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|Political Philosophy for Ken Arnold|
I have always defined myself as predominately liberal, but with a large dose of realistic pragmatism, some fiscal conservatism and a bit of social libertarianism. I was raised and educated by a diverse assemblage of free thinkers. I was exposed to a wide variety of political and economic thinking, reading from publications ranging from the National Review to Ramparts. In my lifetime, we have seen the failure of extreme ideologies and policies from across the political spectra. I believe I have a rational and practical appreciation for what functions can and should be provided by government and what may or should left up to markets and individuals. I very much appreciate the desire for minimal government and taxes, minimal interference in individual liberties and for the minimizing regulatory burdens upon business. However, I would not allow any of those desires and goals to interfere with assuring that the government legally, effectively and efficiently provides those services which the people rightfully expect of it and those they depend upon it providing for the common good and for our collective welfare, safety and security.
We need to get America working again. By that I mean both ending political gridlock but more significantly quality jobs and near full employment for all Americans. There is a lot to do to 'get our economy going again'. We must get banks lending again to qualified individuals and businesses. We must reduce the large inventory of unsold and unoccupied homes, 'under water' mortgages and stabilize real estate values. We must help our schools, cities and states through the short term revenue short fall to save critical public jobs. We need to abolish or amend bad trade agreements and enforce others when our trading partners break the rules. We must invest in public infrastructure much of which has been neglected for decades and much of which is in critical need of modernization. We need to make/keep quality higher education affordable and accessible as we need a highly trained workforce to meet the challenges of our times and to compete in the world. We need to promote energy conservation creating jobs by making our buildings, equipment and factories more energy efficient. We need to push forward on energy conversion, removing ourselves from dependence upon foreign fossil fuels. We need to eliminate the massive non-productive overhead in our present health care financing system that puts us at a competitive disadvantage and suppresses entrepreneurship. This and much more is necessary. The long term solution to the economy must be in the private sector but the government can help show and ease the way, provide the frameworks and infrastructure, and create the proper incentives for it to happen.
We need to get real working majorities in the state and national legislatures to undo some of the damage done (and still continuing) from wrong headed "conservative" policies that have effectively bankrupted the nation, have robbed the people, ignored our infrastructure, privatized key government functions, neglected the education of most of our youth, eviscerated much of the working middle class, damaged much of our environment (and threaten it with total collapse), allowed our technologies to be stolen and our jobs shipped overseas, saddled future generations with massive debt, and much much more.
Getting the economy going will help with the national debt and the state budget crisis. The state can then restore or rebuild funding for the top priorities of education and the environment, while not negatively impacting business and public safety. We must provide our youth (and adults) with complete and world class educations. We must start building the water, transportation and energy infrastructure of the 21st century. We can, should and must lead the world to a sustainable future. It is easy to focus on these areas of great crisis, but that will not keep me from fighting the many other battles we face. Our military budget and acquisitions are out of control. We spend more than the rest of the world combined and maintain 100s of facilities all over the globe. We can cut military spending and increase our security and preparedness and increase the numbers of active duty personnel all while strengthening our economy. The Department of Defense has become dependent upon foreign made components and expensive contractors many of whom use foreign labor. We need to sensibly, responsibly and safely disengage from Iraq and Afghanistan where our private contractors (mostly foreign and very expensive) are more numerous than our active duty personnel. We need to leave strong stable democratic governments behind there but cannot force that at gunpoint. Our justice system is out of control, imprisoning far too many at too high costs, not providing real justice or opportunity for rehabilitation and straining our state budgets. California spends more on incarceration than on higher education and still we have a terrible recidivism rate. Our schools' curricula are under attack in ways that hurt individuals and the greater society and are highly dangerous. Parks and recreation opportunities for our citizens have been neglected along with much of the rest of our infrastructure. Our electoral and political processes have been attacked and damaged. There, for a start, we must restore confidence in our electoral systems, educate a large part of the public that has not received adequate civics instruction, enact public campaign financing and have rational redistricting. We must protect the populace from corporate excesses, unfair market manipulation and unsafe products. We need to fight to restore a more humane balance between labor and capital with productive cooperation, such that most of the population can find work at a living wage in a sustainably growing economy. The health care system (or lack thereof) not only neglects to provide everyone with the basic levels of health care that I believe everyone is entitled to, but is a major drag on our state and federal budgets and our overall economy. Lack of a single payer system creates vast inefficiencies in our economy harming our ability to compete, trade, innovate and provide everyone with basic needs.
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: April 23, 2010 17:03
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