In poll after poll, a majority of American voters have reported that they hold an “unfavorable” opinion of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Nevertheless, there are enormous differences in the policy positions which these two candidates embrace. Following is a comprehensive overview of exactly what their positions and agendas are, with regard to the major issues confronting the United States. In some instances, background information is provided in italicized print, so as to place the candidates’ positions in proper context.
CLINTON: To address “the worst refugee crisis since the end of World War II,” Clinton has called for bringing some 65,000 refugees from Syria into the United States as quickly as possible. This represents a 550% increase over Barack Obama’s 2016 goal of 10,000 Syrian refugees, which Clinton describes as merely a “good start.”
TRUMP: Pledging to suspend immigration from Syria and Libya, Trump says: “We have no idea who these people are, where they come from.”
NOTE: ISIS has vowed to infiltrate the flow of Syrian refugees with its own terrorist operatives; more than 30,000 illegal immigrants from “countries of terrorist concern” entered the U.S. through its Southwestern border in 2015 alone; high-ranking government officials like FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, CIA Director John Brennan, and FBI Deputy Assistant Director Michael Steinbach have all said that it is impossible to reliably screen out terrorists posing as refugees.
IMMIGRATION, AMNESTY, & BORDERS
CLINTON: Describing those who wish to enforce immigration law as “obstructionists” whose “backward-looking” mindset is “fundamentally un-American,” Clinton vows to “introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship” within her first 100 days in office. “My dream, she said in a 2013 speech to a Brazilian bank, “is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.”
Stating that “we have to go back to being a much less harsh and aggressive enforcer” of immigration laws, Clinton pledges to “go even further” than the two executive orders by which President Obama protected millions of illegal aliens from deportation in 2012 and 2014—even though Obama himself had previously said, on more than 20 occasions, that such executive orders would cross the boundaries of legitimate presidential authority.
TRUMP: Under Trump’s plan, immigrants seeking to enter the U.S. would be subject to an “extreme vetting” process that would include an “ideological certification” to ensure that those who are admitted “share our values,” “love our people,” and do not hold extremist views regarding honor killings, “radical Islam,” and “women and gays and minorities.”
Trump has also called for the construction of “an impenetrable physical wall on the southern border”; an end to “catch-and-release” programs whereby illegal border-crossers are set free rather than deported; and the termination of “President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties.”
CLINTON: Clinton supports the “sanctuary” policies that bar police officers and other public-sector employees in some 340 U.S. cities from notifying the federal government about the presence of illegal aliens in their communities. Though sanctuary policies have turned many U.S. cities into very dangerous places, Clinton explains that without such arrangements, “people from the immigrant community … may not talk” to police who are trying to solve crimes there because “they think you’re also going to be enforcing the immigration laws.”
As Xochitl Hinojosa, a Clinton presidential campaign director, puts it: “Hillary Clinton believes that sanctuary cities can help further public safety, and she has defended those policies going back years.”
TRUMP: Trump has called the existence of sanctuary cities “an absolutely disgraceful situation,” and has pledged to “block funding” for such locales.
NOTE: Of the 9,295 deportable aliens who were released after their arrest in sanctuary jurisdictions during the first eight months of 2014 alone, some 2,320 were subsequently re-arrested, on new criminal charges, soon thereafter. And before their initial release, 58% of those 9,295 aliens already had felony charges or convictions on their records, while another 37% had serious prior misdemeanor charges.
THE SECOND AMENDMENT
CLINTON: Clinton has stated that crime victims should be allowed to sue firearm manufacturers who lawfully produce guns that are subsequently used in crimes. Such a policy would inevitably cause the firearms industry to disappear, and thus would eliminate the Second Amendment virtually overnight.
Clinton has denounced the Supreme Court’s “terrible” ruling in District of Columbia v. Heller, which held that people have a right to possess a firearm for lawful purposes such as self-defense within the home.
When Clinton was asked at a town hall meeting whether she would support a gun-buyback measure similar to the one where Australia had “managed to … take away … millions of handguns” in a single year, she replied: “I think it would be worth considering doing it on the national level, if that could be arranged.”
