Choosing a President, not a Dictator
What is the role of the President of the United States?
According to the White House web site (https://www.whitehouse.gov/1600/executive-branch), the following are the roles of the President of the United States:
- Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for the execution and enforcement of the laws created by Congress.
- The President has the power either to sign legislation into law or to veto bills enacted by Congress, although Congress may override a veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses.
- The Executive Branch conducts diplomacy with other nations, and the President has the power to negotiate and sign treaties, which also must be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate.
- The President can issue executive orders, which direct executive officers or clarify and further existing laws.
- The President also has unlimited power to extend pardons and clemencies for federal crimes, except in cases of impeachment.
It may come as a surprise to some how limited the President’s power really is. If you’ve taken any civics classes in school hopefully it isn’t such a surprise. I bring this up because I am about to provide the “campaign promises” of 3 of the presidential candidates. I would like you to try to keep in mind the above while I provide the information from each candidate’s web site as to what each candidate is claiming they will do if elected President. Anything in parenthesis I have added for clarification (I pretty much copy and pasted the promises right from the site so I wouldn’t contaminate what the candidate was trying to say. The sarcastic labels and ridiculous fake quotes are mine.
The Socialist Dictator – “I will fix all of your problems and make everyone be nice to you.”
- Hillary will make debt-free college available to everyone and take on student loan debt.
- Hillary will commit to preventing, effectively treating, and making a cure possible for Alzheimer’s disease by 2025
- Hillary will work so that every citizen is automatically registered to vote when they turn 18, unless they opt out
- As president, Hillary will work to reduce air pollution
- As president, Hillary will End violence against the transgender community—particularly women of color.
- Hillary believes that we can afford to pay for ambitious, progressive investments in good-paying jobs, debt-free college, and other measures to strengthen growth, broaden opportunity, and reduce inequality. Hillary will use the proceeds from ensuring the wealthiest and the largest corporations pay their fair share to pay for these investments without adding to the debt.
- She will also guarantee equal pay for women.
- She will help families that are being squeezed by rising health care costs—reducing the burden of co-pays and deductibles, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and making insurance premiums more affordable.
- Hillary will set bold national goals to eliminate lead poisoning within five years, protect public health and safety by modernizing drinking and wastewater systems, clean up the more than 450,000 toxic brownfield sites across the country, and expand solar and energy efficiency solutions in low-income communities.
- Hillary Clinton will fight to bring an end to sexual assault on America’s campuses.
- Hillary will build the tech economy on Main Street by:
- committing that 100 percent of households in America will have access to high-speed, affordable broadband by 2020
- Deploying 5G wireless and other next-generation systems that can deliver faster wireless connections and enable the Internet of Things
- As president, Hillary will work to fulfill the promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Hillary Clinton is proposing a bold plan to prevent and treat addiction, support people in recovery, and take on this epidemic (drugs) once and for all.
- As president, Hillary will make preschool universal for every 4-year-old in America.
- As president, Hillary will double our investment in Early Head Start and the Early Head Start–Child Care Partnership program
- Hillary will increase funding to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers in local food markets and regional food systems.
- As president, Hillary will strengthen American manufacturing through a $10 billion investment in “Make it in America” partnerships that bring together workers and labor, business, universities, community colleges, and government at every level to harness the strength of manufacturing communities across America.
- As president, she would oppose Republican efforts to raise the retirement age
- Hillary will ensure Medicare can negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, so we lower costs for seniors.
The Businessman – “I’ll hire the best, fire the rest, and make my company… err… country great again!”
- Provide 6 weeks of paid leave to new mothers before returning to work.
- Incentivizing employers to provide childcare at the workplace.
- Order an immediate review of all U.S. cyber defenses and vulnerabilities, including critical infrastructure, by a Cyber Review Team of individuals from the military, law enforcement, and the private sector.
- Make the VA great again by firing the corrupt and incompetent VA executives who let our veterans down, by modernizing the VA, and by empowering the doctors and nurses to ensure our veterans receive the best care available in a timely manner.
- Negotiate fair trade deals that create American jobs, increase American wages, and reduce America’s trade deficit.
- Reduce taxes across-the-board, especially for working and middle-income Americans who will receive a massive tax reduction.
- Ensure the rich will pay their fair share, but no one will pay so much that it destroys jobs or undermines our ability to compete.
- Issue a temporary moratorium on new agency regulations that are not compelled by Congress or public safety in order to give our American companies the certainty they need to reinvest in our community, get cash off of the sidelines, start hiring again, and expanding businesses. We will no longer regulate our companies and our jobs out of existence.
