Public Policy: My Tax Plan

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Lets be honest, our tax system in the United States is overly complicated.  It is over 80,000 pages long.  If you took the same tax information to five different tax preparers you would come up with five different tax returns.  The system needs change to make it easier, fairer and more equitable for all taxpayers and businesses.  Below is an outline that describes the major features of the tax plan that would replace the current tax code, if I were President of the United States.

Individual and Corporate Income Taxes
While I do not agree with the income tax, it is a part of our system and we should use it to the best of our ability to help pay for the government we have today and in the future. The design of this is to tax both individuals and businesses fairly and equitably.  Both benefit from our society and both need to contribute taxes based on their levels of wealth and success, because those who do better can help out those who might be struggling.

  1. General Principles: Taxes will be levied against individuals (not couples) and any for profit business in the same fashion. The government will tax the income/revenue of an individual and/or business with a flat tax rate that goes up based on the amount of you/it earns. Dividends, rents, and other forms of non-hourly or salary income will be counted as revenue for individuals and businesses.
  2. Taxes & Welfare: All income earned below the poverty line shall be non-taxable until filing.  At that point, every tax filer below the poverty line would pay a small set amount of money in income taxes (Section #3.A). This does not mean cannot businesses will not assess and deduct income taxes to people who work for them below the poverty line, but it does mean that if they are earning below the poverty line, determined by local factors, they will receive a tax refund of all taxes deducted from their paycheck for the past fiscal year. Also, welfare and state assistance programs that provide cash assistance to individuals will be counted as part of an individual’s income when determining taxes.
  3. Individual Progressive Flat Tax Levels: The tax percentage levied against anindividualwill be determined by the amount of income they earned from all sources (gross taxable income), minus the allowable income reductions (Section #4).  Individuals tax level can never be lower than one level below their tax level based on their gross taxable income).
    1. Level A (Below Poverty Line): Only individuals with gross taxable income below the poverty line are able to be taxed at this level.  At filing each individual with earned income will be required to pay $100/year which can be deducted from any possible tax refund or paid directly by the individual to the federal tax agency.
    2. Level B (Up to 150% of Poverty Line): 5% of net taxable income.
    3. Level C (Up to 200% of Poverty Line): 10% of net taxable income.
    4. Level D (Up to 250% of Poverty Line): 15% of net taxable income.
    5. Level E (Up to 300% of Poverty Line): 20% of net taxable income
    6. Level F (Up to 350% of Poverty Line): 25% of net taxable income.
    7. These levels can continue at a predictable basis up to 50% of net taxable income.
  4. Individual Taxable Revenue Reductions: There will be no tax credits or deductions other  than those listed below. Individualsare encouraged toprovide for themselves responsible benefits.  Any money that an individual spends on providing these responsible benefits will lower their tax revenue burden and their possible taxes.
    1. Retirement Savings: Money saved by an individual for their eventual retirement will be deducted from their gross taxable revenue. The limits on such contributions will be capped at 15% of an individual’s gross annual pay. Individuals may allot more money to said accounts but they will not be allowed to deduct that money from their total taxable income. The individual must provide receipts of deposits/withdrawals into approved retirement accounts during from the previous fiscal year.
    2. Health & Medical Care:  The money that individuals spend on providing for the health and medical care of themselves and/or their dependants will be deducted from their taxable revenues.  They must provide receipts of money spent on providing health insurance and anything necessary to provide medical care for yourself or your dependents for the previous fiscal year.
    3. Education & Training: Any money spent by an individual educating themselves or their dependants can be deducted from their gross taxable revenue.  This may be limited according to law on a per person basis. Individuals must provide receipts of money spent during this year on education, including; tuition, books, fees, supplies, etc.  Money allotted to specialized educational accounts will be included in this part of the policy.
