Rising Cain: Part III – Summary of Policy Beliefs

Now that we’ve gotten past the main buzzphrase of Cain’s candidacy (and we’ll talk about his campaign strategy in the final post), let’s throw some comments out there about his many stated opinions regarding proper governmental policy.

Immigration
CAIN: Great big fences and wide open doors!
ME: Cain’s philosophy is close to mine here – and I suspect my co-author would agree.  We presently have a very dirty system in place to encourage (intentionally!) illegal immigration because Americans won’t work cheaply enough to make our economy function (or so goes the claim of many libertarians).  Ron Paul – the nation’s leading libertarian voice (perhaps along with Gary Johnson) – argues that we should give the illegal immigrants immediate amnesty because they came her seeking something they have a right to seek and because amnesty will solve the criminal problems attached to illegal immigration.  Ron Paul, to put it bluntly, is logically challenged.  Drug trafficking and under-the-table shady dealings for cheap labor are not the root of all evils with illegal immigration.  I believe the root problem is a lack of cultural context.  It’s not true for everyone who gets here illegally, but I do believe that for many, the nation from which they came has been lawless and morally bankrupt and it has raised them to be less likely to respect the rule of law and the fundamental Judeo-Christian value system that defines America.  When your first act is in direct defiance of American law – how seriously can we take your willingness to live in accordance with our laws and customs?
Cain – like many in the Tea Parties – believes in the message etched on the Statue of Liberty:

 “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

But note carefully – this classic expression of our fervent desire that America be a place of refuge for those yearning for freedom comes with an expectation attached.  That those seeking to be here and benefit from this great nation should respect their new home and become American – bringing their unique individuality with them but living as Americans…not as Mexican Americans or Italian American or Irish Americans or Chinese Americans.  Warlier generations of immigrants came here dreaming of being a part of this experiment in freedom and understood that they must assimilate at least in philosophical spirit.  Cain, following this logic, believes the process of legally emigrating to America should be made easy enough to accept those who are willing to work just a little bit to attain that right, but that illegal immigration should be treated like the crime that it is.

Crony Capitalism

CAIN: Sees that the problem exists on both sides of the aisle, politically, and believes that the solution is to shrink government regulations on business – allowing natural market forces to dictate who thrives and who fails.  Specific policy ideas include the repeal of the Frank-Dodd bill (spearheaded by two of the most egregious crony capitalists in the U.S.) and the significant downsizing of the E.P.A., the Federal Reserve and government-run (and already failed) banking agencies.  It is also fair to point out that many of the problems with crony capitalism would be smaller if and when Cain’s simpler tax code were enacted (at least as he sees it) since those loopholes in the system inserted to benefit certain industries would be gone.

ME: I think the first and most important thing we need to do to prevent crony capitalism in our institutions is to pass a Constitutional Amendment (yes…really) banning the Congress from passing any law which favors any corporation or industry to the exclusion of its’ competitors in the exception of temporary measures enacted in cases of clear and present danger to the security of the United States (e.g. Federal subsidies to industry in the preparation of our armed services to make war should the need arise, as it did during WWII).  The second most important thing would be to pass another Constitutional Amendment (these are the only two I currently favor, I promise) which would prohibit Congress from passing any bill before the entire document was read on the floor of the House and Senate – to be dubbed the “Short and Readable Bill Amendment.”  Crony capitalism sneaks into the most mundane of bills on page 784 of 2391 and not even the Senate Majority Leader or the Speaker of the House know that these provisions exist.  Let alone the rank and file in Congress who were not on the steering committee that drafted the bill.  I urge Americans to go to the Library of Congress in D.C. and request to read the copies of any law passed before about 1914. You will finish those in less than a day.  Then try reading FDR’s alphabet soup or Obamacare or Bush’s Homeland Security Act.

In this regard, I actually think Cain is not ambitious enough.  His tax code would be a step in the right direction, at least, but we need to do more than tinker with regulatory agencies and decrease regulatory spending.  We need to prevent these shenanigans from happening in the future.

