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On November 28th, the Republican Presidential Candidates came together for the YouTube debate. This article will wipe away the empty rhetoric, back-patting, and cheap shots from the candidates answers. As well, I will add my own brief take on some of the broader issues.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am a registered Democrat, who would call himself a Libertarian and fully supports Ron Paul.
Q: Will you make America a "sanctuary city" country?
R Giuliani: Deploy a fence, deploy a virtual fence, border stat program, and National ID card.
M Romney: Welcome people here legally, but not illegally. We will not give benefits to illegals.
Q: Will you pledge to veto amnesty for illegal immigrants?
F Thompson: Yes
J McCain: Yes, of course, and we never proposed doing so. We must secure the borders, but we have to recognize these are God's children too that need compassion.
Q: With immigration reform failing, will I have a job?
T Tancredo: I will not aid any more immigration, legal or illegal, because it prevents us from assimilating and steals our jobs. I do not believe there are any jobs that Americans will not take.
Hunter: I built a border fence in San Diego, and it did good things.
Bball's Take On Immigration: If millions more immigrants are entering the U.S. illegally than legally, it is time to start drastically raising the quota of Mexican immigrants. Fact is, they are not stealing Americans' jobs. Research shows that the immigrants who come in have not been lowering wages for others, and the demand created by all these newcomers makes sure jobs do not decrease. It is time this debate started accounting for factual information, rather than empty or hateful rhetoric. The U.S. should offer amnesty to those here, because it is unrealistic and impractical to try and round up millions of people. Immigrants are an important part of the U.S. and its economy, not to mention people who want a chance at a better life.
Q: What will you do to tackle the national debt?
J McCain: Spending has gotten completely out of control. I would veto every pork-barrel bill.
M Romney: Veto earmarks and pork. Reform entitlements. Set a cap on non-military spending.
R Giuliani: Across the board cut in spending.
Q: What are the top three Federal programs you would cut?
F Thompson: Cut 100 programs with waste and fraud. Reform Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
R Paul: Department of Education, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Energy
M Huckabee: IRS
Q: Do you support a Fair Tax?
J McCain: No, we do need a simpler tax code, and if Congress can't do it, then I will.
Q: Will you pledge never to raise taxes?
T Tancredo: Yes
M Huckabee: Yes
M Romney: Yes
R Giuliani: Yes
F Thompson: Yes
J McCain: Yes
R Paul: Yes, and I will cut spending
Hunter: No, there could be a national emergency.
Q: Will you eliminate farm subsidies?
M Romney: We don't want to be dependent on other countries for food supply. Energy independence will come from the farm. We must keep the farmers on the farm. We can't compete with heavily-subsidized farmers around the world.
R Giuliani: European subsidies are higher. We cannot lower them unilaterally.
Q: How will you keep lead-laced toys out of my home?
Tancredo: Change trade relations with China.
Hunter: China is cheating on trade and arming with missiles. We should buy American this Christmas. That will keep your neighbor in a job, and maybe give a job to the young man returning from Iraq.
Bball's take on the Economy: What the economy and citizens of this country need is a drastic reduction in both taxes and government spending. First, I would replace the income tax with a tax on consumption that involved rebates to poor families. Then, I would raise the gasoline tax drastically to help spur innovation and decreased gasoline consumption in the long-run. Finally, I would pull out of Iraq and start cutting the myriad of wasteful government programs. This country is due for a long streak of budget surpluses. As for farm subsidies, they are allowing a cycle of hunger and poverty in African nations. While it may not arguably be America's place to be the hand that places food in the mouths of the world's poor, it most certainly is America's responsibility not to destroy the poors' own hand. America has a diverse economy that is in no way reliant on agriculture. Many African nations have only agriculture to rely on. Farm subsidies make America's crops artificially cheap, bumping African crops out of the world market. The U.S. could cut off Foreign Aid and instead eliminate farm subsidies and this nation would be more effectively fighting world poverty.
Q: What is your opinion on gun control?
Hunter: Right to bear arms is an American security issue, and I will strongly enforce the 2nd Amendment.
Q: Do you believe in a required written-exam for gun ownership?
R Giuliani: Believes in 2 Amendment, but also reasonable regulations such as mental illness and criminal record.
Bball's take on Gun Control: People need the right to bear arms in the event the government were to turn on the people. If the federal government can take away this right, it is like allowing your enemy the power to order a disarmament of your weaponry. Harsh laws should be in place for any misuse of a firearm that causes harms to others, but people ought to be free to own and shoot any gun they so desire.
Q: What will you do to reduce crime in inner cities?
M Romney: Values that strengthen families. Better education in schools. Better job with policing.
R Giuliani: COMSTAT, broken-windows theory lowered crime.
Bball's take on Crime Prevention: There are only two ways to reduce crime: increase police and decrease poverty. Increasing police is up to the states and decreasing poverty will occur with my new tax system.
Q: If abortion is illegal, what should the punishment be?
R Paul: Not a federal function. States should punish doctor.
F Thompson: Number one focus right now should be overturning Roe v Wade.
Q: Would you sign a federal abortion ban?
R Giuliani: No, I would want the states to have the power.
M Romney: I would love to sign that bill, but at the moment I would rather the states decide.
Bball's take on Abortion: Abortion should never be illegal at the federal level, and I would never sign a federal abortion ban. I do not support the act of abortion, but it is not the government's place to make that choice for a women. Morals cannot be forced onto people by law. The ending of abortion comes at a more personal level than the federal government.
Q: How would you repair the image of America in the Muslims' eyes?
R Giuliani: Stay on the offensive against Islamic terrorists.
J McCain: Continue the surge. Help reconstruct Iraq.
Hunter: I will never apologize for the United States of America.
Q: Is waterboarding torture?
M Romney: I don't think it is wise to disclose which measures of interrogation we do and do not use.
J McCain: Yes, and it should not be inflicted on anyone. It is a violation of the Geneva Convention.
Q: Will you make a permanent commitment to the people of Iraq?
F Thompson: We should be there as long as it takes to complete our mission there.
R Paul: We should give them their country back.
Bball's take on Terrorism: America's occupation of Iraq has made the likelihood of terrorist attacks against us more likely. America must let Iraq work its way to piece without military intervention. The enormous amount of time, money, and lives lost are an extremely unfortunate sunk cost. We need to cut our losses now and get out of Iraq militarily.