To the Editor,
Nov. 8 is an election. It is part of a newspaper’s mission to inform the community about things important to them. That mission can be extended to include making informed voters.
This column aims to ask questions about the major issues, but pose no answers. The voter must judge the candidates.
For starters we can look at the California ballot. There are 17 propositions on the ballot. For some, this is democracy run-a-muck. The information on these propositions 23 pages long and measured one-half inch thick. Who can read this? One guide to the propositions will be given Oct. 8 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Reche school house in Fallbrook sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the American Association of University women.
Here is the difficulty, Proposition 61 mandates that when the state buys drugs they will pay no more than the Veterans Affairs price. Ads funded by drug companies say veterans will be hurt. How? I do not know.
Federal election issues:
1. What is busting the federal budget deficit? It is entitlements such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (Medical in California). These constitute over 60 percent of government mandated savings. What should we do? We can cut entitlements as the trust funds are due to be exhausted within most of our lifetimes. if we raise the retirement age to 70. Would not this badly hurt the people who labor with their hands and backs and are worn-out by 62 years?
Do we raise taxes to fund these mandated programs? Whom do we tax.?
2. Security: The U.S. spends five times as much on the military as any other nation in the world. How much is enough? Should we play 911 to the world and intervene in the Middle East, again? This is where we have spent over a trillion dollars in wars we did not win. How do we defeat ISIS? Do we drop a nuclear bomb? Do we send a million troops in? Do we carpet bomb the area killing innocents and children and violating international law? How many wars do we want to fight? Ask the candidates.
3. Taxes: We are not the most heavily taxed nation by a long shot. However, our corporate rates are rather high at 35 percent but few companies pay that rate. Our outcomes in health and school quality are way below many nations. Who should pay the taxes? Should the very wealthy pay a certain minimum? Warren Buffet famously says he pays less taxes as a percentage than his secretary. Donald Trump may pay almost no taxes. Is that fair?
4. Heath care. Is health care a right or a privilege for the wealthy and very poor but too expensive for the middle class? If it should be available to all in the richest nation the world has ever known, then how do we pay for it? In most advanced economies the government is heavily involved. Our version might look like Medicare for all. The alternatives such as Obama care are very awkward jerry built constructs. The Affordable Care Act took the existing infrastructure of insurance companies providing insurance through employers because the insurance lobby is very strong. But what about the rest of us as entrepreneurs or being unemployed? The Affordable Care Act is flawed but how do we fix it? Ask your candidates.
5.Economy.We are growing slowly but we are doing better than the European Union and oil producing countries. How do we raise wages and productivity for the middle class? Coal jobs may never come back in West Virginia. How do we retrain workers for the 21st century world?
Climate change. Is climate change real? Should we ratify the Paris climate treaty? Will climate change regulations create new jobs or destroy old ones? Ask your candidates.
Margaret Singleton O’Leary