Mark Lein For President!
An Exercise in Caring about the presidential race
This began when I asked myself what I believed about the current issues discussed during the election process. What right do I have to criticize the presidential candidates when I do not understand what I think or believe about the major topics?
· When Warren Buffet admits to paying less in taxes than his secretary, you have to admit there is a problem in our tax system. I believe a flat tax, whether it is 10% or not, would do more to level the bubble than anything else. A flat tax code with no loopholes would do multiple things:
1. Lower the tax rate for middle and lower class, allowing them to retain and/or spend more on the local economy, thereby boosting business. It will also allow people and families to set aside money in case of emergency.
2. Give business leaders clear guidance and understandable requirements which will allow them to make quick and more accurate decisions for their companies.
3. Tax all US citizens the same flat tax on all wealth, closing the loophole of off shore accounts.
· In addition to the ~10% flat tax, I support a higher tax bracket for US companies with over 50% of holdings and operations overseas. This would:
1. Provide a lower tax incentive to businesses to keep or move operations and workplace locations inside the US to encourage workforce/job growth in the US.
2. Provide a balancing of gain vs loss. If a US company decides to move operations outside of the US they would be moved to the higher tax bracket for all revenue gained in the US market causing a balancing of loss of jobs vs national tax revenue. More, or at least steady, tax revenue would then be able to be used in job creation programs as well.
· I would retain the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and work to continually modernize and streamline the web and walk in processes for signing up. I would raise the penalty for not having medical insurance each year until the average penalty is at least $1000 to encourage more to purchase healthcare, thereby decreasing premium costs across the board. Instead of starting from scratch, I would work with law makers, the healthcare community, and pharmaceutical companies to constantly improve on the existing ACA.
· I would also push to change the eligibility age for Medicare to 68 in four years and 70 in eight due to advancements in healthcare and longer average lifespans and work force longevity. This would cut down on costs and reflect current reality.
· Each year, more Americans die from gunshot wounds caused by other Americans than during combat operations in any war in the last 10 years. While I fully support the right of an American to own and “operate” a firearm, I would push for several control mechanisms.
1. Mandate back ground checks prior to all Gun purchases, including at Gun shows and during private sales (similar to having to have a notary public witness and confirm private auto sales).
2. Mandate gun safety training prior to all initial gun purchases.
3. Mandate Gun Insurance prior to being able to purchase/own a firearm. The US mandates health, home, and automotive insurance to protect citizens in the case of accidents or emergencies. Some requirements to maintain the insurance should be; yearly gun safety training certificate (similar to boat safety training requirements) and proof of safe storage at home.
4. If another adult lives in a home with a gun and is not the gun owner, they must either have Gun Insurance or maintain a yearly gun safety training certificate.
5. Provide incentives for practicing gun safety including providing gun safes or trigger locks to those without the means or access to purchase on their own.
6. Restrict access to past violent offenders and people on No-Fly lists in order to keep legally sold guns out of their hands.
7. Lobby for funding of gun violence research by CDC, at a minimum, to figure out the root causes of gun violence, looking at it as it is, a health issue.
a. Using that data, work on educating the public and look at current or new policies that should change or be put in place (similar to the education on the effects of smoking that has caused change).
· First and foremost is the desperate need to bring back congressional term limits. In the absence of these limits we have seen the result of politicians concerned mainly with the next election than on getting things accomplished for their constituents. Nepotism has also been allowed to creep into politics.
· I would push for tying political leaders pay and benefits into the federal spending bill to force the house and senate to stop taking our country to the brink (or over) of default and/or sequestration.
· Push for restrictions regarding sessions. A session should not end unless all deliberation is complete or proper extensions are completed and signed.
· Pro-Life. I believe life begins at conception and that all abortions other than those conducted to save the mother should be outlawed.
· I would work to remove Federal funding from Planned Parenthood, while working with States to build the necessary programs to meet the requirement above, most likely working with existing medical institutions inside State borders.
· I would temporarily close the borders to all immigration and give current illegal immigrants inside the US a choice; receive US citizenship and all requirements that come with it, i.e. Taxes, or return to their home country immediately. This would cause:
1. If they chose to become a citizen, all rights and requirements would be in play, increasing the tax base and potential buy in to the Affordable Care Act.
2. Require employers to abide by federal and state law in employment of the new citizens (A reduction in illegal employment and treatment of undocumented people).
