How do you assess the Trump administration so far?
Moser: The President has no executive capacity. He has weakened the United States not simply through his policies, but through his conduct: big businesses and other nations see the President as a joke, someone to be ignored, whose public rhetoric has no real impact. The market staggers around due to uncertainty about his outbursts and bad policies rather than the integrity of American enterprise. The Administration has weakened our social safety nets such as HUD and SNAP, has gutted Obama policies simply because they were Obama policies, and has created situations where children and families are put at risk by policy and then dangled those threats in front of Congress as negotiating leverage, as if they were holding hostages. This has impacted our economy and has impacted good, hard-working families. The President has practically destroyed the USDA. His Administration removed the major function of the USDA dedicated to Rural America support programs, the very people he promised to help. His trade policies will reduce the wealth of working Americans, resulting in less purchasing and, contrary to his talk about helping truckers, reducing the amount of shipping and thus the availability of jobs for truckers. The Trump Administration lacks the professional capacity to handle the job to which it is tasked, and has harmed and will continue to harm our Nation, our Nation’s enterprise, and the good hard-working Americans depending on our National policies.
Do you support or oppose the federal tax cuts passed in 2017? What effect do you believe they will have on the economy?
Moser: I intend to repeal and replace the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Act created enormous deficit, acted in great haste, complicated tax policy, and has disproportionate impact on states with higher taxes–which, oddly enough for a Republican effort, means the TCJA discourages strong and independent State government and instead seeks State dependence on the Federal government. Worst of all, the TCJA uses Chained-CPI-U to adjust tax brackets after 2016. C-CPI-U rises more-slowly than inflation and wage, and so pushes the poor and middle-class up into higher tax brackets over time. The Administration suggested this will create $500 billion of new revenue over the next 10 years: no increases on the wealthy in the top bracket, and move the less-wealthy up toward that top bracket to raise their taxes. All of this will continue to weaken consumer buying power, first hurting families, then our enterprises, and our States and Local governments who will be deprived of tax revenues by the loss of taxable corporate and personal income.
Is the level of national debt a concern? What, if anything, should be done to reduce it or constrain its increase?
Moser: The National Debt is a great concern. Economists are uncertain what identifies when debt is a concern: it’s not as simple as a magic Debt-to-GDP or Debt-per-Capita threshold. We stand at over 100% Debt-to-GDP now, and 60% is considered prudent. The rate of debt growth raises the biggest concern. If we are so dependent on more and more debt, then we will have terrible problems when other Nations suddenly lose confidence in our credit and refuse to lend. A lower Debt-to-GDP may not be a reliable technical indicator of economic health, but it does show responsibility and maintains faith in our credit. It also reduces the interest we pay on that debt, now over $200 billion. Repealing the TCJA and implementing economic policies which have little fiscal impact would place us back on the 2016 deficit level. Strengthening our economy, streamlining operational efficiency, and attempting to increase our debt more-slowly than inflation and GDP growth would allow us to keep borrowing while our Debt-to-GDP ratio shrinks, demonstrating strong control over our fiscal situation and giving us greater fiscal control over our debt and interest.
Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and if so, what should the federal government do to address it?
Moser: Economic inequity is an enormous problem. I entered the race for Congress to bring a Universal Dividend to the United States to completely-end homelessness and hunger, after having worked out the fiscals in a manner which would not require a tax increase or service cuts in 2016. This is the “replace” part of “Repeal and Replace the TCJA”. The Universal Dividend essentially solves Social Security’s insolvency and guarantees its Retirement and Disability benefits will pay out in full, cost-of-living adjusted, forever. It does this by completely-restructuring Retirement and Disability: a new benefit with a stronger funding source pays unconditionally starting at age 18, and then Retirement and Disability fill the gap to the full total benefit. This new benefit takes 1⁄8 of all of the income as a FICA on both Corporate and Personal income, and pays out a flat, non-taxable benefit to every Adult twice-monthly. In 2016, this would have been $6,700. That makes people less-poor, increasing the reach of HUD and SNAP, bringing people out of homelessness and hunger. It creates additional consumer spending, which creates jobs; and those jobs appear mostly around the poorest, as they gain the largest proportional increase in income. Because of the structure, the Dividend grows faster than cost-of-living and inflation. I also suggest minimum wage pay one full-time year’s wage at no less than twice the Dividend, reaching a total take-home equivalent to $15.11/hr in 2027. That, plus education and healthcare, will change the world.
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how?
Moser: Yes. We need to make a few minor adjustments to background checks and other things. I believe we must take a much-larger strategy than our current dialogue suggests. Although the greatest impact will come from criminal justice reform to help people move from crime to productivity, there are a number of policies which we must implement concerning firearms. We need accountability by the State and Local governments to ensure information reaches the NICS background check database. We must also restrict magazine size to six at most: revolvers carry six shots, and so this makes sense from an enforcement perspective. We also need to look at bullet dynamics. We’re going to let people hunt and keep self-defense weapons; we must thus consider if a bullet can be sufficient to take down the appropriate animal and also have diminished effect against a human being and a crowd of human beings. Powder load and bullet shape have enormous impacts on what happens when you fire a bullet into a crowd. Rifles and handguns should not accept the same bullets. As well, we must test semi-automatic action under accelerated firing. A cheap hunting rifle can physically fire at 400-600 rounds per minute. The action should physically take at least half a second to cycle, unless completely-rebuilt in a non-trivial manner obvious on inspection. The AR-15 ban effort ignores this and will fail to prevent dangerous rapid-firing through trivial modification to readily-available firearms.
What should Congress do with respect to the Affordable Care Act? Should it be strengthened, and if so, how? Should it be scrapped? If so, what if anything should replace it?
Moser: Strengthen the ACA and provide a public option to guarantee no American ever goes without access to care for even one moment. Healthcare is not affordable unless the insurance copays and out-of-pocket maximums are also affordable, and the ACA essentially only makes provision for the cost of premiums for low-grade plans. Expand the small business subsidy and pay 50% of the cost of healthcare for these businesses. If the workers have a union, extend the phase-out period for those workers. Figuring out a premium is a little complex: we don’t want to reward employers for pushing you to the Public Option. Should a person have no job or be self-employed, they receive the Public Option care matched to their income level at no premium. A person with extremely-large financial assets might be measured by that instead. They may pay an additional differential to buy a higher level of coverage, if they so choose. A person with a job which does not offer healthcare receives the Public Option at no premium: their employer pays the affordable rate as a payroll tax. If the employer supplies care which is NOT affordable, then the person can pay the affordable rate, and the employer can also pay the affordable rate as a payroll tax. If the employer supplies care which IS affordable, then the person pays the usual cost, and the employer pays their usual share as a payroll tax. A great deal more is needed for healthcare.
What role should the federal government play in helping cities like Baltimore?
Moser: The Universal Dividend would have driven nearly $2 billion of additional non-taxed income into the hands of Baltimore City residents in 2016. Of course this creates spending, new jobs, taxable wage revenue, taxable business revenue, and the like as well. This policy will drive the phenomena of the poor inner city into the history books in short order, in Flint, in Detroit, and in all such cities with struggling populations. HUD should help people to pay their mortgage the same as it would if they were renting under the same cost conditions. My mortgage for 15 years is under $500/month; a poor family facing $500/month rent gets a voucher, and why would we not give them that same voucher if they have the chance to purchase and own their home at the same monthly price? Federal funding for education and transit projects as well as an enormous push for criminal justice reforms such as increased parole, greater behavioral health services, dynamic security as the required base model for prisons, and other programs which humanize and care for those who interface with corrections and rehabilitate them to lead productive lives will have the greatest impact after ending homelessness and hunger.
What can Congress do to address the opioid epidemic?
Moser: Medical marijuana may play a role. Criminal justice reform brings behavioral health services and reduces the conflict between the population and corrections. In short: asking for help escaping addiction should lead directly to help, rather than criminal filings and felony imprisonment. These people desperately want help, and they get five days of Methodone and a year of facing the long-term withdrawal on their own. This isn’t the fault of doctors and pharmacists, although we might like to ask about the manufacturers’s literature pushing opioids; this is the fault of our nation not stepping in to identify, acknowledge, and correct our mistakes. We have not been there to help these people when addiction comes, and this is the result; these other factors–many of which are important in their own right–are secondary to that great responsibility of government for which we now make only excuses.
