May 2008

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Comments

hambone1982

My #1 issue is Following the Constitution.

We have huge taxes on labor, capital gains, and death because we don't follow the constitution.

We have a failed foreign policy because instead of The Congress declaring war, we go to war in the name of United Nation Resolutions (which completely ignores the Will of the People).

We have so many police brutality incidents because our police officers do not know the Constitution.

We have a failed immigration policy because our executive branch ignores the rule of law as outlined in the Constitution and refuses to enforce the laws that Congress has made.

We have out of control gun control laws because the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution is completely ignored by (most) legislators and bureaucrats alike.

I think anyone that has been following the Presidential Primary race so far knows that the only cadidate that will return our federal government to a constitutional federal government will be TX Congressman Ron Paul, PHD.

ND

The flaw in your reasoning is your assumption that any increased wealth would be shared. It would not be.

Even that argument is moot, because Big Oil would never stand idly by whilst alternative energy sources put it out of business. It would quash any such advances. Watch the documentary "Whatever Happened To The Electric Car" sometime, and then ask yourself who was behind that.

Perhaps you're thinking that Big Oil could simply diversify and increase its interests in alternative energy sources as well, thereby profiting from them rather than being threatened by them?

That would work, if the people who run the oil companies were that open minded. Unfortunately, the prevailing mentality is to go with what works, maintain the status quo and protect one's own silos.

Also, middle-eastern countries are oil-rich, which gives them an automatic competitive advantage in a world that relies on oil for fuel. Maybe they could grow corn or harness wind energy, but so could anybody else. They would lose their advantage. When it comes to harnessing water, they would be at a distinct disadvantage. Again, they would not stand by and watch this happen. Dubai wasn't built on goodwill.

Urban Koda

If you had a president that could balance the budget, there would be no end to what else he could do...

But you do make an excellent argument for energy independence as well!

E

Scott,

Yeah, energy would be up there for me, but I would pick a simpler fix first... that would help fund the energy move.

Fix taxes.

The tax law is so byzantine as to be ridiculous, when it doesn't need to be. One line, ready?

Flat income tax, with a high personal exemption.

The exemption could be whatever the "poverty line" is at the moment and kill all other deductions.

I have never heard a rational refutation of why this isn't better than what we have now. It doesn't punish the poor, truly poor would only pay local sales tax.

Poor people pay less taxes, richer people pay more, it is completely equitable and gets of tax shelters, trusts, etc... that make this all so damned inefficient.

The IRS and industry surrounding tax stuff would take a huge hit, but I have to believe it would be better in the long run to simplify this.

You could give everyone a substantial tax break and still have a huge increase in available dollars from taxes due to a more efficient processing system.

Take the extra money and fund energy research :)

Jonathan

"

Also, for those of you saying "It's education"...let me just say very gently that you are morons.

At the policy level, we have more than enough well educated people to make the decsions. In fact, we have TOO MANY. Too many people that want to weigh in, too many people who feel it is essential their voice is heard, their concerns counted. That's why everything in government takes forever.

Really, if we want to solve those problems quickly, we need to cut more people out of the discussion."

Hell, why not just have one. Just have a very educated person call all the shots. Things will take no time at all. I, for one, welcome our benevolent, all-knowing dictator.

Jonathan

"Mine is abortion. [I know, insert wisecrack name-calling here] I truely feel that a person who is even the slightest bit iffy on the sanctity of human life has no business making decisions about mine. For me, it pretty much begins and ends there."

I believe the argument is over whether a fetus in various stages of development is actually a person and therefore, "human life", not whether human life is valuable.

At one end of the extreme we have catholics who believe that human life extends to the potential for insemination. Condoms, birth control, etc. are considered murder.

On the other end, we have people who believe a baby isn't a person until it comes out of the mother.

Most rational people don't take either extreme but rather, try to determine where, in the middle of putting on a condom and giving birth, an egg really becomes a "person". This makes it a genuinely complex issue with a very hairy line that can't be drawn. This also means that there isn't a "clear" stance to take on it. I think it's overly simplistic and quite ignorant to demand that people either "outlaw" it or allow it fully.

Patrick Kelly

Identify domestic and foreign enemies of the Constitution and destroy them.

DF

I would have to stick with crime. If the president were to come up with some magic formula to hold people accountable for their actions, the world would be a better place. Think about it, no more gangs of teenagers roaming the streets at night, people would feel safer. No more random murders, kidnappings, sexual assaults; no more speeders, red light runners, think of the reduced accidents. No more Enron scandals as the CEOs would be accountable for their actions, eliminating crime is the ticket. This would have far reaching applications too, once you have eliminated crime locally, I assume the same principles would apply globally, so homeland security would no longer be needed. With all of those extra minds working on problems like global warming and energy, the think tanks would be overflowing with new ideas. With today's youth no longer commiting crime, education should automatically jump to the highest literacy levels ever. Less of a burden on healthcare as many needless accidents and injuries would be prevented, plus, no more date rape, and no more drugs.

Sorry Scott, but I have to think crime is the most important issue.

fajensen

I would dump the middle east, starting with leaving Iraq within the first 3 months of my election term.

