Where he stands: Donald Trump

Donald John Trump Sr. (born June 14, 1946, in New York City), a Republican, is an American business magnate, investor, socialite, author and television personality. He is chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts.

Trump worked for his father’s firm, Elizabeth Trump & Son, while attending the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined the company in 1968 upon graduation with a degree in economics. In 1971, he was given control of the company, and renamed it The Trump Organization.

Trump ran an exploratory campaign for president in 2000 seeking the nomination of the Reform Party, and won primaries in Michigan and California.

www.donaldjtrump.com

U.S.-China trade reform

The most important component of our China policy is leadership and strength at the negotiating table. The Trump Plan will achieve the following goals:

  1. Bring China to the bargaining table by immediately declaring it a currency manipulator.
  2. Protect American ingenuity and investment by forcing China to uphold intellectual property laws and stop their practice of forcing U.S. companies to share proprietary technology with Chinese competitors as a condition of entry to China’s market.
  3. Revive American manufacturing by ending China’s export subsidies and lax labor and environmental standards.

    Strengthen our negotiating position by:

  4. Lower the corporate tax rate to 15%. This tax cut puts our rate 10 percentage points below China and 20 points below our current rate.
  5. Attack our debt and deficit by vigorously eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the federal government.
  6. Strengthen the U.S. military and deploy it appropriately in the East and South China seas. 

Veterans Administration

The Trump Plan will:

  1. Ensure our veterans get the care they need wherever and whenever they need it. No more long drives. No more waiting for backlogs. No more excessive red tape.
  2. Support the whole veteran, not just their physical health care, but also by addressing their invisible wounds, investing in our service members’ post-active duty success and better meeting the needs of our female veterans.
  3. Make the VA great again by firing executives who let our veterans down, by modernizing the VA and by empowering doctors and nurses to ensure our veterans receive the best care available in a timely manner. All veterans eligible for VA health care can bring their veteran’s ID card to any doctor or care facility that accepts Medicare.
  4. Increase funding for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and suicide prevention services to address veterans’ invisible woundsService members are five times more likely to develop depression than civilians. They are almost 15 times more likely to develop PTSD than civilians.
  5. Increase funding for job training and placement services (including incentives for companies hiring veterans), educational support and business loans, including collaborating with many nonprofit organizations that are already helping.
  6. Better support our women veterans. Many VA hospitals don’t permanently staff OB/GYN doctors. Under the Trump plan, every VA hospital in the country will offer OB/GYN and other women’s health services. Women veterans also can choose a different OB/GYN in their community using their veteran’s ID card.

Tax reform

  1. If you are single and earn less than $25,000, or married and jointly earn less than $50,000, you will not owe any income tax. That removes nearly 75 million households – more than 50% – from the income tax rolls. They get a new one-page form to send the IRS; those who would otherwise owe income taxes will save an average of nearly $1,000 each.
  2. All other Americans will get a simpler tax code with four brackets – 0%, 10%, 20% and 25% – instead of the current seven. This new tax code eliminates the marriage penalty and the alternative minimum tax (AMT).
  3. No business of any size, from a Fortune 500 to a mom and pop shop to a freelancer living job to job, will pay more than 15% of its business income in taxes.
  4. No family will have to pay the death tax.

The Trump Tax Plan Is revenue neutral. The tax cuts are paid for by:

  1. Reducing or eliminating most deductions and loopholes available to the very rich.
  2. A one-time repatriation of corporate cash held overseas at a significantly discounted 10% tax rate, followed by an end to the deferral of taxes on corporate income earned abroad.
  3. Reducing or eliminating corporate loopholes that cater to special interests, as well as deductions made unnecessary or redundant by the new lower tax rate on corporations and business income. We will also phase in a reasonable cap on the deductibility of business interest expenses.

The Second Amendment

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed upon. Period. The Constitution doesn’t create that right – it ensures that the government can’t take it away. Our Founding Fathers knew, and our Supreme Court has upheld, that the Second Amendment’s purpose is to guarantee our right to defend ourselves and our families. This is about self-defense, plain and simple.

Background checks. There has been a national background check system in place since 1998. Every time a person buys a gun from a federally licensed gun dealer – which is the overwhelming majority of all gun purchases – they go through a federal background check. When the system was created, gun owners were promised that it would be instant, accurate and fair. That isn’t the case today. Too many states are failing to put criminal and mental health records into the system.

National right to carry. A concealed carry permit should be valid in all 50 states.

Military bases and recruiting centers. Banning our military from carrying firearms on bases and at recruiting centers is ridiculous. We need to allow them to defend themselves.

Immigration

Here are the three core principles of immigration reform:

  1. A nation without borders is not a nation.There must be a wall across the southern border.
  2. A nation without laws is not a nation.Laws passed in accordance with our Constitutional system of government must be enforced.
  3. A nation that does not serve its own citizens is not a nation.Any immigration plan must improve jobs, wages and security for all Americans.

Mexico must pay for the wall and, until they do, the United States will, among other things: impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages; increase fees on all temporary visas issued to Mexican CEOs and diplomats (and if necessary cancel them); increase fees on all border crossing cards – of which we issue about 1 million to Mexican nationals each year (a major source of visa overstays); increase fees on all NAFTA worker visas from Mexico (another major source of overstays); and increase fees at ports of entry to the United States from Mexico (tariffs and foreign aid cuts are also options).

The following steps will return to the American people the safety of their laws:

Triple the number of ICE officers. As the President of the ICE Officers’ Council explained in Congressional testimony: “Only approximately 5,000 officers and agents within ICE perform the lion’s share of ICE’s immigration mission … Compare that to the Los Angeles Police Department at approximately 10,000 officers. Approximately 5,000 officers in ICE cover 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, and are attempting to enforce immigration law against 11 million illegal aliens already in the interior of the United States.” This will be funded by eliminating tax credit payments to illegal immigrants.

Nationwide e-verify. This simple measure will protect jobs for unemployed Americans.

Mandatory return of all criminal aliens. All criminal aliens must be returned to their home countries, a process which can be aided by canceling any visas to foreign countries which will not accept their own criminals, and making it a separate and additional crime to commit an offense while here illegally.

Detention, not catch-and-release. Illegal aliens apprehended crossing the border must be detained until they are sent home.

Defund sanctuary cities. Cut-off federal grants to any city which refuses to cooperate with federal law enforcement.

Enhanced penalties for overstaying a visa. Millions of people come to the United States on temporary visas and refuse to leave, without consequence. This is a threat to national security. Individuals who refuse to leave at the time their visa expires should be subject to criminal penalties; this will also help give local jurisdictions the power to hold visa overstays until federal authorities arrive. Completion of a visa tracking system – required by law but blocked by lobbyists – will be necessary as well.

Cooperate with local gang task forces. ICE officers should accompany local police departments conducting raids of violent street gangs. All illegal aliens in gangs should be deported.

End birthright citizenship. This remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration.

Here are some additional specific policy proposals for long-term reform:

Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs. (The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act. It allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.) Up to two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program. More than half of H-1B visas are issued for the program’s lowest allowable wage level, and more than 80 percent for its bottom two. Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these entry-level jobs to the domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S.

Require companies to hire American workers first.

End welfare abuse. Applicants for entry to the United States should be required to certify that they can pay for their own housing, health care and other needs.

Jobs program for inner-city youth. The J-1 visa jobs program for foreign youth will be terminated and replaced with a resume bank for inner-city youth.

Refugee program for American children. Increase standards for the admission of refugees and asylum-seekers. Use the monies saved on refugee programs to help place American children without parents in safer homes and communities, and to improve community safety in high-crime neighborhoods in the United States.

Immigration moderation. Before any new green cards are issued to foreign workers abroad, there will be a pause where employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Where he stands: Rick Santorum

Richard John “Rick” Santorum (born May 10, 1958, in Winchester, Va.), a Republican, is an attorney who served as a U.S. Senator representing Pennsylvania from 1995 to 2007. He was a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination, finishing second to GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Santorum received an undergraduate degree from Penn State University, an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh and a J.D. from the Dickinson School of Law (now part of Penn State).

While serving as a senator, Santorum was the author of what came to be known as the Santorum Amendment, which promoted the teaching of intelligent design. In 2005,

In the years following his departure from the Senate, Santorum worked as a consultant, private-practice lawyer and news contributor.

http://www.ricksantorum.com/

Economic agenda

His “20/20 Flat Tax Plan” is the centerpiece of his Economic Freedom Agenda. These are they key points:

  • Abolish the federal income tax code and replace it with a simple, fair rate system – 20% flat tax on individual income / 20% flat tax on business income.
  • Dramatically downsize, restructure and reform the IRS.
  • Aim to make the U.S., once again, the world’s leading manufacturer by providing companies a 100% income exemption to be phased out over two years and tax deductions for capital investments.
  • Negotiate free-trade agreements with the goal of expanding access to foreign markets for American products and services.
  • Audit the Federal Reserve and appoint a Fed chairperson committed to maintaining sound money and a strong dollar.
  • Increase the minimum wage by 50 cents per year for three years.
  • Fully repeal Obamacare.
  • Call on Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, limiting federal spending to 18% of GDP.
  • Submit to Congress a plan that balances the federal budget within five years.
  • Approve the Keystone Pipeline for jobs and energy security.
  • Open up market access to all forms of domestic fuel production.
  • Give states the freedom to choose where they want to explore for oil and natural gas and to set their own regulations for hydrofracking.
  • Introduce work requirements for means-tested entitlement programs, including the federal food stamps program.
  • Cut means-tested entitlement programs by 10% across the board, freeze them for four years, and block grant them to states.
  • Reform and strengthen Medicare and Social Security.
  • Seal the Mexican border with an American-made wall.

Immigration

  • Implement a biometric tracking system for every immigrant who enters the United States. Anyone apprehended who has overstayed his or her visa should be subject to fines and then subsequently removed.
  • End the practice of sanctuary cities by withholding federal funds from any city that refuses to cooperate with federal authorities.
  • End amnesty.
  • Push for congressional action to require all businesses use e-verify for all employees to assure those who play by the rules are rewarded and employers who hire illegal immigrants are held accountable.
  • End automatic citizenship for children born here to illegal immigrants.

Common Core

Santorum is opposed to Common Core and any other top-down nationalized education standards. While some states are beginning to retreat on implementation of these standards, many are not, and many Americans don’t know what the Common Core standards are since there was little public debate in their adoption.

