On The Issues

I’ve gone to all the major campaign websites and looked at what issues they consider to be important. These are overly simplified positions on each: Look at the post tags for more detailed views. These are in alphabetical order, not order of importance, and it is a work in progress.

Climate Change

Climate scientists agree that climate change is happening and that human activity is at least partially to blame. Because there are political as well as climatological reasons to reduce our use of fossil fuels, I believe that we should promote increased fuel efficiency as well as increased use of alternative fuels, including nuclear power.

College Funding

I don’t believe in making college free for everyone, because everyone shouldn’t go to college, or, more to the point, shouldn’t have to go to college to get a good job. We need to rein in abuses by for-profit institutions, provide better financial support for our best and brightest, and work to improve our manufacturing sector to create good jobs for those who do not attend college.

The Constitution

If Congress wastes time and money on legislation that is obviously unconstitutional, I will speak up very loudly.

Corporate Money in Politics

Citizens United is an abomination. Out political system currently goes by the new Golden Rule: He who has the gold makes the rules. This isn’t what our Founding Fathers intended, and I will work with other members of Congress to address this.

Criminal Justice

The U.S. has the largest per capita prison population in the world (North Korea might have more, but they don’t release numbers). For the Land of the Free, this is an abomination. We need to refocus on rehabilitation over punishment, get rid of mandatory minimum sentencing, place tighter controls on for-profit prisons, and dramatically reduce sentencing for non-violent offenders.

Drug Policy

The War on Drugs has failed, just like Prohibition before it. I support the legalization of marijuana federally, provided it is regulated appropriately, and I would support the release of all non-violent drug offenders. For other drugs, I believe we need to review our existing policies and create a better plan. I am not as educated as I should be on this issue.

Farmers

We need to return farming to the free market by eliminating farm subsidies, including those for corn for ethanol, but we need to assist farmers with financing, crop planning, and international marketing. Several Presidential candidates use farmers as a reason to eliminate the inheritance tax (or, as they call it, the “death tax”), but this has the side effect of benefiting the 1% at the expense of the rest of the country. There has to be a way to protect family farmers while not rewarding the rich for being born rich.

Gun Control and the Second Amendment

I believe that any mentally-stable non-felon adult should be able to own a gun. Individuals and businesses have the right to restrict weapons on their properties. All firearm transfers should require a background check, but a valid carry permit should be treated as a background check. The federal background database should be improved to reduce the chance for errors. The government should not have a registry of firearms or owners (with the exception of concealed carry permits), and states should work toward reciprocity with their carry permits.

Health Care

I believe we should move to a single-payer system that covers basic health care, while moving toward an open free market for supplemental medical insurance. Because of international trade agreements, U.S. manufacturers are at a severe disadvantage globally due to our lack of universal health care. Revenue from U.S. patients also pays for the bulk of pharmaceutical research, and a single-payer system would force the large pharmaceutical companies to get more of their revenue internationally. Finally, I would work to eliminate religious and philosophical objections to childhood vaccinations because we shouldn’t let a few zealots endanger the lives of newborns and those with immune system disorders.

Immigration

We have plenty of room in the U.S. Just because our ancestors got here first doesn’t give us the right to lock the door behind us. We should make sure that families aren’t separated because of which side of the border they are on. To reduce the flow of immigrants into the U.S., we should help our neighbors around the world improve their economies so that people feel that they can make decent lives for themselves without having to leave home. We need to reform the H-1B visa program so that skilled workers who come to the U.S. for jobs are treated fairly, paid the same as their American-born counterparts, and not treated like indentured servants.

Income Inequality

We should raise the minimum wage and adjust it annually by the same adjustment used for Social Security. We should impose a punitive tax on any large business who has a high percentage of their work force receiving public assistance. We should work with other countries to eliminate tax havens and make sure that individuals and corporations are paying their fair share of taxes somewhere.

Infrastructure

We need to fully fund infrastructure repair, while also improving our mass transit system. I support the creation of a high-speed rail system in the U.S., but it needs to be done efficiently.

Israel

Israel is one of America’s staunchest allies, and we should continue to support their defense against a hostile region. We should encourage moderate Israelis and Palestinians to work together toward peace while marginalizing extremists on both sides.

K-12 Education

In a perfect world, I would work to eliminate grade levels and have students taught at their own pace for each individual subject, to allow our brightest students to advance to their maximum ability while giving extra help to those who need it. Standardized testing needs to set baselines to be used to judge students, teachers, schools, and districts. We should make early childhood education affordable and available to all.

LGBT Equality

I believe that sexual identity and orientation should be protected classes in civil rights legislation. (See Religion below.)

Military

I don’t believe we should send large forces overseas without a formal declaration of war by the U.S. Senate. The U.S. Navy is, in my opinion, the key to making sure world trade works, so maintaining naval superiority should be a cornerstone of any defense policy. Cooperative naval efforts, like Combined Task Forces 150 and 151, are excellent examples of how we can work cooperatively with our allies.

The U.S. spends one-third of the global military budget, more than the next eleven countries combined. We are the de facto world’s policeman; we just need to make sure that we aren’t also the world’s bully. Most Republicans believe we need to increase military spending; I think that’s unnecessary.

Privacy

I believe the Fourth Amendment gives people the right to privacy from the federal government. The NSA should not monitor American citizens. People have the right to encrypt their personal data in such a way that the government cannot access it.

Racial Equality

Minorities are not treated fairly by our legal system. The Department of Justice should ensure that white and minority criminals get the same sentences for the same crimes, and that law enforcement treats white and minority suspects the same. If law enforcement departments are found to discriminate, appropriate measures, including temporary replacement of leadership by federal marshals and arrests of discriminatory personnel, should be taken.

Refugees

If Germany can let in a million refugees in a year, we can certainly let in more than 16,000. If we are afraid of terrorism, then we can limit immigration to women, children, the elderly, and large families, while countries closer to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan can keep the high-risk demographics. We shouldn’t expect Turkey, Jordan, Greece, Germany, and others to carry the load themselves. When a friend is in trouble, you help.

Religion

Religious organizations should not be forced to provide services to anyone not accepted by their religion, but private businesses are not religious organizations. If we move to a single-payer health system, no private business will be forced to provide medical insurance coverage for treatments they oppose. Government officials, property, and resources should not be used to promote one religion over another.

Veterans

How we treat our veterans is a disgrace. Period. We need to do better. If we can’t make the VA work for providing medical and psychological care for all veterans, then we need to pay for veterans to get care elsewhere.

Wall Street

If a financial entity is too big to fail, it is too big to exist. Breaking up large investment banks is necessary for the continued economic health of the world. Officers and employees of organizations who willfully damage the economy need to face criminal charges and imprisonment. Historically, breaking up large companies generally results in increased profits for the former components, so this should be a win-win.

Women’s Rights

We need to make sure that women have the same career opportunities and compensation as men. We should introduce paid family leave to the level of most developed countries, and women shouldn’t lose ground financially because they take a year or two off to raise their children. By implementing single-payer health care, it should be easier for women–and men!–to work part-time while their kids are in school, giving children a better childhood.

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