, 1974, and became effective 60 days later, by requiring the limit as a condition of each state receiving highway funds, a use of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

Federal Funds. That is how many of the laws of the land get their power.  States must comply with Federal Laws to get their share of money from the Federal Government.

Where does the Federal Government get that money?  Some say they print it which is partially true, but in reality it is money that we as taxpayers pay that is then redistributed according to the the Federal Government.

Who decides how our Federal Government spends our money?  It was supposed to be Congress.  There is a budget process that hasn’t been followed for years and so we have renegade bills that are passed by Congress to spend money without having to make sure they have the income from our taxes to pay for the things they decide to buy.

So far I have written over 600 words and haven’t laid out those political views that contradict each other, so here we go:

Socialism and Capitalism.

The idea of sharing to prevent the less fortunate from suffering due to a lack of money is the good side of the concept of socialism.  It’s even biblical.  But we are to do this on our own, or via organizations that we choose.  Not because the government tells us to.  And the government is usually a poor steward of this redistribution.   So you can say I am against the idea of socialism by our Federal government.  But this is not entirely true.

We have created millions of dependents on Social Security as their means of getting by financially at retirement time.   We cannot stop.  As I get older and see friends and family who depend on Social Security as a primary source of income, I see that it has to continue.

Yes, there are opportunities for people to retire and live off their investments but less than 50% of retires have the ability to do that despite working for decades.  Some simply didn’t save.  Some lost their savings and investments. Social Security is a form of Socialism that I believe needs to stay and be supported.

The idea of having the freedom to own your own stuff and build and make a profit and hire others and pay them… this is the good side of the concept of capitalism.  But it can also create the opportunity for tremendous inequalities.  We have seen the stories of C.E.O.’s earning not just 10 times the pay of average employees in their companies, but 100’s times more.

This is ridiculous but to create more laws I think is overreaching.  I don’t have an easy answer for this.  I know plenty of company owners who are not like those that get all the bad press and the number of business owners who are fair and just outnumber those that are taking advantage of the system.

Which brings up the question about the “system”.  The “system” is our tax code.  On all levels, Federal, State and Local, it is jacked up to favor those know how to work the system, which is a minority.  We need to toss out the tax codes and implement a flat tax.  A flat tax that eliminates all the other taxes and only charges a consumption tax.

Here’s how that works:

When I go to the Firefly Coffee Shop in Fort Wayne, I pay a sales tax of 7%.  That sales tax is paid to the state of Indiana.   Under the Fair Tax System, every purchase is taxed at the same rate on a Federal level. States can set their own sales taxes like they do now and so can local governments according to their state laws.

In this Fair Tax scenario, let’s say the Federal tax is 10%, my Indiana tax is 7%, Allen County tax is 3% and Fort Wayne Tax is 2%.   My Total Tax is now 22% on my 5 dollar coffee and bagel. The owners at the Firefly buy all their supplies locally so they are subject to a 22% tax too on their wholesale costs.  Prices will rise accordingly but you know what?  Prices are already rising and we adjust accordingly.

Each of us earning our money from a “paycheck” will actually have more income to start with since we are not having income taxes withheld from each check.  And those big shot C.E.O’s who pay lower income taxes because of the structure of their compensation package includes stock options and investment income…  It would all be for naught since no one has their income taxed anymore, only what they buy.  And it is all at the same Federal rate without the loopholes that help the rich get richer while keeping those in poverty, in poverty.

Property taxes would be outlawed too and what I (and others) see as bribery or blackmail at the state and local level in the form of tax abatements for businesses would disappear too.

Another subject: Health Care.  Just read what I wrote here.

Immigration, another hot topic.

The compassionate side of me wants everyone to be a citizen and have the same rights I do as a white guy born in this country.

The conservative side of me wants the border secure. Canada and Mexico, both land borders need a fool proof way of keeping the bad people out.  This is more possible than our politicians say and we need to stop the mismanagement that has been going on for decades.  This is not a Republican or Democrat stance, it is a security issue and now more than ever, we need this as the treats against us continue to multiply.

What about those that are here already?  If they are here illegally, they are more than undocumented, they are illegal and some form of punishment needs to be applied.  If I drive 70 in 40 mile per hour speed zone and am caught, I pay the price.  If  I am caught doing a more serious crime, I pay the price.

I don’t know the price for illegal immigrants. I don’t live on a border state and so I don’t see first hand the way this has changed where I live or visit.  In my city I know we have illegal immigrants who live and work here and they are not being paid fairly or will ever be given the same opportunities that I have as a citizen.

Donald Trump created a stir when he claimed that illegals from Mexico are bad people doing bad things.  Being the “Donald”, he has a right to say that.  Illegals who are in this country protesting his comments do not have a right to protest in this country because they are here illegally.  That sounds so unfair, but it is also accurate.

Donald Trump is brash and will stir up support for his agenda but his campaign rhetoric and promises won’t fly under the constitutional limits we have for the President.  However, like I said earlier, we have too many people in this country who don’t understand the separation of powers, and that allows him to gain support.

Somehow we need to:

  1. Stop the flow of illegals coming into this country.
  2. Offer a pathway to citizenship to those who are willing to be “law abiding and productive” citizens.
  3. Deport the rest.

And this needs to be done in that order too.

 

Foreign Relations is a subject that ranks lower on the list of priorities for voters, but we need to identify and support our allies, get our troops out of old war zones and stop sending aid to countries that want to harm us.   Easier said than done, I know.

National Minimum Wage.  Sure, raise it, but don’t expect it to raise people out of poverty.

Gun Control, Race Relations, and Religious Freedoms.  These are all spelled out in the Constitution and yet the media focuses on the worst when tragedies occur.  We get over-reaction, a lot of talk and then next to nothing.   We don’t always need more laws, we need changes in behavior, in attitudes and in our hearts.

Other issues that we should care about include abortion, voter apathy and what we can do as individuals to have an impact.

You are unlikely to have an impact on the presidential race except for the opportunity to cast your one vote.

You can however have an impact on the things you care about in your community if you get involved.  Start by becoming informed.  Like I did last month at that meeting of people who were invited to hear about the local environment.