TRUMP: Trump’s position on the Second Amendment is as follows: “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.” Calling for strict enforcement of gun laws that are already on the books, and for the aggressive prosecution of violent criminals, he adds: “Empower law-abiding gun owners to defend themselves” because “law enforcement … can’t be everywhere all of the time.”
EXPANDING OBAMACARE AND PURSUING A SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM
CLINTON: Clinton plans to “defend and expand the Affordable Care Act” (Obamacare), which has caused insurance premiums and policy deductibles nationwide to skyrocket while almost every Obamacare state exchange in the country has already gone bankrupt.
To address the failure and financial implosion of Obamacare, Clinton proposes to implement a “public option” — i.e., a government-run insurance plan that would “compete” with private insurers. Pacific Research Institute President Sally Pipes explains what this means: “By drawing on taxpayer dollars, this public option would be able to out-price almost every private insurer in the country. Unable to compete, private insurers would be 'crowded out,' leaving Americans with just one choice: a government-operated health care plan that brings the entire health sector under government control.”
This is precisely what Hillary Clinton wants. Indeed, her presidential campaign website candidly states that she “has never given up on the fight for universal coverage.”
TRUMP: Trump seeks to “repeal and replace Obamacare with Health Savings Accounts”; “establish high-risk pools to ensure access to coverage for individuals who have not maintained continuous coverage”; and “allow people to purchase insurance across state lines, in all 50 states, creating a dynamic market.”
NOTE: The empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of universal healthcare systems in countries around the world is clear. As the Cato Institute puts it: “In countries weighted heavily toward government control, people are most likely to face waiting lists, rationing, restrictions on physician choice, and other obstacles to care.”
HEALTH CARE FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS
CLINTON: Though illegal aliens do not qualify for coverage under Obamacare, the Clinton presidential campaign website says that “Hillary will expand access to affordable health care to families regardless of immigration status by allowing families to buy health insurance on the health exchanges regardless of their immigration status.”
TRUMP: Trump is opposed to permitting illegal aliens to qualify for coverage under Obamacare.
DEALING WITH ISIS & TERRORISM
CLINTON: The Clinton presidential campaign website calls for “taking out ISIS’s stronghold in Iraq and Syria by intensifying the current air campaign, stepping up support for local forces on the ground, and pursuing a diplomatic strategy to resolve Syria’s civil war and Iraq’s sectarian conflict….”
TRUMP: In September 2016, Trump said: “I am … going to convene my top generals and give them a simple instruction: They will have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for defeating ISIS.” In 2015, he stated: “ISIS is making a tremendous amount of money because they have certain oil camps, certain areas of oil that they took away. They have some in Syria, some in Iraq. I would bomb the s--- out of 'em…. That's right. I'd blow up the pipes.... I'd blow up every single inch. There would be nothing left.”
NOTE: ISIS, which evolved out of Al-Qaeda-in-Iraq, grew into the most powerful, well-funded terrorist organization in world history, precisely during Mrs. Clinton's watch as secretary of state. While ISIS launched its campaign of mass rapes, tortures, beheadings, and murders — and gained control over enormous portions of Iraq and Syria — Clinton and President Obama did absolutely nothing to thwart it.
THE SUPREME COURT
CLINTON: When Clinton was asked, in the second presidential debate of 2016, to articulate what would be her chief considerations for selecting nominees to the Supreme Court, she made no mention of fidelity to the Constitution. Instead, she stated that Justices should try to tip the proverbial scales of power, in favor of people who lack wealth and influence: “I want to appoint Supreme Court Justices who … actually understand what people are up against.” In the third presidential debate, Clinton reiterated that “the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people,” and “not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy.”
In other words, Clinton prefers Justices who seek to enforce her particular vision of “social justice,” rather than blind, unbiased justice. Anyone whom she nominates will be an activist judge — in the mold of Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer — whose foremost allegiance will be to left-wing ideology, not to the Constitution.
TRUMP: In the third presidential debate of 2016, Trump said the following about the types of Justices he would appoint to the Supreme Court: “They will interpret the Constitution the way the Founders wanted it interpreted, and I believe that’s very important. I don't think we should have Justices appointed that decide what they want to hear. It is all about the Constitution …”
OPPOSING VOTER ID LAWS
CLINTON: Clinton depicts Voter ID requirements as “voter suppression” efforts that are part of a racist scheme to “disproportionately [disenfranchise] African-Americans, Latino[s] and young voters.” Moreover, she says that calls for Voter ID laws are a form of “fear-mongering about a phantom epidemic of election fraud.”