- Cancel immediately all illegal and overreaching executive orders.
- Decrease the size of our already bloated government after a thorough agency review.
- Work with Congress to fully repeal the defense sequester and submit a new budget to rebuild our depleted military.
- Increase the size of the U.S. Army to 540,000 active duty soldiers, which the Army Chief of Staff says he needs to execute current missions.
- Establish new immigration controls to boost wages and to ensure that open jobs are offered to American workers first.
- Protect the economic well-being of the lawful immigrants already living here by curbing uncontrolled foreign worker admissions
- Repeal and replace Obamacare with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
- Immediately add an additional federal investment of $20 billion towards school choice. This will be done by reprioritizing existing federal dollars.
- Establish the national goal of providing school choice to every one of the 11 million school aged children living in poverty.
- Appoint justices to the United States Supreme Court who will uphold our laws and our Constitution. The replacement for Justice Scalia will be a person of similar views and principles who will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.
- Defend the Second Amendment of our Constitution. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.
- Enforce the laws on the books. We need to get serious about prosecuting violent criminals.
- Reform policies with a pro-growth tax plan, a new modern regulatory framework, an America-First trade policy, an unleashed American energy plan, and the “penny plan.” (reduce discretionary spending each year by 1%)
The Libertarian – “Sex, drugs, and peace man…”
- Governor Johnson has pledged that his first major act as President will be to submit to Congress a truly balanced budget. And he pledges to veto any legislation that will result in deficit spending, forcing Congress to override his veto in order to spend money we don’t have.
- Governor Johnson advocates for the elimination of special interest tax loopholes, to get rid of the double-taxation on small businesses, and ultimately, the replacement of all income and payroll taxes with a single consumption tax that determines your tax burden by how much you spend, not how much you earn. Such a tax would be structured to ensure that no one’s tax burden for the purchase of basic family necessities would be increased.
- Limit terms. Increase accountability. Bring back representation.
- We simply need to apply common sense to regulatory policy. Let’s get rid of the unnecessary laws and taxes that syphon the resources businesses use to create the jobs we need.
- Protect Privacy. Promote Freedom. Trust Liberty.
- No Nation Building. No Policing the World. More Security Here at Home.
- Protect Religious Freedom. Enforce Common Sense Non-discrimination Laws.
- Our military will not be asked to engage in nation-building or to somehow resolve conflicts on the other side of the globe that have defied resolution for hundreds of years. The men and women of our military will only be asked to protect and defend the United States – and to do so with a firm understanding of the objective.
- For our veterans who have served and returned to civilian life, many with injuries and emotional scars, Gov. Johnson pledges to provide them with the health care, support and transitional assistance they deserve – and rightfully expect.
- Practical (Immigration) Reform. No Walls. Incentivize Assimilation.
- End the War on Drugs. Reduce Recidivism. Support Law Enforcement.
- Too many unnecessary laws have produced a society with too many people in our prisons and jails.
- Keep the Internet Free (as in speech, not beer). Protect Privacy. Get a Warrant.
- Protect the Environment. Promote Competition. Incentivize Innovation.
- Governor Johnson believes that state and local governments should have more control over education policy. Decisions that affect our children should be made closer to home, not by bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, D.C. That is why he believes we should eliminate the federal Department of Education.
- Appreciate Life. Respect Choice. Stay Out of Personal Decisions.
- Governors Johnson and Weld would remove cannabis from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act, which will allow individual states to make their own decisions about both recreational and medical marijuana — just as they have done for decades with alcohol.
My take on these goals/promises
While one could argue that many of these campaign promises are noble goals, I have a few problems with several of them. I will go over just a few, and it’s worth noting that the list of what she is promising to do is nowhere near complete above.
But first, let’s start with something I appreciate in concept but have my doubts about. She will work to fulfill the promise of the ADA. Now, obviously this is near and dear to my heart and I certainly want to ensure that universal accessibility is encouraged so that people with various disabilities have the same opportunities for success that everyone else has. This is at least a constitutional mandate and something which she has some control over since she is supposed to over-see enforcement of the laws on the books and those laws already exist. This is all at least plausible.
