Main Street versus Cheat Street,
Policy Proposals for the 21st Century
When I decided to run for Congress, I committed myself to telling voters the truth: not only the truth about myself, but the truth, as best I know it, regarding the state of our nation. And our nation, it must seem by many, is increasingly divided by the day.
The media has amplified a narrative, taught by politicians on the Left, that these divisions are the result of America’s racist history. And the legacy of this racist history, they teach, is a systemic racism that pervades the American power structure - a system constructed by white males that suppresses the opportunities of everyone else.
But through my policy proposals, I will tell a different narrative. I’ll tell my truth that these divisions aren’t between whites, blacks, and browns. Or even between Rich and Poor, Main Street and Wall Street. I am going to tell a narrative of Main Street versus Cheat Street.
I was born in El Paso, TX and raised in the ethnic, “Main Street” neighborhoods of Cicero and Brighton Park. My parents are Mexican immigrants and raised me and my siblings with strong values, despite the challenges of our area – which also has sections of “Mean Street”. By the time I graduated HS, I was witness to a homicide, had a friend shot to death, dodged and ducked bullets, and avoided gang activity by working after school at my parent’s insistence. We were poor, but not poor enough for government assistance.
My early experiences with work and family laid the foundation for my conservative values, and these values were further shaped when in 2014 I worked towards opening a STEM charter school in Little Village. This effort was blocked by the Chicago Public School Board.
It’s true that there’s too much wealth inequality in the US, and these inequalities often fall along racial lines. But it’s not systemic racism to blame for this maldistribution: it’s systemic infringement of socioeconomic freedom that is driven by an assortment of special interest groups. These groups on “Cheat Street”, representing various industries and occupations, lobby for legislation that bestows them with “socioeconomic privilege”. And those left out on Main Street – where the members of my community reside – are disadvantaged.
My opponent wants to buy power by promising the voters free stuff and an easy move from Main Street to Cheat Street. I want to help bridge this nation’s divide by speaking the truth, ending Cheat Street, and giving Main Street the autonomy and recognition it deserves.
I’ll conclude my policy introduction with a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln in the summer of 1864 – months before his re-election and long before the outcome of the Civil War was certain:
“I have faith in the people. They will not consent to disunion. The danger is, they are misled. Let them know the truth, and the country is safe.”
“It’s the economy stupid” was the phrase coined in 1992 by Bill Clinton’s campaign strategist to remind voters of the (mild) recession that occurred during the presidency of George H.W. Bush. Twelve years earlier, Ronald Reagan jabbed at his opponent with the quip “Recession is when your neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.”
Every presidential administration is under tremendous pressure from the voters to make good on promises of economic prosperity. Unfortunately, their efforts, hastened by the next election, are all too often incomplete, misdirected, and corrupted by the influence of special interests.
The result has been a multi-generational hodgepodge of regulations, tax gimmicks, and monetary stimulus that collectively distorts markets and transfers wealth from the politically underrepresented to those groups and divisions with powerful lobbyists with an address on Cheat Street. And the structural problems are always left for the next administration to solve.
Read Examples of how Lobbyists cheat Main Street
For example, a machine operator working at a manufacturing plant in West Chicago not only competes against a Chinese firm selling products into the US below cost, he also competes against persons illegally working within US borders. Thousands of IT professionals at Disney were fired and replaced by foreign workers imported under a visa arrangement that effectively gives the corporation control over the residency status of their imported workers.
The machine operator and the American IT workers are cheated out of a fair, free market playing field on which to sell their labor.
On the other hand, the professional who is able to navigate educational requirements and obtain a license to practice as an orthodontist is virtually insulated from competition either foreign or domestic. The orthodontist has a powerful lobbyist group in Washington DC that artificially restricts the supply of orthodontists through occupational licensing regulations. This effectively cheats the patient out of a fair market price for orthodontics.
There are similar gimmicks involving America’s monetary policy – or the manner in which dollars are printed and distributed – which artificially depress interest rates paid on savings accounts, but inflates the value of stocks. America’s top 1 percent, for instance, hold more than half the national wealth invested in stocks and mutual funds.
