declaration of independence

OF A POST TO COME promised to compare the governing approaches of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with respect to two issues.

  • The growth of the power of government.
  • The protection of our rights.

The Growth Of The Power Of Government

Why is it a problem when government is powerful? Government exists to protect our rights. Yet the power we give our government makes government itself a threat to our rights. Therefore, we must choose between giving the government just enough power and giving it too much.

  • To give our government the resources it needs to defend our rights, we must give our leaders the authority to tax us and spend our money. Nevertheless, the more we allow our government to tax and spend, the more we work for government instead of ourselves. At some point, we risk slavery.
  • Some decisions which effect a people must be made jointly. Thus, government must sometimes make decisions we would otherwise make for ourselves. So it is that in a nation of free men and women, we have laws that restrict us from harming each other (traffic laws, for example). In a nation of slaves, however, the laws just list a few trivial decisions that the leaders permit the people to make for themselves.

Here is a table that summarizes where the candidates stand.  Not certain the information is correct? Then check their web sites. I have only provided links where their positions are not available on their own websites.

ISSUE Donald Trump Hillary Clinton
Taxing and Spending Favors tax simplification and reduction Favors increased taxation and spending (inferred from lengthy list of proposals)
Healthcare Private market solution Doubling down on Obamacare
School Choice For School Choice. Will end Common Core Against School Choice. Favors Common Core.
Immigration Favors extreme vetting Open borders/put new immigrants on the dole
Government Regulations Committed to reducing regulations Defends the current regulatory regime
Free Trade Opponent of the big trade bills Helped to craft TPP

To be continued: The Protection Of Our Rights


  1. I’ve never liked Hilary (or her husband) much, Tom, so it’s hard for me to say much good about her even though she is “more conservative” than Trump. I don’t think it’s a fair criticism from you to criticize me for not praising her when, in the same comment, say you’re voting for the less conservative candidate.

    But despite the irony of Hillary having a “more conservative” career track record than the shape-changing Mr. Trump, the ideological difference between them is ephemeral. This isn’t going to be an ideological election – there is no representative of conservative principles in the race. I suppose one of the beneficial by-products that may come out of this catastrophe is that future races might be less ideological in the shallow, labeling sense that has come to plague our political culture in recent years. Trump has kind of knocked all that artificial nonsense into a cocked hat, by his completely scattershot flitting from idea to idea without any regard for philosophical consistency.

    If your Trump vote is dictated by “conscience”, I’d be curious to hear what points of conscience, particularly in a professed Christian, make you think Trump has something to offer your sense of good and evil.


  2. The pressure is greater on us Republicans, Tom, because our party has nominated a man who is palpably unworthy of holding any public office, let alone the presidency. What the Dems do is not of great moment to me. It is, however, important that Republicans, particularly the philosophically conservative, constitutionally aware wing of the Republican Party, to ensure that Trump is completely defeated so that nothing like this ever happens again.


    1. @novascout

      A Conservative who never has anything good to say about the more Conservative of any two candidates?

      Calling you a wolf in sheep’s clothing would be to libel wolves. Wolves only do that sort of thing in fairy tales.

      I am voting my conscience. I am voting for Donald Trump.

  3. I’m not so sure that casting a vote for someone other than the two major parties means that the vote “won’t matter,” Tom. Voting is not like placing a parimutuel bet. The idea isn’t to pick a winner. The idea is to express one’s view of what is best for the country (or whatever jurisdiction’s race one is voting in). This year we have a very discouraging situation in which both of the major national parties have offered up candidates with serious defects – one of the candidates is manifestly unqualified to be President by any standard, the other has well-known, long-standing ethical disabilities. This seems like a good time for people who really care about the country to record their disapproval of the choice they’ve been given. To be sure, one of the two major party candidates will prevail, but a large third/fourth/fifth party turnout might make voters and party leaders think more closely about their obligation in the future to provide competent candidates.

    I consider a third party vote to be preferable to another legitimate option – not voting at all. The problem with not voting, is that its signal is ambiguous, particularly since we have had a chronic problem over the years of low-percentage citizen turnout in elections.


    1. @novascout

      If you want to encourage Democrats to vote for a third party candidate, I am okay with that. However, it seems to me you spend more time encouraging Republicans to vote third party.

