I’m watching the US presidential primaries with interest. I find it interesting that Marco Rubio is now billed as a “moderate.” He’s a Tea Party type, and a few years ago he was considered to be a right-wing radical. That many people, including the press, now consider him a centris is a testimony to how far to the right the Republican Party has drifted.
Rubio himself has moved farther to the right. He was once in favor of immigration reform. Now he says that immigration reform can only take place once the border, meaning the Mexican border, of course, is secured. The border will never be completely sealed, so that’s another way of saying he is against immigration reform under all circumstances.
He also calls for 20,000 more Border Patrol agents. The Mexican border is already overrun with Border Patrol agents, and it appears that the law of diminishing returns is already in effect. Throwing another 20,000 agents at the border will have little effect. The agents will be stumbling over each other. Unless we want the type of border that existed between East and West Germany during the bad old days, there is no way to seal the border. Actually, even that wouldn’t work. The Communists were never ever to keep people from getting out.
Marco Rubio also favors granting more tax concessions to the rich. For example, he wants to eliminate both income taxes on investments and the estate tax. That means that the very rich, who earn their income from investments, would pay no income taxes whatsoever. The entire burden of supporting the federal taxes would fall on people who work for a living. There would be a drastic wealth transfer from the middle class to the very rich. The Washington Post says that the wealthiest one percent of the US population would see their income increase by an average of $224,000 a year. Do we really want to go back to the Medieval days when a small group of people lived in great luxury paid for by the work of their serfs?
The Washington Post also estimates that under Rubio’s plan to free the rich from the obligation of paying taxes would reduce federal income by $2.4 trillion over a decade. That is money that our already debt-burdened federal government would have to borrow.
Does anyone remember that during the Clinton administration the federal budget ran a surplus and was making payments on the national debt? Then the Bush II administration drastically increased government spending while cutting taxes on the rich. Our national debt has been growing ever since, although the rate of growth is slowing under the Obama administration. Rubio wants to implement a Bush plan on steroids with massive government borrowing to support the very wealth. When it comes to the federal budget, Republican administrations spend money like drunken sailors while the middle class foots the bill.
I wish this country would go back to the practices that Republicans support in their speeches but throw out the window in practice: A prudent budget with the wealthy bearing their fair share of the burden of running the government.
Changing the subject, I spent a long day yesterday in McDowell Mountain Regional Park, a desert park northeast of Phoenix. Our bicycle racing team is obligated to put on a bike race once a year, and yesterday was the day of the race. I had one of the harder jobs, presenting the awards. What made it difficult was being on my feet for about 14 hours. At 73 years of age, I don’t handle standing for such a long period as well as I once did.
I wish I could have raced. There was a race for guys over 70 years of age, but due to a strained lateral collateral ligament (LCL) in my left leg, I am unable to pedal my bike without feeling intense pain. It’s a shame, because I had planned to be in great racing shape this year. Then, I came home from a routine 75-mile training ride, not long compared to what I’m used to doing, only to feel an intense pain in my left leg during the last five miles. I haven’t been able to ride my bike since without making the injury worse.