It is one week until the election. I had planned to write posts on 20 important issues giving my opinion on the positions I wanted candidates to take on those issues. In the 39 weeks so far, I have only posted 17 times on the topic and have only covered 11 (plus a twelfth – extra issue) of the 20 issues. During that same time, I posted 64 other pieces. As is normal, the urgent took precedence over the important.
So here are the issues not yet covered and a very brief comment on each:
4. Transportation – I think we need candidates who appreciate the value of our interstate highway system, our ports, airfields, and long haul rail freight system. Investment to protect the infrastructure of these systems should be higher on our priority list than many current social/defense/agriculture programs.
5. Law/Legal System – We have too many laws. We would do well to have candidates who campaign on the basis of laws they will repeal more than on those they will write. If we do not fund the enforcement of a law, what is the point of passing the law? That only breeds more scofflaws. I think we should look at our court system and consider courts as a tool of last resort, after mediation and arbitration. I would welcome incentives towards mediation and against going to court.
7. Commerce (was Issue #6)
11. Social Security – The old Defined Benefit Pension Plans served retirees for years until the late 70′s when laws were changed making Corporate Officers and Directors personally liable for benefit shortfalls. If a social security type program based on the old defined benefit plan were considered to replace our current system, I would want to be part of the discussion. I think we need to explore all aspects of funding retired workers day-to-day needs. That includes private investment. We don’t seriously look at our system today because any politician who does is immediately attacked much as would be the case if he/she suggested race-based programs or extending normal retirement to age 70.
12. Foreign Policy – I know even less about our foreign policy than I do about most of these other subjects. I do, however, think we are still in a position of enough power to change the stage a bit. I would like to see a more forceful presence in the UN. When we sit back and do nothing when Iran is placed on the Commission of Women’s Rights and Libya is chosen to Chair the UN Human Rights Commission, something needs to change. There is a very interesting post here that discusses some of Mr. Obama’s successes in foreign affairs.
13. GSEs like Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac – I would like to see candidates challenge the need for Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. There is a consensus that much of the real estate/mortgage bubble was caused by easy money/sub-prime loans/zero-down loans. How can we still support an agency that is backing 105% loans in a falling real estate market? Can anyone tell me why we need Freddie and Fannie?
15. Crime and Punishment – I will leave this to Steven at Skalduggery.wordpress.com. He is the expert. I do have lots of questions. Do we coddle our prisoners? Do mandatory sentences tie the hands of the courts? Do we repatriate or train criminals in our penitentiaries? Etc. This will be covered along with Issue #5 in a guest post by the Skald.
16. Security/Borders – A simple question for me. Why have laws if you don’t enforce them? Why have borders if you don’t control them? Any candidate who believes that the Federal suit against Arizona (for trying to control their own border) is rational has some explaining to do to me before he or she will get my vote.
17. Rights/Responsibilities/Privileges – We have rights, according to our Constitution and the Amendments thereto, period. I don’t recall seeing a right to food, health care, housing, jobs, etc. Those are things we earn by living up to our responsibilities. Safety nets are a totally different concept than rights. We need to make that distinction.
18. Congress and Ethics (was issue #10) – Almost an oxymoron in today’s Congress.
20. Your favorite issue goes here. - JSV suggested “Innovation” and I tend to agree that it is a critical issue. I will try to get a post before the election on this issue.