  4. Am I the only one here who realizes that NO president can “end common core” without violating the authority of state governments? He could change federal grant requirements so that common core curricula or equivalents–like in Virginia–are not necessary requirements. But unless he is willing to use federal power to countermand the will of the state legislatures, he cannot do it.

    Trump also favors protectionism. I am not wholly opposed to tariffs but not as some punitive measure against companies. That isn’t free trade; that is the government taxing you for expanding business where you choose.

    Everyone holds up federal regulation as some evil thing that somehow controls your lives. If you actually looked at how many federal regulations affected your life, you would see the impact as being much lower. Cut out all the internal regulations that govern the operations of the agencies themselves and you have less than half of the regulation you started with.

    Finally, extreme vetting is such an ambiguous phrase that it could–and I believe is intended–to allow the Trumpers to fill in the blanks.

          1. None so far, but why should I compromise my principles when I have no reason to? Arlington will never go red even if all the Republicans, Independents and undecideds vote for the red liberal.

            It isn’t really liberal with other people’s money. I assume you mean our plan for a social safety net. Like many conservatives, we don’t believe centralized assistance programs work well. They waste money and don’t actually help those in need. A DE-centralized system that bases itself on the unique structure of the Commonwealth rather than some predetermined plan from Washington or Richmond. Furthermore, it would be members of the county/city taking care of members of THEIR county/city, rather than Richmond or Washington moving wealth around. Finally, the government programs would be largely coordination rather than direct redistribution. Sure, some money will be involved, but it would be up to the county to decide how that is meted out. The government programs would integrate with private programs so that the whole safety net of the community is meshed together, depending on each other and working together. The government can’t take care of everyone and neither can the private institutions to be honest. Combining efforts would reduce redundancy in the system and foster solidarity among the people of the community. The most I can see Richmond doing is offering grants to help get projects off the ground. Washington would be absolutely forbidden from granting any money to any entity except the States and MAYBE national charities under the same restrictions as the States i.e. initial grants, not what essentially amount to life support. I understand that the national site doesn’t offer much in the way of specifics, but I vice chair the Virginia chapter of the party and have a wordpress site that I building to make those general things more specific.

          2. It should be noted that we are not fiscally liberal in the sense that we desire to spend with no regard to budgetary concerns. On the contrary, we support balancing the budget, just not at the expense of the poor. In our view, reforming the systems we have like I have previously mentioned is a large part of that.

          3. @plainandsimplecatholicism

            I will elaborate in my next post, but the Solidarity Party would be (if had any opportunity to be) fiscally liberal with other people’s money. The problem is the presumption the government has some sort obligation to play Robin Hood. When a thief raids the public treasury, that is stealing. Supposedly noble motives do not change that simple fact.

            Who should you vote for? It is your conscience you have to satisfy. As a purely practical matter, if you are going to vote for the American Solidarity Party, your vote won’t much matter in this election. However, I suppose the politicians with their fingers up in the air may take notice if a significant percentage of the electorate go for fringe party candidates.

            Note that the fact you live in Arlington does not much matter in a statewide vote. What matters is the fact you live in Virginia, which has become a swing state.

          4. You seemed to have just applied you think about socialists and ignored everything I said.

            My electoral district will never swing anywhere. It is blue and will remain blue. The fact I live in Virginia doesn’t matter if the electoral district has enough votes for blue to nullify and red votes. That is just how things work with the electoral college and how Obama was able to win the democrat primary. He didn’t focus on states; he focused on districts that were undecided. Since Trump has about as much chance of winning my district as he does winning somewhere like San Francisco. So I’ll vote my conscience and for the ASP.

          5. @plainandsimplecatholicism

            The way things are going for H. Clinton I suspect lots of folks (Democrats) in blue districts could be voting their “conscience”. At least I like to think that even Democrats have a difficult time supporting a candidate who has repeatedly sold her office, even to foreign governments. If that is the case, who knows who will win in your district?

          6. Early polling has already eliminated any chance we have. It just won’t happen. Arlington is practically a suburb of DC and we know where DC is going to go.

  5. You know of course Tom, that at least since Ronald Reagan, the federal government has expanded faster under Republican presidents than under Democrats. The deficit has also grown more under Republcians than under Democrats. Because Trump has changed his party affiliation “six times” in his life, it’s really hard to tell which he will actually do.

