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The American public has questions. And unlike others running for president, I have frank answers.
And with my answers to major questions presented below, I officially throw my hat into the GOP presidential sweepstakes ring.
11 Questions US Public Wants to Ask Candidates
Gallup has an interesting article based on the premise If the American People Were Running the GOP Debate what would they ask?
Gallup claims the questions are based on issues that people say are the most important problems facing the country today.
Gallup says there are "No gotcha questions or efforts to stump the candidates or push them off their talking points, just sincere questions from the people to help them understand how these individuals who want to take over as the people's chief executive would handle the issues the people deem most important."
Gallup Questions, Mish Answers
Here are the questions, along with my answers. I believe I am the only candidate willing to answer truthfully.
First question: How do you propose to fix the U.S. economy?
Mish answer: The economy is in a mess precisely because we have too many government bureaucrats as well as the Fed attempting to fix it. We do not have a failure to regulate, we have failure by regulation. Every affordable housing program failed. Obamacare failed. The Fed and the government bailed out the banks while taxpayers took the risk. The number one sponsor of income inequality that Fed chair Janet Yellen rails against is the Fed itself. The number two sponsor of income inequality is Congress. The Fed has blown bubble after bubble for the primary benefit of the already wealthy. And everywhere Congress has meddled has been a disaster. The primary examples are health care, education, and housing. None of them are affordable. We need a simpler tax code and more free market economics, because every time the government steps in, government makes things worse. And every time the Fed steps in, the Fed blows bubbles.
Second question: How do you propose to deal with the people's record-low confidence in Congress and the elected representatives they send to Washington?
Mish answer: The supreme court decision that corporations are people makes no sense. We need another challenge. Campaign finance reform is certainly needed. Gerrymandering by both political parties has to stop. That the vast majority of Congress gets reelected every election even though Congressional ratings are at record lows says volumes about how the system is rigged for incumbents.
Third question: What do you propose to do about race relations in this country?
Mish Answer: We need more prosecutors like Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters who brought murder and manslaughter charges against University of Cincinnati police Officer Ray Tensing for the traffic stop shooting death of motorist Samuel DuBose. Deters had the courage to stand up to the police unions. In addition, Deters wants to decriminalize marijuana and so do I. Most of those in prison for minor drug violations are black. When they get out, they cannot get a job because of their prison record. The system of hate and crime feeds on itself, for the benefit of prison unions, drug lords, and those allegedly seeking to stop the spread of drugs.
Fourth question: What do you propose to do about immigration and individuals living in this country illegally?
Mish answer: The first thing we need to do is close the door. The way to do that is not build a wall on the border, but instead build an economic wall: Be willing to decline free education, free medical care, and housing assistance to those who are here illegally. Once we stop the flow, we can then have an honest debate about long-time illegals. Positive factors for amnesty include those who have a steady job, speak English, own property, or have US citizen children. Negative factors include those with criminal records. Joint discussions with Mexico on border controls and repatriation issues would be wise.
Fifth question: What do you propose to do about jobs?
Mish answer: Set the corporate income tax rate to zero on income produced and held in the US. Jobs would return. Instead, US corporations stockpile money and jobs overseas in foreign tax havens. In addition, and as addressed in question one, we need more free market reforms including the elimination of the much beloved but very damaging minimum wage. The problem is not one of wages, rather the problem is Fed and government policies are such that wages people earn do not go far enough. It's important to understand the real source of the income inequality problem rather than pile on counterproductive regulations to "fix" it. In addition, we need national right-to-work legislation, the end of collective bargaining of public unions, and we need to scrap all prevailing wage laws. We also need to eliminate all tariffs. The first country that truly embraces free trade, regardless of what any other country does will be a huge winner. Jobs will flourish if the US does what I suggest.
Sixth question: How do you propose to deal with declining moral, family and ethical values in this country?
Mish answer: Get government out of the bedroom and get religion out of government. It's none of my business, or anyone else's business whether someone is gay or straight. In regards to ethics, it's a travesty of justice that not a single high-profile executive of a major corporation had to pay a dime for their role in the great financial crisis. More criminal prosecution was warranted and would occur under my administration.
Seventh question: How do you propose to deal with the federal budget deficit?
Mish answer: Slash spending across the board. Both military and entitlement spending have to share the pain. It's high time we, as a nation, have a heart-to-heart talk about what we can afford and cannot. We clearly cannot afford to be the world's policeman and at the same time keep other entitlement promises we have made. Candidates unwilling to admit this obvious fact are liars.
Eighth question: What do you propose to do about poverty?
Mish answer: My answers to the first and fifth questions explain essential parts of my program. In addition, I would create a much-needed incentive for people to get out of poverty. Right now, many would rather take free benefits than seek a job. To those, I would limit what food stamps can buy. I would add soap and detergent to the list of eligible items in order to promote cleanliness, but I would take away snacks, pop, frozen pizza, etc., and other items. Food stamps should buy very basic items, and nothing more. We need to make it uncomfortable to stay on welfare, while still providing minimum nutritional needs. We also need a big investigation of medicare fraud and disability fraud. Such proposals would be the true enactment of "compassionate conservatism".
Ninth question: How do you propose to deal with crime and violence?
Mish answer: I partially addressed this question in number three. Drugs are a key item. The primary beneficiary of drug laws is the drug lords. Criminalization of drugs increases prices while creating a huge incentive for pushers to get people hooked on drugs. Take away the profit and the pushers go away. So does crime. And prisons won't overflow at enormous cost to taxpayers.
Tenth question: How do you propose to improve the education our children receive?
Mish answer: End collective bargaining of public unions. Put the kids first, not the unions. Make it easier to dismiss poor teachers.
Eleventh question: How do you propose to make healthcare more accessible and affordable?
Mish answer: Scrap Obamacare and start all over. In addition, I would scrap all tariffs on prescription drugs coming into the country. While on the subject of tariffs, I would scrap all tariffs period. Back to healthcare, the US pays the highest costs in the world for legal drugs. We need more free market capitalism and less regulation. Charging $100 per aspirin in hospital stays to smooth out the costs is not an answer. Published rates for services should be welcome. It costs $20,000 for heart operations in India that cost as much as $250,000 in the US. I would like to see health care plans that require people healthy enough to travel elsewhere for major medical procedures. Anything that genuinely promotes competition is fair game. Obamacare failed because it does nothing to reduce costs. When we start over, the focus must be on competition, not free benefits. Floating foreign hospitals on boats offshore? Why not? The more competition the better. And finally, we need a serious heart-to-heart discussion on the "right to die" instead of the existing "keep people alive at all costs" mentality.
Mish for President
With that set of answers, I officially throw my hat into the ring.
Why not? Everyone else is running.
And the prospect of Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, etc. running against Hillary Clinton is downright nauseating.
I did not give either Republicans or Democrats everything they want. In fact, I proposed many things one side or the other would have huge problems with.
Yet, I did give the middle lots of things to think about.
I believe someone could get elected on my set of answers ... IF ... one could survive the nomination process. Therein lay the problem.
- One cannot be nominated by the GOP if they take on the industrial-military complex.
- One cannot be nominated by the Democrats by taking on public unions.
Therefore we stew with the worst of both worlds: warmongering coupled with untenable benefit promises and slow stagnation until the next crisis.
The GOP debate is tonight at 9:00PM Eastern. I wasn't invited. But you have my answers. Let's see how the others stack up.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock