Election 2016

What GOP Debate Moderators Should Ask Jeb Bush and Gov. Scott Walker

For starters, why spend more federal money on space exploration? And why subsidize the Milwaukee Bucks?


Gov. Scott Walker/Facebook

The first Republican presidential debate is coming up August 6 in Cleveland, Ohio. Here are some questions the moderators might consider asking two of the candidates.

For Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin:

  • Over the weekend you cited President Reagan's 1986 tax reform, which created "two lower marginal rates," as a model for tax reform. Reagan's two tax brackets were 15 percent and 28 percent until President George H.W. Bush raised the rates. Would you bring back those two rates? If not, what rates would you seek? What if any deductions would you eliminate to broaden the tax base under these lower rates? Would the 28 percent rate also apply to capital gains? If so, how do you justify increasing the top capital gains rate from the current 23.8 percent top rate?
  • How do you justify a $250 million taxpayer subsidy for a new basketball arena for the Milwaukee Bucks?
  • You've been out on the campaign trail talking about an immigration policy that places a priority "on American working families, their wages." What does that mean? Are you suggesting that immigrants undercut the wages of native-born Americans? What's your evidence for that? If elected president, would you ask Congress to let in more legal immigrants than we do now, or fewer than we do now? Would you ask Congress to change the laws—family reunification, refugee status, green card lottery—that govern how people are allowed in legally now? If so, how? And since you described immigration over the weekend as "an issue where I have changed somewhat," what should make us think that you won't change on it some more after you get elected?
  • How would a Walker presidency be different from a Jeb Bush presidency?

For [former Florida Governor] Jeb Bush:

  • How would a Jeb Bush presidency be different from a Scott Walker presidency?
  • You said you wouldn't tear up a nuclear deal with Iran on day one of your presidency "because on 12:01 on January, whatever it is, 19th, I will not probably have a confirmed secretary of state, unlikely, won't have a national security team in place. I would not have consulted with our allies. I would not have had the intelligence briefings to make decisions." What are the chances that such consultations and briefings will change your position about whether the Iran deal, which you condemned as "dangerous, deeply flawed…appeasement," is a good idea? If what you do depends on who your secretary of state will be, can you name a list of potential occupants of that job in your administration?
  • You recently spoke in favor of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Do you favor any other Constitutional amendments, for example, on abortion, same-sex marriage, a line-item veto, or flag-burning?
  • You apparently support increases in federal spending on space. Why, other than that you are from Florida, home of NASA's Kennedy Space Center? Why is space exploration not something better left to the private sector? Would you exempt NASA from the federal hiring freeze and 10 percent workforce reduction that you proposed for the rest of the government?
  • You now say you don't support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. As both a presidential candidate and as president, your brother George W. Bush did support such a path. Hillary Clinton is already criticizing you for opposing a path to citizenship. Why should the Republican candidate in 2016 have a position on this that Democrats can and will characterize as more anti-immigrant than that of George W. Bush?
  • You propose to change immigration law to eliminate the family preference for foreign siblings and elderly parents of Americans. Doesn't that undercut Republican claims to be in favor of family values? You also propose increased penalties for businesses that hire illegal immigrants. Doesn't that conflict with your push to reduce the regulation that Washington imposes on business? One reason you give in favor of changing the family preference is that other countries do it that way. Doesn't that conflict with the idea of American exceptionalism? You also propose to use federal law enforcement funds to crack down on "sanctuary cities." Doesn't that conflict with the idea that local and state governments handle things best without a lot of mandates from Washington? Do you apply different principles to immigration policy than to other issues? If so, why?

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  1. What commercial interest is served by getting close-up photos of Pluto? Is that something that humanity simply should never have bothered with?

    1. Tony, you are something that humanity should never have bothered with.

    2. Tony how old were you when you father abandoned you ?

      1. Tony, how old were you when mommies boyfriend stopped buttphucking you?

    3. I agree. We should be taking close-up photos of Uranus instead. How else are we going to find your head?

  2. It’s a shame that Ira and others didn’t grill Obam with even 1/10 of this list of questions.

    He would have never won his 1st election much less the 2nd.

    1. Well, firstly that would have been racist.

      Secondly, I think Obama does seem to show disdain for space exploration. Most lefties do, because it’s money that could be spent on welfare.

      1. Obama just doesn’t appreciate the “Tang”

        I think Obama’s disdan for space has to do with space being headquartered in Florida and Texas..

        They are his enemies you know.

