Filed under: Who I am voting for in the Republican primary and why.
Usually Oklahoma’s vote does not matter. By the time primaries in Oklahoma roll around the candidate is fairly well established. This time around I would have liked to vote for Jeb Bush — I heard him speak once on public education in Florida and he was spot on. However, as usual, my guy is out before the primaries roll into my state.
So what to do? Well, I am left with 4 choices: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich. It’s time for me to make my mind and cast my vote.
The first question I have to answer in my own mind is am I looking for a leader or a person who shares the same policy views I do. Think about it — say your political philosophy was socially moderate, fiscally conservative, you wanted this kind of tax code, that kind of education system, and Pee-Wee Herman exactly shares every one of your beliefs. Does that mean you should back Pee-Wee? For me the answer is no. I am looking for someone that I think is a good leader in addition to sharing common values. I bring this up because I am using that criteria to not vote for Donald Trump. I have heard Donald speak a couple times and he is enjoyable to listen to. As he says, he knows how to “talk”. He is a Washington outsider, he can communicate. I’ll drop the similarities to Ronald Reagan there. I think Reagan had a wildly optimistic view of America, where Trump has a wildly optimistic view of himself.
From a policy standpoint I am not that much out of line with Trump. First of all you know where he stands, For instance how does Trump feel about illegal immigrants from Mexico? I have a feeling you know that one. When he spoke in OKC at the state fair his backdrop was a 40′ wall and he looked at it and said the Mexico wall was going to be waaaaaaay taller than that. Personally I think illegal immigration from Mexico is nothing to fear. People will always want a better life for their families and it shows how much we have to offer here in America that people would risk what they do to come here. Personally I fear when illegal immigration from Mexico is not a problem, because that means that Mexicans are voting with their feet — opportunity and life is better there than here.
But I digress. I know where Trump stands on Mexico. I know where he stands on immigration for Islamic people. I know where he stands on corporate tax inversions. I can’t really say I know where Marco Rubio or Kasich stand on anything. Most of their message is about how they can win in November, not anything about who they are or what they believe in.
So what are my policy care abouts? And who represents them the best?
1. Limited government. More than anything else, I feel Reagan’s words “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem” are truth. Our government – federal, state and local is too big and represents a huge waste of our resources and potential. The word “politics” comes from the Greek “poli” – meaning “many” and “tics” meaning “blood-sucking insect”. So there you have it. Politics and politicians are just a bunch of blood-sucking insects that that try to do more and more programs that just result in nothing. I strongly believe free-market capitalism is the best road to prosperity and everything about government is the antithesis of free-market capitalism. Government programs are all about chosing winners and dictating what those blood sucking insects think is correct. Put people in control – let us decide what goods and services we want. Don’t force programs on us. Being fiscally conservative and limited government go hand in hand. The best way to reign in those blood sucking insects is to cut off their ability to tax and spend. The current federal budget is $3.5 trillion. Divided by this countries 300 million population that’s roughly $11,000 perperson. So that means for my family of 6, I am funding the feds to the tune of $66,000 per year. And that’s just the federal part of the pie. What do we get for that $66,000? I have no idea. I am driving on the same interstates that were built 5 decades ago. Our military? The wars in Iraq is over. In case you have not noticed, Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are dead. So what is our money going to? Social Security (for someone else), Medicare (for someone else) and military boondoggles (for someone else). This system is terrible and is ripe for a collapse. The federal budget should be half of what it is now. Social security should function to keep seniors (and I do mean seniors- those 70+) outside of poverty. Medicare should negotiate prices on prescription drugs. Basically you should have to add value to society in order to benefit from society — not just the “me” generation and “what’s coming to me” attitude of people these days.
So what do the candidates have to say on cutting back the size of the government? The following data I get from the candidates own web sites:
Trump – C – Tax code goes to 4 brackets, For a family with a $150,000 income that would correspond to a tax burden of $25,000. It’s right now about $29,000.
