Thursday, January 11, 2007


My response to a “Presidential Agenda Survey”

I receive letters from Senators every week. Some of the letters contain questionnaires to solicit my opinions. I know better than to believe that a U.S. Senator wants my opinion on anything. He has plenty of opinions of his own. What he wants is some of my money. Usually I throw such letters away, often without even opening them.

One of them came the other day from a person who aspires to run for President. I opened the letter and filled out the questionnaire. Then I wondered, what should I do with it? If I send it back, I will have to send a check with it; otherwise, it will be placed in the round file. Having gone to the trouble of filling the thing out, I didn’t feel like “round-filing” it myself. Being rather frugal with money, I didn’t feel like sending money to a potential Presidential candidate that I probably wouldn’t vote for. So, I decided to post at least part of the questionnaire and my responses to my blog, and here it is:


TAXES: Low federal income taxes help grow our nation’s economy, yet the federal tax code has become unwieldy and must be reformed. Please indicate your position on current tax issues.

1. Preserve recent tax cuts Disagree
2. Permanently eliminate the “death tax” Disagree
3. Make the U.S. tax code fairer and simpler Agree
4. Accept a totally new tax system such as a value-added
tax or a flat tax Disagree
5. Make it harder for Congress to raise taxes by
requiring a 2/3 “supermajority” vote Disagree

Other(My written opinion) The notion that low taxes help grow the economy is a fallacy. There is no proof that I’ve seen that there is any correlation between tax rates and the economy. The economy is affected by the world-wide business cycle. There isn’t much that even the U.S. government can do to affect it.

GOVERNMENT SPENDING AND REGULATION: Federal spending is out of control and government continues to become more intrusive in Americans’ daily lives. Please note your opinion on the following suggestions to cut the federal government down to size.

6. Aggressively rein-in government spending Disagree
7. Totally eliminate “pork-barrel” spending No Opinion
8. Cut budgets for overfunded entitlement programs Agree
9. Eliminate corporate welfare where government subsidies
underwrite corporate profits Agree
10. Adopt a Balanced Budget Amendment Disagree
11. Eliminate obsolete federally funded programs Agree
12. Reduce federal deficit Agree
13. Reduce federal regulations on business No Opinion

Other Your questionnaire didn’t list one important option: stop our expensive involvement in Iraq.

CAMPAIGN REFORM AND BETTER GOVERNMENT: Washington, D.C. has seen many scandals in recent years and reform in many areas is long overdue. Please register your opinion on the following options to restore the public’s faith in our political system.

14. Ban all gifts to lawmakers from lobbyists No Opinion
15. Require every contribution to a candidate be posted
on the internet within 24 hours Agree
16. Increase the time between when lawmakers leave office
and can then lobby Congress Agree
17. Ban “527” committees that can raise and spend
unlimited amounts of money to influence
federal election campaigns No Opinion

Other ________________________________________________________________

WAR IN IRAQ AND THE WAR ON TERROR: Our nation faces serious challenges in fighting and winning the War on Terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Please indicate how you feel about sthe following options.

18. America must stand firm and fight in the Middle East
rather than here at home Disagree
19. America must commit more troops to Iraq Disagree
20. We must set an immediate deadline to bring our troops
home from Iraq and Afghanistan Disagree
21. Americans must invest whatever it takes in dollars
and manpower to win the War on Terror Disagree
22. U.S. must strike at terrorists wherever they are No Opinion
23. The President and Congress must agree on the policies
our nation pursues in waging the War on Terror Agree

Other It is wrong to conflate the war in Iraq with the “War on Terror.” Also, the “War on Terror” is misnamed. Terror can never be eliminated. The best we can do is to destroy the Al Qaeda organization.

AMERICA’S MILITARY: America’s military presence in the Middle east and its role in fighting the War on Terror is putting strenuous demands on our national defense operations. Please share your opinion on how we can best strengthen the readiness of our military.

24. Continue to provide American troops with
state-of-the-art weapons Agree
25. Greatly increase strength of National Guard No Opinion
26. Reinstate the military draft Agree
27. Reorganize our intelligence capabilities and
military structure No Opinion
28. Fund advanced hi-tech weaponry to minimize
exposure of troops in battle No Opinion
29. Provide maximum funding for veterans’ programs Agree
30. Increase incentives for individuals interested in
military service Agree

Other _______________________________________________________________

DIPLOMACY AND AMERICA ABROAD: As the world’s lone “superpower” America cannot dictate world policies but must work with other nations in solving global problems. Indicate below how you feel our nation should address certain issues.