TRUMP: Trump strongly favors Voter ID laws, saying: “It’s inconceivable that you don’t have to show identification in order to vote or that the identification doesn’t have to be somewhat foolproof…. If you don’t have voter ID, you can just keep voting and voting and voting.”
A 2012 report by the Pew Center on the States found that 24 million voter registrations—one-eighth of all registrations nationwide—were either invalid or inaccurate, including more than 1.8 million dead people who were still registered.
A 2014 study found that 35,570 people who had actually voted in North Carolina, had names and birth dates that matched those of voters who had cast ballots in other states.
A 2006 study found that in New York State, as many as 2,600 ballots were cast under the names of people who were dead.
In 2011, a Colorado study found that of the nearly 12,000 non-citizens who were illegally registered to vote in that state, about 5,000 had taken part in the 2010 general election.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the black voting rate in the 2012 elections surpassed the white voting rate by 2.1 percentage points. In fact, blacks voted at higher rates than whites even in states with strict voter ID laws in place, including Southern states like Virginia, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Georgia.
CALLING FOR AN INCREASE IN EARLY VOTING
CLINTON: “In an effort to reduce long lines and give more people with family or work obligations an opportunity to vote,” says the Clinton presidential campaign website, “Hillary will set a national standard for early voting, giving voters at least 20 days to vote in the evenings or on weekends before election day.”
TRUMP: No stated position.
NOTE: Logan Churchwell, spokesman for True the Vote, an organization that fights to preserve election integrity, puts this Clinton objective in proper perspective: “If you have enough time, you can get people to the polls. It’s not about ideas. It’s about moving bodies.”
SUPPORTING SAME-DAY VOTER REGISTRATION
CLINTON: Clinton supports same-day voter registration—which makes it impossible to determine the validity of a registrant's identity and eligibility—as a measure that would “mak[e] voting more convenient or more accessible.”
TRUMP: Trump opposes same-day voter registration because he says it makes it easier for non-citizens to vote.
VOTING RIGHTS FOR FELONS
CLINTON: The Clinton presidential campaign website says that convicted felons who “have paid their debts to society and have served their sentences”—and who, incidentally, vote for Democrats about 73% of the time— “should have the right to vote,” and that “Hillary will support legislation to make sure their voting rights are restored.”
TRUMP: Trump opposes voting rights for convicted felons.
NOTE: There are currently 10 states where convicted felons may permanently lose their right to vote. Those penalties were on the books when the felons committed their crimes. And part of paying “their debts to society,” in those states, is permanent disenfranchisement.
CLINTON: Clinton calls for the imposition of a “fair share [tax] surcharge” on “the wealthiest Americans,” to “pay for ambitious, progressive investments in good-paying jobs, debt-free college, and other measures to strengthen growth … and reduce inequality.” All told, Clinton’s proposals call for tax hikes of $1.4 trillion over the next decade.
TRUMP: Trump seeks to “reduce taxes across-the-board.” His tax plan states: “If you are single and earn less than $25,000, or married and jointly earn less than $50,000, you will not owe any income tax…. All other Americans will get a simpler tax code with four brackets—0%, 10%, 20% and 25%—instead of the current seven. This new tax code eliminates the marriage penalty … while providing the lowest tax rate since before World War II.”
NOTE: Contrary to Clinton’s claim that high earners do not pay their “fair share” of taxes:
* The top 1% of American earners currently make 21.2% of all income, and pay 45.7% of all federal income taxes in the U.S.
* The top 5% of earners, who take in 32.3% of all income, pay 70% of federal income taxes.
* The top 20% of earners receive 60% of the nation’s income, and pay 95.2% of all federal income taxes.
THE “DEATH TAX”
CLINTON: Clinton's campaign platform emphasizes that “multi-million-dollar estates” must be compelled to pay “their fair share” of estate taxes, or so-called “death taxes.” Under current tax law, when a person dies, the first $5.45 million of his or her assets are not taxed when they are passed on to their heirs, but anything above that threshold is taxed at a rate of 40%. Clinton wants to impose a 45% tax on every dead person's assets above $3.5 million, rather than above the current $5.45 million figure. In addition, for people whose assets are significantly greater than $3.5 million, Clinton is calling for three additional brackets that would impose death-tax rates of 50%, 55%, and 65%.
