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“When Will They Ever Learn?”

April 8, 2016

This blog has focused on music and deviated away from public policy in recent months. This is not only because I enjoy writing about 60s and 70s rock music, but also because of the depressing turn of events in politics from my point of view. Lets face it, we now have four potential Presidential nominees–Trump, Cruz, Clinton and Sanders– that have policies I dislike, distrust, or would be outright disastrous. So I have decided to get my feelings out in the form of a rant which I hope many of you will agree with. (No one likes to feel “alone” politically!).

In my opinion ALL four major political candidates suffer from insanity in various degrees–Bernie Sanders “the everything is free/ the government = the economy” candidate, Hillary Clinton “less is free , but the government still gets bigger, and can you really trust her” candidate, the Ted Cruz “the strict Constitution defender, let’s live in the 18th century” candidate and last but certainly not least “The Donald”. What can I say about Trump that hasn’t already been said? He is a foul-mouthed, egotistical, unprincipled, modern-day version of P.T. Barnum. He is neither liberal, conservative, fascist, socialist or any other description because his ideals are completely unknown even to him. He would be an unmitigated disaster as a President.

My frustration with the current Presidential choices runs deeper, however, because I feel as if my political views have gone the way of the dinosaurs, largely extinct in today’s US political environment. I am a strong fiscal conservative. I believe that a government that currently spends $4 trillion per year and is growing, has gotten WAY TOO BIG and should be cut by at least 30% over the next decade. A lot of this can be accomplished by eliminating/simplifying government regulations in a variety of areas (Dodd-Frank being a particularly good example) as well as introducing/ allowing for competition in our absurdly inefficient medical system and our underperforming public school system, privatizing many areas of government that should be paid for by largely those that use these services, and reforming our social security system by means-testing the benefits and raising the retirement age to 70 years old in the next few years.  We also need to return to the 1990s when we had a strong “work fare” system which tied welfare, food stamps and other benefits to seeking work or job training, which in the long run will save money AND help save many inner city neighborhoods. I believe that our tax system is an ABOMINATION. It is extremely inefficient and should be vastly simplified and reformed (The Fair Tax is the best solution but there are others) which will in itself help economic growth. I believe the Federal Reserve should NOT exercise control over interest rates but rather grow the money supply gradually in line with economic growth. And I believe that we must begin to pay down our absurdly high $18 trillion in federal debt.

However, when it comes to many social issues, I am much more “liberal”. I believe that ALL woman should have the freedom to choose to have an abortion. I believe that while people have the right to own a firearm, the government has the right to ensure public safety and security which means ALL gun sales must be ONLY between licensed vendors and licensed buyers and always subject to universal background checks. I also believe that certain types of extremely dangerous weapons and ammunition (e.g. AK-47s and cop killer bullets) should be illegal for anyone to own. Though much improved from 30-40 years ago, I believe that we still have racism and sexism and other forms of discrimination in this country and that rights of ALL groups should be protected in line with current anti-discrimination laws. However, I also believe that political correctness has run amok and that freedom of speech and expression (and the press etc.) needs to be protected not just in a federal setting but on our university campuses as well. I believe we should better secure the borders than we do currently and that we need to have stricter immigration policies. On the other hand, for those illegal immigrants already in the US, we should have an amnesty program that allows for a pathway to citizenship for those law-abiding immigrants and an expanded work visa program to enable a smooth transition for those current illegal immigrants.

So my conundrum is where is this candidate or for that matter the party that stands for these issues? While I have tended to vote Republican in many recent elections (though historically thru the 2000 elections, I was a Democrat) , I am getting the sense that few place the great importance that I do on solving our extremely dangerous financial problems. ( In my opinion, we solve them OR we face almost certainly a GREAT ECONOMIC DEPRESSION, starting with a collapse of the stock market, the US dollar, very high inflation and rapidly shrinking incomes and retirement savings and massive unemployment that will at least rival the great depression of the 1930s). And those that do place great importance on these fiscal issues are far more conservative when it comes to social issues than I am.

Hence, the reason why I haven’t blogged on policy/politics much recently. And probably why I won’t be posting on these issues again, anytime soon. Writing about music, travel or other items is just a lot more fun.









From → Public Policy

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