31. U.S. must take a firm stance on keeping Iran and
North Korea from acquiring nuclear weapons No Opinion
32. Work more closely with traditional allies to solve
world problems Agree
33. Keep building increased economic relationships with
China and Russia Agree
34. Use the forum of the United Nations more often to
pre-empt emerging crises Agree
35. Encourage more U.S. investment and trade in Mexico
and Central America to help create jobs and
lessen pressure for illegal immigrants to
come to the U.S. Agree

Other It appears that North Korea already has nuclear weapons; our “firm stance” hasn’t stopped them. Also, much of the investment and trade in Mexico and Central America has benefited American corporations, but has not benefited farmers and workers in Mexico and Central America. We should not, for example, sell grain to those countries at prices that are so low that they put the formers in those countries out of business. Many of those dispossessed farmers then try to come to the U.S. for jobs.

HEALTH CARE/SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE: In confronting the looming crises in Social Security and Medicare, Americans are presented with many options. Indicate below your feelings on solutions under debate.

36. Reorganize the Social Security Trust Fund to
guarantee its viability beyond 2018 Agree
37. Work to cut waste and ensure the financial stability
of Medicare Agree
38. Permit voluntary participation in Social Security Disagree
39. Allow individuals to privately invest a set percentage
of Social Security in personal accounts Disagree
40. Ensure that every American has access to quality
health care Agree
41. Rein-in excessive lawsuits that are driving up
health care costs. No Opinion

Other It is my understanding that the Social Security Trust Fund has assets in the form of U.S. Treasury bonds to continue paying full benefits until 2040 or thereabouts. The “crisis” in 2018 is that the payroll tax will not be sufficient to pay full benefits and money will have to be provided to pay off the Trust Fund bonds to make up the difference. Taxes will have to be raised to buy back the bonds. At 2040, when the bonds are used up, the same taxes can then continue to fund Social Security. So, what’s the problem?

ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT: America’s appetite for more energy will continue for decades to come and our nation must meet these needs while also protecting our environment. Please share your views on current energy and environment issues.

42. Subsidize research into alternative energy sources
to lessen our dependence on foreign oil. Agree
43. Permit more drilling for gas and oil in Alaska No Opinion
44. Build more nuclear power plants No Opinion
45. Allow oil and gas drilling closer to the coastline in
both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans No Opinion
46. Open more federal lands to oil and gas exploration No Opinion
47. Encourage use of more vehicles that run on cleaner,
less polluting fuel Agree
48. Push for more stringent gas mileage requirements
for SUV’s, cars and trucks Agree
49. Address global climate change Agree
50. U.S. should sign the Kyoto Treaty that commits
nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases Agree

Other ______________________________________________________________

ECONOMY: Republican policies in the past few years have kept America’s economy strong and prosperous. Please indicate below how you feel about current economic issues.

51. Too many U.S. jobs are being moved out of our country Agree
52. The federal minimum wage should be increased. Agree
53. The increasing federal deficit is a threat to America’s
economic health Agree
54. Corporate profits in many sectors are too excessive Agree
55. Too many government regulations thwart free enterprise
and small business growth No Opinion

Other Republican policies have not had any effect on the economy. The economy depends on the international business cycle. There is little that a Republican or Democratic administration can do to influence the economy. What government can do is to alleviate some of the consequences of a business downturn on workers who lose their jobs and businessmen who lose their businesses. My father lost his business during the depression that began in 1929.

HOMELAND SECURITY: Ever since 9/11, America has invested tens of billions of dollars to improve Homeland Security to ensure that our country can prevent another terrorist attack – or better deal with one if it happens. Please share your opinion on the following statements.

56. America is currently spending enough on homeland
security measures No Opinion
57. America must take whatever steps are necessary to
check all cargo that arrives in U.S. seaports
and airports Agree
58. Americans must be willing to tive up some of their
personal freedoms to ensure that our
nation is secure No Opinion
59. Some homeland security measures go too far and
threaten our Constitutional rights Agree
60. Spending on homeland security should be targeted to
those areas most vulnerable to attack rather
than divided up to all areas of the country. Agree
61. Our nation’s borders must be made more secure Agree

Other ________________________________________________________________

ADDITIONAL ISSUES AND CONCERNS: In the coming years our nation will confront and adjust many of our policies. Indicate below how you feel about the topics below.

62. Allow current immigrants already in our country to
register as “guest workers” Agree
63. Employers must be required to only hire legal
guest-workers and not illegal immigrants Agree
64. Permit federal funding of stem cell research Agree
65. Require mandatory testing of teachers in our
nation’s schools No Opinion
66. Fund school vouchers so parents can send children
to school of their choice No Opinion


Reviewing my responses to the questionnaire, I see that I have revealed quite a bit of myself and my opinions. You may not agree with me on some of the items. But, that’s what this blog is all about: Al’s Opinions. I’m Al and these are my opinions.

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