Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fridays with Bernie and Donald

I'm a political geek -- shallowly, not so much the nitty-gritty tedium of policy-making, but rather the process that entails getting someone elected and the policies that these candidates publicly espouse and how people react to them.

Friday, watched Donald Trump's 30,000-people to-do in the Mobile, Alabama, stadium; then later on C-SPAN saw Bernie Sanders' speech (not sure where).

Right now, I would vote for Trump in a second. But I'm also supportive of some of Sanders' stances. Where the two intersect:

Our country's trade policies have been/are disastrous. (Trump and Sanders agree that American companies should not be shipping jobs overseas and that the companies should be penalized for doing so.)

The war in Iraq was disastrous. (As a Senator, Sanders has always voted against this war. Trump has said for years, and just reiterated, that in the past, Iran/Iraq were counterbalanced and that when the US deposed Hussein, we then tilted the balance toward Iran--and, with our recent arms deal, just strengthened Iran's hand even further.)

Where I support Trump in addition to trade policy/Iraq:

Yes, illegal immigration. First, I am sick of preceding any statement on the topic with, "I am not a racist." Were white Canadians flooding our country's border from the north, I would be equally adamant: Don't come here illegally and then expect social services for the next 50 years and other 50 relatives of your life! Were poor Mexicans coming here only for the field-work and then leaving post-season, there wouldn't be an issue. Other countries (such as Germany) have "guest worker" programs that function just fine. But US illegals often stay --- and start draining our country's social services.

Where I support Sanders in addition to trade policy/Iraq:

A living wage. Anyone working 40 hours a week should not be living in poverty. Our country's current minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. That's $290 per week, $1160 per month. Unless you live in a cave or hovel, you can't pay for rent/food/utilities on that. Many people aren't so-called "skilled" workers and must work in low-paying industries. They shouldn't have to suffer for that or ask for welfare for that. Ironically, because "Industry" won't pay higher wages, low-wage workers must then apply for Government aid to survive.

I also agree with Sanders that our country needs a single-payer health-care system via Medicare. Currently, workers are reliant on their specific employers for health-care. I currently work for my state and so have good health-care coverage. Years ago, though, I moved to New York City and tried my luck there, temping for years, and temping for years more once I moved back to Texas. A period of 7 years when I was completely uncovered by any health-care plan. Luckily, I did not break a leg or get cancer. Had the former happened, I'd have had thousands added to my debt; had the latter happened, I'd be dead. Those "penalties" for things beyond one's control -- as opposed to one's laziness -- seem harsh. And the current practice of being absolutely beholden to one's job for health-care services seems predatory and ridiculous.

Being beholden to one's job for anything other than a weekly/monthly paycheck, including health-care, also brings to mind a larger question: WHY is "the system" set up for citizens to be beholden to a COMPANY for anything other than the paycheck? A company's practices are so utterly capricious and random... Why shouldn't the government of a society provide a BASIC safety net funded by the taxes that we all pay? We're not cave people, after all, forced individually to hunt for basic sustenance and crawl off to die when injured like an animal. We have, since then, allegedly developed a process for governance and such a concept as "society."

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