TRUMP: The Trump tax plan says: “No family will have to pay the death tax. You earned and saved that money for your family, not the government. You paid taxes on it when you earned it.”
NOTE: The Clintons themselves have made arrangements to avoid estate taxes by creating residence trusts and shifting ownership of their multi-million-dollar New York house into those trusts.
CLINTON: Clinton's presidential campaign website states that she intends to “close tax loopholes” that “reward companies for shifting profits and jobs overseas.” But Clinton refuses to consider lowering America's corporate taxes, which are currently the highest in the world.
TRUMP: The Trump tax plan says: “No business of any size … will pay more than 15% of their business income in taxes. This lower rate makes corporate inversions unnecessary by making America’s tax rate one of the best in the world.”
NOTE: The top federal corporate tax rate in the U.S. is approximately 35%, while the combined federal and state statutory corporate tax rate is 39.1% — higher than in any other developed nation on earth. American companies would be far less inclined to relocate overseas if the government would simply lower the corporate tax rate to a competitive level and thereby create a better business climate in this country.
THE MINIMUM WAGE
CLINTON: Asserting that “anyone who is willing to work hard should be able to find a job that pays well enough to support a family,” Clinton wants to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $12 per hour immediately, and to $15 per hour “as quickly as possible” thereafter.
TRUMP: Trump has changed his position on this issue numerous times since August 2015, at which time he said that the federal minimum wage should remain unchanged. In November 2015, he said he would not be opposed to raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour. In April 2016, he said he was opposed to raising it. In May 2016, he said he was open to raising it, but did not specify by how much. Four days later, he said that each of the states should decide upon their own respective minimum-wage levels. And in July 2016, he called for raising the federal minimum wage to $10 per hour.
Clinton's professed concern with enabling workers to “support a family” lacks substance. Most minimum-wage workers are unmarried people younger than 25. Fewer than 20% of them have a family to support. Often they are high-school or college students trying only to earn some extra money, and 60% work only part-time.
Minimum-wage jobs serve chiefly as a vital bottom rung on the economic ladder for young people who have little or no prior work experience, and who lack the job skills that would command higher wages. If the cost of employing minimum-wage workers is made too high, employers will either terminate those workers; scale back the number of hours they work; hire more-experienced workers in order to increase the productivity they (the employers) receive in exchange for their extra financial outlay; or automate their business, allowing machines to do the work that minimum-wage employees used to perform. Consequently, unskilled-labor positions and starter jobs for young people are placed in jeopardy.
According to the Cato Institute, “Decades of research have shown that the minimum wage harms the least-skilled workers from poor families.” Similar results have been found repeatedly in studies conducted all over the world.
CLINTON’S SUPPORT FOR THE SAME ECONOMIC POLICIES THAT CAUSED THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS
CLINTON: On her presidential campaign website, Clinton pledges to “support families as they save for sustainable homeownership”; “support initiatives to match up to $10,000 in savings for a down payment for those who earn less than area median income”; and “reduce barriers to lending in underserved communities.”
TRUMP: No stated position.
Clinton’s policies bear a strong resemblance to those that led to the housing crisis and financial meltdown of 2008.
In 1977, Democrats passed, and president Jimmy Carter signed, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which was a mandate for banks to make special efforts to lend money to minority borrowers—particularly mortgagors—of meager to modest means. The goal was to help low-income minorities improve their economic condition through homeownership, on the premise that racism in the mortgage lending industry was the reason why the homeownership rates of blacks and Hispanics were lower than those of whites.
In the 1990s the Clinton administration—on the false and unfounded premise that mortgage lenders were discriminating against nonwhites—made the CRA's mandates much more burdensome. Moreover, the administration threatened to impose massive financial and legal penalties against banks that failed to comply with those mandates. This led to the proliferation of subprime mortgages—loans characterized by higher interest rates and less favorable terms in order to compensate lenders for the high credit risk they were incurring by loaning money to people with weak credit credentials.
