Posts Tagged ‘Marco Rubio’

A guide to the candidates’ economic plans

March 4, 2016

Over the past few months, The Street, an investment news service, published these useful guides to the candidates’ economic proposals.

If Hillary Clinton is elected President, here’s what will happen to the U.S. economy by Leon Lazaroff.

If Ted Cruz were President, here’s what would happen to the U.S. economy by Ross Kenneth Urken.

If Marco Rubio was President, here is what would happen to the U.S. economy by Rhonda Schaffler.

If socialist candidate Bernie Sanders was President, here is what would happen to the to the U.S. economy by Emily Stewart.

If Donald Trump was President, here’s what would happen to the U.S. economy by Emily Stewart.

Report card on the candidates’ foreign policies

February 25, 2016

hawishness-scorecard-revised-554x380

Although I call myself a liberal, I find myself agreeing with writers for The American Conservative these days more than I do with writers for supposedly liberal publications such as The Atlantic.

The editors of the American Conservative published useful summaries of the candidates’ views on foreign policy issues, although with their evaluations, which I agree with.

Their evaluations are based on the idea that (1) the United States should not attack countries that do not threaten us, (2) the United States should not intervene in foreign conflicts that do not concern us and (3) the main mission of the American military should be defense of the homeland rather than world military supremacy.

It is noteworthy, though, that all six issues on which TAC editors focus are problems which the USA has created itself – problems that would not exist if Washington did not seek world military supremacy and had not tried to destabilize Ukraine, conquer Iraq, overthrow Libya and Syria and wage cold war against Iran.

There are less urgent, but more important, problems that we Americans should be thinking about:

  • How to manage our economic relationship with China, the main rival for the United States economically.
  • How to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and the threat of nuclear war, accidental or otherwise, with Russia, the only nation that has the power to destroy the United States militarily.
  • How to help Mexico achieve political stability and economic progress, the only long-range
  • How to work with other nations to mitigate (it is too late to prevent) the threat of global warming.
  • How to manage international trade in a way that benefits Americans and our trading partners (the TPP isn’t it).

But The American Conservative editors are not wrong to focus on the issues they do.  The first step toward making things better is to stop making them worse.

LINK

A 2016 Foreign Policy Report Card by the editors of The American Conservative.

Election 2016: Iowa winnows the candidates

February 2, 2016

What the Iowa caucuses determined is that neither Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton nor any other candidate is a sure thing for their party’s Presidential nomination.

Here are preliminary vote and delegate counts.

Republicans

  • Ted Cruz, 28 percent, eight delegates
  • Donald Trump, 24 percent, seven delegates
  • Marco Rubio, 23 percent, seven delegates
  • Ben Carson, 9 percent, three delegates
  • Rand Paul and Jeb Bush, one delegate each

Democrats

  • Hillary Clinton, 50 percent, 22 delegates
  • Bernie Sanders, 50 percent, 21 delegates

Iowans winnowed the field to five candidates — Cruz, Trump and Rubio among the Republicans, Clinton and Sanders among the Democrats.  And they made Marco Rubio rather than Jeb Bush, Chris Christie or John Kasich the candidate of the Republican and conservative establishment.

LINKS

Cruz wins Iowa Republican caucuses; Clinton and Sanders in near-tie by Patrick Martin for the World Socialist Web Site.  [added later]  Hat tip for this to Bill Harvey.  As he said, this is excellent analysis from an off-beat source.

The Field Guide to Ted Cruz by Erica Grieder for Texas Monthly [added later]

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Good sense (relatively) from Cruz and Trump

December 16, 2015

I wouldn’t vote for Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, but they advocate a less dangerous foreign policy than Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush or even Hillary Clinton.

TedNRCover-775x1024They both recognize that U.S. military interventions in the Middle East have been disasters and that further military intervention is unlikely to produce any better result.   They both think that the best way to fight ISIS is to get out of the way of the enemies of ISIS – Russia, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

[Update 12/17/2015.  On the other hand, Ted Cruz thinks carpet bombing is the route to victory over ISIS, which cancels out any seemingly sensible thing  he might have said.  See the new Juan Cole link below. ]

That makes them significantly different from Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, who want to send ground troops to the Middle East.

