Noise-Free Zone

Back in the day, my dad was a specialty insurance broker whose specialty was auto racing.

One of his favorite accounts was the once famous Joey Chitwood Thrill Show, which included a lot of daring driving acrobatics. I asked him once how he managed to get that policy done with a normal insurance company – it seemed a very dangerous risk for them. Dad responded: ” Well you know, it’s really not that dangerous, the drivers are incredibly skilled and no one ever gets hurt. The illusion is the very loud announcers that whip the crowd into frenzy and make it seem dangerous, so what I did to get it placed was simply show the insurance company executives a film of the show with no sound!”

Would that the presidential election of 2016 was shown without sound! Then maybe we could pay attention to what the candidates’ actual positions are without all of the noise of pundits, sycophants, biased news networks, and, blessedly, Clinton and Trump themselves.

We have been barraged by opinions about character and personality, alleged crimes and conspiracies. Clinton’s a “crook” and Trump’s a “monster” and neither is fit for office. But what do they actually stand for when you turn off the noise and look at their positions? Below is a short examinations of what the candidates actually think, despite what everyone’s telling you:

The Economy

Clinton: Hillary Clinton has doubled down on the Obama economy. The latest unemployment figures are 4.9%. The latest quarterly GDP figures are the highest in 7 years. She believes the economy is largely on the move, but she’d like to level the playing field by increasing taxes on the rich, including the tax rate itself and so-called “death taxes.”

Trump: Donald Trump is a harsh critic of Obamanomics. He contends that the growth of the economy has been sluggish at best, hovering around just 2% since the Great Recession. Furthermore, he believes that the middle and working classes have been left behind by any gains and by trade policy implemented by Bush II and Obama. Specifically, he points to the record low participation rate in the employment figures. He is a proponent of tax cuts across the board to stimulate the economy. He is also a proponent of much lower corporate taxes to make U.S. companies more competitive internationally and to repatriate offshore money held by corporations. He would allow a one-time amnesty tax rate of 10% for companies that repatriate funds held abroad immediately.

Trade

Clinton: While Secretary of State, she and her staff put the finishing touches on the Trans Pacific Partnership treaty; however, during the primary campaign challenge by Bernie Sanders, she changed her view, and now opposes it. It is safe to say that her position on Trade is evolving.

Trump: He has made this issue one of the pillars of his campaign. He’s promised to get rid of and rewrite trade agreements that are detrimental to U.S. workers and to punish companies that move jobs abroad.

Healthcare

Clinton: She has doubled down on Obamacare by expanding its benefits. She also would expand Medicaid with matching funds from the Federal Government

Trump: He would “repeal and replace” Obamacare. Some of the “replacement” ideas include allowing insurers to sell their products across state lines and reinstating the use of HSAs (Health Savings Accounts). He would use block grants to the states instead of cost sharing.

Immigration

Clinton: Privately told Wall Street audience that she believed in “open borders.” She is for the “Dream Act” which would give a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants. In 2006, she voted for the building of a wall along the border of Mexico.

Trump: This is a signature issue for him. He would build the Mexico border wall, deport illegal immigrants and defund sanctuary cities. He would increase the ranks of enforcement officers (ICE).

Foreign Policy

Clinton: She would continue the current Obama policies, adding a “No Fly Zone” over Syria and more training of Syrian rebels. She wants to fight ISIS without U.S. troops on the ground. She is in favor of the Iran Agreement and helped orchestrate it as secretary of state. She would keep American forces in Afghanistan.

Trump: He would ask NATO and SEATO countries to pay their fair share for U.S. protection and forces deployed abroad. He rejects the Iran nuclear deal and would eliminate ISIS by killing their funding sources and “bombing the hell out of them.” He’d prefer no troops in Syria, but would keep a presence in Afghanistan.

And Think About This

There are four Supreme Court Justices that are over 80 years old. The next president will appoint four (count ‘em, four) justices to the Supreme Court. This will affect U.S. jurisprudence for a generation. If Hillary Clinton wins, it’s likely that a more liberal, evolving view of the Constitution will prevail. If Donald Trump wins, it’s clear that a more traditional, originalist view will be maintained on the Court.

“Criminal” and “monster” aside, this election has enormous consequences. Without the noise and chatter, this is as stark a choice as one could be offered between two presidential candidates. It’s actually amazing how many positions each candidate has, when you take a look.

I hope you were able to shut out the propaganda and take time with your family or friends on the weekend, take in a football game or two, take a walk, visit a museum and maybe consume an adult beverage (or two). Okay, maybe you were glued to the election news after all. But, there’s still time to turn off the propaganda from the networks and figure out what you want. Don’t vote against a candidate, vote for one.

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