As a consequence of these distortions, the differences in economic outcome naturally expected in a free society have been amplified. By measure of wealth, in 2018, the richest 10% held 70% of total household wealth, a 10% increase since 1989. And the lowest 50% hold only 1% of total household wealth – down from 4% in 1989. Unfortunately, the burden of these policy failures falls disproportionately on minority communities. Whereas the median household wealth in the US is $97,000, the median Latino household wealth is only $6,500 and the median Black family just over $3,500.
Learn How the Trump Administration Began to Reverse Income Disparity
From 1971 to 2019, the share of Americans living in middle income households has decreased from 61% to 51%. During that same period, the share of Americans in low income households increased from 25% to 29%, and the share in the highest income households increased from 14% to 20%. While all income groups have increased in absolute terms over the past 50 years, nearly all of these gains occurred over the period between 1970 and 2000.
These trends actually began to reverse during the Trump administration - where incomes for the lowest earners were increasing at a rate of 5% - well about the 2-3% for higher earners. The principal causes were the stem of illegal immigrants who unfairly compete for lower income occupations, and efforts to expand apprenticeship opportunities in skilled jobs.
Before the COVID pandemic, unemployment among Blacks and Latinos dropped to historic lows. In fact of the 5.2 million jobs created during the first 30 months of the Trump Administration, 4.5 million went to American minorities.
America is diverging economically and the cause is not the excesses of ‘Free Market Capitalism’, nor is the solution a shift toward Socialism. The cause is a system where the rules of trade, immigration, education, professional licensure, and money itself are warped to the benefit of special interests on ‘Cheat Street’ to the expense of everyone on ‘Main Street’.
We will push for America First policies that will make the economy work for every man and woman on Main Street. Here is how we’re going to do it:
- Implement an immigration policy based on societal merit – not cheap labor for corporations.
- Adopt trade policies that discourage neo mercantilism – or the practice by foreign nations to cheat their own citizens in order to undersell into the US market.
- Propose a $1T stimulus package to rebuild US infrastructure.
- Provide federal assistance to reshore from China critical production of medical supplies, anti-biotics, pharmaceutical active ingredients, and rare earth materials.
- Provide a path to skilled professions in STEM, medicine, and law via apprenticeships.
- Reduce the cost of health care by rebalancing supply and demand mismatch.
- Expand educational opportunities and reduce cost.
- Eliminate the Corporate Income Tax - replace with tariffs on manufactured imports. The tax code perversely incentivizes corporations into short term strategies to reward shareholders with inflated share price rather than long term strategies to pay steady dividends from profits.
- Eliminate the Individual Income, Dividends, and Capital Gains Tax – replace with VATs. Hard work and savings should not be discouraged through the tax code.
- Adopt a monetary policy that encourages savings & eliminates the artificial concentration of wealth in financial assets.
Every election cycle brings new promises by politicians to deliver quality, affordable healthcare to every American. And yet, 10 years after passage of the ACA, health care costs continue to rise, while approximately 30 million Americans are still uninsured, and millions more depend on their employer for coverage. And while American hospitals and health care workers are world class, the system is so strained that by some estimates, medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in the USA.
The problem is that elected officials continue to ignore fundamental economics: with every new government mandate and regulation, demand for health care services balloons, but the supply of professionals and hospitals has not.
Learn how Cheat Street drives up Health Care costs for Main Street
For example, in order to be professionally qualified to straighten teeth, an individual is required to complete a 4 year bachelor’s degree program, 4 years of dental school, and a 3 year residency in orthodontics. These demands are not the natural requirements of professional clinics, but legal licensing requirements lobbied for by the American Dental Association (ADA). This special interest lobbying allows the ADA to set the educational and licensing requirements and thus control the supply of orthodontists. The result of this restricted supply is that braces are expensive and orthodontists make salaries between 5 and 10 times the national average.
We have the same dynamic in medicine, where the American Medical Association (AMA) – the 3rd largest lobbyist in the USA – has for generations controlled the supply of doctors through their lobbying efforts. In order to be licensed to practice medicine in the USA, a graduate of an accredited medical school must complete a Residency Program qualified by the AMA. Through the number of residency slots available each year, the AMA can control the supply of MDs who are practicing medicine. Since 1960, the number of residency slots has doubled to approximately 32,000 – more or less keeping up with population growth.