    4. Debt Retirement: Debt is a wealth killer and individuals that retire and stay out of debt deserve a small reward for doing so.  First, there will be a one time set taxable revenue reduction for any debt retired by the individual or corporation during the fiscal year.  Also a small taxable revenue reduction will be given to all individuals and businesses who do not take on any debt.
  5. Business Progressive Flat Tax Levels: The tax percentage levied against an individual business according will be determined by the amount of revenue they earned from all sources (gross taxable income), minus the allowable income reductions (Section #6). Individuals tax level can never be lower than one level below their tax level based on their gross taxable income. I am not sure what the different levels should be in terms of amounts of earned gross and net taxable revenue, but for each level the percentage that they pay should increase by no more than five percent for each level and start at 5% for the businesses with the smallest amount of net taxable revenue.
  6. Business Tax Revenue Reductions: Corporations being large entities thatemploy people to work for them, toprovide goods and/or services, have a few other deductions that they can make toreduce their revenue taxable burden. These are benefits provided to their employees for the social and productive good of their employees.
    1. Retirement Savings: Any money paid by a business to assist and provide their employees with a retirement will be be deducted from their gross taxable revenue for the fiscal year.  This amount will be capped at 15% of the individual’s gross taxable income. The retirement savings paid by the business must be money that individuals can take with them if and when they leave the business.  Expenses involved with old school type of defined benefit pensions can be included too under specific guidelines income.
    2. Health & Medical Care Expenses: Any money paid by the business to provide for their employees health and/or medical care expenses will be deducted from their gross taxable revenue for the fiscal year.  This includes health insurance premiums, providing health care workers at their place of business and any expenses meant to assist their employees lead healthy and productive lives.
    3. Education & Training Expenses: Any money paid by the business to train their employees or continue their education, either in house or at an outside school and/or training site will be deducted from their gross taxable revenue. This may be limited according to law on a per person basis. Businesses must provide receipts of money spent during this year on education, including; tuition, books, fees, supplies, etc.
    4. Sick and Vacation Pay: Companies that provide their employees with paid time off for sick and vacation days, can deduct that money from their taxable revenue. Employees must take these days or be credited the daily wage during the fiscal to be granted the tax reduction in the business’ taxable revenue.
    5. Living Wages: Businesses that provide their employees with a living wage, according to local conditions, can deduct those wages from their taxable revenue.
  7. Automatic Withholding: Business may still require that individuals sign up for automatic withholding of the their wages to pay their taxes throughout the fiscal year.  This will be determined by estimating their gross annual wage based on their weekly or monthly wage for the entire year.  Individuals will then have their that percentage of their gross earned income withheld and sent to the federal tax agency.
  8. Annual Tax Filing: Anyindividual and/or business that earned income or revenue from any source throughout the fiscal yearwill be required to file a tax return with the federal tax agency using the basic steps below.
    1. First they report any and all sources of income and revenue for the fiscal year.  This will be called their gross taxable income/revenue (GTIR). Businesses, banks, and other places that have given this money are required to provide documentation of all money earned by the individual as income.
    2. Next, they report any deductions to their GTIR based on the qualifications under Sections #4 and #6.  This amount will be deducted from their GTIR and called their Net Taxable Income/Revenue (NTIR).
    3. Using their NTIR individuals and business will determine their tax percentage rate using information from the federal tax agency.  They multiply their NTIR by this rate and that number is the amount of taxes that they owe to the federal government as income tax.
    4. They will thenenter into the form the total amount of taxes that have already been withheld from their paychecks throughout the year. Business may send their own estimated taxes throughout the year, just likeindividuals can have money withheld from their paychecks throughout the year.
      1. If the the amount of taxes withheld is less than the required amount to pay, individuals and business must make a plan to pay the additional taxes within the next twelve months.
      2. If the amount of taxes withheld is more than the required amount to pay, individuals and businesses must make a plan to pay the additional taxes within the next twelve months.