Cruz – A – Tax code goes to 1 bracket – 10%. Same family with $150k income? Tax burden of $15,000. He does not mention it on his site, but others sites report that he wants to institute a VAT to make up the difference. Most people tend to disagree with that but I wholeheartedly agree– if income tax goes away. In fact I say repeal the 16th amendment and replace it with a VAT. Our incomes should not be taxed. That is just a dis-incentive to work and a reason for this place to become a welfare state. Today’s attitude is to let somebody else provide value and let someone else pay for my stuff because I just want to consume. Instead, tax consumption. You effectively means test people to pay taxes — if they can afford a Louis Vuitton bag let them pay taxes on it — regardless if they are a multi-millionaire or on welfare. If they can afford to consume they can afford to pay tax.
Rubio – B – Tax code to 3 brackets, same $150k income family pays $22,500
Kasich – D. His website talks about cutting taxes, but I see no specifics. The only specific he has is cutting the top rate to 28%. I can’t use the info on johnkasich.com to ballpark middle-class families tax burden.
OK, so that’s the #1 issue for me. How about the other issues I care about?
Tax on overseas profits. This is a serious issue. John Chambers, to his credit, talked about this at least 7 years ago, long before it was such a national topic. Companies have trillions of dollars overseas. Take Apple for example. They manufacture an iPhone is China and sell it to a person in China. China rightly wants to tax Apple’s consumption and production over there. However, what if Apple wants to take that profit and use it to fund more research and development or build a factory here in the US? They can’t because the feds want another 40% tax in addition to what the Chinese have already taken. The result of this policy? Apple will leave the money in China and use it to build new factories in China. The net result of this high repatriation tax is that companies that want to be patriotic can’t be. They are forced to invest more overseas. Just plain stupid. And the politicians just don’t get it. They think these companies are being anti-american — No! They want to be American, the tics don’t allow it. They assume people will just bring money home. In the global society they have to compete for dollars, not assume them. Let’s use an example. Say you manufacture widgets. You have built a healthy business in the US manufacturing them, you make and sell $1M of widgets every year with a cost to you of $900k to produce them. You pay your taxes on that profit of $100k, say the business is left with an annual after-tax profit of $80k each year. Fine. Now let’s say you expand your widget into Canada and it takes off over there. You now sell $3M of widgets in Canada and log a Canadian profit of $300K. After total taxes (Canada and US) you are left with $80k in profit in your US bank and $240k of profit in your Canada bank. You would like to use all $320k to invest back into the business and expand your widget factory. Whoops! The US wants to change you $120k in tax to bring home that $240k. So in other words from a US perspective you only have $200k to invest in your business. What are you going to do? You will instead keep that money in Canada and build your widget factory in Canada. It’s a no brainier. And then, after you build it in Canada if the US tics want to figure out some other way to tax you, you will just sell the business to a Canadian entity.
Trump gets it and posts on donaldjtrump.com “A one-time deemed 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.” Bravo. That is the exact right policy.
Cruz, Rubio and Kasich get it, I think. However. that comes from 3rd party report of what they think. Nowhere on tedcruz.com/marcorubio.com/johnkasich.com do I see repatriation addressed. 3rd party sites quote them as in favor of a one time repatriation window at 10%. No mention though going forward if they are for eliminating the double tax altogether though.
Interestingly Bernie Sanders takes an alternative approach that might make some sense. Tax foreign income immediately, don’t wait for it to be repatriated. Then, there is no barrier to bringing the cash home. Of course his idea of tax rates are much higher– that is no good, but an instant tax of say 4% as opposed to 40% could work.
Other issues? Obamacare. In hindsight Ted Cruz was 100% right to filibuster against Obamacare. At the time I saw it as a “me too” piggybacking off Rand Pauls CIA directed political assassinations (which I believe was truly heroic). But we all saw the Feds could not run a simple web site. Typical. Give a group of 5 programmers a $50k budget and 12 weeks and we can build Uber. Give the Feds 10k people and $500million dollars and you get… broken websites. The fix for healthcare in this country revolves around patient choice (meaning patients pay for their own care, or at least have skin in the game financially). Until that happens in both healthcare (and education) we will never live up to our potential.
More other issues? There really is no bigger issue for me than reducing the size of government in our lives. So, to that end I’m voting for Ted Cruz. I like what he says about winding down the dept of energy, education, and all those other useless federal departments. I like the idea of a simple, smaller tax, elimination of corporate payroll tax. I do believe he is for small government.
So, I’m voting for Ted Cruz.
He wants several