These high-risk loans, along with additional government-imposed mandates affecting the mortgage-lending industry, caused the real-estate market to became a proverbial house of cards. “It was ultimately the skyrocketing rates of mortgage delinquencies and defaults,” writes Hoover Institution Fellow Thomas Sowell, “that were like heavy rain in the mountains that caused the flooding downstream.... Government was not passively inefficient. It was actively zealous in promoting risky mortgage lending practices.”
PLAN TO “EXPAND” SOCIAL SECURITY
CLINTON: “Committed to defending Social Security,” Hillary Clinton says that she will “expand the program, especially for caregivers and widows who currently don’t get what they deserve”; oppose “attempts to gamble seniors’ retirement security on the stock market through privatization”; oppose reductions in annual cost-of-living adjustments; and oppose efforts to raise the retirement age. Clinton says that she will be able to “preserve Social Security for decades to come” by “asking” the “wealthiest” and “most fortunate” to “contribute more.”
TRUMP: Trump says “we're going to save Social Security” not by raising taxes or by raising the age of eligibility, but rather, by creating a growing economy.
NOTE: The trustees of the Social Security Administration report that the Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance funds—the major component of Social Security—is operating at an $84 billion annual deficit. They have predicted a cumulative cash deficit of $1.6 trillion from 2015 to 2026.
CALL FOR MASSIVE INFRASTRUCTURE SPENDING
CLINTON: Clinton pledges to spend $275 billion to “repair and expand our roads and bridges”; “moderniz[e] infrastructure like dams, levees, and wastewater systems”; and “invest in building world-class American airports and modernize our national airspace system.”
TRUMP: Trump says he wants to “at least double” the level of infrastructure spending proposed by Clinton, meaning that he aims to spend at least $550 billion.
Infrastructure spending has very little effect on overall employment. As the Heritage Foundation points out: “Infrastructure projects are capital intensive, not labor intensive. Road and bridge construction requires a relatively small number of highly skilled workers using advanced equipment and machinery.”
Even more important is the fact that every penny spent on infrastructure is money that has been taken out of the private economy and then laundered through an enormously inefficient, wasteful, and corrupt government bureaucracy. A 2010 Heritage Foundation report puts it in plain English: “Every dollar Congress injects into the economy must first be taxed or borrowed out of the economy. No new spending power is created. It is merely redistributed from one group of people to another.... Removing water from one end of a swimming pool and pouring it in the other end will not raise the overall water level. Similarly, taking dollars from one part of the economy and distributing it to another part of the economy will not expand the economy.”
$2 BILLION TO COMBAT THE “SCHOOL-TO-PRISON PIPELINE”
CLINTON: The Clinton presidential campaign website says that Hillary Clinton intends to spend $2 billion to “dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline,” a term connoting the allegedly common practice of using black students' behavioral problems as an excuse for pushing them out of the classroom and into the juvenile-justice system. According to Clinton, “overly harsh” methods of discipline “disproportionately affect African American students.”
TRUMP: No stated position.
NOTE: There is voluminous data indicating that differing rates of suspension and expulsion for blacks and whites are not due to race, but rather, are consistent with marked differences in actual schoolyard behavior.
SCHOOL VOUCHERS FOR POOR MINORITY CHILDREN
CLINTON: Clinton steadfastly opposes the implementation of school voucher programs, which would enable the parents of low-income, mostly-minority children who attend failing, inner-city public schools, to send their youngsters instead to private schools where they might actually have a chance of succeeding academically.
TRUMP: Trump wishes to reallocate $20 billion from existing federal spending and use it to create block grants for states to apply to tuition vouchers for private schools, charter schools, and magnet schools.
NOTE: Clinton's objectives are consistent with those of the public-sector teachers' unions, most notably the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). The chief goal of these unions is to maximize employment opportunities for their dues-paying members. And school vouchers siphon money (and member dues) away from the unions. This is hugely significant because large portions of the member dues, which constitute the very lifeblood of the unions, are spent on political support for the Democratic Party. The NEA and AFT together spent more than $330 million to influence elections in favor of Democrats from 2007-12.
CLINTON: Stating that “every child deserves the same strong start” in life, Mrs. Clinton, citing the many “benefits” of preschool, wants to “make preschool universal” for young children by “doubl[ing] our investment in Early Head Start,” which covers kids from birth to age three.
