Tuesday, September 13, 2011
My Thoughts on the GOP Debate 9/12/11
#1: Social Security.
We all knew this would be one of the first things discussed after Governor Perry's comments on Social Security being a "Ponzi scheme" in the last debate. What I noticed the most about this part of the debate was that, no one would back Governor Perry up on his "Ponzi scheme" comment. Most of them did say that the Social Security/Medicare system needs to be reformed and fixed.
Representative Bachmann made a point to say that we need to keep the promise to those already in the Social Security system who are receiving benefits, as did Gov. Perry and Speaker Gingrich. This is an obvious statement. What I really wanted to hear was how we should reform it, and I believe that answer came from Businessman Herman Cain. He said that the government should "start with optional personal retirement accounts" to fund seniors.
I do agree with Gov. Perry that Social Security, as it is right now, could be compared to a Ponzi scheme. That is why we need to reform the system, not for those already in it and paying for it, but for those who are just getting in.
#2: Government Spending.
"If you had an all-out effort to balance the budget, you would have hundreds of billions of dollars in savings."
Those words came from Speaker Newt Gingrich. I believe he is completely right. If the citizens, and our government as well, really took a deep look at our national spending right now, I can assure you there are many areas that could be cut completely. Or if not, most of them could be cut down a bit to get rid of some unnecessary additional spending. As Governor Perry said, in Texas, they cut their Health and Human Services Department from 10 agencies down to 5, and in the process got rid of things that were unnecessary.
Representative Bachmann believes that we need to become an "ownership society" where everyone pays for theirself instead of waiting for the government, and therefore the taxpayers, to do it for them. Former governor Mitt Romney believes that we are "not going to balance the budget by pretending all we have to do is cut the waste-- we have to reign in spending." Yes, this is true. However, at this point, we need a first step. We need to cut the waste now, and reign in spending once that is finished.
This issue, thumbs-up goes to Rick Perry.
#3: The Economy.
Representative Michele Bachmann was the first to answer this question. She answered by saying that raising the debt ceiling was the worst thing we could have done in that situation was to "give President Obama what he wanted" and raise it. I find it ironic that two different things Rep. Bachmann has claimed to be at the helm of opposing-- raising the debt ceiling and ObamaCare-- have both been passed in some form. Her arguments do not seem to be reasonating too well in Washington. They have not been effective as of yet, and this is all she ever really states as her record, although I do think that on this question she gave the most clear answers.
Mr. Cain believes that "this economy is on life support" and we need to "throw out the entire tax code and implement my 9-9-9 tax program."
My favorite line from this topic came from former Senator Rick Santorum: "Obama's economy would have to make a drastic improvement to be a disaster."
On jobs and job-creation, most Republicans will say the same thing. Gov. Romney said that "we've gone from a pay-phone world to a smart-phone world and President Obama keeps jamming quarters into the pay-phone." Newt suggested that "the American people create jobs, not the government."
Aside from that, my clear winner on this topic was, once again, Governor Perry. His answers were spot on.
President Obama's first stimulus package, which cost $800 billion, he said, created zero jobs. A plan with half that amount, $400 billion, would create half the jobs-- that would equal half of zero.
Former governor Jon Huntsman said that his plan would be to "reform this tax code" in his first 100 days of office. How this would create jobs, I do not know. We'll have to ask Governor Huntsman a couple more questions on this one.
Governor Perry also said, "People are tired of spending money we don't have on programs we don't want." He said that President Obama has overseen the loss of 2.5 million jobs during his term, while during his tenure as governor of Texas he has overseen the creation of one million jobs. He says he has cut taxes by $14 trillion since becoming governor. He also said, "five years in a row people are coming to Texas for business and to live, and they aren't coming for high taxes."
#5: Federal Reserve.
This answer did not have a clear winner. There were really no clear and concise answers in it. Senator Santorum said he believed we should make the reserve a single-charter instead of a dual-charter, making it easier for citizens. Governor Perry was again questioned on his comments about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's acts of printing money being treasonous.
#6: Executive Orders.
The main issue discussed within this topic was the mandate that Governor Perry put out in Texas requiring girls going into the sixth grade to get an HPV vaccine. Rep. Bachmann was his loudest critic during these questions. She said that "these little girls won't get a mulligan and their parents won't get a do-over," if they get these vaccines. Since Gov. Perry's Chief of Staff was a lobbyist for Merck, the drug company used, Rep. Bachmann suggested that Gov. Perry was using them simply for the support he received from them during his campaign.
Governor Perry returned by saying that this was not a mandate. There were clear parental opt-outs within this law. He also said that he "received a $5,000 contribution from Merck. I raised about $30 million. If you think I can be bought for $5,000, I'm offended."
I have to give the upper hand to Rep. Bachmann here. While no girls did receive the vaccine before it was repealed, this law should never have been passed in the first place.
I believe they may as well have not even discussed healthcare last night. Every candidate on the stage said the exact same thing they have said before, with the exception of one quote from Rep. Bachmann (below). Gov. Perry said that "states will get to decide what they want to do" if he's president. Gov. Romney was questioned on his healthcare plan in Massachusetts, and everyone on the stage cited their intentions to "repeal ObamaCare immediately."
"To tell someone they have to buy something against their will to be a citizen is simply unconstitutional."
#8: Illegal Immigration.
This question goes to Governor Perry. He is the only candidate with real experience dealing with the border, as Texas has 1,200 miles of border with Mexico. His most memorable quote from the topic's discussion: "Fence is not the answer...you've got to have the aviation assets in the air giving real time information to the agents on the ground and boots on the ground as well. Texas has asked for federal government support with more national guard agents and has not been answered."
Senator Santorum said that we need more fence. Gov. Romney said that we need to get rid of the "magnet" drawing illegals here by getting rid of the companies that are hiring them. Gov. Huntsman said the only way to fix illegal immigration is to fix the Department of Homeland Security-- yet another answer from him that confuses me. I must have heard a different question than he did.
Gov. Perry then went on to be attacked about his plan for in-state tuition for illegal immigrants. His biggest critics were Rep. Bachmann, Gov. Huntsman, and Gov. Romney. This was his response: "If you've been in TX for three years and are working hard toward your college degree and are actively pursuing legal American citizenship, you pay in-state tuition. No matter what your last name sounds like. Plan was passed with only four no's in the Texas House and Senate."
#9: Defense Spending.
This was one of the issues I was most anxious to hear about. Our national security threats have never been higher and we need to keep all the aid we can going to defense and to our military. Speaker Gingrich pointed out that "we are far underestimating the threat to this country."
The loudest voice on this question was Rep. Ron Paul, who has as of late loudly denounced military spending. He opposes wars of any kind and says the area we can cut the most spending from is the military. Last night, he said that "there's a difference between military spending and defense spending" and that "there's a lot of room to cut on the military, but not on defense."
Those were the main talking points in last night's debate. While there are more little things I could comment on, I won't. I'll leave it to what I've already said. I do believe, though, that everyone ought to read Rep. Ron Paul's post on his blog and leave him a comment. In it, he states that 9/11 was the United States' fault. We are the reason that it happened, he says. There are not even words to describe how untrue that is.