The problem with Cruz and Trump is that, while reluctant to increase the number of America’s foreign enemies, they are eager to wage political war against domestic enemies.

trumpweb21n-1-webFor Cruz, these are atheists, secularists, abortionists and gays.  For Trump, these are Mexicans, Muslims and the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

This is in contrast to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, who seek harmony at home while treating the lives of foreigners in majority-Muslim countries as expendable.

I don’t see why Trump, who wants to bar Muslims from the United States, is morally worse than Rubio, Bush or Clinton, who support aggressive wars resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Muslim bystanders.

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Hillary Clinton is the millionaires’ favorite

December 15, 2015

Hillary Clinton is by far (34%) the favorite Presidential candidate of millionaires polled by CNBC, followed by Marco Rubio (13%)

CNBC poll on millionaires' choice for president

CNBC Poll of millionaires.

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Philosophers and welders

November 22, 2015

… make higher education faster and easier to access, especially vocational training.  For the life of me, I don’t know why we have stigmatized vocational education.  Welders make more money than philosophers.  We need more welders and less philosophers.

==Senator Marco Rubio in the 4th GOP debate

Marco Rubio is mistaken about the purpose of studying philosophy.  The purpose is not mainly to earn a big salary as a professional philosopher.  It is to give student a broader perspective on life.  This is important for everyone, whether a welder or a United States Senator.

education-in-liberal-artsEveryone has a philosophy, whether they know it or not.   Everyone operates on certain assumptions about how you know what’s true and what’s false, and what’s right and what’s wrong.   Some people get their basic assumptions about life from parents, teachers or  religion.  Some get them from peers.  All too many get them from the mass media.

The study of philosophy helps you to look at your assumptions and decide how well they stand up.  It helps you to understand the assumptions of people different from you and where they’re coming from.

And it gives you a kind of cosmic perspective that helps you escape the limits of the here and now.  It can be a kind of spiritual practice.

Once the study of the liberal arts—including philosophy—was reserved for the upper classes to give them the perspective they needed to be successful rulers.   Education for the lower classes, what there was of it, consisted of basic literacy and vocational skills.

With the rise of democracy, many Americans had the dream that the kind of education once limited to the aristocracy could be made available to everyone.   Thinkers from Thomas Jefferson to John Dewey believed that American citizens could not be both ignorant and free.

That’s why Americans established free public schools and free or cheap public universities.  It was also a reason for the eight-hour work day and five-day work week—to give people time and energy to engage in something else besides labor.

I fear we’re reverting to the older idea—liberal education for the elite, vocational education for the masses.

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Sanders gets the bulk of Obama donors so far

July 27, 2015

obama.bernie-1Source: U.S. News

A new analysis shows that Bernie Sanders has received more donations from former Obama donors than Hillary Clinton has.  And Marco Rubio so far has a bigger share of former Romney donors than any other Republican candidate has.

Crowdpac, a political research organization cited by U.S. News, reported that, out of the 9,302 Romney donors who have contributed to 2016 candidates so far, 2,891 made contributions to Rubio, 1,840 to Ted Cruz, 1,562 to Jeb Bush, 511 to Ron Paul and—get this!—280 to Hillary Clinton and 276 to Bernie Sanders.

This is an interesting omen—no more than that.   Neither Sanders nor Rubio is winning either the overall money race or the public opinion race.

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GOP wants to raise Social Security benefits age

July 20, 2015

Almost all the Republican candidates—including Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Chris Christie and Rand Paul, but not Mike Huckabee or Donald Trump—want an increase in the age for receiving full Social Security benefits.  This is a bad idea.

They are using Social Security as a wedge issue to divide the old from the young.  But in fact, the longer us old-timers are forced to work, the fewer jobs there are for young workers and the less opportunity for young workers to rise.

berniesandersAs Bernie Sanders has pointed out, the Social Security trust fund, which is invested in interest-bearing Treasury bonds, is sufficient to ensure that full benefits will be paid for many years to come, and full benefits can be continued indefinitely by raising the income ceiling on Social Security taxes.