TRUMP: No stated position.
NOTE: Two large-scale, federally funded studies concluded that Early Head Start programs have no lasting effects on children's social-emotional or academic development (in reading, vocabulary and arithmetic skills). The same record of failure can be seen in the regular Head Start program (for 3-4 year-olds), for which Clinton has likewise advocated billions of dollars in increased annual funding. Two scientifically rigorous, longitudinal studies commissioned by the government reported that Head Start has no measurable lasting impact on cognitive, social-emotional, or health-related variables.
CLINTON'S CALL FOR “FREE COLLEGE”
CLINTON: On the premise that “every student should have the option to graduate from a public college or university in their state without taking on any student debt,” Hillary Clinton says that “by 2021, families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities,” and “all community colleges will offer free tuition.”
TRUMP: Trump views Clinton’s plan for “free college” as a financially irresponsible course of action. He wants student loans to originate with banks, not with the federal government.
“Free college” does not mean that college professors, administrators, and staffers will suddenly start working for no pay. It means that American taxpayers will be forced to cover the massive costs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, college graduates earn 68% more than people with only a high-school diploma. The eminent broadcaster and author Mark Levin, noting that about two-thirds of Americans never earn a college diploma, points out that there is no moral justification whatsoever for requiring those two-thirds of the population to pay the tuition costs of the one-third who do graduate from college, and who ultimately earn substantially more money than the two-thirds.
For decades, the major driver of skyrocketing tuition costs has been the fact that the federal government has assumed responsibility for covering most student-loan defaults. Knowing that taxpayers would pick up the tab for bad loans, lenders relaxed their standards and made money readily available at low interest rates—even to students with weak credit credentials. This led, predictably, to record levels of borrowing. Colleges and universities, reaping the windfall of this easy access to cash, had no incentive to keep their operating costs or tuition fees in check. Clinton’s plan, which increases government involvement even further, would inevitably cause tuition costs to rise to even higher levels.
CLINTON: On March 12, 2003, Clinton went to the Senate floor to speak out against legislation that proposed to ban the procedure commonly known as “partial-birth abortion”—where the abortionist maneuvers the baby into a breech (feet-first) delivery position, permits its entire body to exit the birth canal except for its head, and then uses scissors to puncture the baby's brain and kill it while the head is still inside the mother. Defending the legality of this procedure and condemning Republicans for trying to outlaw it, Clinton argued that any attempt “to criminalize a medical procedure” would compromise American liberty.
TRUMP: Trump views this late-term abortion procedure as “terrible” and “not acceptable.”
TAXPAYER FUNDING FOR ABORTION
CLINTON: For Hillary Clinton, abortion is a civil liberty that should be funded by taxpayer dollars. To Clinton’s delight, Planned Parenthood—America’s largest abortion provider — receives more than $520 million per year in government funding. Moreover, Clinton has vowed to repeal the Hyde Amendment, a 1976 law that has traditionally prohibited federal funding for abortions.
TRUMP: Trump has issued a call to make the Hyde Amendment a permanent law.
“CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM”
CLINTON: Clinton says that Americans everywhere “are crying out for criminal justice reform” because “families are being torn apart by excessive incarceration,” and “children are growing up in homes shattered by prison and poverty.”
TRUMP: Trump has been mostly silent on this issue. His position on criminal justice is essentially this: “Without law and order, you have a problem. And we need strong, swift and very fair law and order.”
* In 1990, when there were about 1.1 million prisoners in penitentiaries nationwide, there were 1.8 million violent crimes committed that year, including 23,440 murders.
* In 2014, when there were 2.2 million inmates in penitentiaries nationwide, a total of 1.2 million violent crimes were committed that year, including 14,249 murders.
* So, even as the population of the United States grew by 28% between 1990 and 2014, the incidence of violent crimes declined by one-third, and the incidence of murders fell by 39%.
These numbers suggest that putting more criminals in prison has helped to spare at least a million people per year from being victimized by violent crimes, and to save at least 9,000 people per year from being murdered.
