About Me & This Website
Free the Delegates
Social Security Unsoundness
Clinton Surplus Myth
Taxes, Rich & Poor
Clinton Surplus Myth, Pt. 2
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|My positions on the Issues ||July 19th, 2007|
I present this page as a summary of my positions on various important issues so that those reading the opinions on this site have an idea of where I'm coming from. I'll update these if my positions change, or as new issues arise.
DEATH PENALTY & JAIL
- Opposed to Abortion. I'm opposed to abortion at any stage of the pregnancy.
- Death Penalty. I don't have a problem with the death penalty but I don't have a problem with the lack of the death penalty. If it can be carried out quickly and at lower cost than life in prison while guarding against error, I support it. If it is cheaper to jail them for life than execute them then I think from a pragmatic standpoint it's reasonable to jail them for life.
- Jail. Jail should be extremely boring punishment. Prisoners should spend the vast majority of their time (perhaps 23 hours/day) in their cell with, at most, printed reading material. No TV. Minimal interaction with prisoners other than their cellmates; gangs in prison should not exist because there shouldn't even be an opportunity for them to congregate with anyone other than their cellmate. A one year sentence should feel like eternity with little opportunity to re-enforce bad behavior from the other inmates.
- On drug legalization. While personal freedom is a strong argument in favor of legalizing some or all drugs, I believe that in our society we must constantly balance the good of society with personal freedom. In the case of illegal drugs, I believe that society is best served by not condoning drug usage which provides no positive contribution to the individual that uses it.
GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE
- Marriage is the union between a man and a woman. This is the traditional and historical understanding of what marriage represents, both religiously and in a civic sense. There should be no pressure or expectation to change this time-honored institution, and no explanation beyond that should be necessary.
- Opposed to civil unions. I'm opposed to the recognition of civil unions by the government, and opposed to requiring any state, locality, business, or individual to recognize them.
Related article: IPCC report continues global warming scaremongering
Related article: The Crystal Clear Farce of the Environmentalists
Related article: The Reality of Climate Change
- Climate change is a natural part of the environment. Since the day the earth cooled, the climate has constantly changed, sea levels, temperature, and carbon dioxide have risen and fallen, and shorelines have changed. The fact that the climate is changing is nothing new to the planet and it's not even new to humans (who experienced the Little Ice Age a few centuries ago). The difference is now we are monitoring the parameters of the environment with enough precision to see the changes.
- Global warming is being severely hyped. The entire issue of global warming is being blown out of proportion. Calm and rational scientific discourse has been replaced with extremist political maneuvering. Bureaucrats are involved in the authoring and editing of the IPCC documents which also seems strange. In short, I feel that the significance of global warming is being hyped far out of proportion considering the scientific data, the fact that climate change is a part of our planet, and that a lot of conclusions are being made based on computer models which themselves generate models that are only as good as the assumptions of the authors of the models.
- Focus on coping, not changing the climate. Regardless of whether or not global warming is real and whether or not we have had some impact on our environment, we should be focusing our efforts and investments on coping with climate change, not trying to lessen our impact on the environment based on the hopes that that will reverse global warming.
GUNS / SECOND AMENDMENT
- Size of government. The size of government should be no larger than the absolute smallest size necessary to conduct its responsibilities as indicated by the Constitution. In the last century, the federal government has become absolutely huge as compared to its original scope. This should be gradually parred down.
- Preference to states' rights. There should be a return to the power of states and states' rights.
- Right to Bear Arms. I believe in the individual's right to bear arms. I believe the Constitution is clear in its support of this right.
- Self defense. I believe an individual has the right to self defense, and the right to defend anyone in his proximity, including with deadly force.
- Concealed Carry. I believe that law-abiding individuals with concealed weapons make society safer.
- Biggest problem with health care is that patient doesn't pay. With insurance companies hiding the true cost of any given service, the patient sees health care as essentially free. This leads to a lack of competitiveness in the industry since individuals don't make rational decisions when they see everything as free.
- Universal Health Care. Attempting to reduce the number of uninsured citizens is a worthwhile endeavor. However, this must be done within the free market system. Attempts to implement universal health care by simply mandating that everyone must have health insurance are futile. Likewise, it is foolish to believe that everyone will choose to purchase health insurance if it is cheap enough. And the health care industry must remain free of arbitrary government price controls and must not be socialized or run by the government since doing so would almost certainly increase cost and decrease the quality of service because it would only further hide the real cost of the service from the patient--which is one of the main sources of problems now.
Related article: The Real Solution to Illegal Immigration
- Our border must be secure. We must secure our border so that the only way into our country is through valid immigration ports of entry. Our security and the integrity of our immigration process is reduced to irrelevance without a secure border.
- Physical Fence. I am not opposed to a fence on the border if it will actually work in a cost-effective way. There is no doubt that a physical fence will reduce illegal immigration--simple logic would suggest that it's impossible for a fence to increase illegal immigration and it's unlikely to have zero effect, so it's logical to presume it would decrease illegal immigration. The only question is whether it makes sense from a cost-benefit standpoint. I think the only way to know how much the fence would help is to build it and find out.
