Fiscal Issues & Foreign Affairs
My slogan 'A Republican Even a Democrat Can Like®' is more than a catchphrase. Yes, without question, first and foremost, I am a fiscal conservative. However, when it comes to social issues, I’m quite moderate. I've run as a Republican, but I could have just as easily run as a Blue Dog Democrat (a Democrat who is conservative on fiscal issues) without changing any of my positions.
The national debt is my #1 issue for good reason. Simply put, IT IS THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR FUTURE, as we can’t keep printing money or borrowing it. I’ll explain.
Every dollar we print, makes all our other existing dollars worth less. When the supply of money is increased, the demand for goods and services is greater; this allows manufacturers and service providers to get away with charging more, a.k.a inflation. In other words, inflation makes each dollar worth less, by requiring more money to make the same purchase.
As for borrowing money, sometime soon, we will have run up too much credit; then, our risk of defaulting will be so high, no one will want to lend us money. That means our government won’t be able to sell bonds - not to Americans, not to foreign individual investors, and not to other governments. This is not just theory. It happened in Greece just a few years ago.
The ramifications of our spiraling national debt include, not being able to afford defending ourselves if attacked on our homeland and, not being able to respond to a national disaster - like the predicted major earthquake on the San Andreas Fault.
However, the ultimate ramification of this debt is the fact that we are saddling the next generation with this problem. Just what will we say to them when, in the future, government can’t afford to provide the most basic of services, and they ask us “What were you thinking?”
Politicians often deflect the severity of the national debt by implying that we will ‘get out of that hole’ through growth in the economy. Yes, tremendous growth would significantly increase tax revenue, which would help pay down the debt. I truly hope and pray for such growth, but it is not something we can count on.
The concept known as “Japan’s Lost Decade” is an example of this. In brief, this was a period in history, actually lasting more than a decade, when, despite efforts of the best economic minds in Japan, the government was not able to generate much economic growth.
The most flagrant disregard for the national debt was, in my opinion, articulated by Senator Elizabeth Warren at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. She stated “America isn’t going broke. The stock market is breaking records. Corporate profits are at all-time highs. CEO’s make tens of millions of dollars. There’s lots of wealth in America…” True, there’s lots of wealth in America, but the wealth Senator Warren cited is mostly non-government wealth and does little to reduce our national debt!
I’m well aware that throughout history, countries rise and fall - and it usually has to do with money. We don’t have to succumb to that fate - not on our watch anyway - if we make the national debt our number one priority.
How do we do that? We need to elect only Presidents and members of Congress who pledge to make the national debt their number one priority. As my Former Deputy Campaign Manager, Matt, put it, “why reelect those who created this debt?”
Fine. Let’s say we do that. Then what? Those elected officials have to first balance the (annual) federal budget to ‘stop the bleeding.’ How do they accomplish that? They temporarily increase taxes on those who can afford it and, at the same time, gradually reduce spending. (I say gradually because if we reduce spending all at once, it may trigger unwanted unemployment.)
At this point, you may ask, what can be cut from the budget? This leads me to my spin on Foreign Policy.
As a country we are to be commended for defending human rights worldwide, but doing so is an extremely expensive proposition. Some estimates state that nearly a quarter of our 22 trillion dollar debt is from our entanglements overseas. Although we’ve been able to shoulder these costs thus far, continuing to do so will eventually become unsustainable.
Since we know that one day soon, we won’t be able to afford to police the world, we may as well stop now and save all of that money. Yes, I’m well aware of the ramifications. The late Senator John McCain so wisely said something along the lines about bad people filling a void left by good people not stepping up. I recognize that as true, but in the end, all of our efforts are for naught if we bankrupt ourselves in the process.
I’m not suggesting we simply become isolationists and do nothing to promote peace and harmony around the world. Rather, we need to engage our enemies to find out what we could be doing differently to anger them less. In other words, we need to find out, specifically, why they want to bring us down.
Of course, we’ve already done this to some degree and, more often than not, we find out that our enemies just want us to mind our own business. We generally reject that concept because we usually don’t like how our adversaries treat their own people, and feel it is our duty to intervene to defend human rights.
In theory, this mindset would be viewed as commendable by most. In practice, it simply hasn’t worked well for a very long time. So, it’s time to stop.
The most pronounced example of this is Iraq. That country caused no harm to anyone on our homeland. We went after them proactively because we perceived a threat, and because we didn’t like how their President treated some of their people. Did we ever stop to think that their leader, Saddam Hussein, was faced with no good choices, and had to exercise a heavy hand with some of his people to preserve the safety of others? Now years later, we’re responsible for a great deal of loss of life in Iraq - both American and Iraqi - and all we have to show for it is a lot more debt.
As for other items that can be cut to balance the budget, no line item should be ‘off the table.’ Entitlement reform is a must and the only way to fairly address that is to honor the commitments already made, but make adjustments for new hires.
Again, the first step is to elect only federal officials who demonstrate their willingness to make the national debt their number one priority. Then everything else will fall into place.