Capital Gains Taxes
Many people make a living and earn money not from income from a business in which they are employed, but by the buying and selling of different assets. Capital Gains Taxes are to ensure that these individuals and businesses are taxed fairly and equitably in our system for the benefits of our society as well.

  1. Definition: Capital gains taxes are assessed at the sale of any property or asset. Assets can include but are not limited too; land with our without fixtures on them, stocks, bonds, businesses or companies, patents, copyrights, trademarks, and any other property or asset that can be owned by an individual or business.
  2. Assessment Model:  Capital Gains Taxes are paid at that time of the sale out of the proceeds of that sale.  Capital gains taxes are only assessed on the sale of property or asset when there is a profit made from the original purchase price.
  3. Progressive Tax Rate & Limits: Capital gains taxes also assessed according to a progressive rate, but at a flat percentage rate depending on the amount of profit of the asset sold. The amount of taxes assessed in the sale of an asset cannot exceed 50% of the profit.

Import/Export Taxes
I believe that every nation is entitled to tax the goods coming from other countries into its own borders to be sold by to its citizens.  It provides those countries with incentives to make products useful to the rest of the world and they are allowed to profit by it.  We should move and lead a system that is not based on special relationships and treat all countries as equally as possible in our trade taxes.

  1. Export taxes are forbidden by the U.S. Constitution and would require a constitutional amendment to change. I do not support that change because it punishes our nations manufacturers from selling their goods overseas.
  2. Repeal all former special trade relationships with other nations replaced with the tax system below.
  3. Any material goods or services imported from any other nation of the world would be assessed a progressive flat tax based on the level of purchased price. This would be similar to the progressive levels set in the Income and Capital Gains tax system above.
  4. Import tax sanctions would be used against nations that are currently involved in actions that they United States does not agree with and are not in line with their principles.  Congress, with Presidential approval, would authorize such changes to the import tax rates.

Excise Taxes
These are taxes on individual items like cigarettes, alcohol, gasoline, etc.  I have no plan to fundamentally alter this system within the tax code.  It probably needs some reforms but I am ignorant of changes I would make to this system.

Estate (Death) Taxes:
In principle I am against the estate tax, but practically it has some value.  Andrew Carnegie was in support of some form of estate tax to ensure that the vast wealth of individuals does not go into the hands of those who do not know how to manage for the betterment of society.  This is why he suggested it, but preferred that wealthy individuals manage their money in their life so that it can benefit others; either their families or the common good of other people.  This is the value of the estate tax, but there are some problems with it as it stands now and in the future regardless of possible reforms.

The main problem is that most smart people know legal and beneficial ways around paying the estate tax.  For example, a person who understands the tax code can give gifts to their family or organizations out of their wealth for years before they die., lowering their amount of possible inherited wealth.  Then when they die their level of wealth is low enough that it is not taxable.  This practice is not necessarily bad. It allows for their wealth to be distributed according to their wishes and to people who can use it while they are alive.

With all this in mind, there should probably be some form of estate tax, to deter the super wealthy from hoarding wealth within the families for generations.  The total assets of a family should be taxed upon the death and before it is distributed to the inheritors.  I am not sure at what wealth levels or tax rates should be used to determine this tax and would leave it to Congress to determine it in the best interest of their constituents.

Conclusion
Our tax system is hugely complicated, unfair and inequitable to individuals and businesses.  It needs reforms so that all individuals and businesses that benefit from our society, constitution and government, pay something into the system that provides the safety and commerce to all the people in our nation.  There are plenty of other options to simplify our system.  This is mine.  I would love to have more discussion and debate on this topic.  Please feel free to ask question, comment, and raise your concerns about this plan below.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Class dismissed!

Public Policy: Kidnapped Nigerian School Girls

Over 257 girls were kidnapped from a school in Nigeria.  The Boko Haram, an extremists Islamic group that wants to bring sharia law to the country, kidnapped the girls on April 15.  There is a twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls to garner support for those kidnapped and to spur action.  Unfortunately, social media can’t do anything for this problem except make people aware.  And Twitter will not convince these extremists to return these girls to their families.  They will only listen to one thing: force.  If I were President, I propose joint military and intelligence operations with Nigeria and other surrounding African nations.

The first part of the plan would be extensive drone and satellite surveillance over the areas suspected of Boko Haram camps.  With the capabilities of the NSA, DoD, CIA and other national and international organizations there must be cached images that can give us hints to where these people went too.  Fifty of the girls escaped so they also would have valuable intelligence on where the kidnappers went.  Scouring thought the available satellite imagery and pressing any local contacts in the area would be a start to find the missing girls.

Once we have established the girls location we must try to contact the leaders of the groups.  If we know where they are, then we keep the eyes in the skies on these people and get some teams on the ground for visual tabs on the group.  We contact them via the available channels to tell them that we know where they are and they cannot hide from us anymore.  Also, they have 72 hours to release the girls and turn themselves into the custody of the Nigerian military. It would be the hope that they would do the right thing, but these are religious extremists so there is a plan B.

Plan B would go into effect at the end of the 72 hours, or if any intel on the groups showed that they were going to move or harm the remaining girls.  At that point, the U.S. special forces with the support of the Nigerian Army would go into the camps and free the girls.  I would have the Special Forces take the lead because they are specially trained for these kinds of missions.  The Nigerian Army would be able to mop up any that get away.  The point would be to capture as many of these people for prosecution in Nigeria, but the use of force would be authorized against any combatants.  Any other national military or special forces teams would also be welcome on this operation to give more attack teams and support.