But there’s a double whammy in medicine, because unlike Orthodontics, the demand for medical care has been artificially inflated by the federal government. Since 1960 – just before Medicare and Medicaid were passed, and 50 years before passage of the ACA, health care costs consumed 5% of our GDP. Today, it’s up to 17.7%. So while the number of residency slots per capita has remained even, health care spending as a proportion of GDP has increased by a factor of 3.5.
The AMA argues that their licensing strategy is necessary to protect public health and ensure the quality of services. But a recent study by Johns Hopkins claims that more than 250,000 people die every year by medical errors – making this the 3rd leading cause of death in the USA behind heart disease and cancer. Other studies claim the number may be as high as 440,000. There’s always a price to be paid for cheating the market, and the artificial restriction of MDs imposed by the AMA has adverse effects – doctors are simply overworked and stretched thin.
In order for Quality Health Care to be Affordable, the balance of Supply & Demand must be restored.
- Expand the Supply of health care professionals by ending regulatory bottlenecks & implementing innovative apprenticeship programs.
- Reduce the Demand for services by offering every American access to no frills insurance plans, streamlining prescription refills, adopting sufficient copay for doctor visits paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, and eliminating unnecessary distribution channels driven by regulation.
- Update the tax code to facilitate individual policies.
- Ensure that persons w/ pre-existing conditions can obtain coverage while economic balance is restored to the system.
Learn more about lowering the cost of prescription drugs
Lowering the price of pharmaceuticals should be addressed in a way that respects market forces, and does not deter the research and development of new life saving drugs. We need to allow insurance providers – including Medicare – to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies, and give people greater autonomy in choosing their insurance. Further, we can lower the cost of these drugs to American citizens by ensuring, through bilateral trade agreements, that other nations pay more for American prescription drugs.
If there’s one institution that solicits more attention from elected officials than health care, it’s education. This is especially true of urban and underserved communities. Locally, the CPS budget for the 2019/20 school year – to cover 361,000 students – was $7.7 billion. That’s over $21,000 per student. And yet here we are, with barely 1 in 4 grammar school students in Chicago who are grade level proficient in reading and math despite the best efforts by many dedicated teachers. And 60% of Chicago Public School (CPS) high school graduates who continue on to community colleges require remedial classes before beginning their college coursework.
Learn about the runaway costs of college
The nation’s colleges and universities are even more profligate. Over the past 50 years, the cost of college has been increasing 6% a year on average – twice as high as inflation. Over that same period, the number of college students has grown fourfold, but due to a corrupt system of accreditation, the number of colleges and universities has remained the same (~3200). As a consequence, young adults are caught between a rock and a hard place and are now burdened under $1.7 trillion in federal student loans.
Here’s how it this shady system works: special interest groups lobby state and federal governments for regulations and guidelines that inflate the natural demand for higher education. Then other special interest groups push for federal student loans. This is a poor deal for the students and taxpayers, but works well for universities and colleges – who receive over $200 billion annually in federal and state subsidies. Even uglier, through the F1 and OPT visa program, the federal government pays these schools as much as $40 billion annually to place foreign STEM graduates in US tech jobs.
It’s time to rethink how we educate our children & young adults. We need to think out of the box and beyond ‘school choice’ to the concept of comprehensive Educational Choice.
Today, the political body, lobbied by teachers’ unions, tells us who needs to go to what school, what they must learn, and what degree they must have in order to meet this or that professional obligation. We’re heavily taxed in exchange for a one-size-fits-all agenda that leaves little room for choice, or opportunity for those who don’t fit the mold. Both the teacher’s union and Democratic politicians benefit financially from this arrangement. But the pupils are cheated out of the freedom to choose their own educational path. And many of those within the teaching profession, or those who aspire to teach through alternative channels, are cheated of opportunities to innovate.
Students, families, communities and every educator passionate about his or her work, but frustrated with the rigid system, deserve more. They deserve the opportunity to choose not only where the pupils learn, but what they learn, and how they learn it. We believe that students should have the right to choose a path of learning that readies them for the real world by the time they graduate HS.
Learn how the Trump administration is already expanding choice with Apprenticeships
President Donald Trump’s interest in Apprenticeships goes far beyond television entertainment.