- Technological Fence. Even if built, a physical fence alone will not completely stop illegal immigration. I'm sure there'd still be a substantial--abeit reduced--flow of illegal immigrants going over or under the fence. To increase the effectiveness of the physical fence (or maybe instead of the physical fence), technology could be used to better monitor the border. Motion and heat detectors combined with infrared/laser "trip" sensors and remote cameras could be used to very effectively monitor the border area so that Border Patrol units could be promptly dispatched to pick up the intruders.
- Jail Sentences for Illegal Immigrants. Currently, there is no reason for potential illegal immigrants not to try to enter illegally. If they get caught, they are just dumped back in Mexico and they can try again. Illegal immigrants that are caught within the United States should be subject to mandatory jail terms--perhaps one month for the first offense, six months for a second offense, and 2 years for subsequent offenses--followed by deportation. While this is not ideal and would incur a higher cost on our government, it would at least make the potential risk of coming to the United States a factor in the cost/benefit analysis that anyone does before they make the attempt to enter illegaly. If we wanted to be particularly harsh, we could use the illegal immigrants we catch as the manpower to build a physical fence.
- Marriage should not be permitted to an illegal immigrant. A U.S. marriage license should not be issued to anyone that was in the country illegally when the marriage license was requested. I was married in Mexico and I was required to obtain the Mexican government's permission to marry one of its citizens in Mexico--and one of the things that the foreigner has to demonstrate is that he or she is in the country legally. We should do the same thing.
- English should be the official language. English should be the official language of the United States by Constitutional amendment. All government documents, except customs and immigration forms for visitors, should be exclusively in English. Any person requesting citizenship, or even permanent residency, should be able to read, write, and verbally communicate in English; the only exceptions should be humanitarian and asylum cases.
- Iran must not obtain nuclear technology. Given Iran's pronouncements, especially regarding Israel, Iran should not be allowed to develop nuclear technology without strict oversight and without all spent fuel being returned to Russia or some other responsible nation.
- Diplomacy, then military force. Diplomacy should be given a chance to work and/or political change to happen with Iran since it already seems that internal factions in Iran are not happy with its president's position and confrontational approach to the world community. However, if it becomes clear that the nuclear technology is being weaponized and there does not realistically seem to be any progress on the diplomatic front, surgical airstrikes should be utilized to remove the nuclear threat. A military response should not be launched sooner than absolutely necessary, but it should not be delayed such that, like North Korea, they are able to actually produce a nuclear weapon.
Related Article: The Minimum Wage Game
MORTGAGE CRISIS / FINANCIAL BAILOUT
- Minimum wage costs jobs and causes inflation. Increasing the minimum wage necessarily costs jobs and causes inflation. It is impossible to increase the costs of a business and not cause one or both of these to occur.
- Prosperity cannot be legislated. Minimum wage is the government arbitrarily stipulating the minimum value that someone's work has. This is something that can only be determined by the employee and employer. If it were possible to legislate prosperity, we could just pass a minimum wage of $100/hr and everyone would be rich. The fact that no-one proposes we do so is tacit admission of the fact that minimum wage increases increase unemployment and inflation.
- Only to prevent abuse. The minimum wage should only exist to prevent egregious abuse of employees. It should not provide a "livable wage" and it should not necessarily guarantee that someone will not be poor.
Related article: The Financial Crisis: Causes, Deregulation, and Big Government
RECESSION OF 2008/2009
Related article: The Crisis is Confidence, Not Unemployment
Related article: Living in Economic Denial
- No Bail Out. There should be no bail out of banks or companies that have been hit hard by the mortgage crisis, and there should be no bail out of consumers that took out mortgages they were not able to pay. Lenders voluntarily offered risky loans and borrowers voluntarily accepted them. Neither should be compensated or bailed out for their bad decisions.
- Reasonable Reforms. It makes sense to implement reasonable reforms in the mortgage market. Prepayment penalties should be prohibited. Mortgage brokers should either act as an agent of the borrower and have a fiduciary responsibility to get the borrower the best deal; or the broker should be an agent of the lender and should disclose to the borrow that their job is to get the most money possible out of the borrower.
Note: Also see "Mortgage Crisis/Financial Crisis" above
Related article: The Financial Crisis: Causes, Deregulation, and Big Government
Related article: The Crisis is Confidence, Not Unemployment
Related article: Living in Economic Denial
- Banks First. The banking system must be functioning properly in order for there to be a recovery. That is the only thing that is significantly different about the current recession as compared to other recent recessions.
- Asset Insurance. To the extent that government needs to be involved in solving the problem, rather than investing hundreds of billions of dollars buying ownership in banks, or in buying at-risk ("toxic") assets, banks that have hard-to-value or at-risk assets should purchase "insurance" for those assets from the government as banks traditionally do through FDIC. The insurance would protect the lenders for all defaults of covered assets for the term of the loan/asset as long as the loan was originated prior to 2009. Any payouts to compensate banks for defaulting loans would be paid from the premiums; some additional amount may be required from the government, but far less than the trillions that have already been spent on a non-functional solution. This would provide certainty to banks and investors about the value of the assets, it would allow the assets to be accurately valued, and banks could begin to operate normally again. And it would cost the government far less than alternative plans.