CLINTON'S CALL TO RELEASE “NONVIOLENT” OFFENDERS
CLINTON: Asserting that “a significant percentage of the more than 2 million Americans incarcerated today are nonviolent offenders,” Clinton calls for “cutting mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses in half.” “Excessive federal mandatory minimum sentences keep nonviolent drug offenders in prison for too long,” laments the Clinton presidential campaign website, “and have increased racial inequality in our criminal justice system.”
TRUMP: Trump has been critical of President Obama’s many commutations of drug offenders’ prison sentences, and he has referred to those offenders as “bad dudes” who should be behind bars.
NOTE: The Washington Examiner reports that “in the federal prison system, 99.5% of those incarcerated for drug convictions are guilty of serious trafficking offenses,” meaning that just 0.5% are in jail for simple possession. Drug trafficking hardly qualifies as a “nonviolent” offense. As the Examiner explains: “77% [of state drug inmates] re-offend within five years of release, with 25% committing violent offenses. Most of these convicted drug dealers are career criminals with long rap sheets.... Drug dealing is inseparable from violent victimization. Illegal drugs kill tens of thousands each year in overdose deaths. More die in violent acts and accidents under the influence of drugs.”
RACIAL PROPAGANDA & “VOTING RIGHTS”
CLINTON: “Hillary will fight to restore the portions of the Voting Rights Act [VRA] that were struck down by the Supreme Court,” says the Clinton presidential campaign website, “to make sure that all citizens enjoy the full protections they deserve — especially in states where they have been disproportionately targeted by laws that restrict voting access to the polls.”
TRUMP: No stated position.
NOTE: Clinton's suggestion that the Supreme Court somehow gutted a key piece of civil-rights legislation is untrue. In 2013 the Court did nothing more than strike down, as anachronistic, a VRA provision requiring mainly Southern states to undergo — based on the unfounded presumption of their continuing racist tendencies — special federal scrutiny before being permitted to change their election laws in any way (e.g., by instituting Voter ID requirements or reconfiguring their voting districts).
CLINTON: “Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time,” says the Clinton presidential campaign website. “It threatens our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures.” Specifically, Mrs. Clinton contends that the carbon emissions associated with human industrial activity are a major cause of potentially catastrophic “climate change,” and she has identified the reduction of such emissions as a major priority of her presidential campaign.
TRUMP: Trump has written: “There has been a big push to develop alternative forms of energy—so-called green energy—from renewable sources. That's a big mistake. To begin with, the whole push for renewable energy is being driven by the wrong motivation, the mistaken belief that global climate change is being caused by carbon emissions. If you don't buy that—and I don't—then what we have is really just an expensive way of making the tree-huggers feel good about themselves.” On his presidential campaign website, Trump says that his goal is to “make America energy independent, create millions of new jobs, and protect clean air and clean water.”
Clinton joins leading Democrats like John Kerry and Barack Obama, who contend that a consensus of “97% of scientists” believe that climate change is an urgent, man-made problem. But in fact, the 97% figure is a completely discredited fiction. As the Wall Street Journal explains: “[T]he so-called consensus comes from a handful of surveys and abstract-counting exercises that have been contradicted by more reliable research.... Surveys of meteorologists repeatedly find a majority oppose the alleged consensus. Only 39.5% of 1,854 American Meteorological Society members who responded to a survey in 2012 said man-made global warming is dangerous.”
* “Of the various petitions on global warming circulated for signatures by scientists,” says the Wall Street Journal, “the one by the Petition Project, a group of physicists and physical chemists based in [California], has by far the most signatures—more than 31,000 (more than 9,000 with a PhD).... The petition states that 'there is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of … carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate.'”
* In late November 2009, the so-called “Climategate” scandal cast grave doubt on the intellectual integrity of those leading the effort to spread fear about the alleged dangers of manmade global warming. At the heart of the controversy was the discovery that a number of leading American and British climatologists who held that mankind's industrial activity was causing a dangerous warming trend in the earth's atmosphere, had intentionally manipulated the evidence in order to provide “proof” that their warnings were justified.
FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE WITH SOLAR PANELS
CLINTON: According to the Clinton presidential campaign website, the goal should be to “generate enough renewable energy to power every home in America, with half a billion solar panels installed by the end of Hillary’s first term.”
TRUMP: Trump says that past government investments in solar energy companies that subsequently went bankrupt have been “a disaster.”