On June 15, 2017, Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13801 Expanding Apprenticeship Opportunities in America. A year later, the US Department of Labor launched the site https://www.apprenticeship.gov/ to help connect job seekers and employers through skilled apprenticeships.
While we encourage all federal efforts to facilitate apprenticeship programs, real reform must occur at the grassroots level as part of a comprehensive effort to expand the choices available in education.
And for those who choose to pursue their education beyond HS, we are going to reverse the adverse supply and demand trends that have caused the price of higher education to skyrocket.
- Tax rebates for families that choose home or private schooling.
- Extend the benefits of Home Schooling to neighborhood groups. This concept is also known as ‘Microschooling’.
- Reduce formal classroom obligations for HS students choosing to pursue apprenticeships.
- Extend apprenticeships to cover STEM professions and professional fields such as medicine and law.
- Phased in termination of the Federal Student Loan Program that has burdened so many in debt.
- Reduce the interest rates of the outstanding $1.7T in student debt, and shifting the burden of interest payments from the students to the universities. The students will still be responsible for repaying the principal.
In conclusion, we also need to think of education in the broader context of community. Too often, factors outside the classroom interfere with the learning process. We understand this, and our policy goals reflect a comprehensive approach to improving the crime and economies of underserved urban communities in order to create an environment conducive to a quality educational opportunity.
Whether it was first Paleo-Americans who crossed the land bridge from Asia to Alaska 20,000 years ago, or the first Europeans to cross the Atlantic Ocean, the story of America starts with the story of immigration.
Every sympathy must be extended to the individual who immigrates to America – even illegally - in the hopes of a better future. But our first sympathies, and our first loyalties, must be to our fellow Americans who also hope for a better future.
Today, the number of illegal, or undocumented, immigrants competing for jobs in construction, manufacturing, services & agriculture is estimated to be 10-20 million. In certain localities, there are entire labor sectors where Americans have been displaced by foreign labor (usually illegal). And the DHS estimates at least 1.3 million foreign STEM workers - employed on a temporary, continuously renewable basis - compete against Americans for jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics.
Many will argue that immigrants are needed for the jobs that Americans just won’t do. Many companies will claim that they just can’t find employees. What this really means is that they can’t find employees at the offered wage. The reality is, there is always a wage price that will motivate a worker to accept a job. And the darker reality is that employers are financially incentivized to hire these foreign workers over Americans - as the foreign workers lack the bargaining power of American citizens. The resulting unemployment only exacerbates social ills and the cycle of dependency for economically depressed communities.
- Terminate all foreign work Visa programs not authorized by Congress.
- Terminate all visa programs structured as temporary to prevent labor arbitrage by employers.
- Deploy a mandatory E-verify system to ensure employers are hiring American.
- Adopt an immigration plan based on societal merit – not to supply corporations with cheap labor.
- Provide a path for high skilled immigration from ALL fields. These exceptional individuals will be awarded immediate permanent residency independent on employment status.
- Immigration for political refugees and foreign spouses of American citizens to remain unchanged.
We acknowledge that for many skilled professions, corruption of the educational system has disrupted the supply of trained workers. This is addressed in the policy section for education.
One of the first things I do every morning is make a pot of dark roast Columbian coffee. I do my best to buy products MADE IN AMERICA, but coffee beans just don’t grow very well in the US. On the other side of the world, a Japanese man drives his Honda home from work. But the gasoline that fuels his commute originated in Saudi Arabia, and was paid for in US dollars. Just as the US doesn’t grow many coffee beans, Japan can’t supply its own crude oil - and Saudi Arabia only accepts the US dollar as payment. In these mutually beneficial examples, trade is necessary in order for nations to source essential resources that just can’t be obtained domestically.
Read more examples of beneficial trade
Occasionally, manufactured goods that we really want are just not available from domestic suppliers due to regional market preferences. For example, if you want to drive a 4-door sedan with a manual transmission, you need to purchase a foreign car. There is a viable market for these cars in Asia and Europe, and with the economies of scale enabled by their own domestic markets, foreign auto manufacturers can afford to sell these products to American consumers at a profit. But Ford and GM no longer manufacture cars of this description because Americans prefer to drive SUVs with automatic transmissions. In this case, trade enriches the product varieties available to consumers.
