On the eve of their first nationally televised debate, Democratic presidential candidates answer questions about the economy, health care, foreign policy, Social Security and the NAACP's boycott of South Carolina...
1. I would repeal all of President Bush's tax cuts. They -- not the recession or the war -- are the major reason we have gone from a projected 10-year $5.6 trillion surplus to a projected $2.4 trillion deficit in two years under Bush --an $8 trillion reversal. I would invest the savings in job-creating programs such as education, health care and housing to stimulate the economy from the bottom up.
2. All candidates say their goal is to provide health care for all Americans, but they put the cart before the horse. They fight for legislation instead of rights. I believe health care's a human right that should be put in the Constitution as a new amendment. That's why I support House Joint Resolution 30. Charlton Heston believes in Second Amendment constitutional gun rights. I believe in constitutional health care rights.
3. The former owner of the Texas Rangers has behaved in foreign policy like the Lone Ranger. President Bush's imperialistic go-it-alone military-oriented foreign policy is shortsighted, unworkable and, in the end, will be too costly -- in money, lives, good will, democracy and sound international relations. A U.N.-ignored, but U.S.-led, pre-emptive policy of invasion in Iraq has weakened the United Nations, the structures of collective security and the rule of international law.
4. Greater and balanced economic growth. Those with the responsibility of protecting Social Security's solvency arrive at their conclusions by projecting economic growth over 75 years. They (rightly) are conservative in their assumptions. But the "crisis" is based on an assumed 1.8 percent economic growth rate. If the economy grew at 3 percent the system would be sound for the foreseeable future -- with only small adjustments like in the mid-1980s -- and the crisis would disappear.
5. Yes. If the issue is "heritage not hatred," the Confederate flag should be put in a private museum to preserve its heritage, not displayed on public buildings or government property -- which unleashes hatred. Those who can choose to stay out of South Carolina and not use its hotels and restaurants (e.g., conventions) should do so. I must campaign in South Carolina in order to win the Democratic nomination.