The point of this mission is to show the world and other extremists groups that this form of warfare is not acceptable.  Extremists only listen to force, not negotiation or diplomacy.  Showing this level of force against them would hopefully convince other extremists groups to think twice before attempting something like this again.

What do you think?  Is this a practical and realistic plan?  What am I missing from this plan that I need to take into consideration?  I welcome to the comments.  Thanks for reading and have a nice day.

Questions?  Comments?  Concerns?  Class dismissed!

55 Million Dead, Hundreds of Millions Wounded

Imagine that the title of this blog post was a headline in a major newspaper today.  Then let the number of the title sink in for a second.  That is the more people than many nations on the planet earth.  It is more than twenty-five times the number of wounded and dead from ALL of America’s military conflicts and wars from 1775 forward.  It is more than four times the number of people killed by Hitler during this terms as ruler of Germany.  These numbers describe a genocidal holocaust on the largest magnitude, overshadowed by the genocide of Mao Zedong’s cultural revolution.  What these fifty-five million dead represents the estimated number of abortions that have occurred since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Texas’s abortion laws in 1973 in the historical case of Roe v. Wade.  The hundreds of millions wounded describe the other fallout of that supreme court decision representing the women physically, emotionally or mentally scarred by the abortion itself.

The history of abortion is an interesting and contradictory one in the United States.  In the early years of the republic it was legal to terminated a pregnancy through different means before the quickening, the time when the mother can feel and know that a child is in her womb.  The first abortion laws passed at the behest of medical doctors to prevent midwives and other medical practitioners who were not doctors from taking their business.  That still does not make it moral, right or even ethical though.  I can usually appreciate and respect the other side of the debate in public policy.  In this case I am incapable of taking the other side.  If that offends you then stop reading.  If your interested in listening to the other side of the debate though please by all means read on.  And let’s have a discussion about this contentious public policy debate.  Here is where I stand, if it’s not already obvious.

Many of the pro-choice advocates talk about the woman’s right to choose, the right to privacy in decisions about reproductive decisions.  Logically that makes sense if the body she were making decision about was hers.  Biologically the baby is a separate person.  Since when do you get to make the choice of life or death for another person?  Not the point I was trying to make but an important one if the baby is alive and a person.  My point was that baby was not created because of the actions of only one person (Sidebar: I am obviously not including cases of rape or incest in this, but those are a smallest minority of abortion cases.)  It is clichéd, but it takes two to tango.

What about the father?  Does he not have a right and say in the life of the child?  If the woman were to keep the baby she could force him to pay child support.  How can he be held responsible for the financial support of a child, but not in the decision on whether an abortion takes place to kill the baby?  This logically does not make sense to me, especially as a man.  Where is my choice?  Are not men being deprived of their liberty to raise a child anytime a woman aborts a child that biologically is just as much his as hers? Where is the man’s right to choose?   (Please feel free to respond in the comment section below).    The right of the man is infinitesimally small when compared to another person’s right in this entire situation.  But first, lets talk about life and death.

How do we determine if a person is alive or dead?  If you stumble on an accident and see people hurt you check for a pulse.  Doctors and nurses do this all the time while examining and treating patients.  We have devices that we hook up to people’s bodies to measure and monitor their heart beat.  In emergency situations, the focus on bring people back is on ensuring that their heart is still beating.  It is only after doctors take all reasonable and/or extraordinary measures to restart the heart that a person is declared dead.   Can we all agree to the facts in question?  A beating heart means you are alive, a stopped heart means you are dead.  Agreed?  I assume your nodding your head in agreement or saying, “Yes.”

If I remember correctly from all the baby books I read when my wife was pregnant with my first daughter, the fetus develops a heart and it usually starts beating right around eight weeks after conception.  According to medical science and previously agreed to facts, that fetus is alive.  Abortion then stops that beating heart and the fetus is dead.  Regardless of the situation that created the baby (rape, incest, one night stand, failed birth control, in vitro fertilization, etc.) it is alive.  To say otherwise contradicts all known and practiced medical science.

If the baby inside the mother’s womb is alive, and we agreed that this is true, then does that person not have certain rights as a human being that should be protected?  To quote Thomas Jefferson, the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”   Does not our Constitution protect the right of people to not be deprived of “life, liberty and property without due process”?  Where is the due process for the person within the mother’s womb.  The only argument against this point would be to say that the baby in the womb is not a person.  If you want to make that argument go ahead, but you have to answer me this question.  When do they become a person worthy of the protections provided for us by our creator and secured by our Constitution?  (Again leave your comments below).  Lastly, lets talk about the difference between two similar situations.

