How well will your presidential selection address these issues upon being sworn into office?
Some domestic issues:
— The economy has been and is, anemic. Jobs are at a premium. The current 5 percent "unemployment rate" is a sham and should be abolished in favor of the more accurate "labor participation rate," which is at 62.7 percent of the eligible working population — the lowest since the days of the Carter presidency in 1978. Will the new president remove the government-imposed uncertainty that has plagued the business community?
— Our federal income tax rates on businesses are the highest in the world, and basically incentivize our business community to seek more favorable tax havens in other countries.
— Our national debt has increased by 82 percent in the last seven years, and exceeds $19 trillion. It is expected to reach $22.4 trillion in four years.
— The Federal bureaucracies are huge and growing, are out of control, oppressive, and essentially "fireproof." These departments issue excessive regulations that have the force of law without the congress ever having a vote on them . . . we are being ruled by the non-elected.
— The founders envisioned that our politicians would be citizens who would volunteer to serve their country and then return to their farms or businesses. The Constitution originally provided that there would be two senators from each state, "appointed by the Legislatures thereof." The 17th Amendment, providing for the direct election of Senators, was enacted in 1913. That ushered in "professional politicians," as every one of the longest serving senators in our nation's history has served since that amendment was passed.
— Health care costs cannot be fixed without addressing the need for tort reform; the legal system. Selling health insurance "across state lines," as many politicians are asking for, presents two significant problems. The first is that it allows the federal government to usurp another "state's right" by taking away each state's ability to exert some control over those companies that want to sell insurance in their state. The second problem is that it penalizes citizens in states with lower malpractice premiums, forcing them to share the costs of those states with higher premiums (mainly the more litigious states).
Existing and potential international problems:
— The Middle East is in the middle of a civil/holy war with the Sunni and Shia fighting for dominance and leadership of Islam. Various radical terrorist groups with their own agendas are spreading like a virus, complicating the vision of the future. In any event, all sides agree on a common objective: to destroy Israel and the West.
— China is growing its military and is rapidly modernizing its Navy. (http://www.reuters.com/investigates/china-military/) It has been aggressively building an island in the South China Sea and appears to want to isolate and claim territorial rights to the entire area. The United States has a treaty with Taiwan to come to its aid and defend it if and when China attempts to invade it and/or reclaim it as a part of China. China holds U.S. Treasury notes values at over $1.2 trillion. China's military openly speaks about its aggressive military options towards the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan, with one Chinese colonel referring to those nations as "running dogs of the United States." How well will the president plan for dealing with these contingencies? Will we honor our treaties to defend our allies?
— Russia has many serious issues. It has the largest land mass in the world but has a relatively small population of only 134 million people. Its population numbers are continuing to shrink as their birth rates hover around on 1.3 births per family. In order to add to its human resources, it appears that Russia will attempt to reconstitute a new Soviet Union by annexing smaller neighboring countries, as they did with Crimea. Its push into the Ukraine is complicated in a number of ways . . . Russia's primary salable resource, oil, is routed through the Ukraine to get to Europe. During the Clinton administration, Ukraine gave up its nuclear weaponry and missiles in an agreement with Russia, the United States, and Britain . . . all of whom agreed to provide "security" for the Ukraine. Will we honor our commitment to the Ukraine? Will Russia have a free hand in annexing other countries?
— The United States had committed to placing a battery of defensive missiles in Poland, a NATO ally. President Obama cancelled that commitment because Russia opposed it. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/world/europe/with-eye-on-north-korea-us-cancels-missile-defense-russia-opposed.html?_r=0) Analysts have stated the Poland had hoped that the military presence of the United States in that country would serve as a deterrent to Russian aggression. Will our foreign policy be based on our interests?
These are but a few of the issues that our president will have to plan for and manage if we are to restore our country to its role as the greatest and most powerful nation in the world. Please vote for the candidate that is best equipped to meet the challenges that exist.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)
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