Debt

Santorum has long supported a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and a line-item veto. He proposed reforming entitlements, cutting spending and developed a “spendometer” that added up the cost of amendments to spending bills.

In the early 1990s, Santorum was a member of the “Gang of Seven” that exposed the banking and post office scandals. Santorum also was an author and floor manager of the landmark Welfare Reform Act of 1996 that has empowered millions of Americans to leave the welfare rolls and enter the workforce.

Santorum is a strong supporter “No Budget, No Pay” legislation that would require members of Congress to forgo pay for every day after the beginning of the government’s fiscal year that they don’t adopt a budget and pass all of its spending bills.

Friday: Donald Trump

Where he stands: Bernie Sanders

Bernard “Bernie” Sanders (born Sept. 8, 1941, in Brooklyn), a Democrat, is the junior U.S. Senator from Vermont. A Democrat as of last year, he had been the longest-serving independent in U.S. Congressional history.

Sanders graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964. While a student, Sanders was a member of the Young People’s Socialist League and a civil rights protest organizer. In 1963, he participated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.

As an independent, he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont’s most populous city, in 1981. He was re-elected three times. In 1990, he was elected to represent Vermont’s at-large congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served as a congressman for 16 years before being elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006.

https://go.berniesanders.com

Wealth inequality

Today, we live in the richest country in the history of the world, but much of that wealth is controlled by a tiny handful of individuals. The top one-tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.

As President, Sanders will reduce income and wealth inequality by:

  1. Demanding that the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share in taxes. As President, Sen. Sanders will stop corporations from shifting their profits and jobs overseas to avoid paying U.S. income taxes. He will create a progressive estate tax on the top 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. He also will enact a tax on Wall Street speculators who caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs, homes and life savings.
  2. Increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour by 2020. No one who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.
  3. Putting at least 13 million Americans to work by investing $1 trillion over five years toward rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, railways, airports, public transit systems, ports, dams, wastewater plants and other infrastructure needs.
  4. Reversing trade policies like NAFTA, CAFTA and PNTR with China. If corporate America wants us to buy their products, they need to manufacture those products in this country.
  5. Creating 1 million jobs for disadvantaged young Americans by investing $5.5 billion in a youth jobs program. Today, the youth unemployment rate is off the charts.
  6. Fighting for pay equity by signing the Paycheck Fairness Act into law. Women earn 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.
  7. Making tuition free at public colleges and universities throughout America. Everyone in this country who studies hard should be able to go to college regardless of income.
  8. Expanding Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income above $250,000.
  9. Guaranteeing health care as a right of citizenship by enacting a Medicare for all single-payer health care systems.
  10. Requiring employers to provide at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; two weeks of paid vacation; and seven days of paid sick days.
  11. Enacting a universal child care and pre-kindergarten program. Every family in America should have the opportunity to send their children to a high-quality child care and pre-K program.
  12. Making it easier for workers to join unions by fighting for the Employee Free Choice Act.
  13. Breaking up huge financial institutions so that they are no longer too big to fail. Sen. Sanders has introduced legislation to break these banks up. As president, he will fight to sign this legislation into law.

College tuition

Make tuition free at public colleges and universities. This is not a radical idea. Last year, Germany eliminated tuition because it believed that charging students $1,300 per year was discouraging Germans from going to college. Next year, Chile will do the same. Finland, Norway, Sweden and many other countries around the world also offer free college to all of their citizens. If other countries can take this action, so can the United States.

Stop the federal government from making a profit on student loans. Over the next decade, it has been estimated that the federal government will make a profit of more than $110 billion on student loan programs. As President, Sen. Sanders will use this money instead to significantly lower student loan interest rates.

Substantially cut student loan interest rates. Under the Sanders plan, the formula for setting student loan interest rates would return to where it was in 2006. If this plan were in effect today, interest rates on undergraduate loans would drop from 4.29% to 2.37%.

Allow Americans to refinance student loans at today’s low interest rates. It makes no sense that you can get an auto loan today with an interest rate of 2.5%, but college graduates are forced to pay interest rates of 5-7% or more for decades.

Allow students to use need-based financial aid and work-study programs to make college debt free. The Sanders plan would require public colleges and universities to meet 100% of the financial needs of the lowest-income students. Low-income students would be able to use federal, state and college financial aid to cover room and board, books and living expenses. And Sanders would more than triple the federal work-study program to build career experience.

Impose a tax on Wall Street speculators. The cost of this $75 billion a year plan is fully paid for by imposing a tax of a fraction of a percent on Wall Street speculators who nearly destroyed the economy seven years ago.

Climate change

As President, Sanders will:

  • Ban fossil fuels lobbyists from working in the White House.
  • End subsidies that benefit fossil fuel companies.
  • Create a national environmental and climate justice plan that recognizes the health risks faced by low-income and minority communities.
  • Bring climate deniers to justice. Sanders recently called for the Department of Justice to investigate Exxon Mobil, which may have not only known about the dangers of climate change, but has spent millions of dollars to spread doubt about the causes and impacts of burning fossil fuels.
  • Fight to overturn Citizens United. In a 5-4 decision in 2010, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates for corporations and the super wealthy to spend unlimited and undisclosed money to buy our elected officials. The Supreme Court essentially declared that corporations, including fossil fuel corporations, have the same rights as natural-born human beings. This decision has enabled billionaires and special interests to increasingly control the political campaign finance system.

Immigration

Through legislation and executive action, Sen. Sanders will implement an immigration policy that will:

  • Dismantle deportation programs and detention centers.
  • Pave the way for a legislative road map to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants.
  • Ensure our border remains secure while respecting local communities.
  • Regulate the future flow of immigrants by modernizing the visa system and rewriting bad trade agreements.
  • Enhance access to justice and reverse the criminalization of immigrants.
  • Establish parameters for independent oversight of key U.S. Department of Homeland Security agencies.

Racial justice

  • We must demilitarize our police forces so they don’t look and act like invading armies.
  • We must invest in community policing. Among other things, that means increasing civilian oversight of police departments.
  • We must create a police culture that allows for good officers to report the actions of bad officers without fear of retaliation and allows for a department to follow through on such reports.
  • We need police forces that reflect the diversity of our communities, including in the training academies and leadership.
  • At the federal level, we need to establish a new police training program that re-orients the way we do law enforcement in this country. With input from a broad segment of the community, including activists and leaders from civil rights organizations, we will re-invent how we police America.
  • We need to federally fund and require body cameras for law enforcement officers to make it easier to hold them accountable.
  • We need to require police departments and states to collect data on all police shootings and deaths that take place while in police custody and make that data public.
  • We need new rules on the allowable use of force. Police officers need to be trained to de-escalate confrontations and to humanely interact with people who have mental illnesses.
  • States and localities that make progress in this area should get more federal justice grant money. Those that do not should get their funding slashed.
  • We need to make sure federal resources are there to crack down on the illegal activities of hate groups.

LGBT equality

As President, Sen. Sanders will:

  1. Sign into law the Equality Act, the Every Child Deserves a Family Act and any other bill that prohibits discrimination of LGBT people.
  2. Work with HHS to ensure LGBT Americans have access to health insurance that provides appropriate coverage and do not have to fear discrimination or mistreatment from providers.
  3. Continue the work of the State Department’s Special Envoy for LGBT Rights and ensure the United States helps protect the rights of LGBT people around the world.
  4. Advance policies to ensure students can attend school without fear of bullying, and work to reduce suicides.
  5. Require police departments to adopt policies to ensure fairer interactions with transgender people, especially transgender women of color, and institute training programs to promote compliance with fair policies.
  6. Bar discrimination of LGBT people by creditors and banks.
  7. Veto any legislation that purports to protect religious liberty at the expense of others’ rights.

Prescription drug prices

  1. Negotiate a better deal.
  • Require Medicare to use its bargaining power to negotiate with the prescription drug companies for better prices – a practice that is currently banned by law. Last year there were more than 37 million Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in private Part D plans. 90 percent of seniors take at least one prescription.
  • Not only would negotiation substantially reduce prices seniors and people with disabilities pay for drugs, it could save Medicare between $230 billion and $541 billion over the next decade.
  • 83 percent of Americans support allowing the federal government to negotiate with drug companies for better prices.
  1. Import prescriptions from Canada.
  • Allow individuals, pharmacists and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from licensed Canadian pharmacies. The United States spends more than $1,000 per person per year on prescription drugs – that’s nearly 40 percent more than Canada, the next highest spender. In 1999, Sanders became the first member of Congress to take a busload of Americans across the border into Canada to purchase prescription drugs.
  • 72 percent of Americans support this policy of allowing Americans to import prescription drugs from Canada.
  • Prohibit the United States from agreeing to provisions in international trade deals that would raise drug prices in the United States or extend the monopoly period when a brand-name drug company has no generic competition.
  • Suspend the government’s authority to destroy packages of imported drugs at the border until legislation is passed ensuring that Americans can import safe and affordable drugs from Canada.
  1. Restore discounts for low-income seniors.
  • Close the Medicare Part D donut hole for brand and generic drugs by 2017, three years earlier than under current law. The “donut hole” is a coverage gap wherein seniors and people with disabilities pay for their medications even while they are paying monthly premiums.
  • Require generic drug companies to pay a rebate to Medicaid if their drug prices rise faster than inflation.
  • Brand-name drug makers have to pay a rebate to Medicaid if their drug prices rise faster than inflation. According to the Congressional Budget Office, this policy will save the federal government $1 billion over 10 years.
  • Restore Medicare prescription drug discounts for low-income seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Ten years ago, prescription drug coverage for low-income seniors and people with disabilities was moved from Medicaid to Medicare. Because Medicaid gets a much better price for prescription drugs than private Medicare Part D plans, this policy change meant that drug companies would gain large profits at taxpayers’ expense. The Sanders plan will restore these rebates for low-income seniors, saving $103 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
  1. Prohibit deals that keep generic drugs off the market.
  • Prohibit “pay-for-delay” deals between brand and generic drug makers. According to the Federal Trade Commission, these deals cost consumers and taxpayers at least $3.5 billion in higher drug costs every year.
  1. Enact stronger penalties for fraud.
  • Terminate exclusivity — a government-awarded monopoly period — from a drug company convicted of fraud. Nearly every major pharmaceutical company has been convicted of civil or criminal fraud for violations including off-label promotion, kickbacks, anti-monopoly practices or Medicare fraud. Even though the Justice Department has won suits requiring companies to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in fines, the prescription drug companies simply treat those fines as a cost of doing business.
  1. Require pricing and cost transparency.
  • Require drug companies to publicly report information that affects drug pricing. Companies frequently distort the true cost of drug research and development. Under the Sanders plan, drug makers would be required to report certain price information to the federal government and the public on their products, including the total expenditures on research and development and clinical trials, as well as the portion of their drug development expenses offset by tax credits or paid for by federal grants.
  • Companies also would be required to submit price, profit and sales information in other countries in which the drug is sold.