But there other examples where international trade becomes adversarial, and inflicts long term damage to one or both nations. This can occur when the exporting nation adopts a policy of neo mercantilism – or government subsidization of exports intended to drive a trade surplus and monopolize a business sector within the importing nation. Over the past 50 years, American manufacturing in particular has been harmed by this tactic.
Learn how ‘Free Trade’ with Unfree Nations Cheats Workers
Advances in transportation and communication (specifically the Internet and digital communications) have enabled another zero sum trade tactic – labor arbitrage. Labor arbitrage is the practice of shifting work from the United States to foreign nations with lower labor costs. The intention here is not to access goods & services unavailable in the US, but simply to access these goods and services at a lower cost.
There are some who wrongly classify these transactions to be “free market” – or economically voluntary by all parties involved. But in reality, the reason that said foreign labor is cheap is that the labor markets in those nations are NOT FREE. China, in particular, is cheating her own citizens of the fruits of their labor. In some cases, as recently reported by the New York Times, the Chinese are using ethnic Uyghur slave labor to manufacture products for export.
They hope of opening free trade agreements with developing nations – even those with authoritarian governments - is that in the process we can export American values. However, once the ruling population of an export nation is dependent upon labor arbitrage for their income and power, they are perversely incentivized to maintain the status quo.
Clearly, the term ‘Free Trade’ is very misleading, and often employed by Cheat Street to distract from the true nature of the flow of goods. True Free Market Trade is never possible with cheaters and with authoritarian nations who abuse the freedoms of their own citizens.
In 2019, the US trade balance for manufactured goods was nearly a $900 billion. In all other categories the trade balance was neutral or a moderate surplus.
Due to the status of the US dollar as the world reserve currency (foreign nations need US dollars to purchase oil) the US has been running a consistent trade deficit for decades. But the deficit for manufactured goods began to skyrocket after China was admitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001. Aided by artificially low labor costs, China adopted neo-mercantilism policies and is now the global manufacturing leader. Until the election of Donald Trump, our politicians have looked the other way as a bridge has been built from Cheat Street, China to Main Street, USA.
Here is just a sample of the sobering data:
- 97% of the US supply of anti-biotics is sourced from China
- 70% of the active ingredients needed for pharmaceutical medication is sourced from China.
- 90% of the US supply of generic medicine is manufactured in China and India.
- Since 2000, America’s defense industry has shed more than 20,000 U.S.-based manufacturing companies.
- America does not mine any of the rare earth materials needed for electric motors and many electronics components.
- More than five million American manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2000.
- In the 1960s, manufacturing made up 25% of U.S. gross domestic product. It’s barely 11% today.
The tragic irony of 2020 should not be lost on us – that the nation upon which we depend for medicine and supplies critical for National Defense, is the same nation whose poor health standards, adversarial nature, and lack of moral clarity has triggered a global pandemic that will kill millions of persons and destroy tens of thousands of American businesses.
We propose a policy of ‘Reciprocal Trade’ that encourages access to the variety of a global marketplace while balancing the trade deficit. This effort will require three fronts:
- Suppress Unfree Trade
- Tariffs to suppress labor arbitration. US corporations are free to build factories in foreign nations, but the duties applied to those products when imported back to the US will need to be sufficient to deter this tactic.
- Remove China from WTO
- Enhance US Competitiveness
- End the Corporate Income Tax
- Eliminate unnecessary regulations that increase labor costs
- Facilitate the creation of Apprenticeships
- Provide federal assistance to reshore from China critical production of medical supplies, anti-biotics, pharmaceutical active ingredients, and rare earth materials.
- Normalize US Monetary Policy
- Artificially low interest rates and double taxation (income tax + tax on dividends) on publicly traded corporations encourages companies to borrow money to repurchase their own stock rather than make capital investments new projects and expanded production.
- A normalized policy would encourage more savings with higher interest rates
Those of us who lucky enough to be raised in a home environment where allowance was paid for doing our chores were probably told from an early age by our parents that “money doesn’t grow on trees”. But our parents have been wrong – at least since August 15, 1971. Money, it turns out, really does grow on trees. It’s just a matter of who has first access to the fruits of the Federal Reserve orchard. And herein may be the biggest cheat of all.