Imagine you and your spouse are “with child.”  Your happy because you for a long time to have kids.  Things are humming along and then suddenly there are problems.  You and your spouse spare no cost to protect the life of that unborn child, but in the end its to no avail.  The child dies.  You are heartbroken.  Your life is shattered by this unexpected loss.  Maybe you bury the body of the child.  How and why is this any different from an abortion?  The only difference is that the dead child, as a victim of abortion, was not wanted, desired, or obviously loved, because we don’t like things we want, desire or love.

The problem with that argument is that this child could be loved if the parents of the aborted child made a different choice.  There are families out there who can not get pregnant, but want children.  Give that unwanted or unplanned child to them to raise in loving home.  In many states you can actually choose the parents of your child  and be involved with them if you want.  Adoption is one of the hardest and most selfless decision a person can make, but it is the best decision too because it takes the mistakes that brought about this child and creates love that was not there before.  That mistakenly created is wanted, desired and loved, we as humans, just have to find out who wants them, who desires them, and by whom this child will be loved.

In summary, men help make life and babies.  Do they also not have rights in the decision. Secondly, conception creates a beating heart; abortion stops it.  How are the rights of that person protected?  Lastly, every child is wanted, desired and loved.  What will you do to make sure yours is?

I know abortion is a very contentious and heated debate.  I honestly welcome discussion and debate on this issue.  Please keep it respectful and focused on the facts, not emotions or hyperbole.  Any personal attacks made in the comments sections will cause you to be censored by me and possibly kicked off the boards at my discretion.  If you feel you are being attacked please email me personally and I will deal with it as soon as possible.  Thanks again for your time and your readership.

Questions?  Comments?  Concerns?  Class dismissed and have a nice day.

Link

This may come as a surprise to many of my readers and followers but I support required vaccinations before a child enters school.  Shocking right?!  The major reason comes from a single phrase in the Constitution and a required role of the government in civil society: the common good or general welfare (whichever you prefer).

Previously I have spoken on the original intent of the phrase of the General Welfare, as found in the Constitution (Original Intent: The General Welfare).  In this article I explained that the use of the term the General Welfare has been abused to justify the spreading of federal government power into areas reserved for the states as determined by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  I won’t rehash the arguments here, because it is not the point of this article.  The point of this article is to lay out a reasoned and logical argument for why required vaccinations serve the common good.  The link below is one of the most compelling arguments one could make.

Deadly Diseases Like Measles And Mumps Make Frightening Comeback

The above linked article states that hospitals and doctors are now starting to see diseases, once thought near extinction, making a comeback.  Doctors created these vaccines for these diseases and have saved the lives of countless children.  But now because of unfounded concerns about autism in children, people refuse to vaccinate their children.  Hence they catch these diseases and probably will die.  Here is another article to show the problem we are currently facing.

UN Targets Polio in Middle East After Syria Outbreak

Because of the prolonged civil war children are not being vaccinated against this deadly disease.  Therefore the rate of infections of this disease is increasing.  What’s more is refugees could be carrying this disease into Europe and other nations.  So any children not vaccinated for polio in Europe could also be affected.  It goes even beyond this problem though, diseases can change.

The bigger problem we face with people not vaccinating their children is that when those diseases can mutate as they are spreading among these unvaccinated children.  At that point it has no longer become a parent’s personal choice to a choice that affects the entire community you live in.  A mutated strain of polio or some other childhood disease can easily spread to my child who has not been vaccinated for that strain of the disease.  Therefore you choice has now lead not only to the possible death of your child but mine and every other parents child, even though they took the steps to vaccinate my child.  What does this all have to do with the general welfare?

It is for the common good of all citizens that we vaccinate our children, especially if you are going to have them go to public schools where they will play with to other children.  Even if you decide to homeschool your children vaccinations are important because you child will go into public sooner or later.  And through that contact alone a mutated strain of a near dead disease can spread to other people not protected against it.

It is in the best interest of everyone that we protect our children against diseases that are both prevalent among children and can kill them.  You have every right to parent as you see fit, but when your parenting style conflicts with my children’s or my right to life and liberty you have to give up the right for the good of the general welfare of your society.  By failing to vaccinate children, your child can easily become a public health risk to my child and myself if that disease mutates into a strain that our vaccines do not work against.  It happens.  This is part of the reason we have antibiotic resistant strains of different bacteria.  We have overused antibiotics to the point where the bacteria have evolved against it.  The same could happen to these childhood diseases if we do not keep them in check with the vaccines created to save lives.