Reform Wall Street

  • Introduced the “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act,” which would break up big banks and prohibit any too-big-to-fail institutions from accessing the Federal Reserve’s discount facilities or using insured deposits for risky activities.
  • Led the fight in 1999 defending Glass-Steagall provisions which prevented banks (especially “too big to fail” ones) from gambling with customers’ money, and currently is a co-sponsor of the Elizabeth Warren/John McCain bill to reinstate those provisions.
  • Has proposed a financial transaction tax which would reduce risky and unproductive high-speed trading and other forms of Wall Street speculation; proceeds would be used to provide debt-free public college education.
  • Is co-sponsoring Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s bill to end Wall Street’s practice of paying big bonuses to bank executives who take senior-level government jobs.
  • Supports capping credit card interest rates at 15%.
  • Sponsored an amendment calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve. The audit found that far more had been spent in the Wall Street bailout than previously disclosed, and that considerable funds had been spent to bail out foreign corporations.

War and peace

  1. Move away from a policy of unilateral military action, instead emphasizing diplomacy and ensuring the decision to go to war is a last resort.
  2. Ensure that any military action we do engage in has clear goals, is limited in scope and whenever possible provides support to our allies in the region.
  3. Close Guantanamo Bay, rein in the National Security Agency and abolish the use of torture..
  4. Promote fair trade, address global climate change, provide humanitarian relief and economic assistance, defend the rule of law and promote human rights worldwide.

Thursday: Rick Santorum

Where he stands: Marco Rubio

Marco Antonio Rubio (born May 28, 1971 in Miami, Fla.,), a Republican, is the junior U.S. Senator from Florida since 2011. He previously served as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

Rubio graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in political science and the University of Miami School of Law. In the late 1990s, he served as a West Miami city commissioner and was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2000.

Upon leaving the Florida legislature in 2008, Rubio started a new law firm and also began teaching at Florida International University, where he continues as an adjunct professor.

Rubio won election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. He is one of three Latino Americans serving in the Senate.

https://marcorubio.com/

Agriculture

Rubio will undo the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Rule, which will dramatically expand federal control over ponds, ditches and streams. Further, he will fight EPA regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and excessive application of the Endangered Species Act, which can, when misused, deem huge swathes of productive land off-limits for agriculture or other development. In the U.S. Senate, he fought the EPA’s attempt to regulate numeric nutrients in Florida waters, and won.

As President, Rubio would fight the establishment of a cap-and-trade program or carbon tax, which would act as a national energy tax on agriculture producers. In addition, he will push for other reforms to reduce energy costs for farmers.

Rubio supports the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which asserts Congress’s role in trade negotiations. He also would push for trade agreements to boost exports for American farmers and ranchers.

Second Amendment

New gun laws would infringe on the rights of law-abiding Americans who wish to have a gun for hunting, sport or, most important, the protection of their families.

Rubio has fought to protect the Second Amendment by:

  • Voting to block the Manchin-Bloomberg expansion of background checks.
  • Fighting to defund the Department of Justice’s radical “Operation Choke Point” and other federal attacks on law-abiding gun manufacturers and dealers.
  • Pushing to bring Second Amendment rights back to D.C. residents.
  • Protecting the Second Amendment rights of veterans and their families.
  • Opposing any federal attempt to ban commonly owned sporting rifles and standard capacity magazines.
  • Pushing to make concealed-carry permits function like drivers’ licenses, so gun owners’ constitutional rights don’t end at state lines.
  • Opposing U.S. involvement in the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty.
  • Working to expand opportunities for sportsmen on federal lands.

Common Core

Rubio began raising concerns about Common Core in 2011, calling federal education governance — such as a mandate to adopt Common Core — unconstitutional, and sponsored legislation to prohibit federal coercion regarding Common Core and ensure that the Department of Education cannot impose standards or curriculum on states.

He will give states and local communities autonomy in education decision-making. He will ensure no federal education funding is tied to mandates. He will issue an executive order directing federal agencies to stop all activity related to implementing or enforcing Common Core.

Debt

Some of Rubio’s ideas to get spending under control:

  • Fight for a balanced budget amendment and force Washington to live within its means without raising taxes.
  • Repeal Obamacare.
  • Push for line-item veto authority.
  • Ban pork-barrel earmarks.
  • Reduce the size of the federal workforce in Washington.
  • Stop taxpayer funding of abortions.
  • Prevent massive spending bills.
  • Oppose corporate welfare, such as the Export-Import Bank.
  • Provide taxpayers with the true costs of government spending and the benefits of pro-growth policies.

Eminent domain

Eminent domain is the authority vested in government to force the sale of private property. While this authority is necessary in rare cases related to public development, such as the building of crucial infrastructure, its modern use far exceeds this limitation.

As President, Rubio will:

  • Protect private property rights.
  • Nominate conservative justices to the Supreme Court who will fight to protect private property rights.

Energy

Affordable, reliable American energy has sparked a manufacturing renaissance. We must take full advantage of our energy potential. To do that, his plan will:

  • Empower states and tribes to control onshore energy development within their borders.
  • Rewrite the five-year offshore drilling plan.
  • Immediately approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • Immediately lift the ban on crude exports.
  • Expedite approval of American natural gas exports.
  • Defend U.S. interests in international climate negotiations.
  • Bolster the energy security of U.S. allies.
  • Conclude TTIP negotiations without restrictions on access to U.S. energy exports.
  • Create a national regulatory budget to limit the power of unelected regulators.
  • End carbon mandates.
  • Simplify the environmental review process.
  • Facilitate private-sector-led development of new technologies.
  • Overhaul the tax code and cut taxes for businesses of all sizes.

Health care

  • Provide every American with an advanceable, refundable tax credit that can be used to purchase insurance.
  • Reduce costs, promote innovation and ensure access for the most vulnerable by expanding access to consumer-centered health plans, reforming insurance regulations and putting protections in place to ensure those with pre-existing health conditions can get access to affordable coverage.

    Social Security and Medicare

    As President, Rubio will:

    • Make no changes to Social Security or Medicaid for those in or near retirement.
    • Defend Medicare and Medicare Advantage for current seniors.
    • Gradually increase the Social Security retirement age to keep up with changes in life expectancy.
    • Reduce the rate of growth of benefits for upper-income seniors, while making the program stronger for low-income seniors.
    • Transition Medicare to a premium support system, which would give seniors a generous but fixed amount with which to purchase health insurance. Seniors would have the option of either Medicare or a private provider.
    • Allow the American people to participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, which is now used by members of Congress and other federal employees.
    • Exempt seniors older than 65 who wish to continue working from the payroll tax, strengthening seniors’ nest eggs.
    • Abolish the retirement earnings test, which discourages work and does not help Social Security’s long-term solvency.

Higher education

  • Simplify higher education tax incentives into one simple provision for post-secondary education.
  • Reduce the complexity of the federal financial aid application.
  • Make higher education information (including graduation rates for nontraditional students, transfers rates, student debt, post-graduation earnings and likely employment outcomes) available online.
  • Establish income-based repayment as the universal repayment method for federal student loans.
  • Empower new borrowers to make loan payments in proportion to what they earn, and give graduates the option of consolidating loans into the new, simplified income-based repayment system.
  • Establish a new accrediting entity to ensure quality of courses, review eligibility for financial aid and make credits transferable into the traditional system.
  • Allow students to apply for “Student Investment Plans” from approved investors to help Americans finance post-secondary education without student loans.
  • Establish a framework for students to repay loans based on what they earn after college.
  • Increase access to career and vocational education.
  • Better utilize apprenticeships and on-the-job training.
  • Ease access to state colleges and online educational opportunities.
  • Increase hiring of non-degree-holding workers.

Immigration

Each year our colleges and universities graduate foreign students who are among the best and the brightest in the world. Instead of putting them to work here, we send them back to China and India to compete against us.

Transitioning to a merit-based, high-skilled immigration system also would help immigrants assimilate more quickly and easily into American economic and civil life. As authors Yuval Levin and Reihan Salam have written, a merit-based system — in conjunction with formal civic education requirements, such as a test on American history and government before being granted a green card — would have the effect of allowing immigrants to integrate more successfully into American communities and reduce the isolation and poverty of many of today’s immigrant communities.

We will never have the votes needed in Congress to modernize our immigration system until the issue of illegal immigration is adequately dealt with.

First, those here illegally must be registered. If they have committed serious crimes or have not been here long enough, they will have to leave. With the new e-verify system in place, they are going to find it difficult to find a job in any case.

Second, those who qualify would be allowed to apply for a temporary nonimmigrant visa. To obtain it they will have to pay an application fee and a fine, undergo a background check and learn English. Once they receive this work permit, they would be allowed to work legally and travel. To keep it, they will have to pay taxes. They would not qualify for government programs like Obamacare, welfare or food stamps. And if they commit a crime while in this status, they would lose their permit.

Third, those who qualify for a nonimmigrant visa will have to remain in this status for at least a decade. After that, they would be allowed to apply for permanent residency if they so choose. Many who qualify for this status will choose to remain in it indefinitely. But those who choose to seek permanent residency would have to do it the way anyone else would.

Iran

  • Iran’s leaders will have to choose between having a nuclear weapons program and having an economy. Rubio will back this up with a credible threat of military force if Iran decides to ramp up its program.
  • He will work with Congress to impose tougher sanctions on Iran for its support for terrorism and human rights abuses.