No other topic in today’s political arena is as misunderstood as monetary policy and national debt. And perhaps no other topic is as important. The US National Debt today is $26.5 trillion. That’s over $213,000 for every US tax payer. By August 2020, the budget deficit has already reached $3 trillion. And every year Americans consume approximately $900 billion more in goods and services than they produce (by measure of trade deficit).
But how is it possible for Americans to continue to consume more than they produce while the Federal Government continues to run up a tab that’s never paid down? The answer lies in part with the origin and distribution of money itself.
US dollars are not backed by gold, as many mistakenly assume, but are printed into existence when the Federal Reserve purchases an asset – such as an interest bearing bond issued by the US Treasury. In this transaction, dollars enter the financial system through the federal government, and a Treasury bond goes onto the Federal Reserve balance sheet. By this mechanism, the US gov’t can always pay debt it owes to foreign countries or pension funds, or finance deficits, by selling the Federal Reserve new debt.
Learn more about money printing
Dollars can also enter the financial system by purchase of private assets – such as when, during the Great Recession, the Fed bailed out failing banks by printing $1.25 trillion in exchange for toxic Mortgage Backed Securities. With this mechanism, the US gov’t can always bail out corporations, pension funds, and whomever they please without directly taking the dollars from taxpayers.
Learn about the history of money
Historically, units of money have had market value (or intrinsic value) beyond that of a transactional instrument. For example, the Mayans and Aztecs both used cocoa beans for money – because cocoa beans were easy to store and the Mayans liked their hot chocolate. Ancient civilizations in Europe and the Middle East found metals to be desirable for their own qualities – to be cast and hammered into tools, weapons, and jewelry. They were later adopted as money because they’re easy to store and divide. Precious metals such as gold and silver became the dominant forms of money due to their scarcity – which allowed one to carry a lot of value in a small purse.
But Americans (and the citizens of every other developed nation) did not adopt modern “fiat” monetary systems by choice. Instead, the current monetary systems were imposed upon the citizens in stages over the 20th Century, and in the process citizens have lost the freedom to use the monetary units of their choice. In fact, from 1933 to 1975, it was illegal for private American citizens to even own gold bullion (Executive Order 6102).
And until 1933, Americans were able to exchange their paper money for gold at a fixed ratio of $20 per ounce. Until 08/15/1971, foreign central banks were able to redeem US Treasury debt to gold at a fixed ratio of $35 per ounce. This exchange mechanism anchored global currencies to gold through the US dollar. Today however, all global currencies float relative to one another on the world market – their relative worth determined by their supply and demand as traded over a complex global network.
All global central banks have similar powers to print money, but the Federal Reserve has special privileges as the US dollar is the “world reserve currency”. To overly simplify, as a result of global US dominance, foreign countries transact in US dollars even when the United States is not involved in the transaction. This greatly elevates the demand for US dollar globally, and thus we can import more goods than we export – because we are also exporting US dollars.
Learn more about the US Dollar as Reserve Currency
For example, the US trade deficit with Japan is over $50B annually. We get $50B in cars, electronics, etc. in exchange for paper notes printed by the Federal Reserve (US dollars). But Japan lacks petroleum resources and thus must purchase oil on the open market. So with the excess US dollars resulting from imbalanced trade, Japan purchases this oil from Saudi Arabia. Japan needs US dollars to complete this transaction, because this is the only form of payment that Saudi Arabia accepts.
But what does this all mean in terms of Main Street and Cheat Street? Here are some of the consequences of modern global monetary policy:
- Trade deficits can be financed in perpetuity so long as the US dollar is the global reserve currency. This has resulted in a drop in relative manufacturing output – from 24% of GDP in 1970 to 11% today. In absolute terms, the US has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs since 1998. The opposite has occurred with jobs in financial services – which have expanded three fold over that same period. So we’ve traded Main Street manufacturing jobs making useful goods, for Wall Street jobs trading financial indicators.
- Between the double taxation on corporate profits and dividend payouts to shareholders, and the Federal Reserve suppression of interest rates, companies are incentivized to repurchase shares rather than making capital investments to expand production. This enriches shareholders – and cheats those on Main Street who are more likely to deposit every paycheck into a checking or savings account.
