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Statement of Bill McGaughey, IP candidate for U.S. Senate in 2008

   

The historic challenge facing Americans today is to turn away from unilateral use of military force and address our deteriorating economy. The Iraq war could cost as much as $3 trillion; the human cost is incalculable. The U.S. intends to maintain 60 permanent bases in Iraq. The fact is that the Iraqi people don’t want us occupying their country. Many see the proposed U.S.-Iraqi Security Agreement as an attempt to colonize them.

Unilateralism is bad. We need to build cooperative relationships with other countries and peoples and trust more in the United Nations. Politically, we need to take the military “toys” away from leaders like George W. Bush who do not know how to handle them responsibly. We also need to scale back the so-called “war on terror”. We cannot afford those things any more. Neither can we afford the 103 additional secret service agents hired to protect Bush after he leaves office. A maximum of five agents should do. The imperial presidency is a luxury we can no longer afford.

Back to basics. The federal budget is seriously out of balance. The national debt has risen from $5.7 trillion in October, 2000, to $9.4 trillion today. The Iraq military adventure is part of the reason. Another part is the ill-conceived prescription drug benefit which, some experts say, carries a $17 trillion unfunded liability. It’s a give-away to the drug companies engineered by their lobbyists. Until he was called on it, President Bush never vetoed a spending bill. The tax-and-spend Democrats have more than met their match in the borrow-and-spend Republicans. A pox on both their houses!

Our nation’s trade deficit exceeds $700 billion annually. Evidently, the current recession and deteriorating value of the collar have not produced the turnaround in our trade accounts that was expected. Meanwhile, educational hucksters beat the drums for young people to spend tens of thousands of dollars annually to attend classes at their institutions to be trained for the global economy while their economics professors tout the necessity of free trade. Have they no shame? Those kids can’t compete in the free-trade, low-wage economy that is developing worldwide. Take their money and run. (Everyone else does it - why not the academics?)

So, what do we do about trade? First, recognize that the deficit has two main components. Part is due to our nation’s oil imports. Another part is due to outsourcing of manufacturing production to low-wage countries, especially in Asia. We need to plug both leaks.

The solution to our soaring imports of petroleum is a crash program to develop renewable sources of energy. We need to replace gasoline-powered automobiles with hybrids, electric cars, and cars powered by hydrogen. Wind power, abundant in Minnesota, is the ultimate source of this energy. I see the current energy crisis as a way to revitalize the rural parts of our state.

With respect to outsourced production, I favor changing the world trading order to allow national governments to use tariffs to regulate multinational business. “Employer-specific tariffs” would encourage businesses to raise wages and reduce work hours in their foreign production centers so that eventually we had thriving consumer markets and real trade between nations, not an exchange of goods for debt. This scheme envisions a world of cooperation among nations to solve their common employment and resource problems. Our future depends on it.

 

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