Saturday, September 22, 2012


The 2012 Election

The 2012 Election: What I Want to Hear: Updated 092312

American jobs are a huge issue in this campaign, and I have qualms about either candidate addressing the problem as I think they should. Although Presidents are not in a position to make dramatic changes to our economy (that is, if they stay well within the Constitutional limitations of their office), they can implement policies and administrative regulations that will definitely help. Here are several overall suggestions that I think should be pursued by the winner, and touted in his campaign rhetoric, affecting not only jobs, but also how our government works:

1. Regulations: any regulation that has a significant impact on jobs or industry should be reexamined and modified to accommodate job growth, unless the case for the regulation is critical to life or our economic and medical well-being. This is particularly relevant for the energy industry, where the coal industry is being regulated to an inch of its life, the oil and natural gas industries are being stifled by overregulation and prohibition of drilling, the nuclear power industry is almost completely hamstrung by overregulation, and power lines and pipelines face a gauntlet of approvals all the way up to the current President’s office. The EPA must be brought under control, or else eliminated. We have now, and must continue to have a “mixed economy”, but it must serve the people, not a progressive ideal.

2. Trade Policies. Free international trade is a myth. The only nation trying to practice it is the United States. Everyone else uses tariffs and other national methods to protect their own industries. We desperately need to overhaul our policies towards nations that erect barriers to our imports while exploiting our free and open markets, and begin to practice protectionism for our industries. We must think of America first, and recognize that policies once thought to stem from a generous America willing to help others to grow, must now be reexamined in light of our current and enduring economic plight.

3. Outsourcing. Along the same lines, we need to figure out how to return jobs back to America that we shipped to foreign nations. We need to stop the trend towards further outsourcing of jobs that could be done cost-effectively here in the States. As a further protection we need to stem the flow of our technologies, knowhow, and patent licenses to foreign nations, because they are rapidly creating deadly competition for our industries in the near term. Just how to bring jobs back is a serious problem, but we are faced with the probability that an estimated four million outsourced jobs are permanently lost to America. This cannot be good for our economy, and efforts must be made to influence major corporations very strongly and economically to think American and Americans again.

4. New Plants. Financial incentives should be made available to corporations that invent, modernize, upgrade and retool plants and facilities, introduce new products, and hire workers to operate the production lines. Such creation of new operations with increased automation and staff training can bring down the cost of labor here, while helping our job market with good, well-paid positions.

5. Automobiles. Foreign automobile makers have located their plants in the US, which gives us jobs and some supplier contracts, and the current requirement, if I am up to date on this, is that they must produce over 60% of the product in the US, using US labor and US resources. My Toyota Avalon is 85% US sourced, for instance, which is good for our economy, even if the profits are repatriated to Japan. However, I believe we should move to get a better deal in the long term that would help our own auto makers. A first step here is to force the government to sell its shares or GM and Chrysler, and to ensure that the UAW shares become common shares and are diluted.

6. Steel. I suggest that we need to revive our steel industry, and support use of US-made steel in projects and products around the nation. US companies should have a favored position for in-country contracts, even at a cost premium of 10 or 20% for the time being.

7. Economic Elites. This call for protectionism is diametrically opposed to the prevailing business philosophy of our economic elites. They have mastered to technique of creating a product in America, manufacturing it in Asia, and then importing the products to sell them in the US without any tariffs paid to our government. This free ride back into the country costs us untold jobs and revenue, all for the profit of the elites. This should be regulated for our national benefit.

8. Government Programs. Every government program must be examined for its validity, its currency, its efficiency, and its real need. If a program is not up to par it should be terminated and the staff let go. We need to establish criteria for the continued existence of all of these programs, and proceed to evaluate them critically--not politically. The model for this effort should be the BRAC program that apolitically closed military bases. Many such programs could be turned over to private industry, staff and all, with considerable savings to the taxpayer. A simple rule applies here: don't spend money you don't have.

9. Carried Interest. The current rules for using carried interest should be either modified or eliminated, since it benefits mainly the 1% of taxpayers that are worth many millions.

10. Social Security and Health Care Entitlements. This large portion of our economy, approaching 70% of the budget, must be overhauled properly to ensure its viability and cost-effectiveness in delivering assistance to both the retirement and the health of our people. This must be done without a massive tax increase on the taxpayers, without seriously compromising the insurance industry and without compromising the free market approach. A beginning here is the dismissal of ObamaCare, and the still valid recognition that Social Security was not meant to cover the entire financial needs of retirees, merely a portion. Exceptions for hardship cases should be permitted, however.

11. Education. Our entire education system needs an overhaul, from ensuring that the curricula throughout the systems reflect American society, American values and American goals, that indoctrination students by professors is abolished, and the costly and ineffective superstructure built by the Federal government be terminated in favor of individual state’s responsibility for education. Federal influence on states’ education must be ended by establishing an automatic system for financial aid to the states with no federal manipulations involved. Any vestiges of admission preferences to minorities must be ended. Lastly, the undue influence of unions currently inflicted on our education system must be stopped permanently.

