I Believe

To be a good dog catcher, you need to know what bites!

I am in most respects libertarian. Independent.

Minimal government regulation of all kinds is best. All kinds. Government is not the answer.

However, government is an answer when society needs mediation against undeserved advantage (monopolies, sweet heart deals, patrons, tyranny of the majority).

We are each responsible for succeeding based upon our own merits: ability, achievement, education.

Each person should have the chance to develop personally and professionally and to be competitive.

Each individual should expect that it is a right to control his or her own body, action, speech, and property.

However, we do not live alone in this world. Our actions do not occur in isolation. When our actions affect another, we should resolve issues amicably or expect that our peers (government) will resolve them when we cannot.

American government should be by the people, of the people, and not just for some of the people. To create change, I understand that in America it is my duty to convince 51% or more if I want things done my way.  Tradition is no less wrong than new ways. America has always evolved. Americans may choose new paths.

America is not perfect, but it is home sweet home to me. I will love her and protect her from all enemies foreign and domestic.

Constitution of the United StatesLaws & Sunset ProvisionsThe Secret BallotFreedom of ReligionToleranceCivil Unions and MarriageHealth CareGlobal WarmingBalanced BudgetsTaxes & Sunset ProvisionsEnergy IndependenceGlobalization v3.0EducationTerrorism & Asymmetric ThreatsBorder Security & Illegal ImmigrationAmerica’s Role in the WorldStates RightsUnions and Right-to-WorkGun Control

Constitution of the United States – The Constitution is a hallowed document that was genius in its initial state. Subsequent amendments have been generally sound and for the good of all Americans. We should refrain from trivializing the Constitution by amending it unless absolutely essential to protect some greater public freedom.  Top of Page

Laws & Sunset Provisions – All laws should expire not more than 10 years from date of passage. If the logic behind a law is sound then the law should easily pass upon its review and renewal date. Top of Page

The Secret Ballot – Congress should adopt the secret ballot for all votes. Party politics inherently corrupt the political process. Americans are best served by their elected officials being free to vote their conscience. All ballots cast for choices which affect the lives of American citizens should be secret.

Policy Challenge: What if our representatives told us one thing and then voted secretly for another? My position would allow mass scale lying without an accountability system … on the other hand my mind grates when I hear about “voted along Party lines.” Top of Page

Freedom of Religion – There must be separation of church and state. Religion, whether our religious beliefs come from faith in the existence of a deity or in the logic of our reasoning, guides our choices in life. Government should not take any action which limits the expression of our faith, or of any faith. Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion — but freedom from religion does not mean a cleansing of religion in the public marketplace of ideas; it means that government will pass no law that favors or endorses one religious belief over another.

Policy Challenge: So if last year’s Valedictorian chose to offer a prayer to God, and this year’s speaker chose to offer a prayer to Vishnu or to thank Madelyn Murray O’Hare … then all 3 would have the right to do so. Top of Page

Tolerance – We are all unique in our age, sex, religious beliefs and with whom we choose to share life. Whether sexual orientation is natural or by choice it should not matter. As America becomes more diverse we should expect that tolerance towards ourself requires tolerance of others. We must judge others only as we wish to be judged: work ethic, honesty, merit and loyalty. Live and let live. Top of Page

Civil Unions and Marriage – The legally binding ceremony of uniting two people, their property and their status together to share in life’s glories and miseries should be considered a ‘civil union’. A religious rite that unites two people together for the same purpose should be considered a ‘marriage rite’. How each religious belief chooses to define marriage is its perogative. Top of Page

Health Care – Affordable healthcare is beyond the means of many independent wage earners, small businesses, and low income employees of firms that may offer healthcare benefits. No American should have to face bankruptcy or have minimum levels of preventive and catastrophic healthcare available to them. Americans that do not have healthcare as part of their employment package should be able to purchase any healthcare plan offered to U.S. federal government employees and at the same rate. Americans earning less than $45,000 would receive a discounted participation rate in this private choice, publicly managed (PCPM) plan. Within six months of change of employment status to an employer offering healthcare benefits the participant would be dropped from the PCPM plan. Top of Page

Global Warming – Yes, I believe that the theory of global warming is generally valid. Whether it is man-made, natural, or a combination of both really does not matter to me. We should stay curious and learn more.

Environmental change is constant. The threat of global warming however should be taken seriously. As much debate exists then we should immediately establish a national commission under the auspices of the National Science Foundation (NSF) to examine this issue over the next five years. The commission will issue each year a report, fully available to the public, that outlines its concerns and a description of the specific evidence that supports the concern. Any one member of the commission may also file an alternative opinion, also to be published along with countering argument from other commission members. Environment change may be constant but the thesis of the global warming argument is that change is time compressed and we will be unable to adapt our civilization at the speed of that change. Top of Page

Balanced Budgets – We need a Balance Budget Amendment with a line item veto clause. Government should only spend what it collects. Extraordinary crises may require that government expenditures exceed receipts. Government that exceeds a balanced budget in any one year must operate in a balanced budget in the subsequent year and begin to pay down accrued debt, with debt eliminated within 5 years. If this means raising taxes then so be it. Just as we are responsible for credit within our personal lives, government must be responsible enough that we are protected from undue influence from those that would underwrite government red ink. Top of Page

Taxes & Sunset Provisions – All taxes should automatically expire within 10 years from date of enactment. I support a graduated flat tax from which there would be no exemptions or deductions.

