The news media has had a very lucrative 18 months or so, covering the 2016 Presidential election. Sensationalism and name calling sell, and much of the news media has been ready to print and broadcast the most salacious of campaign claims. What has the news media and more importantly, the public, missed?
- Comprehensive immigration/guest workers reform. What does the candidate propose for his/her immigration/guest worker policy? What steps would the candidate recommend to reduce and eliminate undocumented workers? What policies would the candidate recommend for the 11 million illegal aliens currently residing in the US?
- Economic growth. In our global economy, how does each candidate propose growing the economy? What programs and policies would each candidate use? What evidence underlies these programs and policies that would predict their efficacy? What type of economic growth is likely? Will that economic growth generate sufficient tax revenues to balance the budget?
- Narrowing income inequality. Is income inequality an issue worthy of Government attention? If not, why not? If so, what government tools would the candidate recommend? What does the candidate define as income equality and at what income distribution does income inequality begin?
- Healthcare and Drugs (availability), including Medicare and Medicaid. What constitutes basic healthcare? Is basic health care a right or a privilege? If basic healthcare is a right, what modifications to the Affordable Care Act are necessary to satisfy all Americans right to basic healthcare? If basic healthcare is only a privilege, what changes or modifications should be made to the Affordable Care Act?
- Healthcare and Drugs (true affordability) including Medicare and Medicaid. Does it make sense that the US spends more than any other country in the world (per capita) and ranks mediocre in medical outcomes? What steps, if any, would the candidate recommend to control overall healthcare and drug costs?
- Infrastructure repair and maintenance. Is there a need to repair and maintain the national infrastructure? If not, why not. If so, what would be the top targets? How much would fixing the infrastructure cost and where would the money come from? How would the candidate guard against “favoritism” in selecting infrastructure projects, including which contractors received awards?
- Federal debt. Is the size of the Federal Debt a problem (or at least a potential one)? If not, why not? If so, what steps should be used? Should the goal be only to slow the debt growth, stop the debts growth, or slowly reduce the debt? What spending must be reduced and what new tax revenues must be found?
- Comprehensive foreign policy. What global role is appropriate for the US (e.g. world policeman, selective engagement, isolation)? What is the balance between Defense and State Departments? What role does nuclear deterrence play? Should Defense spending (which is currently more than all other countries combined) be increased? How should any increases in Defense spending be financed?
There are many other subjects like fixing the Veterans Administration, reforming the tax code, national energy policy, environment related policies, and education which would profit from a similar discussion. Sadly, these subjects also are relegated to the candidates web pages, with little back and forth discussion, or simply not discussed at all.
Back to reality. Hillary or Donald, make your choice. Cross your fingers and hope.