ISIS

On the military front, Rubio will:

  • Build a multinational coalition willing to send troops into Iraq and Syria with embedded U.S. forces and U.S. logistical and intelligence support to aid local fighters in destroying ISIS safe havens.
  • Expand airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.
  • Develop a plan to oust Bashar al-Assad from power, including ramping up training of Syrian rebels to fight both Assad and ISIS and to establish safe zones in Syria.
  • Provide arms directly to Sunni tribal and Kurdish forces if Baghdad fails to support them.

On the political front:

  • Counter ISIS recruitment and propaganda by broadcasting U.S. victories.
  • Work with Baghdad to increase Sunni inclusion and autonomy for the provinces.
  • Push back against Iranian influence in Iraq.
  • Coordinate with regional allies to plan for Assad’s fall.
  • Advocate on behalf of and protect ethnic and religious minorities throughout the region.
  • Enhance military and diplomatic efforts to prevent ISIS from further entrenching itself in Afghanistan and Libya, as well as take action to ensure ISIS does not spread to countries such as Jordan.
  • Target ISIS’s financial reserves with sanctions and asset freezes and continue to undermine ISIS’s attempts to exploit oil resources.
  • Expose ISIS’s war crimes and sex trafficking, and recruit disaffected former members to tell their stories.
  • Work with regional partners to prevent foreign jihadists from traveling between their homes and the battlefields.
  • Strengthen U.S. intelligence capabilities to ensure that the U.S. government has the capabilities to track terrorists plotting attacks inside the United States.
  • Boost domestic efforts to detect potential “lone wolf” attackers.
  • Increase efforts to counter ISIS propaganda and recruitment of individuals inside the United States.
  • Halt admissions of refugees from Iraq and Syria until they can be vetted effectively enough to filter out terrorist infiltrators.
  • Enhance the security screening required of travelers coming to the U.S. through the visa waiver program.

K-12 education

Promote local control by:

  • Support bills to give states flexibility and autonomy in their education plans.
  • Push legislation to block the use of waivers not authorized by Congress.
  • Create school-choice tax credits.
  • Increase the availability of charter schools.
  • Expand the portability of school funding for low-income children, military children and special-needs children.

As President, Rubio will:

  • Create a national school choice scholarship program.
  • Ensure parents have the ability to send their children to the school that best suits their educational needs.
  • Prohibit federal mandates on curriculum or standards for states and local educational agencies.
  • Protect student privacy from misuse by third-party vendors or other non-education related entities.
  • Support virtual learning, home schooling and blended learning opportunities.
  • Promote better learning opportunities for students with disabilities

Taxes

Reduces the number of tax brackets from seven to three:

Marginal Tax Rate Individuals Joint Filers
15% 0 – $75,000 0 – $150,000
25% $75,001 – $150,000 $150,001 – $300,000
35% $150,001+ $300,001+

Simplifies the Tax Code:

  • Cuts taxes.
  • Eliminates itemized deductions and tax “extenders.”
  • Under Rubio’s tax reform plan, the charitable contribution deduction and a reformed mortgage interest deduction would be available to all taxpayers.
  • Creates a $2,000 (individual) / $4,000 (married filing jointly) refundable tax credit in place of the standard deduction: The credit phases out beginning above $150,000 (individual) / $300,000 (married filing jointly) and would be unavailable to taxpayers with an annual income in excess of $200,000 (individual) / $400,000 (married filing jointly).
  • Eliminates the marriage penalty and the Alternative Minimum Tax.
  • Consolidates higher education tax incentives into a single $2,500 universal tax credit for the first four years of post-secondary education and costs related to eligible job skill training. The credit phases out between 400 – 500 percent above the federal poverty level.
  • Creates a partially refundable child tax credit of up to $2,500 per child. The child tax credit is applicable to taxpayers’ total income and payroll tax liability, to offset the parent tax penalty. The credit phases out beginning above $150,000 (individual) / $300,000 (married filing jointly) and would be unavailable to taxpayers with an annual income in excess of $200,000 (individual) / $400,000 (married filing jointly).
  • The new child credit is in addition to the current child credit.
  • The new child credit is refundable against the payroll taxes that are the biggest tax burden on low-income families.
  • Provides a 25% non-refundable tax credit to any business offering between four and 12 weeks of paid family leave, limited to $4,000 per worker. The credit is adaptable to all employee arrangements, including part-time work. It applies in a number of situations where workers have qualifying family or medical events, including a newborn child in need of care, an elderly parent with declining health, a personal health crisis or a spouse’s military deployment.
  • Integrates all business income into a single tax rate no higher than 25%.
  • Brings parity to the taxation of all businesses, big and small.
  • Allows immediate expensing of capital expenditures (equipment, structures, inventories and land), ending depreciation schedules.
  • For American companies and individuals doing business overseas, eliminates the double-taxation of income earned abroad by transitioning to a competitive territorial tax system. For currently deferred overseas earnings, the plan provides a 6% deemed repatriation rate, payable over 10 years.
  • Eliminates carve-outs benefiting large corporations and high-tax states.
  • Taxes all business income once at the entity level and eliminates double-taxation of saving and investment income.
  • Provides a transition period, which requires a one-time booking of investment at current law capital gains and dividend rates, minus the 3.8% investment tax hike from Obamacare.
  • Immediately eliminates the federal estate tax, which penalizes family-owned farms and businesses and reduces saving and investment in our economy.
  • Fully removes interest from the tax base; interest income is no longer taxable or deductible.
  • Ends the bias in favor of debt rather than equity.

Wednesday: Bernie Sanders

Where he stands: Rand Paul

Randal Howard “Rand” Paul (born Jan. 7, 1963, in Pittsburgh, Pa.), a Republican, has served in the U.S. Senate representing Kentucky since 2011. A physician, he is the son of former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Paul is a graduate of the Duke University School of Medicine. He began practicing ophthalmology in 1993 in Bowling Green, Ky., and established his own clinic in December 2007. In 2010, Paul has described himself as a Constitutional conservative and a supporter of the Tea Party movement.

Growing up, he went by “Randy,” but his wife shortened it to “Rand.”

The Paul family moved to Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1968, where he was raised. When he was 13, his father was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. That same year, Paul attended the 1976 Republican National Convention, where his father headed Ronald Reagan’s Texas delegation.

www.randpaul.com

Spending and debt

As President of the United States, I will work to balance our budget and spend only what comes in. We must cut spending in all areas, particularly areas that are better run by state and local governments.

The Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve was created by Congress and is supposed to be overseen by Congress. The Fed is now in every nook and cranny of banking, with unprecedented regulatory powers and no Congressional oversight.

I believe the Fed should be audited and the regulatory power should be returned to the control of Congress. A complete and thorough audit of the Fed will finally allow the American people to know exactly how their money is being spent by Washington.

Health care

As a doctor, I have had firsthand experience with the immense problems facing health care in the United States. Before the implementation of Obamacare, our health care system was over-regulated and in need of serious market reforms, but Obamacare is not the answer.

Government interventions in health care have driven up the cost of coverage and decreased competition within the market.
As your President, I will ensure that real free-market principles are applied to the American health care system so that it is responsive to patients, families and doctors, rather than government bureaucracy.

Immigration

I do not support amnesty, but rather I support a legal immigration process. I recognize that our country has been enriched by those who seek the American Dream and have a desire for a better life. However, millions of illegal immigrants are crossing our border without our knowledge, and this threatens our national security.

As President, I would secure our border immediately. Before issuing any visas or starting the legal immigration process, we first must ensure that our border is secure.

While serving in the Senate, I introduced legislation that would make immigration reform conditional on Congress voting on whether the border is secure, requiring completion of a border fence in five years and a protection against the federal government establishing a national identification card system for citizens.

My Trust but Verify amendment requires Congress to write and enforce a border security blueprint rather than relying on bureaucracies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, to come up with a plan. The amendment also would provide new national security safeguards to track the holders of student visas and those provided asylum and refugee status.

Criminal justice

Since taking office, I have found that one of the biggest impediments to finding a job is a criminal record. Upon examining our nation’s criminal justice system, I found that the system is in desperate need of reform.

I have worked across the aisle to reform the system with various pieces of legislation, including:

  1. The Redeem Act: Creates a judicial process for adults to seal non-violent criminal records on the federal level. It also creates an automatic expungement of records for non-violent juveniles under age 15. It mandates the FBI to update its criminal background check system to ensure that employers receive accurate information. States are incentivized to have substantially similar legislation on the state level or risk losing appropriations for law enforcement agencies.
  2. Justice Safety Valve Act: Judges can depart from mandatory minimum sentencing laws if they find that it is in the best interests of justice to do so. This would increase judicial discretion and allow judges to make individualized determinations about the proper punishment for defendants.
  3. Civil Rights Voting Restoration Act: If passed, this would restore the voting rights of every non-violent felon in the country. Non-violent felons would be able to vote in federal elections only. States that do not change their laws to reflect this would not receive federal prison funds.
  4. Reset Act: This bill re-classifies simple possession of controlled substances – very small amounts – as a misdemeanor rather than a low-level felony. It also eliminates the crack-cocaine disparity.
  5. Fair Act: This bill ensures that the federal government would have to prove by clear and convincing evidence that seized property was being used for illegal purposes before it is forfeited. Forfeited assets would be placed in the Treasury’s general fund instead of the DOJ’s asset forfeiture fund. This shift would remove the profit incentive police officers currently have to seize and forfeit property. The bill also would protect the property rights of citizens by eliminating the ability of state law enforcement to circumvent state asset forfeiture laws and use more lenient federal standards instead.

Education

The federal government should not dictate what happens in our local classrooms. I believe we must abolish Common Core and give control back to the states, localities and parents.

Parents and teachers should play an active role in their child’s education and should be encouraged to choose the most appropriate educational institution for their child. We should encourage a variety of educational formats — whether it’s public, charter, private, religious, home school or online.

Right to privacy

I believe that every American has a constitutionally guaranteed right to privacy. Simply put, the phone records of law-abiding Americans are none of the government’s business.

If the government has probable cause that an individual is a criminal or suspected terrorist, then it first must go to a judge and obtain a warrant as required by the Fourth Amendment. Verizon, Sprint and AT&T are not individuals and “general warrants” which authorize this dragnet surveillance on millions of Americans violate the intent of the Fourth Amendment.

As President, I will immediately end the NSA’s bulk data collection and domestic spying programs.

Taxes

I am announcing a more than $2 trillion tax cut that would repeal the entire IRS tax code — more than 70,000 pages — and replace it with a broad-based tax of 14.5% on individuals and businesses. I would eliminate nearly every special-interest loophole.

