Saturday, February 11, 2012

Conservative candidate confusion

With only the four GOP candidate left in the field, the differences among them should be getting clearer. But can you tell which candidate or candidates propose each of these policies:
  1. Cut $1trillion from the budget in 2013.
  2. Reduce corporate tax rate to 12.5%.
  3. Use credit card fraud detection systems to reduce Medicare waste.
  4. Allow Medicare recipients to stay on Medicare or sign on with other providers.
  5. Streamline our security services to meet new challenges.
  6. Open up offshore drilling.
  7. Cut 10% of the federal workforce.
  8. End nation building.
  9. Allow alternative currencies to circulate.
  10. Reduce corporate tax rate to 17.5%.
  11. Reduce corporate tax rate to 25%.
  12. Roll discretionary non-defense spending back to 2008 levels.
  13. Roll all discretionary spending to back to 2007 levels.
  14. Let young workers opt out of Social Security.
  15. Will not allow Iran to build nuclear weapons.
I know it's important to get an understanding of the character, personality, and history of a person running for president. That's fine and reasonable. But we also need to talk about the direction the person intends to take the country, so policy proposals are critical. I want to know what the candidate's plans are for: the tax system, the budget, major government programs, defense, and foreign relations.

There hasn't been enough discussion and differentiation between the candidates on these issues, except, of course, for Ron Paul. He, at least, has more clearly staked out his policies. When I wrote up the list above, I was able to add his proposals (#1, 8, 9, and 13) from memory because he's been very clear in the debates and campaign appearances.

With the other candidates, it's not as clear. Who wants to do want with Medicare? What are the candidates planning to cut from the budget, how much, and how soon? What parts of the military are they planning to expand, and what will they cut? These are specific questions that each candidate should be answering now as he makes the case for why he should be nominated and elected.

I viewed the second Florida debate again with an eye to substantial communication about issues. Ron Paul, as usual, spent a fair amount of his time on his policy proposals. The others wasted most of their time. Santorum was fairly clear on his tax policy and timeframe for closing the deficit, though he neglected talking about specific cuts.

Gingrich talked about his two-speed tax policy (regular or 15%) but ignored the direct question of what effect it would have on someone like Romney. Gingrich's plans for closing the deficit remain all in his mind, not laid out for examination.

Now I know their Cuba policies, which is important to much of the Florida electorate, but not to me. Regarding my top concerns, I learned very little. However, Romney did directly put out an attack ad claiming Gingrich ... Oh, forget it!

This is quite a waste of a campaign if you care about each candidate's plan for governance, and that's what you'll vote on. Are Republicans satisfied with this?

Which proposes a 15% corporate income tax?

Sources: GingrichPaul, Santorum, Romney websites, plus some statements in debates.

Extra: An honest assessment of their personalities by a libertarian, non-crazy blogger.

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