My Baltimore Sun Voter Guide Responses
Read for yourself, copied word-for-word below, or at the Sun.
Why are you running for office?
To support President Trump's efforts to make and keep America great, lower taxes and regulations, reduce immigration to preserve jobs for Americans and end the many burdens of illegal immigration, to help reduce crime, to defend our rights to free speech and assembly, increasingly under threat by the violent, anti-American Left,
TRUMP RECORD - How do you assess the Trump administration so far? Name at least one positive and one negative.
President Trump has accomplished more in 3 years than most presidents during their entire terms. Reducing taxes and regulations has spurred a rebirth of American industry and the American economy. More than any president in recent memory, he keeps his promises, e.g. moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Biggest negative is his tendency to exaggerate and make off-the-cuff remarks that open him to criticism. He also appointed many people to please the GOP establishment who turned out to be poor choices, unhelpful to his agenda.
2017 TAX CUTS - What effect do you believe the federal tax cuts of 2017 have had on the economy thus far or will have in the future and why? Do you support the cuts?
I strongly support the tax cuts. They were essential to bring industry and jobs back to America. They will continue to have salutary effects as long as they remain in place. I support making those cuts permanent and seeking other means to reduce taxes.
INCOME INEQUALITY - Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and why or why not? What, if anything, should the federal government do to address it?
As reported by Forbes, measured by income and other quality of life measures, the poorest Americans live better lives than the top 10% in Russia, and better than their counterparts almost everywhere else. The entire argument about income inequality is focused on the wrong thing, i.e. how much you have, compared to me. That is a measure that exploits envy and is used by cynical politicians to divide us. But it is not a zero sum game. Bill Gates' wealth does nothing to prevent someone else becoming wealthy. More wealth creates a bigger pie for everyone. Conversely, confiscating wealth does not create more wealthy people. It simply destroys the incentive to create wealth -- and that is the driver for job creation and more affluence everywhere.
GUN LAWS - Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how and why?
The U.S. Constitution provides an individual right to bear arms. This right has been repeatedly affirmed at the Supreme Court. Criminals ignore the law, and federal firearms laws have done nothing to curtail crime, but have been effective in many areas in preventing law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves against criminal predators. Allowing open carry in Baltimore, for example, with a strong castle doctrine in place, would reduce gun crime overnight. With the exception of the truly infirm and violent felons, our right to keep and bear arms should not be infringed.
HEALTH CARE - What should Congress do with respect to the Affordable Care Act, how and why? If you believe it should be scrapped, what, if anything, should replace it?
The affordable care act is neither affordable nor provides better care. It should be entirely scrapped. It had to be lied about and misrepresented to pass. There are many ways the cost of healthcare could be reduced: 1. allowing competition among insurers across state lines, offering differing kinds of insurance based on age and other risk factors, e.g. catastrophic health coverage only for those at low risk, high risk insurance pools not cross-subsidized by the healthy, liability reform and many other changes. Government intervention in the healthcare market has done more to raise costs than anything else. Finally, healthcare is expensive because Americans are increasingly unhealthy due to poor diet and nutrition and inadequate exercise. We have an epidemic of obesity and other diet related ailments. We need to reprioritize health in our schools and our culture. A healthy society would live longer and cost much less in medical services.
URBAN POLICY - What role should the federal government play in helping cities? What, if anything, would you do for Baltimore, specifically?
The federal government can play a productive role. President Trump's Opportunity Zones is one of the best ideas. This does not require big spending, but rather offers tax incentives to companies willing to locate in inner cities and hire from the local population. I do not generally believe in "stimulus" spending, but if that is to be done despite my opposition, perhaps some could focus specifically on rebuilding inner-city infrastructure that usually gets the lowest priority, both to restore neighborhoods and provide shovel-ready jobs. There also may be a role for the federal government to push for better schools in inner cities. This should NOT be accomplished by throwing money at it, but rather by denying federal funds to state government until it gets its act together and provides good, basic learning tools in public schools.
OPIOIDS - Do you back Elijah Cummings’ bill -- which Republicans say is too expensive -- to provide $100 billion over 10 years to fight the opioid epidemic? Why or why not?
The Democrat solution to almost every problem is to throw money at it, which usually serves to do nothing more than fill the hungry mouths of those organizations and individuals who will directly benefit from the spending. The opioid epidemic is horrific and expanding, largely because we have an open border with the south, and an open-borders immigration policy that Democrats and some Republicans promote despite this tragic epidemic and all the other problems their agenda has created. For example, border crime off the charts, swamping of our welfare system by illegals, jobs being taken from Americans, some of whom turn to drugs, terrorism and other issues created by an insecure border. The opioid crisis is also a spiritual problem, exacerbated by the Left's insistence on promoting amoral values in our schools and culture, and a permissive attitude toward drug use. There are many ways people can and could be engaged and incentivized not to indulge in drugs, but none of that seems to occur to anyone. Just throw money at the problem. It never works.