The plan also eliminates the payroll tax on workers and several federal taxes outright, including gift and estate taxes, telephone taxes, and all duties and tariffs. I call this “The Fair and Flat Tax.”

Because the Fair and Flat Tax rewards work, saving, investment and small business creation, the Tax Foundation estimates that in 10 years it will increase gross domestic product by about 10%, and create at least 1.4 million jobs.

And because the best way to balance the budget and pay down government debt is to put Americans back to work, my plan would reduce the national debt by trillions of dollars over time when combined with my package of spending cuts.

National security

I believe that one of the primary functions of the federal government is national security. As a Senator, one of the most important votes I could make is on a declaration of war. As Commander-in-Chief, the importance of this decision would not be overlooked. If the military action is justified and there is no other course of action, I would follow the Constitution and seek congressional approval before sending our brave men and women into harm’s way.

The Founding Fathers understood the seriousness of war and thus included in our Constitution a provision stating that only Congress can declare war. We must maintain this important check and balance and the decision to wage war should not be taken lightly.

I believe in Ronald Reagan’s “Peace through Strength.”

I will continue to stand with Israel and our allies abroad, and I vow to explore all diplomatic options before sending our armed forces into battle.

Finally, if and when we choose to fight, we will empower our military to fight to win.

Energy

Cutting red tape and encouraging energy freedom, new technologies and discoveries will be a priority in my administration. Like all other sectors of the economy, allowing businesses to compete in a free market not only will produce the most efficient forms of energy, but also will pass along the cost savings to the consumer.

I support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and I have repeatedly voted to allow this project to proceed.

Regulation

Counteracting burdensome government regulations has become a centerpiece of my tenure in Washington. All my actions seek to find a balance among environmental, safety and health protection, without compromising the ability of family businesses to flourish.

Unelected bureaucrats should not have the power to enact regulations that affect the lives of everyday Americans.

In the Senate, I introduced the Regulations from the Executive Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. This legislation is designed to increase accountability for and transparency in the federal regulatory process.

Israel

It’s time we took a stand for Israel by standing up to the enemies of Israel. That’s why I proposed a bill called the “Stand with Israel Act” to cut off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority.

As long as the Palestinian Authority is allied with Hamas, not one more tax dollar should flow to them.

Second Amendment

As President, I vow to uphold our entire Bill of Rights, and specifically our right to bear arms.

Those who support the Second Amendment also must vehemently protect the Fourth Amendment. If we are not free from unreasonable and warrantless searches, no one’s guns are safe.

I will not support any proposed gun control law that would limit the right to gun ownership by those who are responsible, law-abiding citizens.

Tuesday: Marco Rubio

Where he stands: Martin O’Malley

Martin Joseph O’Malley (born Jan. 18, 1963, in Washington, D.C.), a Democrat, was governor of Maryland from 2007 to 2015. He previously served as mayor of Baltimore from 1999 to 2007 and was a Baltimore city councilor from 1991 to 1999.

O’Malley was chairman of the Democratic Governors Association from 2011 to 2013. Following his departure from public office in early 2015, he was appointed to the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School as a visiting professor focusing on government, business and urban issues.

As governor, in 2011 he signed a law that would make illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children eligible for in-state college tuition, and in 2012, he signed a law to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland. Each law was upheld by a majority of the voting public in 2012.

O’Malley graduated from the Catholic University of American in 1985. He earned a J.D. from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1988 and passed the bar that same year.

https://martinomalley.com/

Families’ net worth

  • Reach wage growth of 4 percent annually by 2018. Wages for most American workers have been flat or falling for decades. In addition, recent gains in wage growth have accrued to top earners.
  • Increase the number of families with adequate retirement savings by 50 percent within eight years. One-third of Americans have no retirement savings or pension. Roughly two-thirds of those close to retirement are projected to have inadequate resources when they retire.
  • Cut the pay gap between full-time men and women workers in half by 2025. Overall, women make 78 cents for every dollar men make. If we could close that gap today — through paycheck fairness laws, strong family leave policies and expanded access to quality, affordable child care, among other measures — half of working single motherswould be lifted out of poverty.

Renewable energy

While fossil fuel pollution contributes to 200,000 deaths a year and a growing climate catastrophe, renewable energy technologies have not yet adequately scaled up, in part because of federal policies that still preference the fossil fuel industry. O’Malley will propose a new American clean energy jobs agenda, comprised of detailed policies that will rapidly develop the renewable energy industry, create clean energy jobs and end our reliance on fossil fuels.

Immigration reform

Comprehensive immigration reform will lift wages, create jobs, grow the economy, expand our tax base and improve standards for all workers. Conversely, in the absence of reform, millions of families that contribute to this country every day are one traffic stop away from being torn apart.

Immediately extend executive action to safeguard at least 9 million new Americans from deportation. Tens of thousands of parents are separated from their U.S.-born children, while one in five undocumented adults is at risk of being separated from his or her spouse. And undocumented immigrants face higher incidences of labor abuses such as wage theft, intimidation and dangerous working conditions.

Debt-free college

  • Refinance student loans. All Americans with student debt – including students and their parents – should be able to refinance their loans at lower rates.
  • Tie minimum payments to income. Student borrowers should be automatically enrolled in income-based repayment plans, with loan forgiveness options. Borrowers who do not wish to use repayment plans could opt out of them, while those with private loans should be able to refinance into federal programs.
  • Stop skyrocketing tuition rates. States have slashed higher education investments by an average of 20 percent per student since 2008. Colleges have used tuition increases to make up for 80 percent of lost funding. O’Malley also is calling on states to immediately freeze tuition rates.
  • Restore state higher education funding. As President, O’Malley would partner with states, leveraging federal dollars through matching grants to encourage states to increase funding for public colleges and universities.
  • Tie tuition rates to median incomes.  O’Malley would set a national goal of reducing the cost of tuition to no more than 10 percent of state median income at four-year public universities, and to no more than 5 percent of median income at two-year public colleges. While institutions would be challenged to maintain quality and innovate in education and teaching to reduce costs, states would be required to maintain their own funding efforts which, along with the increased funding from the matching grant program, would ensure universities do not suffer any decrease in educational quality while meeting these goals.
  • Increase Pell grants. Pell grants and state grants should be increased to cover the bulk of non-tuition costs for students who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
  • Expand and modernize work-study. The need-based federal work-study program should be tripled so that at least 2 million students can participate. The program would be redesigned to make placements career-focused, and to better support low- and middle-income, part-time and mid-career students. It will be essential to ensure the program hours are equitable and do not create additional economic hardship or detract from a quality education.

Criminal justice

As President, O’Malley will:

  • Mandate and expand data reporting. The FBI does not collect data on police-involved shootings. Local data also is poor and incomplete. O’Malley has called for legislation to require law enforcement agencies to report data on all police-involved shootings, custodial deaths, discourtesy complaints and use of excessive force. This data should be centralized in a universal database and made publicly available.
  • Establish a national use of force standard. State laws governing when police officers can use excessive force vary greatly. O’Malley will support legislation to require states to review and amend their own use of force laws to comply with federal guidelines.
  • Expand community collaboration and civilian review of police departments. O’Malley would reward and encourage police departments to implement best practices in goal-oriented community policing, including through the eligibility criteria in federal grant programs. These include undergoing racial bias training and crisis de-escalation training; establishing internal accountability measures to track and review civilian complaints and address officer misconduct; and creating and empowering civilian review boards to independently monitor and audit policing cases.
  • Use technology to advance transparency. Technology, including but not limited to body cameras, can improve policing and build community trust in law enforcement. But it must meet community and local law enforcement needs without infringing on individual rights. O’Malley will work with law enforcement, advocates and other stakeholders to establish national standards for deploying and developing technology, while protecting privacy and communities’ access to data produced by body cameras or similar tools.
  • Encourage independent investigations of policing cases. Local prosecutors must work closely with local police on a day-to-day basis, creating possible conflicts of interest in cases regarding police misconduct. As a result, states and cities have begun to appoint independent prosecutors or prosecutors from other jurisdictions in cases where police use deadly force. O’Malley will make these measures model practices, and support legislation to encourage all states to adopt them.
  • Strengthen federal civil rights protections. The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s ability to prosecute cases is limited because federal officials must meet a very high legal standard to bring civil rights charges. O’Malley would call on Congress to revise this standard so that the federal government can act as an effective backstop for ensuring justice.
  • Reform civil asset forfeiture to prioritize public safety. Civil forfeiture allows law enforcement to seize any property they allege is involved in a crime, even if the owner has not been charged or convicted. Originally designed as a way to cripple large criminal organizations, civil forfeiture is now rarely used to address actual crime and is too often abused. O’Malley will support bipartisan efforts in Congress to reform civil forfeiture statutes, reorienting law enforcement activity toward improving public safety and community policing.
  • Reform mandatory minimum sentencing. Punishments often do not fit the crime. Harsh sentences for non-violent offenses have not deterred crime, and have disproportionately impacted communities of color. O’Malley will support legislation that eliminates mandatory minimums for low-level drug offenses, while giving judges more flexibility to tailor sentences based on the facts of each case. He also will continue the Department of Justice’s Smart on Crime initiative, directing U.S. attorneys to exercise greater discretion in their charging decisions.
  • Forge consensus for ending the death penalty. The death penalty is a racially biased and ineffective deterrent, and the appeals process is expensive and cruel to surviving family members. O’Malley has long opposed the death penalty as a matter of principle and as a matter of policy.
  • Support re-entry programming. Since 2008, the bipartisan Second Chance Act has funded community services that help people return to their families from prisons, jails and juvenile facilities. O’Malley will work with Congress to reauthorize and expand funding for Second Chance Act programs, and other services that ease the transition to the outside world. Such services include referrals for housing and benefits, substance abuse treatment, mentoring, education and job training.
  • Expand good time credits. O’Malley will support legislation to allow people in federal prison to earn sentence-reduction credits by completing education and re-entry programs. More broadly, he will support evidence-based, cost-effective reforms that allow people in prisons or jails to earn more good time credit for greater sentence reductions than federal law currently allows.
  • Support access to higher education in prison. O’Malley will work with Congress to support multi-year educational and vocational training programs in correctional facilities, including providing funding for professional teachers and staff. He also will support legislation and take executive action to restore eligibility for Pell grants for people in state and federal prison, which was eliminated in the 1994 crime bill. These investments will increase individuals’ chances of finding jobs once they’ve done their time, and decrease their chances of cycling back into prison later in life.
  • Dramatically reduce the use of solitary confinement and ban solitary for juveniles. Research shows that prisoners subjected to prolonged isolation may experience depression, rage, claustrophobia, hallucinations and severe psychosis that can lead to random violence or suicide. As President, O’Malley will limit its use to the most serious in-prison offenders. He also will fight to pass legislation banning the federal use of solitary confinement for juveniles nationally.
  • Make robust investments in drug treatment. O’Malley will work to expand federal grants to states to support comprehensive drug treatment systems. He will call for tripling the number of states eligible for grants, as well as increasing the aid provided to each state. He will call for requiring states to make matching investments. He also will support regulations and legislation to expand evidence-based treatment for addiction under Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Make robust investments in community mental health infrastructure. More than 80 percent of people with mental illness in jails and prisons do not receive care. O’Malley will invest to provide adequate mental health treatment and substance abuse treatment within correctional facilities. Additionally, he will call for community-based recovery for individuals suffering from mental illness, setting a national target for reducing the number of Americans with serious mental illness behind bars. He will work with Congress to make investments in housing, supported employment and outpatient treatment.
  • Train and equip law enforcement to serve people in crisis. Police officers have increasingly become first responders to people with mental illness or substance abuse problems, often without adequate training. O’Malley will establish federal guidelines for law enforcement on how to best serve people in crisis — including de-escalating encounters, equipping specialized staff and response teams, and intervening in partnership with civilian service providers. He will use federal funds to support state crisis intervention training, work with Congress to make additional investments, and require states to adopt federal crisis intervention guidelines.

