COMMENTARY: Why America and Delaware must change course this election

Mark Twain once said, “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.” I disagree. It is one of our most valuable rights, but many individuals don’t exercise the right to vote. They are turned off! There are three types of people: Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened. Voters make things happen when they are informed and act on knowledge. America is in trouble, and we need to pay attention to the facts and issues at hand.

First, President Obama has not, in his eight years, signed a balanced budget. Elected politicians operate our federal government in a cavalier manner with annual deficits, threats to shut down our federal government, and then, use stopgap continuing resolutions. On top of that, America’s debt ($19-plus trillion) continues to mount – our country is in financial turmoil. Our leaders are forced to rely on heavy borrowing to meet underfunded promises. This is a vicious cycle and ticking time bomb with severe repercussions.

Second, legal immigration historically has been and should always be our calling card because we are a nation of immigrants in one large mosaic of assimilated people, but our borders are like a sieve of bleeding ulcers. If you come legally to the U.S. and assimilate into the American culture — you are welcome. If you don’t come legally, prepare to move back home. However, I don’t see the ability to deport 14 million people, either.

John C. Still

John C. Still

Those who are here illegally and/or with children born here … we will find a way to offer you a legal documentation. Then, it is your choice to either accept it or leave. The need for a proactive approach to foreigners entering our country needs to be systematic, with immigration reforms implemented immediately.

Third, don’t depend on the media for unbiased information. Certain liberal media have shown their favoritism for the liberal agenda, and their reporting is biased and unfair. Respected media used to be considered the fourth branch of government — as our watchdog—– but no more. They cannot be trusted any more than Hillary. Bernie Sanders (and Trump) shattered Hillary’s make-believe establishment’s consensus candidacy and proved America is ready for a new direction from an outsider, one who demonstrates no favoritism to special-interest groups.

Fourth, just as there is Bush fatigue, there is Clinton fatigue. In Delaware, we see a lot of the same insiders running for office … over and over again … part of prior administrations, moving up, sideways, and/or over to D.C. or back to Delaware governments. Some feign they will change things, but history teaches us differently. We are all tired of undelivered promises and rhetoric. How many of them have met a payroll, created a business or really can create jobs? Unfortunately, very few!

Fifth, the last Great Recession was a wakeup call to everyone. The financial system froze and nearly collapsed. Job creation stagnated, real-estate values plummeted, incomes and net worth declined drastically, and lending became more difficult. Delaware state revenues, over two years, declined nearly $800 million, and yet, the state operations budget continued to grow over time. Delaware Medicaid expenditures now cover nearly 225,000 people, or nearly 25 percent of our population (mostly women and children).

Delaware’s General Fund (GF) operations budget’s reliance on certain volatile and inelastic revenue streams (escheat, casinos) have seen better days. Abandoned property (escheat) and lottery (casinos) revenues are declining, and with below-average economic growth and growing health care costs, our state structural revenue imbalances will grow without prudent spending restraints. Delaware, like New Jersey, has plundered our slots facilities with high tax rates.

Delaware state employees’ health care costs continued spiraling as our administration worked around the edges of increasing health care costs. DelDOT’s Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) continues to be underfunded, meaning infrastructure and roadway improvements are way behind due to static revenues and the transfer of DelDOT employees’ salaries and benefits costs being transferred from the GF to the TTF during the Castle era.

Nationally, the key issues are fighting and winning against growing terrorism threats, getting illegal immigration and our borders controlled, and freeing our economy of burdensome regulations, cutting the world’s highest corporate income taxes, and moving us back to a competitive private health care model.

Additionally, both parties need to hold Wall Street (e.g., Wells Fargo) accountable, end corporate welfare and crony capitalism, and junk those one-sided trade deals. Do you remember when Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential race was telling you about the giant sucking sound of NAFTA and of jobs going overseas? Well, he was correct. Manufacturing jobs in America and Delaware are at an all-time low.

The Democratic Party is in the midst of an ongoing internal civil war between Sanders and Clinton supporters. They now know Hillary for her dishonesty and scandals: Pay-for-play Clinton Foundation, email purging, Travelgate, Whitewater, and our murdered Benghazi Americans. When she was asked by CBS news anchor Scott Pelley whether she always tells the truth, in a straight face, said that she “does her best to level with the American people.” What? She evades, lies, and misrepresents with impunity.

Hillary is the personification of the establishment and status quo. She voted for the Iraq war and supported the Iran nuclear deal —— two of the worst, most dangerous mistakes in American foreign policy in my lifetime. Her domestic record is as bad as her international one. When she was elected to the U.S. Senate, she promised 200,000 new jobs in upstate New York. When she left in 2009, that area had a net loss of 8,000 jobs! (Andrew Stein, Democrat, WSJ, 09/21/16)

In Bernie’s world, you are playing a game called monopoly — only it’s called: Bernopoly. After you trip around the board, you pass GO, but you don’t collect $200 if you’re a hard-working American or leader or saver. Instead of buying some property and building your net worth and saving, you must give up one piece of property to the one with the least. The same goes for hotels, houses, etc.

The leader, instead of collecting your $200, you pay a 35-percent income tax (or higher) which will be split among the other players. What happens then? Soon, no one’s buying property, houses or hotels. Eventually, everyone quits trying and waits for their someone to pass GO and get their home. Fantasy land, giveaways, and I’ve got a bridge to nowhere for you.

A lot of Democratic faithfuls are on the outs — their party has left them. Democratic administrations have left America in turmoil and more susceptible to terrorism threats. Our military morale is at an all-time low due to budget cuts (sequestration). Without real change at the national and state levels, we face a very different America. The Clintons’ endless drama, interminable scandals, constant lies, blatant cronyism and corruption, incessant conflicts of interest will be her undoing. If she is elected, at the very least, you should expect misuse of government powers and liberal appointments to the Supreme Court.

Donald Trump is not a savvy politician – that is clear. But you have a candidate not beholden to any major donors or corporate puppeteers. Washington insiders do not understand him, cannot control him, and fear his advent. So, what do they do? They attack him. Beyond terrorism and illegal immigration, education choice for all, and bringing jobs back home, we have only one candidate with real-life experience in job creation who is an outsider. Some folks tell me they are worried about his tone. Really?

In America, babies are being murdered and their body parts sold for a profit, illegal aliens are invading our country, Christians around the world are being persecuted and beheaded, and Barack Obama refuses to fully enforce the law and is giving our enemies access to nukes and paying ransom money (millions) to get abducted Americans back. The world is fighting Islamic terrorism, starvation, and diseases, but Democrats are fighting for men to pee in the ladies room. I call that insanity.

Donald Trump has made some provocative, controversial and salty comments — which I don’t condone or agree with. He is no polished politician, but I appreciate Donald’s tone on issues of importance to America, and I trust the world will expect and see a stronger negotiator and leader … for a change. He is for rebuilding the military, which has been nearly decimated under Obama and Hillary by dangerous cuts and sequestration. Donald will be a strong supporter of Israel. He is for strong pro-growth policies like reducing the marginal and corporate tax rates. I believe voters are ready to “Make America Great Again.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: John C. Still, a resident of Rehoboth Beach, was a 20-year member of the Delaware Senate and served as Senate Minority Leader from 2002 to 2006.

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