Then people will come up with all kinds of chaos and stuff that will happen. To those naysayers and party poopers I would say:

"Yes, probably, and why is that bad?"

"Is it a bad thing that the Saudi's must fear a Shiite dominated Iraq?"

"Should Turkey and Iran not have worry about a Kurdish State?"

"Why do we keep "supporting" the palestinians with aid money - it is not like they thank us for it!"

A war over the oil fields in the middle east will push op oil prices and help us cut down on CO2 emissions so it will be good for "global warming" too. Capitalism does work - if we let it.

And finally: "Your sons will not have to die for people you, given the choice, would not cross the street to pee on if they were on fire!"

Daniel

I think education. I know educated people can be dumb, but you get a lot more smart educated people than smart uneducated people. Additionally, when you solve education, you get a generation of voters who can vote for a candidate that will solve the other problems.

Nicole

For me, the most important "center of everything" is liberating HUMAN energy. I study economics, and I see taxes as a huge waste of human energy. I feel this in every bone in my body right now because I've been working about 75 hours a week to pay off debt. I feel like I've been run over by a train, and have no time for a social life, working on projects, or just relaxing.

I could work maybe 3/4 as many hours, or fewer, and make the same amount of money if I had no income taxes at all (including Social Security). If all hourly-wage workers could work 1/4 fewer hours, they'd have more time to invest in other things. They could do more to improve their quality of life. That's the most obvious direct benefit.

Indirect benefits might be that the prices of goods and services would go down, since businesses are no longer losing money on taxes. If we pay less for everything we buy, then we can afford to work even fewer hours, and invest even more energy in other things.

If huge numbers of people were free to work on other projects, things that don't necessarily earn money right away, the sum of human knowledge would increase - people could study and do research, develop new ideas and inventions and products, write more books. A great many valuable and important activities aren't immediately profitable, but will be helpful in the long run, and you can't afford to do those things if all you can do is earn just enough money to survive.

So my candidate's central focus would be stopping the income tax. A close second is getting rid of the Federal Reserve and central banking, which distorts economic activities and wastes human time and energy. I would have "free banking," an unregulated marketplace of competing banks, instead of a government-controlled banking system.

If those two subjects were united under one central category, it would be described as: ending government's power over money. That includes either taking it from us directly (through taxes) or distorting and controlling how it behaves (through a central banking system).

joshua

my reason for picking energy as the first problem to solve was nearly the same as yours. education seems like it could be the golden solution to our problems, but i know a lot of dumb, educated people. and so does everyone that reads this. improved education only helps if everyone applies what they've learned and applies it to a good cause. even educated people can easily become self-absorbed and lazy.

next time maybe put a small vote box so i don't have to read for days. maybe i'm too interested in pictures and fast facts. you, of all people, should be able to sympathize with that.

Dave

Also, for those of you saying "It's education"...let me just say very gently that you are morons.

At the policy level, we have more than enough well educated people to make the decsions. In fact, we have TOO MANY. Too many people that want to weigh in, too many people who feel it is essential their voice is heard, their concerns counted. That's why everything in government takes forever.

Really, if we want to solve those problems quickly, we need to cut more people out of the discussion.

Dave

YOu are absolutely right - It is energy.
As you pointed out, it greatly helps our economy, reduces terrorism, helps the environment and would allow us to tell the middle east to go pound sand.

About 6 years ago, I interviewed at a US Senator's office for a legislative aide job. I was asked what my pet issue was, and I said energy. I received a patronizing response. And, really at the time, gas was $1.20 a gallon - historically low, so I can't say it was unwarranted.

2 years later however, I was a genius.

Gail

Mine is abortion. [I know, insert wisecrack name-calling here] I truely feel that a person who is even the slightest bit iffy on the sanctity of human life has no business making decisions about mine. For me, it pretty much begins and ends there.

Bruce Harrison

Oh, that's right, I forgot that after four whole days of study, you have now decided that anthropogenic global warming is real. So naturally you'd focus your ideas on something to 'stop' it.

I'm sure others have pointed out (I didn't want to read through 250+ posts) that you think you've uncovered some big hidden secret in saying that providing cheap energy would benefit the economy. Duh. That's brilliant. So why don't you take the next step -- why isn't it here now?

Is it because EBO (Evil Big Oil) is supressing alternative forms of energy? Sure, that must be it -- the same evil cretins who don't care if the ice caps melt also want to keep you under their oily thumb.

But wait, aren't you an economist? Have you ever heard of the "law of supply and demand?" Could it be that the REAL reason we don't have economical alternative sources of energy is because the term "economical alternative sources of energy" is an oxymoron?

Yes, Scott, sad but true -- we don't have an economical alternative. There are some good alternatives, not cheap but reasonable, such as nuclear power, but the scaremongering of the eco-nazis have prevented any new nuclear power plants from being built in the past forty years. This is one area where the French (God help me for saying this) have it right.

