If I were president:
I’d push for an overhaul of the tax system. I would transform the current IRS into another type of taxing agency. Sorry folks, taxes are a fact of life. But I don’t like the whole concept of income taxes. Penalizing people for making money who generally speaking are thereby not only contributing to their own personal economy but that of the country seems neither right nor practical. I would be more in favor of a national sales tax and possibly a value added tax (but not sure about the latter). The good thing about the sales tax is you get out of paying taxes by being thrifty, and thus making even more or retaining more money for yourself. Also, it would limit government somewhat in that it could not thrive unless the country as a whole was thriving.
Always a hot topic these days (although much exploited by fear mongers). We need orderly and sound practices. We cannot take in more people than we can accommodate (Europe is facing that problem with its refugee crisis) and we cannot accommodate large numbers of people who might be a drag on social services. And of course we must realize there are security concerns. But unlike a certain presidential candidate whose name I am tired of writing (but will have to again of course) I would not simply ban all Muslims or Hispanics or anyone by race, creed, or color. We just have to acquire as much information as reasonable and necessary on individuals no matter from where they come and act accordingly. It is true we are facing a serious threat from so-called Islamic terrorism (I say so-called because I am not sure how much the terrorists have to do with Islam; I not being up on my Islam), so it is only right and natural that we might give extra scrutiny to those who appear they might be connected with terrorist organizations or have those leanings.
As far as undocumented people already here, they should be subjected to existing laws but in a fair and humane way, and separation of families should be avoided. People who have a history of being productive law-abiding residents should be offered some path to full citizenship. We are a special country. We are the United States of America, beacon of freedom around the world.
And we thought all that was over (poor relations that is), gone with the 60s race riots (I know there were race riots before and after that too). But no, sadly racism still exists. But affected races can go a long ways in helping themselves by becoming politically active in their own localities. As president I would encourage that. And of course using federal law I would have no tolerance for a denial of civil rights.
THE SUPREME COURT:
I’d like to think I would delegate the selection of candidates to a balanced committee of liberals and conservatives and middle of the roaders, from the legal community primarily, and then select qualified jurists from that pool. When you try to pick someone based on ideology you can get a surprise when the justice rules differently than you anticipated — the Warren Court anyone? Our current Chief Justice Roberts sometimes (much to the chagrin of the far right). While I realize the truth is that the Supreme Court has become political, it should not be.
(Well actually over time the court finds itself moving with public opinion.)
And one more thing on all that: when someone claims something is “unconstitutional” it is at times like deciding what is allowed under the scriptures of the Holy Bible. It’s a matter of interpretation. In most respects, due to the form and style of language, there is no such thing as “literal interpretation” in either — well maybe there are more things literal in the Constitution, such as the number of senators per state and so on…but a well-regulated militia and an individual right to have a gun? The interstate commerce clause?
I’m uncompromising. We need to maintain the strongest military — ground, air, sea — in the world and we need to expand it instead of cut it like we currently are doing. We have no choice. We are the world’s super power and certainly for our own good and for that of the free world we need to stay that way. We need to be prudent on weapons systems and not just be a cash cow for the military industrial complex, however. But we need to improve conditions and pay for our service people. And anyone who has ever served in combat, National Guard or regular military, deserves top-rate medical care, no charge, courtesy of the grateful tax payers. I’d sign an executive order on that if need be.
We essentially have a mercenary-like force now — professional soldiers — and we need to pay them as professionals and expect professionalism out of them.
I actually think, however, that we need to have some compulsory national service in addition to the all-volunteer military, perhaps with an option of serving in some kind of civilian corps or National Guard, which in time of national emergency could be switched to regular military service. The pay for this would be relatively low, but the requirement would be for only for perhaps two years.
I also think the military has to have a clear role in natural disasters, such as floods and hurricanes, and snow storms, and wild fires. The spectacle of Katrina in New Orleans when we could not rescue people because our helicopters were tied up in a useless foreign war, along with political and bureaucratic bungling, pointed out that need to me.
We should be good world neighbors to all, regardless of their form of government, unless and until they threaten us. We need to give up the idea of nation building. It is enticing. I mean like anyone else might think, I would hope that once people saw our example of governing (the good parts) and our freedoms they would want to be part of it. But it is not that simple and not necessarily true anyway, as we have found out.
ISIS and ALL TERROR GROUPS:
Face this threat head-on. We simply have to do what we have to do. We have to kill them, or at least their abilities to do us harm before they kill us. Easier said than done, but it must be done.
The president and congress need to get together on this one and then the mission has to be given to the generals and admirals, with the constitutionally-required civilian oversight of course, and our leaders have to have the guts to tell the American people what will be expected of them.
Once told the truth, it might be amazing what people will do to save their own country.
I’ve left a lot out, but this was just an off-the-cuff commentary of sorts.
As always, I feel I am neither left nor right in politics, more middle of the road and practical.