Now for some not so plausible promises. For instance, apparently, a vote for Hillary means we’ll have a cure for Alzheimers, campus rapes will end, air pollution will be reduced, lead poisoning will be eliminated, and nobody will be harassed for being different than anyone else. I’m sorry, but the idea that the person who holds the office of the President of the United States is going to magically be able to fix all of society’s problems in 4-8 years is preposterous. I find it hard to take anyone seriously who doesn’t have realistic goals. Speaking of realistic…
The idea of offering free college tuition to all AND taking on all of the existing student loan debt is an insanely expensive proposition. There is currently over $1.2 trillion in student loan debt (per Federal Reserve report). Now, I realize that she is convinced that she can just take enough money from rich people to pay for all of this. In fact, in another of her statements above she mentions that if rich people and large corporations just paid their “fair share” of taxes, this country would have enough money to pay all our debts and pay for all of the new things she wants the Federal Government to do. Honestly, I’m not sure how anyone thinks this is realistic.
Another unrealistic claim is that Hillary is going to provide affordable high speed internet to 100% of households by 2020. First off, the Federal Government doesn’t deploy high speed Internet for consumers so, no, she isn’t. Now, if this is a real goal perhaps she means she’s going to pay for the infrastructure required to get high speed Internet everywhere and then lease it to telecommunications companies. If that’s the case I don’t think she has even considered both the upfront costs and ongoing costs for something like that. There are many technical, legal, and logistical reasons it’s been slow to reach rural areas. But honestly, I think it’s more likely that she’s just not thinking of rural areas. Her primary support comes from big cities.
My final concern with these goals is that I don’t want a Dictator in Chief. I don’t want the Federal Government determining down to the city level what has to happen. That’s not how our country was designed and there are many excellent reasons for this. My son had a writing assignment asking him to explain how the Constitution defends our country from tyranny. It does, and that is why I get concerned when people call it a “living document” to be interpreted like it’s some ancient script. It’s the law. It’s the law that the government must follow to ensure we are able to live free from unwarranted intervention.
Mr. Trump seems to have put a great deal of his focus on military and law. He wants to increase the size of the military in terms of people, weapons, etc. There also seems to be a strong desire to strongly enforce existing laws. Interestingly, I find this a bit worrisome since I don’t think many people know the actual laws of this country. There are simply too many to know and many that exist have been unenforced for so long that people ignore them. His stated goals of putting our country first is reasonable and understandable but I am concerned that doing so by re-negotiating all trade treaties while bolstering a military which is already larger in many ways than the next several countries combined could certainly be taken as “saber rattling”. I’m not convinced that’s the posture that we, as a country, should be taking. Defend our country? Absolutely. Make sure the whole world knows we can take them all out? Not so much.
I do appreciate his statements regarding stopping additional regulation until the existing ones have been vetted a bit. Regulations are a significant cost to small businesses and can make it very difficult to try to start a company without accidentally running afoul of obscure rules that you didn’t know exist. You shouldn’t need a lawyer, accountant, and HR consultant just to build and sell some widgets.
While he appears to be staying within the confines of the Presidential office, I do have a problem with the rather heavy-handed approach that he appears to want to take out of frustration. He has stated his frustration with the government for many years, especially in regards to what he sees as “weakness” or “leniency” and I am concerned his goal is to over-correct for this.
I think one of the most difficult promises Mr. Johnson has made is the one to balance the budget. This is no small or simple task and it is certainly unpopular. Consider that we are currently running a deficit of about $500 billion. Making a real budget that actually reduced our expenditures to what the government was expecting to bring in through taxes would be no easy task. It should also not that while he can submit a budget for approval, and he can veto spending bills, at the end of the day it is still Congress who really decides where the money goes. Gary vetoed many spending bills as Governor of New Mexico but still couldn’t stop increased spending in the State. But at least he’s honest about it and he’s done it before.
While Mr. Johnson does want to ensure that the US is defended from enemies he also feels strongly that our interference in foreign conflicts has actually made us less secure and has not been the correct use of our forces. I believe a focus on strengthening real defenses around our country instead of being spread out around the world will allow us to spend more wisely and get more bang for our buck (forgive the pun) when it’s not being spread out across the entire planet.
Finally, I feel Mr. Johnson is even stronger than Mr. Trump in his desire to reduce unnecessary regulations while still using the rule of law to protect people and the environment. I also believe Mr. Johnson will make sane, rational, decisions for our country and take steps to wind back much of the over-reach the Federal government has made into States, counties, cities, and neighborhoods.
Obviously my writing is biased, I support Gary Johnson. So please don’t read this thinking I have taken some completely logical and disconnected analysis of the candidates. However, I think I have fairly summarized what they would say about themselves. I have also done my best to avoid the controversial issues such as legal problems, personality traits, etc. There has been enough dirt digging and mud slinging. I thought it would be interesting to look at what each of the three candidates was saying about their policies and approach to the position and look primarily at that. I think that even if we just look at that, Gary Johnson best represents what most Americans want for our country. Less government, more freedom, and less war.