Our policy proposal calls for tax code and regulatory changes to allow for the use of alternative currencies to the US dollar. If people are allowed to choose for themselves, we think the market will choose precious metals like gold and silver – as it has in the past. But instead, people may choose to use a less conventional form of currency – such as a basket of commodities (or perhaps even cocoa beans!). Regardless of the people’s choice, the federal government should not infringe upon the natural right of the market to select a preferred form of alternate money.
Learn about the contrasts between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on Monetary Policy
We are encouraged by Donald Trump’s recent nomination of Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board. Through public discourse, Ms. Shelton has expressed a clear understanding of the economic disruption created by Federal Reserve, and she’s given unambiguous indication that she favors a role for a hard commodity – gold – in the monetary system.
Alternatively, the Biden campaign has indicated that it will create a new mandate for the Federal Reserve – for the central bank to address racial inequality. Such a directive will be impossibly ambiguous, turn the distribution of money into a political weapon, and from a poor system create a complete disaster.
Abraham Lincoln is best known for ending the institution of slavery by successfully prosecuting the Civil War. But President Lincoln was also a precedent setting conservationist. While the North & South continued to fight over the Soul of America, on the other side of nation, the fight for preservation of scenic land had just begun. In 1864, The Yosemite Grant Act, championed by Republicans in the House and Senate, was signed by Lincoln – designating the Mariposa Grove and Yosemite Valley as protected lands.
Learn more about Republican presidents with strong conservation and environmental records
The Republican culture of conservation continued with President Ulysses S. Grant, and was amplified by the greatest of all presidential conservationists – Theodore Roosevelt. Grant established Yellowstone as the nation’s first national park in 1872, and was also the first president to use federal land to protect wildlife – reserving the Pribilof Islands in Alaska as a refuge for northern fur seals. Roosevelt began the National Wildlife Refuge system, the US Forest Service, and established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 18 national monuments, and 5 national parks.
Republican president Richard Nixon and his VP replacement Gerald Ford signed more environmental legislation than any other compound administration, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Ronald Reagan signed onto the Montreal Protocol – protecting the ozone from certain aerosols.
Unfortunately, over the past generation, environmentalism has been dominated by a single issue: the misguided notion that Mankind is dangerously heating the planet through unchecked generation of carbon dioxide (CO2), and only by aggressively replacing fossil fuels w/ windmills and solar panels can the Earth be saved. This narrative is nonsense, and the recommended solutions will drive up the cost of energy – which will be especially burdensome to low income families. While human activity does contribute to the buildup of atmospheric CO2, and while the climate is changing, there is no global warming crisis.
Learn more about climate science
In fact, there have been five significant Ice Ages over the history of the Earth. During the 2nd known Ice Age, estimated to have occurred 720 to 630 million years ago, temperatures were so severe that glaciers were believed to have advanced as far as the equator. It is when this period ended and the Earth warmed that life on the planet exploded.
Presently, we are 2.6 million years into the 5th significant Ice Age - or Quaternary Glaciation. Since the start of our current ice age, there have been seven cycles of advancing (glacial period) and retreating (interglacial period) glaciers. The last glacial period ended 10,000 years ago – long before mankind had any developed industries.
The truth is, over the long history of Life on Planet Earth, glaciers and ice ages are the anomaly, not the norm. Both the North and South Poles were once lush landscapes brimming with vegetation and wildlife. As hard as it may be to believe, dinosaurs once roamed both Poles and we are living during a period that is unusually cold. The Earth was warmer, wetter, and carbon dioxide levels were ten times higher than they are today.
Republicans support the use of renewable energy technologies when these solutions are practical. We encourage citizens to visit the tesla.com/solarroof website and decide for themselves whether upgrading their home with a Tesla Solar Roof is fiscally sensible. Just as we encourage Commonwealth Edison to evaluate all solutions for future electric grid upgrades.
And we do recognize that fossil fuels are ultimately a finite resource, so we encourage long term investments in alternative energy technology. But we’re opposed to ‘Green New Deal’ mandates that are forced on the public and that will only results in economic turmoil, financial hardship, and counterproductive environmental disruption.
Learn how the biofuel industry causes extensive environmental damage
The efforts by environmental groups to push for renewable biofuel mandates have had the unintended, but very damaging, environmental repercussions. But now that industry has made large investments into biofuel technology, the process is hard to reverse.
