“Citizens United”? Good or bad? Depends upon the sort of a country we want the United States of America to be… One dominated by the wealthy and corporations? Then the decision was a good one. One where all Americans are represented? Then it was a bad decision. I tend to go with the second conclusion. “Citizens United” was a bad mistake. That is assuming that you believe in an elective system of government, although to be honest, the US is more an “oligarchy” than anything else today.
“The Minimum Wage”? Most minimum wage jobs are relatively low productivity service industry jobs that require a minimum level of training. So raising the cost of labor to the employer (which will be passed on to the consumer) will have a negative effect upon employment to some degree. A better “alternative” might be a “negative income tax”. Then we might also consider exempting these people from federal and state taxes…
“The National Debt”? The consequence appears to be a decline in the value of the dollar. As I’ve noted in the past, the dollar now buys about what a dime would buy back in 1959. Part of the reason the debt is so high is because government revenues are less due to our high levels of unemployment along with lower paying jobs than the sort we used to have. Our trade deficits are another problem. No country can continue to import more than it exports forever. Effectively we’re “selling” the United States of America to the Chinese People’s Republic. They take our dollars, use the dollars to buy up our debt, become our creditors. This is “not” a wise policy for a country that wishes to retain its independence.
“The National Security State”? Big Brother is alive and well. His agency, the National Security Agency, is “watching everyone”. Unfortunately, even with a trillion dollars a year now being spent on keeping us “secure”, the dangers from Islamic terrorism still exist. I suggest that we’d be smarter making it as difficult as possible for the terrorists to come here rather than attempting to keep them from committing terrorist acts here in the US. Also, killing lots of innocent people to get one “bad guy” tends to create more enemies… Our policy appears to be: “How to make enemies and lose friends.” Not a wise policy.
“Obamacare”? Poorly thought out to start with. The problem is excessively high cost, which will require deregulation and repeal of laws that keep people from being able to take care of their health. Obamacare doesn’t do any of this. It actually increases costs further! As I’ve stated before, repealing prescription laws, deregulation are the things we need to do to reduce health care costs. Of course this will reduce the incomes of those involved in health care. Less costly health care, less demand for the sort of insurance coverage that the private health insurance industry would like to sell to you. Very profitable insurance too. This is why there is the support that there is for Obamacare among these groups.
The “War on Drugs” is a very expensive mistake. Of course to those involved in some way in law enforcement, its a good money maker. Creates employment for police officers, prison guards, most anyone involved with the criminal justice system. Of course us taxpayers end up paying for it all. Total cost is probably in the hundred billion dollar range. Say $300 per capita. I think we have better uses for the money. On both a per capita basis and as a total, we hold more people in prison or under “legal supervision” than any other nation on Earth. Overall, the “War on Drugs” soaks up money that could be put to much better uses.
We have created for ourselves a number of monopolies that increase costs for everyone. The only ones who benefit from these are perhaps those who have invested into them. I’m doubtful that cable customers will benefit from the merger of Comcast and Time Warner.
Doctrinaire Libertarians are always talking about “freedom”. About elimination of the income tax, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. Which is fine as far as it goes, but rarely do I see specific solutions to the problems that brought the income tax, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, into being in the first place. Take the issue of the minimum wage. There is a reason the minimum wage exists. When passed in 1938, the idea was to put a “floor” under wages so that workers would not ” bid” against each other for the scarce jobs of the time. The first minimum wage was set at $.25 an hour. ($4.05 an hour today). How low would workers today go for a job? As for the income tax, if the federal government was limited to the role it had in the 18th Century, we probably could finance it easily using the same sort of tariffs that were used back then. State governments were financed off of property taxes as far as I know. The same system was used for virtually everything else.
Social Security came about due to the large numbers of people who had lost everything in the stock market. It was designed mainly to keep old people from having to depend upon either their children or on charity. The “three generations living in one house” was rather commonplace at the time, just as it is today in low income countries. Medicare was signed into law in 1965, more as a means of prevention of bankruptcy due to medical costs for those over 65, along with the hospitals who saw it as a way to avoid having to provide a level of “charity care” that they could see was a growing problem. Medicaid was created with much the same ideas as Medicare, but was limited to those living in poverty or on welfare. This was the thinking of the time. However with Medicare seniors quickly found out that now they could afford a level of medical services much higher than what they’d been able to pay for before. This created a rapidly rising increase in Medicare costs that hadn’t been expected. Then too of course doctors found that it was profitable to see seniors on Medicare, as they now had the means to pay for services they wouldn’t have considered before. I suspect that we’re now going to see much the same thing with Obamacare…