- Separation of church and state. The Constitution only states that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion, or prohibiting its practice. This was to avoid something along the lines of the Church of England (i.e. the Church of the United States), not to avoid the government even remotely touching religion or pretending it doesn't exist. This does not mean that the government cannot provide funding that is ultimately used by religious organizations for the public good (education, social services, etc.).
- Pledge of Allegiance. In line with what I just said about the separation of church and state, there is nothing wrong with "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. At this point, it's accepted tradition that, for better or for worse, most people and children say without any serious consideration of its significance and as such does not represent any threat to non-believers; and even if it did, the First Amendment does not strictly protect them from exposure to religion--only that the government will not establish one or restrict the freedom of practice of religion. If it the "under God" were to be overturned, it should have been overturned when the phrase was inserted into the Pledge. It is not reasonable to attempt to extract it now that it has become ingrained tradition.
Related article: Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme
SPENDING (BY GOVERNMENT)
- Social security is a fraud. Social security is essentially an obligatory government-run pension program. Like most government programs, it is run poorly and its "deposits" are not saved but are immediately "invested" in government bonds where the money is promptly spent. This is a bankrupt system, essentially a Ponzi scheme that will, like all Ponzi schemes, eventually collapse.
- Social security should be privatized. Given the general population's tendency to spend all its money, it is not unreasonable for the government to force some amount of savings for retirement so we don't have to deal with millions of people that did not adequately plan for retirement. But, as mentioned above, the government also spends all the social security money it receives. To prevent the government from doing this and to ensure the solvency of this society-wide pension program, the system must be 100% privatized so that the funds are managed to the same standards as private investments--as bad as that might sometimes turns out, even a worst-case privatized system has a better chance of staying solvent than the current government system.
Related article: Stimulating the Economy with Deficit Spending
- Fiscal Policy. Fiscal policy is of questionable use because by the time it is clear the economy needs an "adjustment" in policy and by the time Congress makes a change to fiscal policy, the window of opportunity has usually passed.
Related article: The Truth about Taxes, the Rich, and the Poor
Related article: On Redistributing & Spreading the Wealth
- Taxes should be minimized. Regardless of income level, taxes should be levied at the absolute minimum possible in order to run the government. No-one should lose sight of the fact that the money belongs to the people that earned it, and while taxes are a necessary evil, they should be reduced to the absolute minimum possible.
- Taxes should not be progressive, with an allowance for the poor. The tax rate should not increase with increasing amounts of income. Just because someone can afford to pay more is not an acceptable reason to expect them to. If the tax system is to be based on income tax, there should be a flat deduction with all income beyond that level taxed at the same percentage level.
- A national sales tax should be considered. This is a valid option that should be considered instead of the income tax; it could also be combined with a monthly payment to all taxpayers in an amount that would offset the amount of taxes paid by what would be considered a poor family for tax purposes. Thus anyone spending below a certain level would effectively not pay any taxes since they'd get that amount back each month as a monthly check. A national sales tax would make all money taxable including income obtained from illegal means. It would encourage saving which would improve our future retirement situation and probably reduce our trade imbalance. The downside is that it also would tend to reduce commerce, and the impact of that on the economy would have to be considered first. However, this is a topic that needs to be analyzed far more seriously than it has been to-date.
- Terrorism is a real threat. 9/11 showed us that the threat of terrorism is real. There are evil people that want to do us harm and we ignore that reality at our own peril.
- Absolute security is impossible. It is reasonable and prudent to make an effort to detect and stop future terrorist attacks; however, it is impossible to guarantee that they never happen. All efforts to stop terrorism should be evaluated on the basis of the likelihood of reducing the risk of terrorism. There should be no attempt made or illusion that we can stop all terrorism. It's impossible.
- TSA/Airport security is a joke. The security at airports is largely a joke. It has repeatedly been demonstrated to be incapable of detecting an adequate percentage of even basic threats while, at the same time, it presents a large inconvenience to the traveling population. Airport security should be adjusted to be as comprehensive as it reasonably can be without inconveniencing the flying public with steps that are generally cosmetic in nature and which have a very low probability of making air travel safer.
- UN is obsolete. The U.N. may have had a place in past decades when we had antiquated communications technology, but in this age of modern communication, the U.N. serves no productive purpose. Countries can make their views known in real-time without having to do it in a central location with a multi-billion annual budget, and diplomacy may occur between countries directly via electronic means, or face-to-face utilizing each other's embassies worldwide.
- UN doesn't provide legitimacy. The U.N. is inherently biased, rife with corruption, and illegitimate. As such, it is absurd to look to the U.N. to provide any legitimacy to any given international action and the lack of U.N. endorsement to any given action most definitely does not detract from the legitimacy of that action.
- US interests first. The U.S. Government should and must first do what's in the interest of the U.S. If it so happens that it's in the interest of other countries, or even the U.N., great. If not, the U.S. Government should still do what is in its best interest even if it isn't popular overseas.
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