Gun violence

As President, O’Malley will:

  • Require a background check for every gun sale. All private sales would be processed through a licensed dealer or law enforcement agency that completes background checks, as O’Malley required in Maryland.
  • End unregulated Internet gun and ammunition sales. Because hundreds of thousands of guns are sold online, people who are prohibited from owning them can easily purchase guns while avoiding a background check. O’Malley will work to require all gun and ammunition purchases to be completed in person through licensed dealers. Buyers will be required to complete a background check and comply with all other safety laws.
  • Strengthen background check protections. O’Malley will work to end “default proceeds,” where agents have only three business days to finish background checks before the sale automatically proceeds. Law enforcement should have the time they need to complete background checks; this broken process allows more than 2,500 prohibited individuals to purchase guns annually. O’Malley also will seek to end the “Brady exemption” that allows permit holders to avoid background checks.
  • Encourage states to improve information sharing. For background checks to be fully effective, states must provide complete and accurate data on persons prohibited from owning guns, including those with felony records and histories of domestic abuse.
  • Set a national age requirement for handgun possession. One-quarter of gun crimes are committed by individuals 21 and younger, based on data from 13 states, and guns are used in 38 percent of suicides among young people. O’Malley will work to set a federal minimum age of 21 for handgun ownership and possession.
  • Require the responsible storage of guns at home. Guns are the second leading cause of death among children and teens, and the first cause among African-American children. Some 70 percent of unintentional child deaths from guns happened when firearms were stored irresponsibly. While licensed dealers are already required to make sure that gun purchasers have safety devices, there is far more to be done to ensure responsible gun storage. O’Malley will extend safety standards to all firearm sales and will issue federal rules clearly defining the gun locks and safes that meet safety standards.
  • Reject federally mandated concealed carry. O’Malley will oppose efforts to force every state to recognize the concealed-carry permits issued by other states. Several states’ concealed-carry laws are weak, granting permits to individuals who do not complete safety training, have been convicted of a violent crime or have a demonstrated history of drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Establish a national firearms registry. Federal law actually prohibits creation of a national system for registering firearms. Under O’Malley’s plan, all firearms purchases would be recorded and registered at sale, and re-registered when they are resold or transferred.
  • Mandate reporting to law enforcement of lost or stolen firearms. These reports would be registered in the national database, helping law enforcement more quickly trace guns that are used in crimes — and identify individuals who routinely fail to report lost or stolen guns and may be trafficking firearms.
  • Require microstamping for all guns. Firearms can be designed to imprint a unique alphanumeric code onto a cartridge case when it is fired. This allows law enforcement to better trace guns used in crimes. O’Malley supports a national microstamping law.
  • End immunity for gun manufacturers. Every state holds manufacturers accountable for producing and selling products that cause harm. But in 2005, Congress protected gun makers and dealers from most liability when their firearms are used criminally. O’Malley will fight to allow states and cities to better protect their citizens from negligence, and give victims of mass shootings the ability to hold irresponsible gun manufacturers and dealers accountable.
  • Ban sale or distribution of assault weapons. O’Malley will ban the sale and distribution of all military-style assault weapons, including assault pistols and long guns, as he did in Maryland. He also will ban the sale or distribution of large-capacity magazinesthrough federal regulation.

Banking

Gov. O’Malley will:

  • Appoint to key positions — attorney general, assistant attorney general for the criminal division, SEC chairperson — individuals committed to pursuing criminal cases. The Department of Justice and SEC have been over-reliant on financial settlements for institutions that break the law. Settlements, even those in the billions of dollars, are not appropriate deterrents for institutions with trillions of dollars of assets.
  • Require the SEC director of the division of enforcement to be a presidential appointee, subject to Senate confirmation. Currently, the SEC’s director of enforcement is appointed by and entirely at the discretion of the SEC chairperson. In recent years, this has led to appointing Wall Street in-house lawyers and their outside lawyers to this critical position.
  • Institute a three-year revolving door ban. O’Malley will bar anyone serving in a financial policy or regulatory role from working for any person or entity appearing before their former agency/department — or any agency/department they had contact with when serving the public — for three years. This triples and aggressively strengthens the existing bar, which currently applies only to “senior” officials.
  • Institute an additional three-year mandatory disclosure rule. In addition to the above ban, O’Malley also will require these individuals to disclose any direct or indirect contact with agencies/departments they had contact with for an additional three years. This policy should include people working at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Justice (DOJ) staff that work on economic crimes, Treasury Department, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Federal Reserve Board, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
  • Right-size big banks using living wills. Although major banks are required to produce living wills under Dodd-Frank, they have resisted compliance. If banks cannot produce a living will that credibly sets forth a detailed plan on how they would be resolved in bankruptcy without causing a crash of the financial system and without any bailouts, O’Malley will require the Fed to take remedial action to make the bank smaller.
  • Mandate higher capital requirements for big banks. In addition to requiring banks to fund themselves with equity instead of debt, this gives regulators more leeway in the event of a crisis – without posing additional burdens on smaller banks. O’Malley will strengthen capital reserve requirements for the largest banks, requiring institutions with more than $500 billion in assets to have capital reserves of not less than 15 percent.

Congressional campaign funding

O’Malley would require public funding of Congressional campaigns within five years. In the five years since Citizens United, super PACs, corporations and other outside groups have spent almost $2 billion targeting federal elections — about 2.5 times what they spent, in total, between 1990 and 2008.

At the same time, for the first time in decades, the total number of small donors has begun to fall. In 2014, the top 100 donors to super PACs spent almost as much money as every single small-dollar donor combined. Our broken campaign finance system allows special interests to drown out the voices of everyday Americans and stymies policies that would benefit the middle class.

Monday: Rand Paul

Where he stands: John Kasich

John Richard Kasich (born May 13, 1952, in McKees Rocks, Pa.), a Republican, is governor of Ohio, elected to the office in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.

Kasich served nine terms as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 2001. His tenure in the House included 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee and six years as chairman of the House Budget Committee.

He was a commentator on Fox News Channel, hosting Heartland with John Kasich from 2001 to 2007. He also was managing director of Lehman Brothers’ office in Columbus, Ohio.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio State University in 1974, he worked as a researcher for the Ohio Legislative Service Commission. From 1975 to 1978, he served as an administrative assistant to then state Sen. Buz Lukens.

https://johnkasich.com

Education

Education is local: Education should not be micro-managed by the federal government. The teaching curricula, choice of textbooks and lesson plans that educators use are the responsibility of local school districts. Laws enacted in Ohio by Gov. Kasich defend against federal intrusion and privacy abuses. As President, he would put these same approaches to work for every student.

No federal learning standards: As President, Kasich would call on states to develop, adopt and maintain their own rigorous standards.

Protecting privacy: Ohio has taken steps to protect student privacy and personal education information, and as President he would make sure all students have these protections.

Listening to parents: Review committees which include parents and local educators are examining Ohio’s standards for English/language arts, mathematics, science and social studies. As President, John Kasich would encourage education leaders to seek input from parents and communities to make sure their work aligns with the expectations and priorities of those they serve.

Third-grade reading guarantee: Promotion of third-graders who can’t read has come to an end in Ohio, and new intervention and support efforts in grades K-3 are identifying and assisting students who need additional help to progress.

Sanctity of human life

Fighting taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood: When Kasich became governor, the Ohio Department of Health stopped awarding new state dollars to Planned Parenthood.  Also, Kasich signed legislation kicking it to the back of the line for the federal government’s family planning grants the Health Department administers.

Encouraging adoption: By making adoption less bureaucratic and more affordable, Kasich has helped create a more accessible alternative to abortion. Kasich is committed to helping older children in foster care find forever families as well and launched an effort aimed to help these older, harder-to-place children find loving homes.

Protecting women’s health: As governor, Kasich provided for the first-ever state funding stream for rape crisis centers. Additionally, he helped create a $500,000 per-year parenting and pregnancy support program that provides counseling to pregnant women, meets practical needs of new mothers such as cribs and formula, and connects new mothers to additional help.

Vulnerable Americans

Making welfare work in America and Ohio: In Congress, Kasich worked as part of a leadership team to pass legislation that led to federal welfare reforms. Lifetime limits on cash benefits, work requirements and flexibility for states to design their own relief programs helped people begin moving from dependency to self-sufficiency. In Ohio, he eliminated disincentives to better jobs and wages by softening the benefit “cliffs” for child care recipients that cut off benefits when their incomes rise even marginally.

Making work pay for low-income families: As governor, Kasich cut taxes for low- and middle-income Ohioans, created Ohio’s first Earned Income Tax Credit and doubled its value the next year.