What changes if any should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies?
Moser: Nearly two-thirds of unauthorized immigrants are visa overstays. For complex economic reasons, these have approximately zero impact on the health of our economy and the employment market. In any case where we have no compelling reason otherwise, all student visas should automatically become work visas; and all work visas should automatically renew and grant independence to find new work. Perhaps we should transition work visas to permanent residence (“green card”). Citizenship is a bigger topic. The process is long, fraught with delays, and is in the end a personal decision. Citizenship grants access to Federal welfare programs such as Social Security, as well as voting rights and the right to run for any Federal office other than that of President of the United States. Nevertheless, a lawful immigrant waiting on Citizenship may become an unlawful immigrant in the interim; thus we must focus on permanent, independent residence as an automatic consequence of being resident and in good enough standing to stay. Sanctuary Cities can keep their immigrants. I would prefer they are housed in humane facilities and treated as human beings rather than released simply to avoid turning them over to ICE. For a suspected terrorist, Homeland Security will have to take the guest’s chair: the City can claim jurisdiction to hold or parole the suspect indefinitely, rather than turn them over to a DHS facility. They will of course work with DHS in their investigation.
Should the United States continue with the free trade policies it pursued for the last several decades, or should it enact restrictions in an attempt to help domestic industries?
Moser: Free trade makes every American wealthier. Policies to protect Americans from sudden shifts in trade and technology are necessary; however, protectionism by way of shutting out trade only creates instability and poverty. Where a sudden shift in technology or trade threatens the American economy, such as by threatening many jobs, the United States must take action to slow this shift. Those whose jobs are lost in the path of progress become the responsibility of our welfare system: we must ensure their economic security and help them transition to new jobs without facing financial ruin. We must, therefor, ensure that so many keep their jobs so as to not exceed our capacity in doing so. In due time, American workers will transition. We moved from Agriculture to Manufacture; and then from Manufacture to Services, Technology, and Healthcare. That transition convinces new entrants to the workforce that these jobs are not going to be there in coming years, and tends to cause a mild labor shortage, protecting jobs as the industry winds down, and allowing it to shrink to fit by the retirement of industry veterans. “Industries” are things: they are a great many corporations and the things they do. They are not American enterprise, American jobs, and American standard-of-living; they are the romantic ideal of factories and farms, of computer researchers and medical technicians. People need jobs, economic security, and a high standard-of-living; people don’t need a vibrant industry of elevator operators or other such specific ideals.
Do you support the Iran nuclear deal?
Moser: Yes. It is good for national and global security. It also lifts economic sanctions on Iran. Economic sanctions are a tool by which a nation increases poverty in another nation as some form of punishment or show of power. This mostly harms children and civilian workers by reducing economic stability and support, thus reducing access to food, water, energy, healthcare, and all other basic needs. In short: economic sanctions are a form of violent, devastating attack on an entire population’s physical and emotional health, while the powerful retain control over national wealth and so keep themselves and their interests well-funded. The moment I learned what economic sanctions are, I projected this effect, and so classified economic sanctions as war crimes. I have since learned I am not the only person of this opinion.
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
Moser: Difficult. North Korea is a poverty-stricken state thanks in part to economic sanctions and a lack of economic aid. It is an unstable dictatorship as a result, and difficult to approach safely. The ideal approach is, of course, to somehow stabilize North Korea, and then help grow and develop their economy into something by which the people and the government have a vested interest in remaining stable. That leaves the great question of how exactly to make North Korea’s leadership identify us as their great friend and economic partner, and so bring them to truly seek to work well with the US and UN and abandon their hostilities entirely. That is someone else’s problem: I don’t have the capacity to solve that one at this time, and will maintain this stance until such a time as I am for whatever reason fully qualified to address the situation. Domestic matters of economics, technology, and human rights are more of my interest.