Monday, June 04, 2012

My view of Government

My view of government:

1. Government should allow more freedoms.  Our prisons are overrun and enormously expensive when compared to other first-world countries, largely because we imprison people, sometimes for long periods of time, for things like possession of marijuana.  I'm not necessarily saying that marijuana should be made legal, but perhaps we should make the consequences involve community service and/or fines, instead of serious jail time.

2. The Constitution supports religious freedoms, but our current Supreme Court doesn't quite buy into it.  Religious practices, and not just religious beliefs, that don't harm 3rd parties need to be protected.  And the government needs to continue to keep its hands out of religion, and not provide special privileges or even subtle endorsements to its favorite religions.  All religions, no matter how small, should have an equal playing field with regards to the government.

3. People should continue to have plenty of freedoms of speech.  I don't believe corporations deserve quite so much protection, and I don't believe speech that functions merely to sell something deserves quite that high level of freedom of speech.

4. I believe in an adequate safety net.  The U.S. pays twice as much per person as other first-world countries for healthcare, and yet many in the U.S. are without health insurance.  Both those facts need to change, and they can with a single-payer system.  Employer-based health insurance may have worked when it was cheap and people stuck with the same job their whole lives.  It doesn't work any more.  If everyone had access to free or cheap healthcare, people would be more willing to take the risk of starting their own businesses, thus fueling creativity and innovation.  Major health issues could be resolved before a trip to the expensive E.R.  I also believe in an adequate safety net with concern to food and basic housing.

5. I believe that in times of low unemployment, the government should cut costs, raise taxes, and save up money, and that in times of high unemployment, the government should create low-income job opportunities.  My grandfather was forever grateful that FDR did this during the Great Depression.  Many of the projects that my grandfather and others like him worked on still stand today.  The U.S. decided to pay for a cheap labor force instead of letting that potential go to waste.  If only they had done the same this time around.

6. I believe it's ridiculous for the U.S. to have a military far, far, far greater than any other military currently existing.  Based on my father's brief time working as a civilian for an air force base, I also believe there is a tremendous amount of waste in the military.

7. I believe every child has a right to a good education.  Teachers should be well-compensated based on skill and field, and not just experience, and they should be easy to fire.  Classroom sizes should be small. 

8. Most tax loopholes and breaks should be eliminated, including the mortgage interest and health insurance loopholes.  Loopholes distort the market and, although they may help the middle class in some cases, the ones who profit the most from these are those who don't need them--the rich.

9. Health care for old people on the verge of death (Medicare) should not be significantly better than health care for children (Medicaid).

10. Everyone should pay the same percentage of their income to social security--rich people should not get major breaks on this like they do now.

11. The U.S. should work towards paying off its debt--but perhaps it should wait to do so until it's no longer in the greatest Recession since the Great Depression.


Aaron Jorgensen said...

It's funny, for as many political arguments you and I get into, I agree with a surprisingly large portion of what you've got here.

I agree with 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9 wholeheartedly (although on 7 and 9 we would probably disagree on exactly what is meant by the statement), and with at least the first part of 3 and 11 (I'm actually undecided about the timing aspect of 11).

Now you've got me thinking about doing a similar post....

Tim said...

I'm not surprised--I've always thought of you as a political moderate, except leaning to the right (whereas I consider myself a moderate, but leaning slightly to the left).

I'm sure there are a lot of other topics we'd agree or mostly agree on too. This was just a quick summary of a few points.

Unknown said...

Overall some pretty good thoughts. I'm pretty sure that you and I agree about more things than we disagree on. I think that my political leanings would shift a bit to the right if I lived a few hours to the west (i.e. seattle) because of my tendency to be a bit contrary.

Ben Sharples said...

Overall some pretty good thoughts. I'm pretty sure that you and I agree about more things than we disagree on. I think that my political leanings would shift a bit to the right if I lived a few hours to the west (i.e. seattle) because of my tendency to be a bit contrary.

Tim said...


I've found that 99% of LDS wards in the U.S. lean Republican (some, like my current ward, overwhelmingly so--to the point where everyone else assumes everyone is voting for Romney, etc.) So chances are you'll still be able to be a bit contrary.

The most liberal U.S. ward I've ever been in was actually in Provo--a BYU ward, but closer to Center Street than BYU. Jay and Bill were there too. Probably my favorite ward of all time.

Katrina said...

I agree with many of these statements and ideas also. But with number 7 I would say, depending on what school a teacher works in, it may actually be too easy for a teacher to be fired these days. Unfortunately, only in the past year, Kirk has heard of or been involved in cases where students totally blew something out of proportion, there was a huge misunderstanding, or parents just thought their child could do no wrong, and suddenly the teachers involved seemed to have no rights whatsoever--even if they had a perfect record. We are now part of the union to make sure SOMEONE will stand up for Kirk if his job is ever threatened by one of these stupid, scary incidents.

Tim said...

Where I taught, the school had no problem firing teachers who'd worked there less than 3 years. You're an Earth Science teacher they hired out of desperation to teach Earth Science and Biology? If they can find someone who's qualified to teach both Earth Science and Biology, you're gone--especially if you aren't a coach.

However, once those three years are up, it's very difficult to fire.

Maybe things are different in Vernal.

Katrina said...

I don't know how things typically are here after you've reached tenure (that will be Kirk after next school year), but one of those incidents I mentioned was with a teacher who had been with the district for something like 25 years. Really, though, I think all of these problems probably had more to do with the principal than anything. Kirk's first year here we didn't hear about anything weird happening and he had a wonderful principal. Then she switched to a different school and his second year was a different story. It's a little scary how much power a principal can potentially have.

Katrina said...

Oh, I forgot to add that Utah no longer gives tenure to teachers. I don't know if Idaho has changed that too, but there seems to be a nationwide movement in that direction.