12. Defense. A significant overhaul of our defense programs in is order, beginning with the establishment of comprehensive and relevant long-term objectives and needs for a military force. That we must remain strong and capable of both defending the homeland and fighting for freedom elsewhere around the world simultaneously is historically true and will not change. That there are long-range threats to our safety arising both in the Middle East, Asia and in the Islamic world cannot be challenged effectively by pacifists and Pollyanna thinkers, and that we must ensure that the oceans and straits of the world remain open for our trade and military transit is obvious. This must include space uses for military purposes as well, since there is a building military threat in space by Russia and China. We must keep a significant force level in being that is trained and equipped with modern weapons to fight wherever necessary for the foreseeable future.

Our commitments to NATO and nations around the world in mutual defense treaties must be honored, but we must reduce our overseas deployments significantly in order to afford to retain a force level sufficient for the active threats we perceive. Our tripwire deployments in Europe and in South Korea should be materially reduced over time, and our yearly contribution to NATO should be scaled down to the same level as the contributions of the major participating nations—Britain, Germany, and France; more like 6%, and not 22 to 30%.

Our weapons research, development and procurements must keep pace with both the threats and the developments elsewhere to ensure what has been termed “avoiding technological surprise”, which in fact we did experience in WWII, Korea, and even Vietnam. The liberal mind cannot grasp this concept. They would disarm us if they could.

13. Corporate Independence. We must address another major problem, and that is the insular, independent, and aggressive nature of modern international corporations, and their substantial and varied influences on regulation and taxation here in the US. While we must have a competitive and favorable environment for major businesses, we must also look to the protection of our citizens from corporate greed and insensitivity to the impacts of corporate decisions on our people. An accommodation must take place that meets both US citizens’ and corporate objectives. This is a major problem that requires our best minds to find the way.

14. The UN. Despite heavy political support for this organization, it has exerted a negative force on the US for some time, and our financial support has thus become a joke. A majority of nations in the UN are actively opposed to America and thwart many of our objectives, while advocating policies that hurt us, using our money to pursue their objectives. Many of the UN programs are corrupt and highly inefficient.

We have become addicted to the concept that Security Council blessing legitimizes our military actions in defense of other nations, and we cannot act legally without such approval by the majority or even all members. This is nonsense.

We must downgrade our support for the UN, with the exception of their aids to humanity programs, and cease thinking that we must cater to “world opinion.” We should earn a good world opinion through our direct and positive actions with the nations, not via the UN, except for its forum and communications uses. We should recognize the entire blocks of nations are more or less permanently opposed to us on general principles and through envy of our wealth, and that will not change because of the UN.

15. The Middle East. There is a current trend to support Palestine and not Israel in this centuries-old conflict, and a kind of helpless non-action approach to the entire Arab Spring movement throughout North Africa. There seems to be considerable reluctance to stand up for Israel against Iran as well. These trends come almost entirely from the Obama administration and not from the 64-odd year commitment that we have had to Israel. Reaffirming our support for Israel is a first order of business, and no words from Obama today should be taken at face value when he says that he supports Israel. He is lying. He does not support Israel. Anyone that believes we can succeed in forming a peace accord between Israel and the Arab or Islamic world believes in the tooth fairy.

16. Appointees. We should return our administration to a more customary role as servants to the people and not advocates for and implementers of collective or progressive reforms. This will not happen if Obama is reelected. The entire concept of czars that are not approved by Congress having power to change our economy and our way of doing the business of both the government and the private sector must be eradicated permanently.

17. Global Warming: While valid scientific research indicates that there will be a small increase in the temperature of the earth on the order of a degree or so, it is in no way a catastrophic situation. Continued research by qualified scientists is certainly indicated, but the mass hysteria generated by unwarranted guesses by the Gores of the world can be ignored. We need not mount vast and expensive programs to attempt to manage the physics of our planet, nor need we reorganize the governance of nations as well, although there are some people that would welcome the opportunity to gain control of all of us.

18. Foreign Policy.  After the chaos of the last three plus years in the foreign arena. we must resurrect our close relationships with our traditional friends around the world that Obama has insulted, alienated and downplayed. Courting the Islamic nations is a lost cause, as anyone that has studied the issue knows very well. We must deal with them from a position of strength, and not kowtow to the massive Muslim hissyfits that can be organized at a moment's notice. Yes, we can buy their oil until such time as we have retooled our energy sector to free us from dependence on all Middle East oil, a step that Obama has blocked from day one of his presidency. The Obama policy for the Arab world is in tatters, and playing nice will not help.

We must seriously entertain the step of significantly reducing the number of visas and immigration requests from Islamic nations for Muslims, and the idea of sending our money to these nations is rediculous in the extreme. Five billion dollars to Egypt every year for their armed forces? Why? Buying them off from harassing or even invading Israel? Just tell them they risk losing one or more of Cairo, Alexandria, Medina, Mecca, and the Aswan Dam if they attack Israel--and mean it! A bit of strong-armed diplomacy would go a long way. This the Muslim hierarchy understands very well. Apologies they count as weakness. This strong-armed diplomacy must hold across the Middle East:  Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the nascent state of Palestine too. But not our friends and partners in the UAE, and Saudi Arabia--not yet anyway.


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