FLORIDA, June 10, 2012 — In the first segment of my interview with former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, he spoke about why he is running for president along with his reasons for doing so as, of all things, a third party candidate.
Read also: Part One - Rocky Anderson is rocking the vote
Afterward, he told us about his unique political philosophy which is far too multifaceted to be described as simply ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’.
Now, he will share his opinions on how America’s economy might be jump started, what he deems as sensible national security measures, and, finally, what the proper role of social issues in the federal government should be.
Joseph F. Cotto: Despite the fact that many other countries are climbing out of the Great Recession, America is having great difficulty following suit. If elected, how would you deal with this stark reality?
Mayor Rocky Anderson: I would reduce the bloated military budget and urge the imposition of a financial transaction tax of 0.5%, then utilize part or all of the proceeds to put people to work and equip students to compete with other students around the world. I would implement a WPA-type program, putting millions of people to work building up and repairing our nation’s rapidly deteriorating infrastructure.
I would also renegotiate the outrageous trade agreements that led to millions of U.S. jobs being moved to other nations that do not have the same workers’ and environmental protections as in the U.S. I would also look far into the future, investing in education in ways that will reduce tuition burdens for students and make higher education accessible to all qualified students.
The recession is, in large part, a result of our unconsionable accumulated debt. We must immediately end the budget-busting Bush tax cuts (at this point, they should be referred to as the Bush/Obama tax cuts) and end the loopholes utilized by corporations like GE that do not pay any income taxes in the U.S.
Cotto: America is currently facing unprecedented national security threats not only from our string of Mideast conflicts, but Mexico. This, needless to say, is due to the incredibly violent drug wars occurring on both sides of the border. How would your administration deal with such a pressing crisis?
Mayor Anderson: I disagree with the premise that we are facing “unprecedented national security threats” from Mexico. The attack on Pearl Harbor and the subsequent World War II, as well as the Cold War (including the Cuban missile crisis), constituted far greater threats to our national security.
The drug wars are a product of the demand in the U.S. for illicit drugs and the so-called “war on drugs,” including prohibition. Just as the Mafia thrived during those years of prohibition of alcohol in the U.S., the drug cartels are profiting from a misguided, failed drug policy in the U.S. If we legalized drugs as we did alcohol (and as we do cigarettes), then taxed and regulated them, the cartels would no longer profit from the the market in illegal drugs. All substance abuse should be treated as a public health issue rather than as a criminal justice issue.
Also, all who immigrate to the U.S., legally or illegally, should be known to the U.S. government. We can achieve that with sensible, compassionate immigration reform, which should include a path to legal residence, and ultimately U.S. citizenship, for all who have worked and lived peacefully in the U.S. We should also have a work permit program allowing people to fill vital jobs, particularly in agriculture. The participants in those programs would all be identifiable to the U.S. government.
Cotto: Social issues have an unfortunate, but unmistakable, tendency to rile passions as opposed to reason. Generally speaking, would you prefer to handle these at the federal level, or allow individual states to do as they best see fit?
Mayor Anderson: Many, if not most, of such issues should be handled at the state level. However, when fundamental principles, such as equal protection of the laws and due process are involved, there should be federal protection. That includes equal protection under the law with respect to gender and sexual orientation.
Those specific answers; as I said in the first segment, what a change from the political norm — speaking a great deal while saying nothing at all.
Now that we know not only why the Mayor is running for president, but about his plans for some of the most dire fiscal, national security, and social issues of our day, what does he think of his main opponents?
Furthermore, which topic, precisely, is most important to him in this campaign? Also, and perhaps most importantly, does he honestly believe that he can win the general election?
Part three awaits.
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