    On each of your issues:

    1. Trump is pandering with tax cuts for the rich that he can’t pay for. His orginal idea was a onetime tax on wealth to pay off the deficit. But today he’s pandering for wealthy campaign donations and benefiting his own income tax rate while our grandkids pay for it.

    2. Obamacare was a Republican invented market driven alternative to universal health care, and although it needs reform, it’s mostly working. Donald Trump was for universal health care before he was against Obamacare. Now who really knows what he is for – whatever works to get you to elect him, I suppose, but you must know that could change tomorrow morning.

    Why keep going? Trump has no real policies or plans – just that it will be “yuge”. On the other hand, you may or may not like them, but Clinton does. And Trump’s pronouncements on everything from school choice to immigration reform could change weekly, daily, hourly, by the tweet.

    Clinton has flipped on the TPP for the same reason that Trump is against it – pure populist pandering. Most Republicans who actually know anything about trade favor the agreement. You don’t know anything about it, have not read it, don’t understand it, but you’re against it? Why specifically?

    And for that matter, being against regulations is like being against the TSA – every passenger in line hates the TSA, that is until a terrorist gets on a plane, then we all want more TSA. Trump has benefited from government regulations quite effectively when it suits him – he is the ultimate self-professed crony capitalist, but now he’s going to end all that? What specific regulations are you against that the Donald is actually against and why? I’ll guarantee you that the Donald ain’t getting rid of any of the ones that make him rich whether you hate them or not.

      1. I’m not the one claiming to be either for or against the TPP. Honestly, I haven’t a clue. I know enough to know has economic, strategic, and geopolitical ramifications that are complex, multifarious and enormously important. I work for a living, and I can’t possibly have the time nor the interest to have even the slightest informed opinion. But do you? Does Trump? Really?

        As for the tax code, I took several tax courses in law school so I have read it and studied it, but that was twenty years ago. What would you specifically like to change that you know that the Donald wants to change? Happy to do some research if you want to talk particulars.

        That includes Obamacare as well. Health care consumes somewhere between one quarter and one third of the economy. It is incredibly important from a real human suffering and from an economic perspective. The feral market is a Republican myth. There is nothing free about it. It would be like playing baseball without rules and umpires and a regulation ball field. Having a rigid deterministic ideology about anything doesn’t make complex, often ambiguous, practical reality conform to it, no matter how hard you to try to round that square. I think Karl Popper showed that.

        1. @Tony

          Feral market. Well, I guess that tells us how you feel about the free market.

          Since we have both candidates word for it that TTP is a bad deal, I don’t understand your problem. It must be a bad deal.

          My problem is that TPP is overly complicated. Even if we were supposed to be a democracy, a majoritarian tyranny instead of a republic, huge bills pose a problem. The public cannot read them, and the people we send to Congress do not read them. Such legislation is rife with opportunities for sneaky business or just plain unintended consequences, and that you must admit, has been the case.

          Tax code. You read it? The whole thing? Just how old are you?

          There is no excuse for a mess like our tax code. That’s fabricated complexity. No excuse!

          Obamacare is just plain immoral, and we both know it.

          Let’s stop for a minute and examine the basic issue. What are you complaining about?

          1. Because treaties provide a back door way of modifying the Constitution, I say they should be short and sweet. Treaties should also be few and far between.

          The USA provides a big enough market we can set the rules. If we keep our rules simple and straight forward and penalize those nations that do not reciprocate, that is just simply what we use to do anyway. Perfectly? No. We can be stinkers too, but we know from experience that trade barriers hurt us too. And when the rules are simple it easier to understand them and who is breaking them.
          2. The 16th Amendment needs to be repealed.

          3. Obamacare is unconstitutional and stealing. Charity is not a government function. Obamacare does not make complexity more manageable. Whenever the government is involved, and it does not need to be, that just complicates things and adds expense.

          So what are you complaining about? I don’t want unnecessary laws. I don’t want unnecessary government. Yet I still wonder what you are worried about.

          You have said the law is whatever a Supreme Court judge says it is. Right? If that is true, then all you have to do is elect H. Clinton. Because Trump is sooooo unpopular because he is sooooooo crazy, H. Clinton is a shoo-in. And with enough crazy judges on the Supreme court, Democrats won’t need to pass laws in Congress or amend the Constitution. The Supreme Court will take care of such mundane matters. Gosh, the Supreme Court can even sign the dotted line on TPP.

