Saturday, March 10, 2012

My letter to Newt Gingrich

I e-mailed Newt Gingrich a letter for him and/or his staff to answer a few months ago.  I never heard back.  Here is a copy of the letter.

Dear Speaker Gingrich and staff,
I am a registered Independent voter in the 2nd District of Nebraska. I am a senior political science major at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. My area of interest is particularly in American political behavior and elections. Because of this, I am paying very close attention to the 2012 election.
I have a few general questions about the various issues that you have posted here on your website. On the website, you claim that we should repeal Dodd-Frank because it is killing small independent banks. On politifact.com, they ran that statement and found that community banks have nearly doubled their returns on assets. Chris Cole, senior vice president of the Independent Community Bankers of America has saved the community banks about $4.5 billion dollars in FDIC fees. He goes on to state that Dodd-Frank "has not been all that bad." In fact, most experts that I have read seem to indicate that Dodd-Frank is not that bad to community banks but rather is tougher on larger banks and corporations. I would like to know what information you are using to justify your claim that Dodd-Frank is killing independent or community banks?
Additionally, I am confused how you, as President, would balance the budget with the tax cuts you are putting in place? I see that we would have an optional flat tax of 15%, which is the effective tax rate of Mitt Romney. However, if we continue with the example of Mitt Romney, in your new tax plan his tax rate would be closer to zero as most of his income was from investments. Additionally, eliminating the death tax would limit the amount of revenue you are going to bring in, as well. I was curious as to what figures you were using that showed that eliminating different governmental bureaucracies would be able to cut enough money off the deficit to make up for the loss of revenue these tax cuts would make?
Your strategies for defeating radical Islamism seem like they would violate Constitutional rights of Islamic-Americans. If for instance, an American citizen was practicing radical "Islamism" in America, his rights are guaranteed through the Constitution under the First Amendment. Once the American radical Islamist moves to attack America, only then would he breaking the law but if you are in fact marginalizing and punishing him/her before then you are viiolating his/her Constitutional rights. This seems incompatible with what you say about the 2nd Amendment rights. I also think that marginalizing radicals would make them more likely to join in a terrorist attack. Osama bin Laden said that because America is interfering in the Middle East then they deserve the terrorist attacks. I would like more clarification on how marginalizing the radical Islamists will, in fact, stop radical terrorists. Also, is the war in Afghanistan effectively a war on Islam or on terrorists or are they the same thing?
On your website, you claim that we should remove bureaucratic and legal obstacles for the responsible development of oil and natural gas in United States both offshore and on land. What exactly are the bureaucratic and legal obstacles in the way right now? What classifies as responsible development of oil and natural gas? What if instead of devoting time, energy, and resources on non-renewable energy sources we devoted the same time, energy, and resources on developing better uses of renewable energy sources? If we were to develop our own renewable energy resources and be the best at that, would that not a) create jobs and b) develop new energy sources that are not from dangerous countries, especially the Middle East? A company in Michigan stated that for each kilowatt of wind energy produced, they created 4.8 jobs. I am curious as to why with your focus on creating jobs, expanding the economy, and ridding America of the dependence on foreign energy, that you are not discussing the need for the development of renewable energy resources?
Further, we could rely less on foreign oil if we are able to re-drill in some of the places we have already drilled because our technology has improved so much that we would be able to get more oil from where we already drilled.
I don't see how re-naming the EPA is going to solve any of the issues. While this may be a good talking point for some of the more conservative of your constiuents, it does nothing to address the issues that you have brought up. I think that by re-naming it and trying to re-shape it we are going to instead be terminating jobs and rely on the states to find the cheapest way to produce energy. In doing so, we are allowing there to be energy monopolies in states instead of innovating for newer technologies. We have an agreement in Omaha, Nebraska with OPPD and MUD.
I would also like some clarification on 2nd Amendment rights. Are you in favor of no restrictions of what arms I am able to bear? In the Constitution it states a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. As I read it, that means that I am allowed to have a gun if I am connected to the militia. However, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the court ruled that I have the right to have a gun unconnected with the militia service. I would also like clarification about whether or not that was a judicial activist judge since strictly in the constitution it states that a well regulated militia is necessary and that is why we need guns. I fear that your claims about judicial activist judges are trying to make sure that you have judges who only agree with your interpretation of the Constitution and that is not the intent of checks and balances in the Constitution. But I digress. Setting aside the issue of the militia, if I am a strict constructionist of the Constitution does that mean I can only own guns that the Constitution knew about? For instance, since there were no automatic or semi-automatic weapons during the Constitution, do I have a right to this gun because the framers of the Constitution could not even imagine this gun? Where does it become a limit on what time of arms I might bear? Since the Constitution does not directly forbid me from owning bombs, am I allowed to own bombs? Is it not my right to own those, as well? Is there a limit?
Your Keystone Pipeline day one plan states that it would bring 120,000 jobs to the United States. I was curious as to where you got that figure. According to the testimony of Alex Pourbaix of TransCanada Corp., his estimation was that it would bring 20,000 jobs. The Washington Post stated the chief executive of TransCanada, stated that there would be 13,000 direct construction jobs that were one person one year, meaning that if the job was two years that would be 6500 jobs. Also, the Washington Post stated that most of the indirect construction jobs would come from outside of the United States. I would imagine that this is because of the cost of labor, parts, etc. According to factcheck.org, the United States Department of State's Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs study concluded that, the construction jobs would 5,000 to 6,000 workers, including Keystone employees, contractor employees, and construction and environmental staff. Since your figures are anywhere from 6 times to 20 times what others have said, I am curious where this number is coming from.
I have additional questions, too, but I was hoping to keep this as short, as I could. I know I failed at that, as well. At any rate, I am hoping that my questions get answered as I would truly want to be fully informed and want to avoid the misinformation that is out there. As we get closer to the 2012, I am hoping that politicians such as yourself, address questions such as these, so each voter can actually decide based on the correct information which candidate is right for them. Additionally, I think that the American public deserves to have politicians tell them the truth instead of a series of misdirections in ploys to get themselves elected.
Sincerely,
Josiah

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