Education:

CAIN: Remove federal controls on education standards (e.g. No Child Left Behind – Cain calls this “unbundling education”) and give greater freedom to towns and cities (and states) to run their education system.  Increase funding for charter schools and educational vouchers to allow parents to choose better education for their children.

ME: These things are great, but again, not far-reaching enough.  While I recognize that the political attainability of my own goal would be in doubt, the first and only way to truly fix public education would be outlaw collective bargaining at the Federal level for State employees and force teachers to compete for their jobs based on student achievement, rather than based on union cronyism.  Even FDR – a man not known for being a conservative union-buster (heh)…argued that public unions were unethical.  At the VERY least, I wish Cain would start gunning for mandatory dues abolition.  Mandatory union dues amount to tyranny of the majority – a fundamentally un0American result.

Energy:

CAIN: End farm subsidies – especially those going to unproductive things like ethanol corn – end subsidies in general for alternative energy (which have proven ineffective at encourage the market to produce workable alternatives to fossil fuel energy and which create crony capitalist concerns like the default of Solyndra), reduce the reach and scope of the E.P.A. and allow for the acquisition of domestic coal, oil and natural gas. Expand nuclear energy production.

ME: Yep and yep again.  The insanity that is paying whatever Iran wants us to pay for foreign oil has got to end.  We have enough oil in our own borders to power our cars for at least fifty years; and in the meantime, we ought to let the free markets produce technological advances that will power us into a new tech-savvy era without the burdensome costs and interference of the government.  We could crush the Middle-Eastern resistance to western freedom simply by refusing to by their product.

Health Care:

CAIN: REPEAL OBAMACARE! (duh)  Replace this monstrosity with a combination of substantive tort reform (specifically including a “loser pay” provision that requires whoever loses a lawsuit to pay the legal fees of the guy who wins and a cap on maximum claims for putative damages and emotional distress), the allowing of health savings accounts (and the right of the patient to invest their health savings in the stock market), and the expansion of the eligibility of tax deductions for health insurance premiums both for individual plans and for group plans provided by an employer.

ME: I’ve been saying for six years now (since I became aware of the issue in fuller detail) that three things need to happen to fix what ails the health industry.  Tort reform is the first.  (check for Cain)  Invested Health Savings Accounts is the second (check again).  The third is actually a regulation (eke!) that would prohibit a healthcare provider from setting prices for procedures without documenting the costs that go into them.  This is not in Cain’s plan…but is of fundamental importance.  Here’s the thing…hospitals and doctors everywhere in this country have figured out that there is no harm in charging a LOT for things that don’t actually cost them that much.  They can charge you $10,000 dollars a day for a stay in the intensive care unit when in reality, the cost of keeping you there is more like $1,000 a day.  Why can they do this?  Because one of three things will happen:

  1. The patient will have nice insurance and the insurance company will blindly cover the high charge (jackpot for the Hospital)
  2. The patient’s insurance will cover only a portion of the charge and the hospital will choose simply to accept the lesser amount or pass the “cost” to the patient on some kind of long term repayment system.
  3. The patient will not have insurance at all and a charity will still pay more to assist the patient than the patient would have offered in a free market for the same service.
See what happened there?  The hospital never has to behave like a business in a free market and offer services at competitive rates that a consumer will accept because the insurance companies and government assistance programs and even the charities and shielding them from the consequences of overcharging.  Health prices need to be defended…that is non-negotiable as far as I’m concerned.
Much more could be said about Cain from a policy perspective – I could devote an entire post to Cain’s lack of informational awareness regarding our military and the war on terrorism.  I think, however, that I will leave it here for now.  In general, Cain’s ideas do not strike me as particularly “out there” after 9-9-9…a plan which may see some teaks in the coming weeks if current rumors have anything to them.
For a guy with little political experience, he seems to be running a rather mature platform.
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