I was able to view the Republican debate in Wisconsin tonight... online...with great perseverance. It took up all my afternoon and evening. My old computer was very slow, at one point it was behind by at least fifteen minutes...I gave up being frustrated and laid down to listen without looking at it. I missed the end, and who knows what else between commercials and a slow computer. At least I was able to see most of it this time.
We all remember different parts of any conversation, the parts that matter to us. I remember that one of the debaters, I think it was Christie, said that over seventy percent of our tax income goes to debt payments and "entitlements" -- which is misleading but it lets the hearer think that is mostly payments to lazy people who need to be doing something else besides living off the government. The cry of every election is how to get rid of the poor... as if that is even possible. I have read articles that said our debt payments take up the bulk of our government's tax income, and other articles that say entitlement payments are a small portion of the annual budget. I can't remember the exact percentage, but the focus of the article I remember was that it was relatively low, especially compared to the military. I have also noticed that some people like to include Social Security payments in the figures... and, technically, most of Social Security payments are not "entitlements" - they are more like insurance payments.
I remember the discussions about our military power and how we need to invest in it. And the associated talk about aggressive computer hacking of US computers by China. Weapons for war and strategies against computer infiltration are two separate military issues. I have also read articles about the military budget when compared to subsidies and other questionable spending by the government... it is also a relatively small part of the total budget.
In the conversations about taxes I was surprised to hear that American spending is approximately two thirds of the GDP. To me that means a flat tax on spending (sales tax only) would create a decent amount of income. My concept is ONE tax, a sales tax, a permanently fixed amount that cannot be raised at the whim of a desperate Congress, because we are heading into a global environment for everything. (I felt a ten percent flat sales tax could be divided, in the US, into 1 percent for international government, and 3 percent each for Federal, State, and County governments.) It was mentioned that some people pay over half of their income (their paychecks) to the government in taxes. Is that the way things should be? No. I don't think so. Taxes were created for a purpose, and it was not to take over the populace.
Rubio faltered a couple times in his family protections argument about tax reform, but I think he presented well tonight... I was also impressed with some of the others. I, personally, think that Jindal needs to be move up to the main group, and will be watching to see who drops out. I think Jindal is pretty equal in energy with Rubio...and his experience seems to be good. I don't know why he isn't higher in the group, but I suppose he is an unknown in many ways. I liked Rand Paul's contributions to the needs of America and government finances and accountability. I thought it was very lively, and they all seemed to get excited about the topic of our economy. I found out a little more about some of the candidates in the after debate interviews.
When I was watching, I tried to see who would represent the US to the world the best... it isn't easy to decide. We want our leaders to be strong, decent, respectful people who are able to achieve the hard goals we have for our country. Are they honest? Can they solve problems? Will they be able to overcome the power struggles that are firmly entrenched in government? Will they succumb to the temptations power carries with it? If we elect them, can we trust them to do what they promise?
One of the candidates stated that this election is critical for America, that our life as a nation is in jeopardy... and other candidates repeated that statement. It always came back to money... and that means taxes. Money was also attached to over-regulation and small business and jobs. I noted that the idea of education was included in the job issues... vocational education, and welder jobs that pay more than some other work options. I think the effects of technology were downplayed, especially in job issues, and manufacturing, and future income, and taxes, and every other aspect of our lives. Education programs can cost a lot. Are they a necessity or a luxury? I have seen people in fields of technology state that in twenty-five years or so, technology will advance so much that it will disrupt all of our lives, our work, our survival. Robots and computers don't pay taxes...yet. :-(
I will think of more things that affected me in the debate process and share them tomorrow or another time. I have already decided to take notes during the next debate. :-)