There are those that argue there is a link between the chemicals used in vaccinations (like Mercury) and autism or ADHD.  The problem is the study that supposedly proved that link was debunked over three years ago and the doctor discredited for his work.  With these scientific findings parents have no excuse for why they should not vaccinate their children.  I am not sure what exactly they are afraid of.

Let’s suppose there is a real link between Autism and vaccinations.  Why would risk your son’s or daughter’s life just to keep them from getting a disability?  A disability that is highly treatable?  Kids with autism don’t die, but with the right medication, and support they can live long and productive lives.  So which is more important to you?

In the end, part of living in civil society means giving up some of your rights for the protection of other rights.  Also, every right has limits.  As I always told my government classes, my right to swing my fist ends at your nose.  My inherent natural rights to life, liberty and property or even to choosing what is best for my children as their parent, end when the practicing of that right interferes with another person’s rights.  That is why required vaccinations for school age children can fall under the power of the government to protect the General Welfare of its citizens.

Please feel free to vote on the poll, add choices, or comment on the post. As always keep it clean, respectful, kind and address your opponents with facts not opinions.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Class dismissed!

Public Policy: Presidential Primaries and Caucuses

Over the last few months many of the states with early presidential primaries and caucus have played chicken with each other over the dates they wish to hold their respective events.  For those of you who do not follow politics let’s have a little background.

PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION PROCEDURES AND METHODS
There are two methods used by the states, territories and political parties to choose who will be the nominee for that party to campaign for the office of President of the United States (POTUS). The first most well-known method is that of a primary election. The registered voters of the party go to the polls and vote for the candidate of their party whom they would like to see win their party’s nomination. These elections have their own drama to them in the fact that some are open primaries and some our closed. Closed primaries means only those who have declared a party may vote for that party’s candidates. An open primary does not require anyone to declare a party to vote. Each state runs their primary elections different, which is the general rule for all elections.

The second less well-known method of selecting delegates for the national convention is that of a caucus. Very few states run caucuses anymore, Nevada and Iowa being the most well-known due to how early they are in the process. Here is what happens at a caucus. The registered voters for a political party within the precinct meet at a predetermined time and destination. They are then asked to line up with whom they would like to nominate. They count the supporters for each candidate. For a candidate to receive delegates for the county convention they must have a specific number of supporters. If candidates do not have enough supporters or there people undecided the supports for other candidates may convince them to join with their candidate. Once this is done they select delegates for each candidate from that precinct to be sent to the county convention where it happens all over again and then again at the state level.

But both of these methods do not to truly select the person who will be the party’s nominee. This just determines how many delegates from that state are going to the national convention to nominate the candidate for that party. Now by the time that the delegates meet at the Party’s National Convention, all this voting and caucusing may not matter because the other candidates could have dropped out. But candidate can keep any delegates earned during the primaries; unless released by the candidate. Each state is also granted delegates for the National Convention on a series of formulas that include population, general support for the party in the state, number of registered members of the party and the list goes on and on. In modern-day times the Convention is not a big deal because it just reasserts the person who won the most delegates, but in the past this was a contentious battle between different groups within the political party. Sometimes it took multiple ballots to have a candidate win a majority.

Does all that make sense now?

CURRENT ISSUES
This all started when Florida decided to move up its primary date in to January. This intern forced the other early primary states to move up their dates. Iowa moved their caucuses to January 3rd. Nevada moved theirs to January 14th. New Hampshire is threatening to move their primary election up to December. State law requires them to have the first primary in the presidential election.

If this sounds at all familiar, it also happened during the last Presidential Election, when the Democratic Parties of Florida and Michigan moved their primary dates against the will of the National committee. The Democratic Party allowed both states to move their primaries, but they gave up their delegates at the National Convention. In the middle of the campaign both Florida and Michigan voters grew angry because now their votes effectively did not count. And those delegates could have swung the nomination in favor of Hilary Clinton, when you consider both the uncompleted primaries and the party’s Super Delegate (That is another topic that will not be dealt with in this article). The Party brokered a  during the campaign but it did not make a lick of difference to the result. And we are dealing with this issue again four years later, just on the Republican Party side.