Until recently, there was a bipartisan consensus on reducing Social Security benefits.  Benefits are already being cut by means of a law now in effect that gradually raises the age for full benefits from 65 to 67 (it’s now 66).

President Obama’s budgets called for calculating Social Security cost-of-living increases by means of something called the Chained CPI, which discounts actual price increases when meaning inflation.

He dropped the idea when he proposed the current 2015 budget after opposition from liberal Democrats such as Elizabeth Warren.

Hillary Clinton said she is opposed to plans to privatize or “undermine” Social Security.   So far as I know, she hasn’t said anything more specific.  Two other Democratic candidates—Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley—think Social Security benefits should be increased.  I agree with Sanders and O’Malley.

I say—hooray for partisanship.  It is better than bipartisan agreement on bad ideas.

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The U.S. Senate votes against torture

June 20, 2015

Torture is the ultimate crime against humanity.  It aims at the destruction not just of human life or the human body, but of the human spirit.

So it’s a good thing that the U.S. Senate last Tuesday voted, 78-21, to ban torture by the U.S. government, codifying into law an executive order by President Obama.  As The Guardian explained:

Should the McCain-Feinstein amendment be made law … it will be harder for future administrations to repeat the actions of the Bush administration, which used controversial legal opinions to justify torturing detainees.

Sadly, that’s the most that can be hoped.  A law against torture will not guarantee that the government will not use torture, but it will make it harder to do so.  If law were enough, the Constitution of the United States and international treaties would have been enough to prevent the George W. Bush administration from engaging in torture in the first place.

tortureimageAll 21 Senators who voted in favor of retaining the power to torture were Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senate Majority Whip John Comyn of Texas and Senator Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, one of the Republican presidential candidates.

However, the bill was co-sponsored by Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, along with Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein of California.  To their credit, two other Republican presidential candidates, Senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and (to my surprise) Senator Ted Cruz of Texas voted in favor.

On the campaign trail, ex-Gov. Jeb Bush said “enhanced interrogation techniques” were necessary during his brother’s administration, but are no longer needed now—leaving open the possibility that torture may be needed in the future.

The very worst statement about the bill was made by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, a Republican presidential candidate, who said he’d have voted against the bill if he hadn’t been campaigning.

The fundamental problem we have in America is that nothing matters if we’re not safe.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument ordinary Americans are in serious danger from the likes of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State—which we’re not.  Let’s also assume for the sake of argument that that the Bush torture program made us safer—which it didn’t.

That still wouldn’t make it right to torture prisoners and suspects.   George Washington and Abraham Lincoln led the United States when it was in real danger, and they didn’t stoop to authorizing torture.

The fundamental problem we have in America is that nothing matters if we’re too fearful to care about fundamental human rights and human decency.

LINKS

Senate passes torture ban despite Republican opposition by Paul Lewis for The Guardian.

Marco Rubio’s Fear-Mongering Slogan by Charles P. Pierce for Esquire.

Paul Krugman makes a case for the Democrats

April 14, 2015

Paul Krugman, whom I respect, thinks that Americans will have a real choice in 2016 between the Republicans, who represent the wealthy, and the Democrats, who represent the public interest.

I think he’s right about the Republicans, but I’m not so sure about the Democrats.  Here’s what he wrote:

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman

As we head into 2016, each party is quite unified on major policy issues — and these unified positions are very far from each other.

The huge, substantive gulf between the parties will be reflected in the policy positions of whomever they nominate, and will almost surely be reflected in the actual policies adopted by whoever wins.

For example, any Democrat would, if elected, seek to maintain the basic U.S. social insurance programs — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid — in essentially their current form, while also preserving and extending the Affordable Care Act.

Any Republican would seek to destroy Obamacare, make deep cuts in Medicaid, and probably try to convert Medicare into a voucher system.

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