IMMIGRATION - What changes, if any, should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies? Should the DACA program be preserved? Why or why not?
Currently we allow in over 1 million aliens legally, less than 15% of which are for employment purposes. We need to recreate an America First approach to immigration, providing legal immigration to only those willing to contribute to our society, e.g. no "public charge" immigrants -- who comprise a large proportion of those entering today -- and only those interested in adapting our cultural traditions and values. To do otherwise balkanizes our society. There are currently over 400 languages spoken in public schools, adding to the already overburdened load schools must meet. This is unacceptable. I would like to see legal immigration reduced to those numbers needed to fulfill jobs - about 200,000 annually. DACA was an unconstitutional usurpation of legislative power by the Obama administration. It must be rejected, if only to restore the rule of law. Illegal aliens, including those DACA "kids" -- most of whom are well into their 20s and 30s now -- should be denied all access to jobs, drivers licenses and public benefits. With no advantage to remaining in America, most will self-deport. By enabling and encouraging illegal immigration through sanctuary policies, granting welfare, jobs, licenses and other benefits, liberals have created a morass of problems for Americans, a burden which falls heaviest on poor Americans. It is a national disgrace.
TRADE - How would you rate the Trump administration’s trade stance with China and why?
President Trump is the first president to recognize the danger and folly of our one-way "free" trade with China. He is trying to rectify that. The Corona virus epidemic has laid bare the fact that we should never have engaged with China as we have. Our trade dollars have funded its military growth and aggressive, expansionist foreign policy that threatens the world. China will try to rebuff President Trump's trade policies. Let's hope they fail. The president continues to work to bring industry back to America and away from China. Let's hope he succeeds.
IRAN - Do you support the president’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal? Why or why not?
The JCPOA was one of the most dangerous agreements the U.S. has made with any foreign power. It can be compared to UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's Munich Pact with Hitler, giving Iran basically a green light to build nuclear weapons. The Iranians violated the terms of that agreement on many fronts, and as the Obama administration acknowledged, it was never even a signed agreement! I strongly support President Trump's decision to renounce it.
NORTH KOREA - How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
President Trump again chose the right path by engaging the NK dictator. It ended much of NK's open hostility and also threw the ball into the NK court. Doubtful they will ever comply with any agreement but their aggressive behavior has been forestalled, and I think they believe as I do, that any genuine threat will get a response from this president -- not something Kim Jung Un is willing to risk.
CLIMATE CHANGE - How should the United States address climate change?
First of all, the U.S. government has to start being honest about it. There is strong doubt among many climate scientists and others who are NOT BEHOLDEN to the federal government for funding, that manmade global warming is a genuine threat to the climate. There has been modest climate change over the past 200 years, some of which is doubtless manmade, but it is not driven by CO2 -- an essential food for plants. CO2 levels are actually much lower than they have been for much of our earth's history, and changes do not lead, but rather lag, temperature changes historically. Those who support federal spending on "climate change" see it as an opportunity to obtain vast funding. The Paris Accords demonstrated this. Both Russia and China produce more CO2 and air pollution than the U.S. If global climate change is caused by this, then they are the ones who could have the greatest impact. But the only nation on the hook to fund this charade was the U.S. Thankfully President Trump had the courage and foresight to bail from that monstrosity. Many people are also coming to realize that alternative "green" energy sources, e.g. solar and wind, are prohibitively expensive, environmentally devastating, and produce tiny amounts of energy unreliably for the cost.
GREEN NEW DEAL - Do you support the Green New Deal? Why or why not?
Of course not. An idiotic prescription for socialism, sold under the banner of environmentalism, suggested by a former bartender with no more knowledge of the issue than a clam.
My follow up comments
I was glad to see these finally posted. I will note that Dutch Ruppersberger has the polar opposite positions on everything, EVEN the Green New Deal, which he enthusiastically endorses! AOC really is nothing more than a narcissistic former bartender with the intellect of a clam. What does that say about Dutch, or for that matter, the entire Nancy Pelosi Democrat Party infrastructure?
If I had it to do over I would have added bringing back the trades in the Urban Policy section. This is critically important for inner cities and has been requested for decades. Not everyone needs to go to college, and some would be much better off learning a trade.