3. The closed borders will potentially stabilize the economy/job market and better able to keep up with citizens entering the work force through age.
· I would use the current process to screen the refugees but would work to increase not only its accuracy and involvement of other federal intelligence organization, also whenever possible shorten the timeline from the current one to two year wait.
1. As an alternative I would work with the UN and Aid agencies and regional countries in close proximity to the source country of the refugees to build more capacity in existing refugee camps and/or build new/additionally camps to hold more people. Not only would fewer refugees need to enter the US, but they would also be in close proximity to their home country making it easier to return when it is stable again.
· Maintain a strong military:
1. Focus on small unit training and equipping soldiers with the best hardware vs spending on big ticket items such as the F-35.
2. Work to expand the SOF community without decreasing standards.
3. Stop the downsizing and maintain a force ready and trained to provide the means to a political end state in the best interests of the US.
· I would force the government to lead when war is required. The policy makers responsibility it to provide a political end state and it is the Military’s responsibility to provide the means to meet that end state. Over the past decades, policy makers seem to have put both responsibilities on the shoulders of the military and that would end if I was President. It is the trained purpose of the US Military to Destroy governing and military capacity in support of political goals, but the Military has been forced throughout OEF, OIF, and OIR to Build governing capacity which falls completely outside their expertise and responsibilities.
· Continue to restrict monitoring of citizens information and require warrants for access.
· I would not be lenient on any Americans who illegally share classified information and would push for harsh penalties to safe guard our ability to protect our Nation.
· Work to establish clear guidelines, norms, and requirements for what causes a person to be placed on the No-Fly lists in order to protect the right of American citizens while also safe guarding them against would be attackers or terrorists.
· My 1st priority would be engagement with Mexico. American has become so focused on conflicts and economic struggles on other continents when a nation in need sits along nearly 2,000 miles of US territory. I would work with the Mexican government to encourage stronger diplomatic and economic ties to not only strengthen their country but to provide the US a more stable and potential partner nation for long-term mutual gain. I would offer support for their constant war against the powerful drug cartels and the terror they spread. Bottom line, a stronger and more secure Mexico would help our border security and encourage the Mexican people to enter their local economy and slowly build the middle class.
· My following priorities would include diplomatic outreach to European and Asian countries, maintain a presence and provide training to Middle Eastern countries to enable them to provide stabilization to their region, and economic growth in Africa.
· The US would no longer be the police of the world. I would shift to working within the current governing structures such as the UN and NATO to push for mutual goals. I would encourage the use of economic and other political tools before violence to negotiate issues.
· Work with States to mandate the use of body cameras by all police units to protect both the officers and the citizens they are sworn to protect.
· Hate speech – I would work to build policy that makes hate speech and incitement of violence against any person or organization in the US unlawful and met with steep penalties.
· Place more control at the State level and decrease the controls at the Federal level. Federal oversight should be reserved for education financial aid programs and to monitor higher education institutions to ensure there is a healthy balance of liberal and conservative viewpoints taught or propagated.
· Place more importance on the grade school teacher. Raise the pay for certified teachers to not only encourage current teachers to stay, but to also make getting a teaching job more competitive, which will help raise the quality and longevity of the teaching core.
· Decrease the importance of 12th grade testing required for a high school diploma while concurrently increasing the importance of testing to enter higher education to encourage students to take ownership of their education, decrease high school dropout rates, and build the workforce.
· Work with higher education institutions to create more short-term apprenticeship programs focused on specific job skills to speed up the education-to-job process.
Power of Federal Government:
· I believe the Federal government purpose is to support the States where and when nationwide (cross state borders) actions are needed. The primary functions that should reside at the federal level include nation to nation diplomacy, international aid programs and military leadership with the purpose to provide a safe, secure, and free society.
· I am dismayed and disgusted by the recent fear mongering regarding terrorism being propagated through the media and Presidential candidates. History tells us that fear is the most powerful weapon of politicians/leaders to consolidate power. People become willing to give up freedoms that they or others would have died for previously and the government becomes increasingly powerful until the excuse of “this is for your own safety” is enough for the general public to accept atrocities against portions of the population deemed a threat. There must be a balance of open discussion of threats and education about what they mean in daily life. If I was President I would make it a priority to speak to the American people routinely about current issues, social and other, and educate the people about what is being done at every administrative and government level to dispel false rumors and restrict unnecessary fear.