NOTE: Between 2009 and 2012, the Obama administration spent some $90 billion of taxpayer money on “green energy” initiatives, most of which failed because they simply could not compete in the energy marketplace. This included, most famously, $535 million that was fast-tracked to the solar-panel company Solyndra, one of whose major investors was a billionaire donor and fundraiser for Obama. There were also many other federally funded “green energy” companies that received scores of millions, and sometimes hundreds of millions, of dollars in federal tax credits and grants during the Obama-Clinton years, and subsequently went bankrupt.
CLINTON: Clinton's position on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is as follows: “I don’t support it when any locality or any state is against it.... I don’t support it when the release of methane or contamination of water is present. I don’t support it … unless we can require that anybody who fracks has to tell us exactly what chemicals they are using. So by the time we get through all of my conditions, I do not think there will be many places in America where fracking will continue to take place. And I think that’s the best approach, because right now, there are places where fracking is going on that are not sufficiently regulated.”
TRUMP: Trump is a longtime supporter of fracking, calling it a vital practice that “will lead to American energy independence.”
NOTE: A 2014 report by the Heritage Foundation succinctly summarizes the enormous economic and energy-related benefits that fracking has created, as well as the facts that are currently known about the safety of the fracking process:
“In just the last two years … fracking and horizontal drilling have increased U.S. energy production by an additional two million barrels of oil per day and the country is swimming in natural gas. This has directly lowered energy prices and indirectly produced significant cost savings by lowering manufacturing, transportation and other expenses. Economic opportunity created by the fracking revolution … ripples throughout the U.S. economy.…
“The recent [energy] boom has sparked some concern that fracking might contaminate drinking water, either through gas migration or through the chemical additives used in the injection process. Yet these fears have proved groundless. Companies have now fracked over one million wells in this country. Studies by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Groundwater Protection Council, and several independent agencies have found no evidence of groundwater contamination. It’s a remarkable safety record and a shining example of the efficacy of state-level regulation.”
THE “GENDER PAY GAP”
CLINTON: The Clinton presidential campaign website promises that Mrs. Clinton will “work to close the pay gap” that causes women to “earn less than men across our economy.” At issue is the claim, promoted by Clinton and many others, that for every dollar earned by men in the workforce, women of equivalent skills and experience earn only “77 cents.”
TRUMP: Trump believes that men and women deserve “equal pay for equal work,” but has not indicated that he believes that an inequitable gender pay gap exists.
The contention that women are underpaid by American employers in comparison to men is one of the most egregious, yet enduring, lies of our time. For one thing, equal-pay-for-equal-work has been explicitly mandated by U.S. law since 1963.
As the longtime employment lawyer Warren Farrell, who was a board member of the National Organization for Women from 1970-73, explains, the 23-cent “pay gap” is neither a result of gender bias nor workplace discrimination. It can be explained entirely by the fact that women as a group tend to make certain very logical and legitimate employment-related choices which, while affording them a number of benefits that they value highly, tend to suppress incomes—for reasons that are also logical and legitimate.
Most notably: Women are far more likely to leave the workforce for extended periods in order to attend to family-related matters such as raising children. During the course of their work lives, men accumulate an extra 5 to 9 years on the job as compared to their female counterparts, and each of those additional years translates to approximately 3 or 4 percent more in annual pay.
In addition, women, as compared to men, are much more likely to seek employment in fields that: are non-technical; feature a pleasant and safe working environment; offer desirable shifts or flexible working hours; require fewer working hours per week or fewer working days per year; and do not require long commutes or geographic relocation.
When all of the above variables are factored into the equation, the gender pay gap disappears entirely. That is, when men and women work at jobs where their titles, responsibilities, qualifications, and experience are equivalent, they are paid exactly the same.
Clinton's remarks regarding the gender pay gap are rendered even more ludicrous when one considers that by her own standards, she herself is guilty of underpaying the women employed in her own offices:
* During her time in the U.S. Senate, Mrs. Clinton paid the women employed in her office 72 cents for each dollar paid to their male counterparts.
* An even greater imbalance exists at the Clinton Foundation, where male executives earn 38% more than female executives.
A majority of American voters view both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as candidates with significant personal flaws. But substantively, these are candidates who hold very different beliefs regarding the type of country the United States should be.