PUBLIC POLICY SOLUTION
Running elections have always been a power reserved for the states, though Congress has limited authority over elections within the Constitution. This authority is found in Article I, Section 4; it states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations…” Congress has used this authority in the past to establish the first Tuesday after the first Monday as the day for all federal elections for Congress and the President ever four years. They have also used this authority to write federal campaign contribution laws. Congress has t the authority to clear up this mess once and for all, if they wanted to.

This solution allows for the states to still have plenary authority over the elections but require all Presidential Primaries and Caucuses accomplished within a limited period. For example, Congress sets a two month window for all the primary elections to take place. Each state and state political party could set their primaries for any time within that window.

The advantage of this plan would be that the Presidential campaign would be drastically shortened. This would give the candidates a good chance to affect the final outcome since the shortened period of the primary campaign would mean that they did not have to raise and spend money over a long period of time, like the last few elections.

One disadvantage to this system would be all the legal challenges that would come from this law being passed. New Hampshire would probably be the first to file suit against the federal government because its state law requires that its primary be first in the nation.

If this case were to go before the U.S. federal courts it would likely be decided in the favor of the federal law for several reasons. First, as previously discussed, the federal government already has authority granted in the Constitution to make such a law. Secondly, all federal laws override state laws, therefore the New Hampshire law would be deemed null, void and unconstitutional in light of the Supremacy Clause. But if the law was properly written it could still allow New Hampshire to still have the first primary in the nation.

While this solution is not perfect, it will help solve some of the problems the faced in the last few Presidential Elections. And as always, you should not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Class dismissed!

2012 Republican Presidential Candidates

Over the last few months this blog has addressed the Republican Presidential Candidates from an arm’s length away.  The blog has specifically taken the questions asked at the debates and the author has given his own views on how he would answer the questions if posed to him as a potential Presidential candidates.  This blog for the first time is going to discuss whom this blog officially supports out of the candidates running for the Republican nomination to face Barack Obama in the general election.

MITT ROMNEY
Governor Romney has a strong record in politics. He was governor of Massachusetts and saved the Salt Lake City Olympics. But he’s not my candidate. His unfortunate health care policy, enacted in Massachusetts when he was its governor, is his worst feature. President Obama has stated many times that he modeled his signature health care legislation after what Mitt Romney did in Massachusetts. While the federal government does not have any expressed authority over medical care or insurance in the Constitution, the states, with the unlimited power they wield, do have that authority. Unfortunately the law is not a good one. It gets more people insured but it break the competition that the free market brings. It has been prove in Massachusetts that the individual mandate does not bring down medical costs in the state. Also the state tells the private business what services they must offer to their customers and at what price they can charge. Neither of these will only help prices in the short-term, until they drive the private companies out of business. It is mainly for this policy that Mitt Romney is not the candidate of choice for this blog.

MICHELLE BACHMAN
She is a one trick pony that has run its course. All she ever talks about is repealing Obamacare. She has provided no substantive answers or solutions to the problems we face as a nation. It is the opinion of this blog that the government cannot solve the problems we face; it should get out-of-the-way and let the American people solve the problems, were better, and faster at it.

BUDDY ROEMER
I was a strong supporter of governor Roemer at the start of his campaign. He makes a strong point of being “free to lead.” By that he means, to effectively lead an elected official must be free from the financial allegiances that they gain during the campaign from fundraising, to effectively lead. He supported his principle on the fact that he would only accept donations of $100 or less from any donor and only from individuals. That is a man who stands behind his principles. Unfortunately the networks and maybe the party has blocked him from participating in any of the debates held over the last few months. If given a chance to speak his views in those forums he would probably be more well know now.

RICK PERRY
The way Rick Perry has presented himself in the short time he has been on the campaign trail has proven that is not a good candidate. He got blasted early on for what he wrote in his book. He said that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. And honestly, he is right. Unfortunately he did not have the backbone to stand up for what he believes. He back pedals and hems and haws about reforming the system. A candidate needs to stand up for what they believe and tell everyone why they are right, not back down when confronted with a tough issue.

NEWT GINGRICH
Newt Gingrich led the Republican Revolution of 1992, but this is not his time and no one wants to see him win the Presidency. Never mind that he was drummed out of office for an extramarital affair. That is a sign of an unprincipled and unfaithful man; not worth of our time or vote.

OTHER CANDIDATES
There are three or four more candidates in the race that we know will not win the nomination. Mostly because they have no name recognition. These include Senator Rick Santorum, John Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Fred Karger, Andy Martin, Jimmy “The rent is too damn high” Mcmillian, Tom Miller and Vern Wuensche. Most people have no idea who these men are, that is not to say they do not have great ideas that can serve our nation, but really do they have a snowball’s chance in hell at this point?

