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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Marin, Sonoma, Humboldt, Mendocino, Del Norte, Trinity Counties, CA June 5, 2012 Election
Smart Voter

Brooke Clarke
Answers Questions

Candidate for
United States Representative; District 2


The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

Questions & Answers

1. In this time of high unemployment, what are the most important steps that should be taken to improve our nationís economy?

The economy is the first thing that needs to be fixed. But to do that requires undoing a number of bad laws and ideas.

Existing Bad Laws
----------------- After the 1929 stock market crash that started the great depression Congress spent a number of years studying what went wrong and to prevent if from happening again passed the Glass-Stegall Act in 1933 to regulate the banks.

Things were fine until 1980 when the "Depository Institutions Deregulation and Monetary Control Act" was passed. This allowed banks to merge into super banks, removed limits on the interest rate that can be charged.

Then in 1999 the "Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act" was passed by Congress opened the door for sub prime mortgages and initiated the official concept of "too big to fail".

Then Congress passed the "Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000". Prior to this the commodity market functioned to minimize the risk to farmers and ranchers caused by market price fluctuations. This law established what's come to be called the "Enron loophole". In addition it also brought about "credit default swaps" and allows banks to gamble in the futures markets raising the price commodities such as food and gasoline.

The "Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010" contains a provision that exempts the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) from the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA). This is part of the function of the regulatory agencies which now is to protect their industry from criminal prosecution. Note these agencies were established to regulate an industry, but because of regulatory capture now work to protect those industries. The SEC has been instrumental in preventing any criminal prosecution of the people on Wall Street responsible for the 2008 meltdown.

Capitalism has Failed
--------------------- When Adam Smith was writing "On the Wealth of Nations" the Industrial Revolution either had not started or was not under way enough for him to include it. So the basis of Capitalism comes from the time where agriculture (farming and ranching) were the big businesses. For Smith a factory making iron cookware maybe was the most capital intense business there was. Note this was before the advent of electricity.

In the movie "A Beautiful Mind" there's a bar scene that illustrated the idea of John Nash (won Noble prize for this)that "Adam Smith" was wrong. This means that the ideas promoted by the Republicans are based on a failed idea. A better idea is Nashism which says the best outcome happens when we do what's best for us as individuals (Smith's idea) AND when we do what's best for out group.

Privatization has Problems
-------------------------- When some government function is privatized it very similar to how businesses were run in the U.S.S.R. ("Eat the Rich, Chapter 7 Russia) That's to say that in both cases the outcome will depend very much on how well you dot the i and cross the t. If you get this part wrong the outcome can be a disaster. Privatize the profits and socialize the losses seems to be the current idea.

Income Taxes
------------ The Reagan era tax cuts worked because the marginal tax rate was around 80% and tax shelters were a popular product (that has no value to society). When the marginal tax rate was cut the IRS took in a lot more money and the waste associated with tax shelters was eliminated.

Monetary System
--------------- The current fractional reserve monetary system is not sustainable because each new loan only puts into circulation the principal amount of the loan and not the interest. There's no way the loans can all be paid back.

2. How should the federal budget deficit be addressed, now and into the future? How should budget priorities for defense and domestic programs be adjusted?

The fractional reserve monetary system is not sustainable and so needs to be replaced. The elimination of the central bank would be a start and direct government printing of money might work if that money was used for things of value. But if it was used for war then we would be worse off than we are now.

The defense (better called war) budget should be cut at least in half and the foreign bases all closed.

Single Payer Health Care must be put in place soon.

3. What are your priorities with respect to our nationís energy policy? Should there be an emphasis on clean energy and reducing carbon emissions, and/or on reducing our dependence on foreign sources?

Energy policy is a subset of sustainability and needs to be addressed in that light. The key idea is that you can not sustain growth when in an environment that has finite resources. So energy policy needs to be balanced with air, water, food, etc. in an optimum way. Growth needs to be seen as a problem rather than a way to make more money.

4. What, if any, changes should be made to federal health care policies or programs?

Single Payer Health Care is mandatory. The U.S. is the only industrialized country that has private for profit medical care and it's costing about twice what the other industrialized countries spend with lower outcomes.

5. What, if any, changes should be made to federal rules on campaign financing?

The major problem is that the Democratic and Republican parties have more influence on Congressmen than a SuperPAC. That's very clear by the number of times that votes are split along party lines.

Term limits need to be put in place.

Corporations are not people. The Citizens United case needs to be reversed or a Constitutional amendment enacted to reverse that decision.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. References to opponents are not permitted.

Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 9, 2012 18:23
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