I wrote this last week and forgot to publish it.
If you haven't read Part 1, go here.My general view of politics is that the government should stay out of people's business as much as possible, and give people the freedom to do what they want. I consider myself nearest to a Libertarian, but I vote Republican about 80% of the time because I usually feel the candidates are closer to my views.
There is much debate over what each party really represents, and sometimes they aren't really that far apart. So rather than say what I like or dislike about each party, I will lay out my views on a few things and let you all decide which party I am closer to. Feel free to comment and criticize these positions, but be forewarned that I am really busy at work and may not respond much.
Things I am firmly entrenched on (I doubt you can talk me out of these):
The engine of growth. Tax them low, make them easy to set up, step in to regulate them only when absolutely necessary, and watch them create jobs. But definitely punish severely those who abuse their capitalistic priveleges.
I think abortion is morally wrong. I know people who have tried to adopt a newborn and the demand outstrips the supply in most areas, so it is a shame to terminate a pregnancy when you can easily give it up for adoption. But, I believe in a hands off government and I therefore think that my moral views should not be imposed on others. Also, fetuses are not protected by the Constitution, it only applies to citizens of the United States. Therefore, I think abortion should remain legal, but discouraged.
I say legalize them and tax them, so that my taxes will be lower because I won't use them. I think people should be able to destroy themselves if they so choose. I would like to see certain "coffeeshops" or areas of the city where drugs would be legal, and stiff penalties for use while outside of these areas.
I think people should be allowed to make their own decisions about their own death.
I support it. I think some people are so bad they deserve to be tortured, but that is against the law so the death penatly is the next best thing. Whether or not it is a deterrent is irrelevant to me. I do agree that IF it can be show that it is applied in a racist or haphazard manner, then it should be temporarily suspended in that jurisdiction until things can be straightened out.
I don't think the primary goal of the criminal justice system should be reform or retribution – it should be to prevent crime in the first place. Since the recidivism rate is near 75%, I say for every 4 criminals who are let go, 3 more innocent people are victims of crime. I favor tougher punishments for repeat offenders. No one who has committed multiple felonies, after being released once already, should ever be released again.
Let us have them. I think statistics show that concealed carry permits lower violent crime rates. But, even if the statistics prove otherwise I think it is about freedom. I only own one gun, but it sure feels makes it easy to sleep at night knowing I can defend my house if it ever comes to that.
I favor a clean environment, but I think liberals tend to have knee-jerk reactions when a new "threat" arises. I don't think there is evidence we are headed towards doomsday, and even if we were, technology will eventually save us.
Now I wouldn't be a businesspundit if I supported anything else, would I? Bush's steel tariffs really angered me (even though they didn't work). And I do give Clinton credit for passing NAFTA. The Republicans have typically been associated with freer economic policies, but Bush seems to be changing this.
Things on which I could be swayed:
In my mind, this is the toughest issue in politics. On the one hand, I believe that the US should be a meritocracy, and that you should have to earn your way to wealth. But, on the other hand I think if you have worked hard all your life and amassed a fortune, it should be your right and your freedom to do with it as you please, whether that be give it away or leave it to your kids. I don't like the government to say that giving it all to charity is acceptable but giving it to your children is not.
I think studies show it works where it has been tried. But can it be scaled up to a higher level? I think private schools make take advantage of it and increase rates, and we end up with either 1)out of control government spending, if they cover all the costs or 2)the same situation we have now – mostly wealthy kids in private schools.
I think education reform would largely fix the problem and make vouchers a non-issue, but parents who care would be the best solution.
I know people who have been helped and gotten off it. I know single mothers who made a few bad decisions and really need it. I also know people who are lazy SOBs and don't deserve anything. I tend to lean towards limited benefits, and making people show an honest effort to find work before they can be rewarded. I'd also like to see penalties for having more kids, not rewards.
This is way too complex to discuss in a short time. But mostly I agree with Bush's policies so far. I do, however, hope the neocons don't take total control.
Where do I even start? I don't mind that the rich pay a bit more, since part of the government's job is to protect property rights and the rich definitely have more property. But, I think the rich (actually, the high income, not necessarily the wealthy) should too high a burden of the income taxes. Ideally, the tax code should be set up so that it had no effect on economic decisions. That is not feasible, though. So, I would like to see a consumption tax instead of an income tax – with refund for the first 10K or so you paid. This way, those who live richly will get taxed the most. Those who save an invest, will have a low tax burden. Thus, a person who makes 100K a year but lives the lifestyle of someone making 40K a year will pay less tax that someone making 40K a year who lives like he makes 80K a year. And that is what we really want – right?
It's not a "right". The government should not pay for it. Just like some people are born smarter or better looking, some are born with healthier genes. It sucks if you get the low end of the bell curve, but that's life. I don't have a problem providing basic health coverage for kids, but there has to be a limit. For instance, I had horrible allergies my entire life, and had to pay $60 for a month's supply of pills once I turned 19 and was kicked off my parents' insurance. You know what? I just didn't take them every day. Did it lower my quality of life? Yes. Is that the government's problem? No. They shouldn't have to pay for my pills.
This never should have been anything but a program for poor elderly. It has grown into retirement for everyone. This is why I hate government programs. THEY NEVER SCALE BACK. All they do is grow grow grow and engulf more and more people. It needs to be fixed, but I think the key is to phase it out, so that people under 30 (like me) basically get screwed out of what we have paid so far, but that is ok. At least we know we won't have it, and can prepare.