How do you assess the Trump administration so far?
Griggs: The Trump Administration is not apparently led or staffed with generally principled or knowledgeable people. The President does not seem to have a good understanding of economics, the military and its roles, international relations, science, leadership, civility, or the U.S. Constitution. It’s not impossible that the Administration could have some successes, maybe in international relations but, overall, it is a real problem for the entire country.
Do you support or oppose the federal tax cuts passed in 2017? What effect do you believe they will have on the economy?
Griggs: I am generally in favor of tax cuts for everybody. I am not in favor of increasing spending and cutting taxes at the same time. The Federal Government should significantly cut spending and not increase taxes. Overall, the recent tax bill will most likely have detrimental effects on the economy as a whole since it significantly increases the national debt.
Is the level of national debt a concern? What, if anything, should be done to reduce it or constrain its increase?
Griggs: The exploding total national debt should be of great concern to all citizens. In the next few years the interest payments on the debt will exceed the expenditures for national defense. Most people do not run their own finances by continually increasing their debts. The same should be true of the national government. We are generating a problem that will eventually have to be addressed, probably by our children or grandchildren. The basic way to constrain the national debt is for the government to spend less. We citizens should start by not voting for our selfish interests as argued for by the major parties, trying to maximize what we get from the government. We need to understand that the Government generally does not produce wealth but only takes it from citizens.
Is the level of economic inequality in the United States a problem, and if so, what should the federal government do to address it?
Griggs: Economic inequality is not a real but only a politically-generated perception problem. Consider how many jobs have been created by the richest people in the U.S. Would the electorate rather have business developers and owners not be able to earn money on their ideas and efforts? Would the electorate rather those new jobs not come into being? The federal government has absolutely no role to play in trying to address economic inequality.
Should federal gun laws be changed, and if so, how?
Griggs: Even beyond the Second Amendment “right of the people to keep and bear Arms,” people have a more general natural right to possess almost any item that they can appropriately build or acquire. They have no right to use any gun or other item to threaten or harm another person except in self-defense. If anything, the federal gun laws should be weakened; we all should be in control of our own lives. Freedom is the anchor of American democracy.
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?
Griggs: Congress should get the federal government out of the medical business. There are many ways to allow people to get appropriate medical care other than requiring them to obtain commercial medical insurance under threat of penalty. One example would be to create a national pool of money given voluntarily that would be available to those who need but cannot afford medical care. A large amount of money would be available to citizens if taxes were significantly reduced by following Libertarian principles.
What role should the federal government play in helping cities like Baltimore?
Griggs: I am extremely confident my opponents for the 7th District from the Democratic and Republican parties will promise a lot and deliver almost nothing, as they have done for many years. I think the federal government should play almost no role at all in helping cities like Baltimore except by decreasing the amount of money it takes from Baltimore’s citizens through taxes and thus, leaving them with more to spend on themselves as they saw fit, and by legalization of all drugs so that the level of violence and the expense of enforcing the current silly, ineffective, and racist laws on drug possession and use would both be reduced.
What can Congress do to address the opioid epidemic?
Griggs: The current opioid epidemic is having dire consequences on many of our fellow citizens and is an extremely difficult problem to address successfully. I think the Congress cannot actually address this epidemic in an effective way. Recently proposed actions (e.g., Congress regulating the number of opioid pills produced or telling reputable doctors how much pain medication they can prescribe) would most likely make the situation worse by forcing those addicted to prescription opioids to try to obtain currently illegal substitutes (e.g., heroin). These actions would not reduce the epidemic but would make those addicted into criminals and in danger of consuming even more harmful chemicals such as fentanyl. The epidemic may be reduced by all of us trying to help our fellow citizen who have problems with all types of addiction with concern, care and support. In addition, Congress could make cannabis completely legal so that this chemical could be used as appropriate for pain control in lieu of opioids, as has been shown effective in recent studies.
What changes if any should Congress make to our immigration and deportation laws and policies?
Griggs: The United States of America is the most successful country in the history of the world and one of the primary reasons is that America is a country of immigrants. Almost all Americans are immigrants or descendants of immigrants. Current immigrants from all over the world generally have the same desire as previous immigrants: creating a better life than what they could expect in their home countries. Of course there will be immigrants that do not contribute positively to American society; our law enforcement and judicial systems can take care of those. The remainder of immigrants will be hard workers, wanting to provide good lives for their families. We should not deport any illegal immigrant who is living an “American” life and has not committed any serious crime. Congress should look at making legal immigration much easier so that more immigrants can become good Americans.
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?
Griggs: The government should basically stay out of private economic decisions. If an American (or American company) wants to buy products from other countries or sell products to other countries, the government should not limit or tax with tariffs such commerce. Restrictions may seem to help specific domestic producers or industries but harm the population in general by raising prices and distorting the national market. I am in favor of more free trade.
Do you support the Iran nuclear deal?
Griggs: Generally, I support the Iran nuclear deal. The Congress should ratify the agreement giving it treaty status. We need to continue to verify that Iran is meeting its agreed-to commitments. We are all largely made safer by having fewer nuclear weapons but their existence since 1945 has had a significant deterrence affect and has reduced the probability of large international conflicts.
How should the United States address the rise of North Korea’s nuclear program?
Griggs: We should address the North Korean development of nuclear weapons mainly through negotiation. The use of sanctions may help convince North Korea that nuclear weapon development is not in its best interest but government limitation of trade is generally not a Libertarian ideal. The use of force is not warranted against a sovereign nation that is not an immediate threat to the United States.