Congressional candidates on the issues, part 1

Tonight I begin a series of posts on how the First Congressional District candidates look at the issues I (and I’m sure many others) care about, comparing and contrasting all of them similarly to how I did the nominees for President and on the same issues. I’ll even use the same point scale.

This will be a little different though because a) there’s fewer candidates and b) they don’t cover all of my pet issues. In this post, I’ll cover four of my pet issues but only score the hopefuls on two because they simply don’t discuss the other two.

For example, while eminent domain is a key issue in my book, it doesn’t rise to the level of something they discuss in their online policy summaries. The same goes for election reform, an issue that ranks tenth among my top twelve. So none of the candidates receive points for those two key things I care about.

This means I start with the issue I rank eleventh, Second Amendment rights. In this case, only Andy Harris discusses the topic, with a very brief mention of his support. In my original point scale, Second Amendment rights were worth seven points, for support without specifics I’ll give Andy two points.

We finally get the ball rolling on the issue I had pegged as ninth, that being trade and job creation. Here’s how some of those seeking the seat weigh in, first on the GOP side.

Joe Arminio in essence wants to turn back the clock, returning some policies of the past which he sees as creating a successful economy:

Resume those earlier, triumphant government practices that enabled American industry to be preeminent on earth. This would of course include the end of the so-called free trade era. Let us return to fair trade, which includes high tariffs applied against low-wage countries, such as Communist China. Let us withdraw from NAFTA and CAFTA. And we should have nothing to do with the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas). Trade reforms and other reforms intended to revive industry should be phased in…

Meanwhile John Leo Walter has this to say as part of his platform:

As a conservative, I believe that economic freedom is the key to returning America to prosperity. Supporting an “ownership society” enables us to trumpet our God given freedom and gives all Americans the opportunity to obtain the “American Dream.”

Now to the Democrats. I’ll probably use this again for a later post, but Christopher Robinson thinks this is part of a “sound economic policy”:

As a small business owner and lawyer on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Christopher Robinson understands the importance of sound national policies that foster economic development and create jobs. The budget deficit and national debt are a national disgrace and prevent us from pursuing sound, responsible national objectives. We owe it to our children to leave them a legacy of hope, not a mountain of debt.

Obviously, there’s parts of these candidates’ platforms which will lend themselves to contributing on several of my key issues because they are relatively general.

So how do each get scored? You may recall that trade and job creation was an eleven point scale and none of them reach that level.

Arminio does score a few points with his advocacy of fair trade policies, which reminded me most of Ron Paul’s Presidential candidacy. So I’ll give him an equal number of points, six of the 11. I disagree to some extent on completely withdrawing from the agreements but would like to see them revamped to cover just trade, not all the excessive regulations slathered onto NAFTA and similar trade pacts.

I can’t give Walter too many points because he’s not really too specific on his website; however, in his remarks before our Republican club he did make mention of being an “ambassador” for the First District insofar as job creation is concerned. While I have misgivings about the degree of activism that will entail, it’s a different approach so I’ll give him four points for that.

It gives me pause to reread Christopher Robinson’s statement because one can take “sound national policies that foster economic development and create jobs” in many different ways. It could be relieving the burdens from the private sector or it could be a rebirth of the WPA – obviously I’d love the first solution and be aghast at the other. The vagueness is too much to realistically rate the answer, but I’ll give him 1/2 point for addressing it.

So these are the standings through the first four parts, starting with the GOP:

  1. Joe Arminio, 6 points
  2. John Leo Walter, 4 points
  3. Andy Harris, 2 points
  4. Wayne Gilchrest, no points

For the Democrats, Christopher Robinson has 1/2 point to Frank Kratovil’s zero.

The next time out (likely Monday) I’ll look at two different subjects: education and veterans affairs. It should be an article of similar length since once again not all of the candidates weigh in on the two subjects, but enough to move the standings.

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.

3 thoughts on “Congressional candidates on the issues, part 1”

  1. Michael,

    Isolationism when it comes to trade does nothing to advance our national interest. Frankly, as a life long conservative (I’ll admit that I lean libertarian on many issues, but the love of limited government is there), Mr. Arminio’s statement scares the hell out of me.

    There are many holes in his theory from an economics perspective. First, the introduction of tariffs by one country are never left unanswered by the other side. In Mr. Arminio’s example of “Communist China”, what is their response to our introduction to high import tariffs? In the end, this may be the least of our concerns…

    Next, due to the RIGHT and PROPER specialization of labor, we depend on lesser developed economies for many consumer goods, the introduction of “high tariffs” will immediately place immense inflationary pressure on the US economy. Bad news no matter how you slice it.

    The fact of the matter is, the American economy has evolved to the point to where we simply cannot turn back the clock to 1950 when we were based in heavy industry. Through technology, our economy has evolved, and there’s no going back. Additionally, government regulation and our tax policy has killed off much of the rest of our industrial base.

    In industries where we still have a presence (auto, etc), we shouldn’t worry with tariffs or import quotas. The mechanism for American industry to complete with cheap foreign labor is through increased production efficiency. In the end, you’ll find that the production efficiency of US labor more than offsets the advantages gained by using cheap foreign labor (as long as we can keep the unions out of it). See the examples of Toyota, etc building their autos here without UAW interference.

    I know that this rambled a bit, sorry for that. Anyway, the best trade is free trade, at least in my opinion.

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