Policy Challenge: tax companies or individuals? What if a company sent its profits overseas to foreign owners? Or if a company minimally distributes profits to shareholders and places the remainder of profits into a ‘reserve’? Top of Page

Energy Independence – America is hostage due to its own massive need for energy and the nonavailability of sufficient resources. We must acknowledge that aggressive competition for foreign sources of energy will grow within the next five years, and perhaps indefinitely. We should also acknowledge that the marketplace will probably not meet our national needs. Foreign needs (China, India) can and probably will continue in their willingness to pay a much higher market price to secure energy. We send approximately $750 billion overseas each year, much of it to governments that do not like us. I support the Boone Pickens Plan as the most viable for short and mid-term delivery of energy independence. Top of Page

We should expect the marketplace to provide solutions. And it does — it goes where the oil is the cheapest and sells it to the highest bidder. When it comes to energy we should not gamble that the marketplace will deliver a solution that meets America’s needs first. All of the oil companies are globalized — their duty is to their shareholders, whether they be in Japan, Italy,Venezuela or the USA.

Energy independence will not be solved by a globalized marketplace. We need a national program with milestones, carrots and sticks.The marketplace responds best to a short-term need. Profits are measured in quarters, not years. Bonuses for profits are awarded by quarters not years.

Developing energy resources requires time. Our needs, and the needs of the world, will probably increase faster than the amount of time available to develop market-based resources, build infrastructure, and to have in place a next generation energy grid that is agnostic about the source of energy. Success in becoming energy independent will require a national program funded by taxes. The energy industry has shown no interest in thinking or delivering long-term solutions.

Policy Challenge: until I study the market more then I cheerfully believe that the best answer is the Pickens Plan. Top of Page

Globalization v3.0 – Thoughts coming. Top of Page

Education – Thoughts coming. Top of Page

Terrorism & Asymmetric Threats – Thoughts coming. Top of Page

Border Security & Illegal Immigration – Secure the border. Now. No one should be able to walk across America’s southern border. Other ports of entry and our border with Canada should be studied and protocols put into place for minimizing illegal immigration.

Policy Challenge: what to do with the many illegal immigrants already in the USA? Shipping them all home is probably not an answer. Many of them have become good, tax paying Americans regardless of whether we or they call themselves American. For those that are inadvertently illegal aliens, i.e. children at the time of entry into the USA, I support the Dream Act, or some form of it. As to concerns that a Dream Act is amnesty I disagree. Frame the Dream Act in terms so that it affects only the individual named. We cannot afford to have a generation of Americans grow up as illegal aliens with poor opportunities for education and integration into our society.  Top of Page

America’s Role in the World – Thoughts coming. Top of Page

States Rights – All powers not explicitly given by the Constitution to the federal government belong to the individual states. States which accept targeted federal funding waive select powers. A deal is a deal. States’ rights should be protected by  sunset provisions included within federal laws, grants and tax provisions.  Top of Page

Unions and Right-to-Work – Each American has the right to negotiate the terms of their employment. Circumstances may arise where the individual needs collective representation before the power of industry. The choice of workplace unionization must always be by secret ballot. Workers should never lose their right-to-work, or be compelled to join a union or to pay dues to a union where unions exist. Top of Page

Gun Control – The Second Amendment gives Americans the right to possess and to bear (carry) arms. End of discussion.

Policy Challenge: This is not an infinite right without limitations. Should each American be able to buy a machine gun? Does the Constitution forbid registration of weapons, or registering the transfer due to a sell? What about purchase of weaponry by U.S. citizens in the use of crime or terrorism? … Or for export across the border to our southern neighbor Mexico (2008/2009 reality) where criminals are overrunning civil authority with more powerful weapons purchased in the U.S.? Top of Page

5 responses to “I Believe

  1. Jack Stell

    I am truly impressed! I wish that more people I knew took the time that you have to consider and articulate their views. I need to continuously challenge the box of perception that I have grown to find myself in due to the way that politicians at all levels and the media frame issues. As an example, when I think NRA I do not have a positive perspective, however, when I see how you have framed the policy challenge above, I want to relook at my position and challenge myself to get outside the box to consider other alternatives to dealing with those posed in the policy challenge above.

  2. Large Plastic Storage Boxes

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the nice work Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  3. Rez

    Absolutely on the sunset provisions especially for taxes. It is one I have advocated for years. And it has to have teeth like you can’t just extend a date obscurely. It must say why the tax is still needed and what it will be used for. Hopefully, it would have people look at why we are taxed and make judgments accordingly.

    It would also be nice to have politician explain what they view the role of government is. And not something vague like hope and change but how they see different government entities fit together for the common good.

    One can’t always predict how someone will act with a specific issue, but it would be important to know their perspective. If someone is not willing to address the role of government, then one should automatically drop the vote for them.

    But it is not a perfect world is it?

  4. Phyllis Coletta

    I really appreciate all the thought and work you’ve put into this. Thanks.
    I have to take issue with the secret ballot, though:
    “Americans are best served by their elected officials being free to vote their conscience.” The statement assumes these guys actually have a conscience. They are politicians. They vote whichever way the wind blows. Few of them have their constituents’ “best interests” at heart. They are worried about getting re-elected, period.
    How do we break the back of the two-party system? I’m beginning to believe the answer lies in the Independents, and open primaries.

    • Phyllis, I’m not crazy about the secret ballot either BUT we need to do something different than just each member of Congress voting their party leadership’s choice at the 95-97% rate — when that happens we cannot pretend any longer that members of Congress were sent their to represent their constituents.

      The good news I guess is that it has always been broken, and sometimes it has been more broken in the past than even now. Rejoice! (Think Mugwumps, late 19th Century).

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