More than anything, I'd consider my political philosophy libertarian. Minimal government, maximum freedom, and personal responsibility. I think that third one is missed by a lot of 'peace and freedom' people. You make your own choices, and accept the consequences of your decisions. Here are my recommendations for campaign 2012.
I would tell all federal departments and programs to cut their budgets 30 percent across-the-board over three years, including defense spending. For far too long, I believe government at all levels, but especially at the federal level has had no incentive to be frugal, resourceful, or curb its expansion. I know this would get a huge amount of push-back from public employee unions, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend or mandate employee reductions.
I would leave it up to the departments to find their own way to cut the 10 percent a year. If they could do it through technological streamlining, leaner purchasing, or other ways, more power to them. However, practically-speaking, this would most likely mean large-scale federal layoffs or early retirements.
I would cut the top corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, and reduce the top income tax rate to 25 from 35 percent. I would also cap the top capital gains tax rate at 10 percent.
I would increase the per-gallon gas tax to $0.25 a gallon. In reality, if the gas tax was indexed for inflation since the last time it was increased during the Clinton administration, it would be approximately $0.26 per gallon today. So in reality, it's not a drastic increase.
However, I would decrease the per-gallon tax on diesel fuel to $0.15 a gallon. This would be to stimulate commerce, since the majority of goods in the U.S. are transported by over-the-road trucks, which run almost exclusively on diesel fuel.
Partial Marijuana Decriminalization
An FDA provided and approved sticker would be affixed to all bags or containers of cannabis at point-of-sale, with some of the same anti-fraud features as found in U.S. currency such as hidden watermarks and proprietary markings. Up to 10 percent of the federal cannabis tax revenue would be available to the states on a proportional basis for rehabilitation and detox programs.
I would not mandate marijuana law at the state level at all. If some states wanted to keep their existing statutes regarding legality or illegality of possession, use or transport of cannabis, that would be their prerogative. Also, I would not mandate or force companies to change their policies regarding drug use. Self-disclosure of marijuana use could disqualify an individual from a job if it's the company's policy, and companies would be protected from lawsuits claiming discrimination on that basis.
Domestic and foreign cultivators and wholesalers would also be subject to FDA review and approval for practices and compliance. Self-cultivation and use would be allowed, but monetary sale of cannabis to other individuals under the guise of personal use would carry a $500 per violation fine, and up to 6 months prison time. First offenders would have amnesty to be able to apply for a cultivator's and wholesaler's license, but would then be subject to the same regulations and inspections as commercial producers.
States would be allowed to retain and enforce existing statutes regarding THC intoxication levels for DUI.
Gay Marriage/Domestic Partnerships
As a Christian, I believe in the biblical definition of marriage. However, I don't believe that this should be enforced as a federal statute. The cat's already out of the bag on a state-by-state level, and I believe recognition should remain a state issue. Gay couples would be allowed to file jointly as common-law couples under IRS guidelines for common-law couples. Existing state statutes regarding recognition of common-law relationships and associated rights would remain. States would be compelled to recognize common-law rights from other states as applicable to those states, but would not be compelled to recognize those rights as applicable to their state.
All religious institutions of a proselytizing, declarative or exclusive nature, such as houses of worship, would be protected from membership or employment discrimination lawsuits by federal statute. Religiously-affiliated organizations such as hospitals and charities that serve the broader public would be subject to existing state and federal statutes regarding employment eligibility.
I would fast-track approvals for as many as 10 new geographically-strategic large-scale refineries nationwide, approve and fast-track the Keystone XL pipeline, as well as accepting proposals for interstate crude or refined fuel pipelines to un-clog the current inefficient regional pipeline network resulting in isolated fuel markets with unusually high prices. I would open up all federal lands not specifically part of national parks and wildlife reserves for exploration, but limit developable surface land area to no more than 5 percent of the total area. Existing applicable federal and state laws regarding environmental impact including air, water and surface area pollution would remain.
I would fast-track approvals for a nationwide natural gas pipeline network, and specifically encourage production of publicly-accessible CNG and LNG vehicle fueling stations by offering a three-year tax holiday on revenues from newly-built fueling station sites.
I would immediately end or de-fund any federal loans and grants for alternative energy research and development directly to corporations, re-directing some of the funding to educational institutions. Educational/corporate partnerships to commercialize technologies would be at the discretion of the institutions and companies, and tax incentives for both the institution and companies to encourage development and commercialization would be offered in the form of limited tax holidays, or the allowance and encouragement of non-profit joint collaborative research facilities.
I would offer homeowners and businesses a flat $5,000 tax credit for installation of grid-tied small-scale rooftop residential or office solar or wind power up to 12kw through 2025.
I would apply a 5 percent federal use tax on the purchase of all new electric cars, since they don't use gasoline. Don't get me wrong, I'm pro electric cars, and would love to see the wide-scale adoption of them, and this may seem counter-intuitive to that, but I think it's the simplest way of solving the issue of declining federal gas-tax revenue for road maintenance, as electric cars become a bigger percentage of cars on the road.
I would increase the number of H1-B (science and engineering) visas issued per year to 100,000, and give those approved visa holders priority in application for citizenship. I would give illegal immigrants that can give proof or strong evidence that they first entered this country before the age of 6 amnesty (there's that word!) from deportation provided that they show proficiency in English, have achieved at least an Associate's degree by age 35, or can show proof of 30 hours a week or more of employment from age 18 for more than 50 percent of the length of their adult residency. Immigrants serving in the armed services without a criminal background or serious disciplinary infractions would be given first priority for citizenship application. Illegal immigrants convicted of a felony of any type would be subject to immediate deportation to their country of origin.
So there you have it. As you can see, I don't toe the party line of any party. What are your thoughts on my policy recommendations?