MY CANDIDATES
There are two remaining candidates that have my full support for the Republican nomination: Herman Cain and Ron Paul. Both are intelligent men of principle who are not afraid to say what they mean, mean what they say and back it up. Ron Paul spoke truth to power when he said our foreign policy is making us more enemies than friends and he defended his belief. He also showed a clear understanding of natural rights philosophy and classic republicanism in his answer in the CNN debate. When addressing the issue of what to do with a 30-year-old with no insurance he hit the nail on the head. In a free society that young man had every right to not buy insurance. Also, it is the responsibility of us as citizens to make sure that when something like that happens that we can take care of them. Ron Paul mentioned that the churches in his town where he was a doctor would serve this purpose, but there is a place for some government help to those who truly need it.

Both of these men also have effective, common sense, constitutional solutions to the problems we face as a nation. Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan is a genius plan of simplicity, equality, and constitutionality. Very few other candidates can say with any clarity what is their plan to help the U.S. Herman Cain and Ron Paul both have ideas and in the case of Ron Paul, has been touting them for 30 years.

Experience is another key reason. Herman Cain may not have any experience in government, but in today’s day and age that is not a big issue. In the last few years, the tide has turned against life long politicians and incumbents. This could be the time for Cain’s nomination for that reason alone. But he also has lots of experience in the corporate world, taking failing businesses and turning them around (Godfather’s Pizza and many failing franchise locations of Burger King). As a business man Cain has the practical world experience to know what parts of the government are hindering economic and business growth in the nation. Ron Paul on the other hand has lots of experience in politics, serving the last 12 years as a Representative for the state of Texas. He knows about the inefficiencies and problems that exist in our government from the inside. He can bring that experience to help return the government to its true limited role in our lives.

Ron Paul is the man because he understands the Constitution better than anyone else on the floor. He is a man who understands that the Constitution is a ruler and guide for our government even when it gets in the way of what the government or the people want it to do. He may not agree with all the clauses and authority given to the government in the Constitution and its amendments but he will still protect and defend it from all enemies both foreign and domestic. He and Herman Cain will tirelessly defend the Constitution and hold true to their oath of office.

Either one of these men is worth of being nominated by the Republican party and its members. Whoever wins would be dumb not to include the other on the ticket or as part of their administration.

Please feel free to share your own thoughts on the Republican field so far. Who do you like? Who do you dislike? All comments are welcome. Thank you for your reading. Have a nice day.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Class dismissed!

Public Policy: Elections & Voting

Been an interesting week, not sure if there will be a posting on Saturday since article stockpile is low and will be flying out-of-town for the weekend.  It might be the book review on Where is the Birth Certificate? will get posted after all. Today’s article focuses on the policy of the states about elections and voting.

The basic principle any state election and voting laws must have as their focus is on preventing voter fraud. For valid elections everyone has have faith that only those who only those allowed to vote to make their vote count towards the candidate of their choice. There are several policies that should be in place to prevent voter fraud from occurring.

The first major policy is the make sure that voter fraud is a thing of the past is to require all citizens who vote must confirm their identity to the election officials. This could be an include making voters bring picture identification to the polls or just asking them to verify a piece of information about themselves before they can vote. Many people get criticize this type of law because they feel it discriminates against the poor and minorities. I am not sure of their arguments about this policy, but how can it be seen as unreasonable that a person has to prove their identity to cast their ballot. Also, state identification cards are generally easy to obtain for a minor fee.

Another good major policy allowing early and extended voting times. Many Republicans are against these policies, but if a longer window gets more people to vote then we should encourage it not end it. Included in this policy would be the ability to go to any polling place to cast your ballot. The more polling places the better the turn out, including on election day.

The last major policy would be to have greater accountability in voter registration. The massive voter fraud by ACORN and other agencies during the earlier Presidential election needs to be eliminated. One way to help make sure that this type of voter fraud never happens again seems like common sense. Wouldn’t the election officials of the state have the addresses of all registered voters? How hard would it be to run the addresses of new voter registrations against the addresses already in their database? The same could be done with the names. It seems to me this would be the most likely way to eliminate this form of voter fraud.

These three major changes in policy would help make sure that our elections are valid and the most honest in the world. Are there any policies you the readers feel should he implemented within the states? I would appreciate any comments. Feel free to share.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Class dismissed!