Lifting up those with mental illness and addiction: For individuals with mental illness, Ohio is increasing the availability of health care, expanding housing options and investing in services that save lives. In addition, Ohio has invested in early childhood mental health and crisis services for families. Ohio also is improving efforts to help those with drug addiction to overcome it and reclaim their lives, prevent problems before they start by educating young people on the dangers of drug abuse, and helping inmates overcome addiction.

The Second Amendment

Removing restrictions for law-abiding concealed carry licensees: Kasich enacted legislation protecting Ohio’s concealed carry laws, including protecting the privacy of permit holders and allowing for reciprocity licenses with other states.

Upholding Ohio’s outdoors traditions: Kasich enacted legislation that removes restrictions on licensing requirements for hunters and by creating policies to expand hunting rights in Ohio.

Fiscal responsibility

Balancing the federal budget: As chairman of the U.S. House Budget Committee, Kasich led the effort to balance the federal budget for the first time in a generation, cut taxes and start paying down the national debt.

Ending a record $8 billion budget shortfall in Ohio: Kasich helped Ohioans create hundreds of thousands of new private-sector jobs and reduce Ohio’s unemployment rate to its lowest point in more than a decade. At the same time, Kasich’s financial management has helped grow the state’s savings account from 89 cents to $2 billion.

Cutting taxes by $5 billion to spur job creation: Since taking office, Gov. Kasich has eliminated the death tax, cut the state income tax 16 percent, eliminated the income tax for many small businesses and provided tax relief to low- and middle-income workers. Ohio’s unemployment rate remains below the national average.

National security

Defeating ISIS: This requires a complex, collaborative strategy involving mutual defense action by NATO and regional allies, intensifying international intelligence cooperation, increasing support to the highly-effective Kurdish military, creating safe havens and no-fly zones, combating human trafficking in refugees, a NATO and regional coalition with ground troops, and more aggressively fighting the war of ideas to discredit ISIS.

Challenging regional aggression: The U.S. must reassert its strength to reverse losses in leadership and security.

  • Stand up to Russia:

The U.S. must work with our European allies to strengthen new NATO member states on the front lines with Russia, such as Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, by supplying them, repositioning U.S. forces onto their eastern borders supported by a new, strong integrated air defense system there, and jointly committing to higher defense spending targets. We also must help ensure a free Ukraine by training and arming Ukrainian forces with the weapons they have requested and which Congress has approved.

  • Counter China:

The U.S. must work with regional allies to significantly increase our military presence in the region and ensure freedom of navigation for the $5.3 trillion in annual trade that passes through the Western Pacific. We must help Japan defend its territorial waters with advanced seabed acoustic sensors, anti-ship missiles and other defensive equipment. We also must deploy our Pacific combat commander to Guam and station additional Air Force and Marine Corps units in the Western Pacific, where they can conduct regular joint regional amphibious landing exercises.

Renewing our military: Our security and the security of our allies requires a commitment to conventional and new cyber capabilities.

  • It starts with the economy:

Military strength requires economic strength, and Kasich has crafted a plan to revive the economy by cutting taxes, balancing the budget in eight years, and cutting regulations that kill jobs.

  • Rebuild the U.S. military:

We can ensure that resources reach the troops who need them most by streamlining Pentagon bureaucracy and transforming procurement processes to get new weapons systems into the field on time and on budget.

  • Strengthen cyber defenses:

We must work with our allies to identify sources of cyberattack and develop a coordinated response to anyone who attacks the resources of our government and the private sector.

Renewing our alliances: Our allies feel neglected and abused. We must rebuild these relationships. Among other actions, this includes supporting Ukraine in its challenges from Russia, standing by Egypt as it fights terrorist insurgencies from Sinai and Libya, supporting our Pacific allies in the face of Chinese belligerence and supporting Israeli efforts to defend itself and oppose Iranian-backed terrorism in the region.

Health care

  • Improving patient-centered primary care: The first step is having a primary care system that helps promote long-term good health instead of just reacting when someone gets sick. To help incentivize participation in this model, Ohio’s four largest commercial insurers — Anthem, Aetna, Medical Mutual and United Healthcare — as well as Ohio’s five Medicaid managed care plans are designing a system that shares savings with the providers whose work helps improve health and hold down costs.
  • Rewarding value instead of volume: High-cost episodes will continue to account for most health spending. Today we pay for all of the inputs in these episodes separately, but if these inputs were considered as a whole, then the providers involved would work as a team to control costs and maximize quality. In a joint replacement, for example, surgeons, anesthesiologists, hospitals, device manufacturers, rehabilitation therapists and drug makers all have separate roles and little incentive to worry about each other’s costs. Instead, what if the surgeon earned more for meeting high-quality standards while also better managing the entire procedure in order to produce lower costs?  Many providers are doing this today, but the savings accrue only to the health insurance plan, not the high-value provider who generates it. In March 2015, Ohio began working with the states four largest commercial insurers and five Medicaid plans to set this model in motion for certain high-cost episodes.

The economy

The largest tax cut in the nation: Kasich teamed with Ohio’s legislature to cut taxes by $5 billion since 2011.

Eliminating red tape: Kasich created the Common Sense Initiative (CSI) in 2011. Charged with being a one-stop shop for reviewing regulations, CSI so far has reviewed more than 5,500 state regulations with the goal of reducing hardships that government too often places on businesses.

An innovative approach to economic development: Kasich replaced Ohio’s state-run economic development system with a private-sector approach called JobsOhio, a nonprofit organization staffed by industry experts. JobsOhio is positioning the state as a go-to location for aerospace, advanced manufacturing, biohealth, financial services, logistics and information technology.

Saturday: Martin O’Malley

Where he stands: Mike Huckabee

Michael Dale “Mike” Huckabee (born Aug. 24, 1955, in Hope, Ark.), a Republican, was governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. He was a candidate in the 2008 U.S. Republican presidential primaries, winning the Iowa GOP caucus and finishing second in delegate count and third in both popular vote and number of states won.

Beginning in 2008, Huckabee hosted the Fox News Channel talk show Huckabee, ending the show in January 2015 to explore a potential bid for the presidency. From April 2012 through December 2013, he hosted a daily radio program. He is the author of several best-selling books, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, a musician and a public speaker. He also is a political commentator on The Huckabee Report.

His first job, when he was 14, was at a radio station where he read the news and weather. He was Student Council president at Hope High School during the 1972–1973 school year.

Huckabee holds a bachelor’s degree in religion from Ouachita Baptist University. Before his political career, he served as pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Ark., from 1980 to 1986, and the Beech Street Baptist Church in Texarkana from 1986 to 1992.

Huckabee started 24-hour television stations in both Pine Bluff and Texarkana, where he produced documentaries and hosted a program called Positive Alternatives.

www.mikehuckabee.com

Tax reform

Americans spend nearly $1 trillion each year complying with our 75,000-page tax code. We need the Fair Tax.

The Fair Tax brings trillions of dollars in offshore investment and manufacturing back to the United States.

The Fair Tax lowers everyone’s tax rates, untaxes the poor, broadens the tax base and helps protect Social Security and Medicare.

The Fair Tax guarantees that criminals, illegal immigrants and all who operate in the underground economy pay their fair share.

Washington bureaucrats will not have access to your personal financial information.

Israel

As President, I will:

  1. Stand with the Jewish people in our shared fight against radical Islam.
  2. Support a unified Jerusalem.
  3. Confront and stop Iran.
  4. Support Israel in the fight for peace, religious freedom and human rights.

Energy

I believe in self-reliance. We have hundreds of years of available energy underneath our feet and all around us. We can power ourselves out of this deep economic hole.

We should explore and exploit all forms of domestically produced energy — oil, gas, wind, solar, bio-fuels, hydro-electric, nuclear, coal — anything and everything.

National security

We must:

  1. Rebuild America’s military superiority.
  2. Restore our role as leader of the Free World. Our enemies no longer fear us and our allies no longer trust or respect us.
  3. As President, I will lead with moral clarity in a dangerous world.
  4. There is a difference between right and wrong, good and evil. I will keep all options on the table in order to defeat the evil forces of radical Islam.

Seniors

Social Security and Medicare are not voluntary programs. They are based on involuntary confiscation from every paycheck with the promise that people will receive benefits when they retire.

As President, I will protect Social Security and Medicare. I will kill anything that poses a threat to the promises we have made to America’s seniors.

Education

We must demand results, accountability and success for every child in every classroom. I oppose watering down our education standards or automatically promoting every student.

I also oppose Common Core and believe we should abolish the federal department of education.

Border security

As President, I will:

  1. Oppose amnesty.
  2. Secure the border now.

Second Amendment

The Second Amendment is the last line of defense against tyranny and must be protected. I was the first governor in America to have a concealed handgun license, and I’m a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.

As President, I will:

  1. Defend the Second Amendment.
  2. Oppose new gun control laws.
  3. Protect the rights of gun owners.
  4. Oppose new gun restrictions, registrations, regulations and mandates.

Family values

I will never apologize for my faith, my convictions or my values.

Life begins at conception. This isn’t just a Biblical view — it’s affirmed by modern science and every unique human DNA schedule, which is present at conception.

As governor, I signed a fetal protection act. I imposed a ban on partial birth abortion, established waiting periods, created parental notification requirements and passed a bill so mothers who brought a newborn to a hospital or fire station would not be prosecuted for child abandonment.

We must defend, protect and preserve traditional marriage.

Agriculture

As President, I will:

  1. Reject EPA mandates that strangle farmers with bureaucracy.
  2. Fight for free and fair trade.
  3. Support American corn producers and the renewable fuel standard.
  4. Abolish the death tax.

Friday: John Kasich

Where he stands: Jim Gilmore

James Stuart “Jim” Gilmore III (born Oct. 6, 1949, in Richmond, Va.), a Republican, was governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002.

Gilmore holds bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Virginia, and then served in the U.S. Army as a counterintelligence agent. He later was elected to public office as a county prosecutor, the state attorney general and as governor.

http://www.gilmoreforamerica.com

Preserving our Second Amendment rights

Every state and the District of Columbia will be required to honor the concealed carry permits issued by every other state and Washington, D.C. There will never be an assault weapons ban during my presidency. As the Constitution says, our Second Amendment rights shall not be infringed.

I am committed to the individual right to keep and bear arms by every American who has not forfeited that right by criminal conviction or other action.

