QUESTIONS TO ASK DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES

It is hard to sort out all the different policy positions of the flood of Democratic Presidential candidates. And I don't pretend to be an expert on all of that.

But here are some key questions to ponder as you study the news. Or if you get a chance, to ask them a question directly 

MEDICARE FOR ALL.

 Bernie Sanders’ proposal is to end all private health insurance and put everyone on a government run single-payer system like Canada. Ask Sanders why he thinks it is not political suicide to tell the approximately 165 million Americans with private health insurance that they must promptly lose that coverage in exchange for a government program.  Also demand that he tell you exactly how he will pay for it.

Elizabeth Warren also embraces Medicare for All (cost: $30 trillion over 10 years). When pushed to show how she would pay for it,  she proposed new taxes on the rich. Then when criticized by Biden and others, she said she would move in two stages: first let everyone who wants to,  buy into Medicare; then, a few years later, introduce a mandatory single-payer system.

Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar reject Medicare for All and instead want to let everyone choose between keeping their private insurance or  buying into Medicare.

FREE COLLEGE

Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders want to make tuition free at all public colleges and universities. Ask them: why should children from wealthy families get free college tuition? And why do they totally bias their proposal against private colleges and universities?  Their proposal would probably destroy most Christian colleges and universities.

Would it not be better to give a greatly expanded Pell Grant ( up to the total  cost of tuition at state universities) to students from lower income families and let them choose whether to use it at a state university or a private college?

NATIONAL DEBT

Our national debt is currently at $22 trillion  – that's more than our current total annual GDP which was $20.5 trillion in 2018. The national government spends more than it takes in every year. This year the deficit is close to $1 trillion and current projections  (thanks significantly to President Trump’s tax cuts for the rich) mean it will go to more than $1 trillion every year beginning in 2022. That means adding $1 trillion plus to the national debt each year.  Thanks grandchildren!

In my book, FIXING THE MORAL DEFICIT: A BALANCED WAY TO BALANCE THE BUDGET, I say two things: it is immoral to use our grandchildren's credit card to keep demanding things we refuse to pay for with our taxes; and second it is also immoral to try to balance the budget on the backs of the poor  (as the Republicans keep proposing) by cutting effective programs that empower poor people.

Ask all the Democratic candidates why none of them have a concrete proposal to move toward a  balanced budget. And demand one.

ABORTION

 Most Democratic candidates offer no circumstances where they think abortion should be  restricted by law even though repeated Gallup polls show that about 50% of the US public think there should be some restrictions. Ask them why they disagree with half of the American people.

Amy Klobuchar has said she favors some restrictions in the third trimester. Joe Biden in 2003 voted for a ban on certain late term abortions. Ask both for more details. 

CHARTER SCHOOLS

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Pete Buttigieg  all want to greatly restrict or even end charter schools even though charter schools are much more popular in the African-American and Latino communities than in white communities.—see the New York Times, Nov 27,2019.  (Cory Booker defends charter schools!)  Ask Warren,  Sanders and Buttigieg why they disagree with Senator Booker.

President Obama embraced charter schools. His vice president, Joe Biden, does not oppose all charter schools, just for-profit ones.

LEGALIZING MARIJUANA

Most Democratic candidates want to do that. (And Gallup says that 2/3 of all voters favor legalization.)

Ask Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar why they think this would lead to a better society. And ask Bernie Sanders why he wants to spend $10 billion on a federal grant program to help people start their own pot farm!

Ask Joe Biden why he disagrees with most of the other Democratic candidates and thinks marijuana is a “gateway" to other more destructive drugs.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE

Ask them all how much previous political experience is necessary for someone to be elected president. And why.

Ask Pete Buttigieg why he thinks someone who's only political experience is running a small city is ready to be president. Buttigieg was elected mayor with only 8515 votes! 

DEFENSE BUDGET

The US spends more on national defense than China, Saudi Arabia, India, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany – – combined! This year the US defense budget is $716 billion 

and President Trump wants to increase it.

Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, and Kamala Harris all want to reduce the defense budget significantly.

Ask Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg why they want to increase it.

FUNDING OF ELECTIONS

Most Democratic candidates want to overturn the Supreme Court's 2010 decision (Citizens United) which allows virtually unlimited spending on elections. Ask Mike Bloomberg  (worth about 55 billion) why he thinks it would be good for democracy for him to spend a few billion personal dollars to seek  (purchase?) the presidency.

Well enough questions for one day. Maybe later I'll have some more.

 One of the best places to get details on the platforms of all the Democratic candidates is to go to https://www. politico.com/2020-election/candidates-views-on-the-issues.

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