In Indonesia and Southeast Asia, jungles that are the only home to orangutans and other endangered species are being torched to make room for palm oil plantations. A large portion of the demand for palm oil is from terribly misguided biofuel mandates in the European Union.
Here in the US, ethanol mandates do nothing to but enrich those involved in ethanol production, while driving up the costs of fuel and corn, and destroying vast grasslands across the Midwest.
For further details, please Google ‘ethanol + grasslands’ and ‘orangutan + palm oil + biofuel’ to learn just how destructive ‘green solutions’ can be, regardless of intent, when they are adopted by rent seeking corporations and forced upon society.
Tragically, there is an opportunity cost to these misguided efforts – as the true threats to wildlife takes a backseat to the exaggerated war against carbon dioxide: Poaching, Habitat Destruction, and Overfishing. These should be the principal focus of 21st Century conservationists, and are central to our environmental proposals.
- Increased R&D funding for advanced nuclear fission & fusion technology.
- Reform patent law to incentivize long term private industrial R&D in energy technology.
- Exert diplomatic pressure on the EU to end the disastrous Palm Oil biofuel mandates to help preserve Indonesian rainforests and orangutan habitat.
- Exert diplomatic pressure on nations to terminate all harvesting dolphins and whales.
- Provide greater assistance to African nations struggling to contain illegal poaching – including the use of drone technology and AI to track offenders and alert local authorities.
- Protect global fisheries by expanding marine protected areas, and a ban on fishing with trawl nets in International waters.
- Explore alternative habitat options for endangered species in wealthy, politically stable nations.
Growing up in Cicero, my neighborhood was a hot spot for gang activity. My parents limited the time that I and my siblings were allowed to spend outdoors, but incidents were inevitable. It was some time in the 4th grade when I first witnessed a homicide. I was in my family’s backyard with friends when I heard a gunshot and then saw a male running through the alley. Moments later, he was shot to death a few yards from where we were playing. In grammar school, a friend was shot to death while stepping off his school bus. I attended Kelly High School in Brighton Park, where fistfights and shootings outside the school were frequent. And I was fired upon myself during a drive by shooting that left my friends and I scattering from a front porch. But for the most part, I avoided trouble when I secured a job after school at a local restaurant my junior and senior year.
After the riots and explosion of lawlessness this summer, many Americans have unfortunately experienced for the first time the insecurity that inner city residents endure on a regular basis. It is a reminder that, while we may do our best to maintain civility, there is a dark side to human nature, and human history is a history of violence. Across America, and especially here in Chicago, we need to work harder to maintain the peace.
Read more about violent crime in Chicago
As of July 31, there have been 440 homicides in Chicago (in all of 2019 there were 490). In the month of July alone, there were 105 homicides and 584 shootings across the city. Additionally, several hundreds of police officers have been injured in the unrest that has resulted in shuttered businesses and tens of millions of dollars in property damage. Although the increase in violence this year is not unique to Chicago, in our city it is especially severe.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot is caught between the progressive left who want to disarm the public and defund the police, and Chicago residents of high crime areas who want safer neighborhoods. Heretofore, her answer has been to blame gun smuggling from states like Texas and Indiana, and to blame the NRA for the proliferation of assault rifles.
This, however, is nothing but political sleight of hand designed to maintain the illusion of a scapegoat without doing hard and sometimes unpopular political work. Both Dallas and Houston have homicide rates that are approximately half that of Chicago, and murders in Dallas are actually lower through July 2020 than they were in 2019. And of the 864 murders in the state of Illinois in 2018, only 14 were committed by rifles of all types. Chicago is the problem – not automatic rifles from Indiana.
Reducing the violent crime in Chicago – that falls disproportionately on minority neighborhoods - requires hard police work and district attorneys who will vigorously prosecute and lock up violent criminals. As with all public sector unions, reform is required in police departments across the US to remove underperforming employees from the job. But defunding the police is not the solution. We need to defend the police, and defend the right of law abiding citizens to keep and bear arms. I strongly Back the Blue, and strongly support the Second Amendment.
- Ensure police departments in high crime areas are adequately funded.
- Empower ATF to more vigorously remove violent criminals who violate federal firearm laws from the street.
- I will be a strong supporter of the 2nd
- Improve economic and educational opportunities in high crime districts.