There is far too much violent crime in America. But that fact does not arise from the right of Americans to keep and bear arms.

We know what the real problems are: the need for easier involuntary commitment of the dangerous mentally ill, the open borders policy and surer appropriate punishment of criminals.

I am a member of the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors. I have defended Americans’ Second Amendment rights throughout my career and will continue to do so.

Repairing America’s defenses

We expect our military to defend America, help defend our allies and even provide disaster relief in remote corners of the world. But we have no national defense and intelligence strategies to answer the key question: What do we expect our military to do, and what do they need to do it? Devising those strategies will be Job One when I am president.

We can – and must – help bring stability to crucial regions of the world. We should not be the world’s policeman, but whenever a vital American national security interest is threatened or violated, we need to be able to deter or defeat that threat.
That doesn’t mean we would respond militarily to every situation or even to most. Only vital national security interests – not every interest everywhere – must be protected.

We face networks of terrorists including al-Qaida, ISIS and dozens of others with regional or global reach. Nations that sponsor terrorism, especially Iran – the most powerful sponsor of terrorism – need to be deprived of the capabilities that can endanger America. That is one of the reasons I will revoke President Barack Obama’s Iran deal.

We need to deal with the broad threat of cyber attacks on our industry and government. We need an offensive cyber capability – and plans and strategies to use it – to deter and defeat these attacks.

Restoring America’s economy

I have devised a plan called the Growth Code to repair our economy. The Growth Code’s specifics are:

  • To simplify taxation on individuals and families. Those who continue to file their income taxes on the standard Form 1040 will pay a simplified progressive tax of 10, 15 or 25%. Deductions will be taxed in accordance with the “No Double Taxation” rule.
  • To unify all business taxation in the United States. All business income will be declared on the same tax form for each business. Taxes will be imposed at the rate of 15% for business-created income;
  • To allow for first-year expensing of business investments. An option should exist to allow expensing any credit against future years’ income if it can be shown that the income from the investment occurred after the end of the year in which it was made. Under current law, gradual depreciation schedules prolong recovery of the investment and prevent full recovery of the amount invested in the business for equipment or other assets.
  • To end double taxation on individuals and businesses. In the current system, profits, interest or other earned income from investment is taxed as ordinary income in addition to the business tax rate. Spending on consumption is now treated more advantageously than saving for investment. Consumption spending and saving for investment should be treated the same.
  • To provide that profits earned abroad are repatriated to the U.S. tax-free because those profits will already have been taxed once by the foreign country. Dividends and capital gains will not be taxable to the person receiving the money, because it has already been taxed at the corporate level.
  • Mortgage payments will continue to be deductible for an individual. Also, the Growth Codedoes not disturb the payroll tax, which goes directly to fund entitlement programs. Charitable contributions will continue as deductions.
  • Every citizen will pay some form of tax, usually at the lowest 10% level. However, we recognize the need and desire to shield the very poor and families. With this in mind, we propose to establish a Family Refundable Tax Credit of $4,300. Families earning less than the poverty level would receive this credit in the form of a check to supplement their income, reduced in the amount of their tax liability.

Foreign policy

We should never engage in nation-building or fight indecisive wars. War is always a last resort. But there are some acts of aggression that have to be defeated. As we learned in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, if you do not fight a war in a manner calculated to win it decisively, you will lose inevitably.

We should never draw “red lines” against an adversary’s action unless we mean to enforce them.

We cannot rely on the United Nations to produce a diplomatic resolution to any significant problem.

Health care reform

We need an approach to health care that is predicated on free-market incentives. I favor the approach taken by U.S. Rep. Tom Price, who has repeatedly introduced bills such as his “Empowering Patients First Act,” which he offered in June 2013.

Under Price’s bill, health care reforms include:

  1. Interstate sale of insurance.
  2. Promotion of Association Health Plans (AHPs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
  3. Income-adjusted, “advanceable” and refundable health insurance premium credits.
  4. A tax deduction for income spent on health insurance for households ineligible for premium credits.
  5. Malpractice and provider antitrust reform.

Immigration and border enforcement

The first thing I am going to do is get every illegal immigrant who is a criminal off our streets. I will – quickly – secure our borders and end the ability of cities to declare themselves sanctuaries for illegal aliens.

And I will insist that the only path to citizenship for illegals in our nation is a path back across the border. No one who comes to this country illegally should become a citizen. Those who come legally should be able to follow the path that has been taken by millions of other legal immigrants who have come to our country and become citizens.

Reform means that those who legally immigrate regardless of their racial or ethnic identity or their national origin should be welcomed. Those who entered illegally years ago – those who pay their taxes, who work hard to assimilate into our culture, who obey our laws and system of government and learn to speak our language – should be given the ability to work legally.

Climate change

Climate change is a reality, but the debate on whether it is caused by man is far from over.

We should not agree to any treaties, Congress should not enact any laws, and the administration should not issue any regulations that strangle our economy in pursuit of an ephemeral goal of reducing global carbon emissions. According to The Economist, America ranks between China – the world’s biggest emitter, which exceeds U.S. emissions by about 50% — and India which emits about 50% of what America does. It makes no sense to agree to any global climate change treaty that doesn’t place equal burdens on those economies and those of Russia and Japan, which rank fourth and fifth, according to the same source.

Thursday: Mike Huckabee

Where she stands: Carly Fiorina

Cara Carleton “Carly” (Sneed) Fiorina (born Sept. 6, 1954, in Austin, Texas), a Republican, is a former technology executive. She chairs the non-profit philanthropic organization Good360.

In 1980, Fiorina started at AT&T as a management trainee and rose through the ranks to become the company’s first female executive officer. As chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard from 1999 to 2005, she was the first woman to lead a top-20 company as ranked by Fortune magazine.

In 2002, Fiorina oversaw what was then the largest technology-sector merger in history, in which HP acquired rival personal computer manufacturer Compaq. HP subsequently laid off 30,000 U.S. employees to save 80,000 jobs by making the company more competitive. On Feb. 9, 2005, the HP Board of Directors forced Fiorina to resign as chief executive officer and chairwoman.

After HP, Fiorina served on the boards of several organizations. In 2010, she won the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in California, but lost the general election to incumbent Democrat Barbara Boxer.

Fiorina received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and medieval history at Stanford University at in 1976. When she married in 1977, she and her husband moved to Bologna, Italy, where he was doing graduate work; there, she did English tutoring to Italian businessmen.

In 1980 Fiorina received a master’s degree in marketing from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. In 1989 she earned a master’s degree in management at the MIT Sloan School of Management under the Sloan Fellows program.

www.carlyforpresident.com

Debt and deficit

Our national debt has reached $18 trillion – more than 100 percent of GDP. In 2014 alone, the government spent $3.5 trillion — nearly $30,000 per household.

We have no idea how our money is being spent. In the last few weeks of every year, every agency spends every dollar because they don’t want their budgets to be cut.

As President, I will move all agencies to zero-based budgeting so that every agency has to justify every dollar that it spends. The Zero Act requires every agency to provide a description of their activities as well as a summary of the cost-effectiveness and efficiency.

Size of the federal government

On my first day in office, I will instruct all executive agencies not to replace the employees who are retiring. By 2017, more than 30 percent of the workforce will be eligible to retire – 600,000 people. I will not replace a single one.

I also will ensure that the federal government moves to a meritocracy. In a seniority system — which is what we currently have — employees are paid for time in grade, not for performance. Over time, that means that people who are trying to do a good job get discouraged. We know from Inspector General reports that people who spend all day watching pornography receive the same pay, pension and benefits as those trying to do a good job. As President, I will insist that all agencies eliminate the seniority system and move to a pay-for-performance model.

Taxes

Our tax code is 73,000 pages. Some 59 percent of Americans hire a professional to help them with their taxes. It also is crushing the small and family-owned businesses that create two-thirds of our new jobs.

We need to radically simplify the tax code. That means our tax code needs to go from 73,000 pages down to about three pages.

We also need to move from revenue-neutral to revenue-reducing tax reform, because the federal government spends far too much money.

To do both of those things, we need to lower every rate and close every loophole. I will support a low flat tax for businesses and individuals. The Hoover Institution and Congressman Michael Burgess both developed tax plans that do this. Under their plans, both businesses and individuals can file their taxes on a simple form. They won’t need armies of accountants, lawyers and lobbyists to figure out how to take advantage of loopholes and game the system because there will be no system to game.

Engaging citizens

Ours was intended to be a citizen government. As President, I will use the power of technology to do that.

Specifically, every week from the Oval Office I am going to ask citizens to take out their smartphones. I will ask them to answer some simple questions about what they want from our government: Do you think we need to move to zero-based budgeting? Do you think that we ought to be able to fire federal employees who fail to do their jobs?

The goal is not simply to see the anger and frustration of the American people. The goal is to channel that frustration toward positive, productive progress.

Energy

As President, I will ensure that the United States is the global energy powerhouse of the 21st century. That means reinstating the Keystone XL Pipeline.

It also means rolling back regulations on hydraulic fracturing and drilling on federal lands.

Second Amendment

I believe the Second Amendment protects the individual rights of gun owners like my husband and me because gun ownership is our God-given right and our Constitutional right.

Foreign policy

The world is a more tragic and dangerous place when America is not leading. For too long now, we have not been leading.

On my first day in the Oval Office, I will make two phone calls. The first will be to my friend Bibi Netanyahu. I will reassure him that the United States will always stand with Israel. My second call will be to the Supreme Leader of Iran. He might not take the call, but he will get the message. I will tell him: new deal. Unless and until Iran opens itself to full and unfettered inspections of all nuclear and military facilities, we are going to make it very hard for Iran to move money around the global financial system.

Immigration

As President, the first thing I will do is secure the border. It will take money, manpower, and technology — but most of all it will take political will. The Heritage Foundation has developed a plan that would support the National Guard and Coast Guard, invest in infrastructure and the right technology, and encourage federal-state-local cooperation. As President, I will ensure that we are doing all of those things.

Second, we need to fix our legal immigration system. Nearly half of the people in this country illegally came here on legal visas and simply never left. We need an employer verification system that holds employers accountable.

Lastly, I will not support citizenship for those here illegally. Those who cut the line and broke our laws as their first act entering this country have foregone that opportunity.

Wednesday: Jim Gilmore