    1. @Tony

      I was wondering where you got that nonsense about Republican presidents. 😆

      It is wrong. Check this out.

      Congress controls taxing and spending.

      Here is a somewhat more meaningful chart with respect to who is in the White House.

      That chart also includes information about Congress.

      1. “Feral market. Well, I guess that tells us how you feel about the free market.”

        A “free market” is a unicorn – it sounds pretty and magical, but it does not exist in reality. Take the history of patent law, without which most of the globalized economy dissolves into smoke and mirrors, and arguably the industrial revolution never happens. Patent law is a government granted monopoly with a very long, very complex history, bureaucracy and a complex set of laws and codes. It is a tough specialization to get as a lawyer. Also, the major unit of global capitalism is the corporation which is itself a complex and dynamic legal fiction created and regulated by government. The reason that the feral corporation has never been observed free in its wild natural state is because such an animal does not exist.

        The real moral question is not whether markets will be “free”. The real moral question is how can they be best and most efficiently regulated to serve often conflicting economic and social interests.

        As for the tax code, I think you have been reading some rather fabulous propaganda. The actual code is about as long as a very long novel, but a lawyer’s version which would probably include IRS Rules, annotations and cases is rather long – that’s true of just about every federal and state code. Here’s an explanation if you are interested:

        By comparison, the Constitution is a short document, but the case history interpreting it fills hundreds of books in a law library. Sorry if you don’t like that the amazing legal institutions we have historically had in America are complex and imperfect, but I still think that it is better than trial by combat, and also the gold standard for much of the world.

        The case history of tax law and rule formation is what makes it a tough series of courses in law school, and why lawyers specialize in it. I would agree with you on reform and simplification. I have some opinions on the subject, but I have very little expertise to have an opinion you should listen to on the direction of that reform, and you apparently have even less. If you are interested in someone with the expertise to have an opinion, I personally like the direction this book takes:

        Does not much matter though. Stupid gridlock cause by subject matter ignorance and other entrenched interests on both sides will keep any meaningful reform from happening in our lifetimes.

        No, Obamacare is not immoral. This is an absurd and inconsistent argument whose logic lacks any serious philosophical or theological basis. I know “everything is stealing”. Nonsense.

        So treaties that fairly govern multiple pacific nations and hope to offset the growing military and economic domination of an entire region should be able to fit on the back of cereal boxes and written so fifth graders can understand them. Ya, that’s going to happen.

        I know that you are parroting popular right wing talk-radio nonsense here, but you have to recognize that it’s mostly magical thinking. Just because complexity in a technologically and economically advancing globalized world is frightening us does not mean that it will go away once we stick you head in the sand. Brain surgery is frighteningly complex too, and we can all have opinions on how it should be done, but we really would like someone who has some expertise if they are going to cut into our head, don’t we?

  6. I am beginning to wonder if the Democratic leadership is intentionally conspiring to keep as many people on the government dole in order to secure reelection.

    Why they favor and promote open borders when politicians are supposedly elected to represent USA various regions and constituents is beyond my comprehension.

    What is even more baffling to me is why Democrat voters support their policies when instead of improving their future for themselves and their children they are endorsing their own circumstances..

    Can you answer why?

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    1. @scatterwisdom

      When we do evil, we do something irrational. When we vote for politicians who give us other people’s money, we are stealing. That is evil, and the more we do that sort of thing the more we corrupt our government and the officials who run it.

      Think about how the country has changed with the growth of health, education, and welfare programs. All those programs involve taking money from some people and giving it to other people. The more we have instituted such programs the more degenerate our society has become.

      To start with, such programs are unconstitutional. Therefore, to institute health, education, and welfare programs, our leaders must break their oaths to uphold the Constitution. Yet such are the people we have elected to run the Federal Government.

      Do people who are willing to break their oaths care if our children learn about the Bible? No. That is why they have pushed the Bible out of school. That is why they fight school choice. They would rather fund the teachers unions than allow our children to be properly educated.

  7. “Extreme vetting” is simply vetting the way it was always done before the Obama Regime.

    There is nothing about THE Donald’s set of policies that isn’t middle of road or a matter of long established law, in fact.

    Unfortunately, we are so far into Bizarro Land that rational, common sense approaches to problems are seen as extreme.

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