Those "green" (read, "non-fossil fuel and nuclear") sources of energy are too inefficient to be economically viable. Come up with a cheap alternative to burning fossil fuels, and even EBO couldn't stand in the way. So your idea of 'solving' the energy problem is simplistic, even for you. Moving rapidly away from the use of current energy-generating methods toward less-efficient and more costly ones would hamstring our economy, and bring down the rest of the world's economies with it.

And this global warming crap is just a way for governments to justify your allowing them to put their hand in your pocket. You know, I'm sure, that even if all the goals of Kyoto had been met, the net result would have been to lower global temperatures by seven-one-thousandth of a degree Fahrenheit over the next 100 years. And it only would have cost about a trillion dollars. That wouldn't make sense to anyone, not even a cartoon-drawing economist.

Scott, any real economist realizes that the marketplace is the most efficient determinant of energy policy. Right now, the best alternative we have is cheap oil. You want government to 'solve' this issue with alternative energy sources -- well, they've been trying for decades, and all they've done is spend billons of dollars on research into power alternatives that aren't economically feasible. Great. More wasted money.

So, here's today's solution: let's drill in ANWR, develop methods to recover shale oil cheaply (there's more oil in US shale than in all the pool oil on Earth), start building new nuclear power plants, and get government out of the way of all the above. Government's biggest contribution to energy has been in preventing all these things from taking place while spending billions of dollars of YOUR money on failed ideas.

Time for you to move out of academia and into the real world. You might be surprised by what you can't learn in school.

Ken

I started reading these, WOW what a list of responses.

I think too many people are choosing things that are not sustainable. Education! Getting rid of the debt! etc.

Energy independence would grow so many different fields of work in our country that these other areas would be positively affected.
More money in the economy would mean more taxes available at the current tax rates, so more money for education, and more reasons to become better educated.
More money to reduce or eliminate the debt.

etc.
etc.
etc.

There are probably other initiatives that the government could start that would have similar results. But, this would be a good one.

Eric

Single most important issue?

Well, that would have to be to defend and uphold the United States Constitution which is in the Oath of Office which every new President takes.

Of those issues listed in this blog post, virtually none of them are explicitly mentioned (like 'Energy Policy') in the Constitution and are therefore not Federal matters.

In terms of Energy, not allowing the markets to solve the 'problems' is, quite simply, only making matters worse.

Lulu

Education. How are we going to solve the energy crisis when the so many adults in this country are illiterate and proud of that fact? When did it suddenly become "cool" to be stupid!

Jonathan

Probably education. All of the other issues will be minimized/solved if people are more educated and better informed. Hell, we may even come up with a better government where we don't rely on one man to fix all of our problems. Perhaps we'll have elected representatives that each have a specialty and can contribute/fix those aspects of society/government.

None of that will happen if Joe Sixpack doesn't know enough to expand his knowledge of the world beyond Faux News. We'd like to complain about how the big bad government is doing this and that but in the end, the biggest enemy to democracy is the ignorance of the people.

lawlessone

I picked education for the very same reason you picked energy - it hopefully will solve most of the other problems (assuming of course we solve first the problem of our educators themselves). Over the long haul, education, theoretically at least could do so, if everyone actually does get educated in at least the basic principles of science, history, math, and social studies.

[more irreverence at resistence-is-possible.blogspot.com]

mark

It's a myth that who you vote for will have any impact on energy policy, global warming or climate change - simply beacuse these issues are just too sensitive.

George W. Bush recently described Climate Change as one of the “greatest challenges of our time”. That Bush failed to follow his speech with concrete action was of no surprise, because climate change also appears to be one of the most complex and least understood challenges in our history.

The popular media have reduced the topic, with is complex science, critical unanswered questions, endless political and social ramifications and countless untested mitigation possibilities into a simple set of nightmare scenarios brought about by Co2, the new icon of our sinful existence.

This makes climate change the ideal political tool, the perfect excuse for anything unpopular that you need to do anyway. But the real solutions are far away - with our current level of knowledge any meaningful action would require measures so drastic as to spell instant disaster at the polls. Quite simply, a serious green politician is unelectable.

The truth is that we are only now beginning to apply human ingenuity to the problem. The underlying science needs to be refined, new technologies need to be developed, and political barriers need to be broken down. The consequences will no doubt be severe for some. Many will suffer, and much change will be required. But it will happen in good time, as today’s media and political debate matures into a more measurable and answerable set of problems.

Diana W

Before the Bush years I'd be with you on energy, but now I'd have to say balancing the budget. If we don't stop the deficit hemorrhaging, the collapse of our economy will make the rest moot.

Adrian

I would say whatever you pick it needs to be something that's quantifiable and verifiable. I mean, how do you measure education, or homeland security? I would go for either balancing the budget or energy policy. I am not sure how important is having a balanced budged (you might know because you studied economics) but I know that energy is an important issue...

andrew

I would have to go with education. It effects everything. Poverty and crime both have very strong links to lack of education.
I think that education is about as close to the root of our problem tree as you are going to get.
If I had to pick one thing it would be the one thing that could have the most trickle down effect on the rest of our problems.

A well educated nation would be better equipped to handle the energy problem no?
A well educated nation would also be less inclined to elect retards to public office. Double bonus!

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