Monday, May 31, 2010

Nick Ladendorf on 9 key issues

Q: How should we hand the immigration problem with Mexico?  What do you think of the Arizona law?
The Arizona law invites violations of the 4th amendment, and it treats the effect rather than the cause of the immigration problem. I'm against this law. Illegal immigrants from Mexico come here as economic refugees. We can change this by putting political pressure on Mexico to crack down on economic inequities. We also need to minimize our impact on the Mexican economy. This includes phasing out corn subsidies and ending the pointless prohibition of marijuana. Implementing these changes would reduce the need of Mexican workers to move north to find work .

Q: How can the Congress promote economic growth and  jobs?

We need to cut off corporate welfare. Congress keeps giving money to immensely profitable corporations, creating to an unfair advantage over smaller companies and start-ups. There are fewer risks for start-ups when you have a truly level playing field.

It also wouldn't hurt to put more people to work, instead of into our judicial system, by legalizing marijuana.

Q: What can Congress do to make our education system more effective?

We need to stop teaching kids how to pass tests and start giving them the tools to pursue their passions.  Teaching children to pass standardized tests will not help inspire the kind of innovators that have made this country great. I intend to push legislation that changes the goals our education system to value thinking over memorization.  I envision an education system that creates more self-motivated entrepreneurs.
Q:  Earmarks: what do you think about them and why?
Earmarks aren't inherently evil, but they are inherently prone to abuse. As my great-grandfather would say "where there's money there's larceny." As a member of the Progressive Party I cannot accept corporate donations.  I can't image a lobbyist would believe they can sway me while I refuse their money.

Q: Health care: where do we go from here now that the U.S. has reformed health care?
Did we reform healthcare? Isn't this "reform" just more of the same? Making everyone buy insurance doesn't solve any problems. It only creates more customers for insurance companies. I don't see any quick fixes or the possibility of sweeping reforms. We need to have series of discussion over small improvements, weighing the implications of each individually.
To test out different approaches we need to expand states' rights to regulate healthcare. More conservative states will be able to experiment with market-based strategies such as buying insurance across state lines, More liberal states can attempt to implement statewide universal healthcare without fear of being sued by insurance companies.
Q: What is your opinion of drilling for oil in national park land and how do you prevent another Gulf oil slick?
To prevent future oil spills we need to use less oil. Regulation doesn't do enough to prevent accidents because those regulations are either not enforced or are knowingly violated when the potential profits are greater than the fines. Because of the oil companies' disregard for the rule of law, I would not trust them to drill off our shores or in our parks.
I will initiate legislation to ensure that taxpayers do not pick up any of the tab when there is an oil spill. We can ensure that the interests of the environment and corporate obligations to stockholders that are in sync by giving congress the power and the will to "foreclose" on drill sites that does not meet their contractual obligations.

Q: Discuss the balance between personal privacy and individual freedoms versus protection from terrorists.
There is no conflict between protecting our civil rights and public safety. Most of these government overreaches have been used to harass political enemies instead of finding terrorists.  I don't understand why we would respond to an attack on our freedoms by voluntarily giving away those very freedoms. That would be like taking all my money out of the bank and burning it as an anti-tax protest (not that I have much to burn but I'm painting a metaphor here).
Standard investigative tools are sufficient for catching terrorist. There is no evidence that excessive government monitoring would have prevented the Oklahoma City Bombing, the USS Cole attack, or even 9/11. After a disaster there will always be speculation about what could have been done differently. More importantly, no matter how many rights we give up we cannot guaranty that there will never again be an attack on American soil.

Q: How can our government realistically cut the federal debt?    
Stop borrowing from the Federal Reserve. I think a lot of people assume the Fed is part of the government. It is not.  I've purposed the creation of a new gold standard on my website. We must cut spending on programs that don't benefit society. Let's not give tax money to companies so they can export jobs. Let's not subsidize fossil fuels while energy companies are making record profits (or anytime really). Let's not waste money on the prohibition of marijuana ($14.1 BILLION in 2009).

Q: How can the federal government reform Social Security?
Social Security may seem philosophically wrong but is socially necessary. The most important thing is to protect those funds from the Congress. We need to ensure that government spending is never again obscured by raiding Social Security, the way Clinton did in the '90's. We can advance the goal of Social Security by requiring that a portion of our insurance premiums are placed in a transferable health savings plan.

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