Monday, March 12, 2018

Were I to Run ...

Every so often after one of my ranting posts, someone leaves a comment along the lines of "Bilbo for President."

While I appreciate the sentiment, I really wouldn't want to be president. I think I'd do a better job than Donald Trump, but that's a pretty low bar to clear ... as was evident if you listened to the bizarre speech he gave in Pennsylvania last Saturday evening. I'd rather be the trusted advisor to a president who knew he wasn't the smartest guy ever and was willing to listen to advice from people who live in the real world.

All of that being said, in the unlikely event that I found myself being elected President (hey, it worked for Trump), here are a few of the policies you could expect me to champion:

Immigration: my plan is already on the table, and it doesn't include stupid walls.

Trade: I believe in free trade, but I also realize that each nation must look out for its own interests. My administration would enter into fair and equitable trade agreements with any nation or group of nations. Tariffs and taxes on imports would be imposed only as a last resort in response to egregious abuses by specific trading partners. Foreign-owned businesses seeking to operate in the United States would be subject to the same restrictions imposed on US firms operating in their home nations*.

Guns: let's get serious and quit the stupidly apocalyptic arguing on all sides. The Constitution, as interpreted by the courts, gives "the people" the right to "keep and bear arms," independent of any membership in a "well-ordered militia." Whether or not this is a good idea in a 21st century where a single private citizen can own an arsenal more powerful than that of some armies of earlier centuries is questionable, but the truth is that it's a Constitutional right enshrined in law, it would require a further amendment to the Constitution to change or revoke that right**, and no US government is going to take away the tens of millions of guns now in circulation. I advocate the following: a nationwide ban on sales of guns to individuals under the age of 21 who are not military veterans; funding studies by the CDC to obtain hard data on the role of guns as a public health issue; a ban on sales of guns to any person convicted of a felony, under the care of a mental health professional, or on a terrorist no-fly list; a ten-day waiting period for the purchase of a gun unless a specific exemption has been provided by the local police department***; a ban on dangerous enhancements to weapons (such as "bump stocks," semiautomatic-to-automatic conversion kits, large-capacity magazines, and silencers/suppressors); registration of all guns (including documentation of the rifling marks on a bullet recorded after a test-firing of the weapon); and mandatory additional prison sentences for crimes committed using a firearm.

Health Care: I support a national single-payer medical insurance system paid for by a separate health tax, with Medicare and Medicaid made a part of the program. Every citizen would be required to pay into the system, and every provider would be required to accept the national insurance. I haven't completely thought through this one, and there's more detail to come. All I know is that we have what is potentially the world's finest health care system, and Real People can't afford it.

Education: I support mandatory publicly-funded education from kindergarten through grade 12, with private school at one's own expense as an option. We need to bring down the cost of a college education, but I'm not quite sure yet what the best way to do that is ... more on that later. And we need to recognize that there are a whole lot of essential jobs for which a college degree is not required, meaning that we need to invest in vocational and technical training and, perhaps, a traditional apprenticeship system like much of the rest of the world.

Those are a few things to start you thinking whether or not you want to endorse Bilbo for president. And as Groucho Marx once said, "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others."

Have a good day. Invest your vote wisely.

More thoughts tomorrow.


* Are you listening, China?

** Unlikely in the extreme ever to happen.

*** This protects persons who wish to purchase a gun in response to a specific, demonstrable threat.

† In addition to whatever the normal sentence for that crime would be. Say, an extra five or ten years, the number depending on whether anyone was injured or killed.


John Hill said...

Bilbo for President!

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Sorry, Bilbo can't vote for you on the gun issue alone. Assault rifles should be banned period. I don't see that there. You'll have to just keep enjoying retirement.:-)

Mike said...

With the suicide rate of veterans as it is, maybe they should be banned from having a gun until they are 30.

allenwoodhaven said...

There you go again, spouting sensible ideas. Too bad that means you can't be a politician!
Love the Groucho quote. He was terrific.