      2. No, that was first term Obama. Back when humans exploring space was a Bush mission. At that point going to Mars was stupid and a waste of money and had to be cut. And everybody in the public face of space exploration cheered mightily. Folks like Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse-Tyson thought it was just the best thing ever that Bush’s evil mission to Mars was wiped from the slate. Such a waste. The planetary society was all for it. Robotic missions are everything, you know.

        So the last year or so things changed. Now Obama wants people in space. Those same folks now think that Bush was evil and stupid and short-sighted to kill the manned space program, and finally Obama is able to bring us back to space as it should be. With Orion (the remnant of that former roadmap) and the SLS (other remnant of that old roadmap) Obama has us on track to go to Mars! He finally defeated those idiot Republicans in congress and we have our space program back!

        It is so at odds with history that it is pure insanity, but that’s how strong partisan glasses can be. Even these folk who spend their whole life wearing the “skeptic” label and preaching about the pitfalls of motivated reasoning and other logical fallacies turn into blithering, drooling idiots in the thrall of partisan groupthink.

  3. I think you could make a good case that space exploration should be something the federal government should be involved in, because of the inherent danger space imposes on Earth.

    Are private corporations going to prevent an asteroid from hitting us? No. They can’t even get out of Earth orbit…

    1. This kind of thing is difficult for pure libertarian philosophy. Not just space exploration, but all manner of basic scientific research falls outside of the strict government mission of base libertarian minarchy.

      Once the groundbreaking work is done, people would gladly spend their own money supporting research. But who is going to fund DNA crystallography back in the 40’s and 50’s? Or the groundbreaking work in developmental biology done in C. Elegans?

      These kinds of things are of huge benefit to society, but how do the completely “science for the sake of science” things get done without government? I suppose you could posit that the super-wealthy would form philanthropic societies to pool resources for the purpose – but it certainly is more easy to see how the ball gets moved down the field by using involuntary contributions via government. Or you could posit basic research as a subset of national defense – from disease, environmental degradation, famine…. slippery slope, that thought train.

      1. It is a slippery slope but at least it is a slope and not a cliff.

        I enjoyed both your posts by the way. It’s crazy/evil that someone supposedly responsible to the taxpayer for their money would/could abuse it so flippantly as to shut down a space program only to waste billions to start it back up later on only in a different political parties name.

        Did I gather the right idea behind your post ?

        1. Probably. I’m just always amazed at humans when they act like humans do. Like the way otherwise bright and interesting folk will suddenly become mindless zombies in the thrall of partisan politics. It is obviously some built-in piece of the human psyche that enhances group cooperation. But it still is shocking every time it results in stupid.

          Like when Bush proposed a fairly liberal immigration policy. Everyone went running to their national party consultants to try and figure out what they thought. All sorts of left-democrats were suddenly opposed to letting more brown people come here to work. And a few right-wing republicans were suddenly all for it. (ok, precious few republicans decided to test their base on that issue)

          I follow space exploration reasonably closely and watching deGrasse Tyson go from explaining why we don’t need to spend so much on a manned space program because it saps so much from planetary sciences when it was a Bush policy to later magically becoming an outspoken advocate for a manned mission to Mars once the Bush fingerprints were removed was pretty painful. (in an “oh, geez… I’m embarrassed for you” kind of way)

          The instructive bit of the whole thing is that nobody who is engaging in that sort of faulty thought pattern has any idea that they are doing it. But it sure is destructive when you get people in power who don’t have the overarching best interests of the nation in mind. That sort of groupthink enables very bad things.

      2. The government can reward people non-monetarily.

        For example, I think that the top 10 taxpayer (willing to be revealed) should be invited to the SOTU and get a shout out.

        Name ships, and bridges after taxpayers or other such citizens, not politicians.

        I suspect a voluntary check box to fund science would be popular on a tax return as well.

      3. These kinds of things are of huge benefit to society, but how do the completely “science for the sake of science” things get done without government?

        Many did before government crowded out any of the other possibilities. Einstein wasn’t working on grants in 1905. Nor Rutherford, Maxwell, Faraday, Darwin… It’s not crazy to believe that private donors could be funding basic research, there would just be fewer (in any) funds available to the masses of scientists who currently fill the journals with marginal work.

        Disclaimer: I’ve taken grant money from NSF, NIH, ONR, DARPA, and the Air Force. And I would be one of those less-than-stellar scientists who might be locked out of the process if it were to be privatized.

  4. Errr…..when did you stop beating your wife?

  5. What’s the evidence that immigrants undercut the wages of native-born Americans? Why would Ira ask for evidence that an increase in supply reduces price? That’s Econ 101.

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  7. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.online-jobs9.com

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