There is an African proverb that states: “To ask well is to know much.” Good questions are powerful. In fact, nothing’s going to change in America until citizens grapple with some important questions. Questions jump-start thoughts, and thoughts jump-start actions. Columnists have an obligation to ask the right questions on behalf of their readers. One of the advantages of age is that it finally dawns on you that questions are often more important than answers. Here are twenty questions worth considering:
In light of the fact that capitalism and free enterprise are often attacked for being mean, unfair, and even “unchristian,” can you name one non-capitalistic country where the poor have a higher standard of living and greater opportunity than America? Why do the poor of the world keep trying to get into our country?
To promote economic growth should government raise taxes to stimulate the economy through targeted programs and transfers of wealth or should government lower taxes allowing citizens who earned the money to stimulate the companies that best serve them and provide the products they want?
Is it better to measure government compassion and welfare program effectiveness by how many citizens do not need government support or by how many are served and dependent on those programs?
Do you think that discipline, limits and saying “no” are as important in good government as they are in good parenting? Is there a point where children and citizens should face natural consequences for not being responsible?
With more and more Americans dependent on government support, do you believe that John F. Kennedy’s admonition – “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – is now an outdated expectation for today’s citizens?
If competition and school choice work for colleges and pre-schools, why shouldn’t parents have vouchers that lets them choose the best school for their children? Do you think competition would force schools to fire bad teachers and pay a premium for the best teachers if it meant their survival?
With the federal debt doubling since President Obama took office, is it time to end automatic budget increases? Should every program and department be required to justify its budget every year?
If every dollar extracted from federal taxpayers loses 70 cents in transfer costs - salaries, rent and other expenses - before it reaches a beneficiary, does it make sense to let citizens give more to local charities that put 90-cents-on-the-dollar into making a difference?
Is Constitutional division of powers between the branches of government important to maintain? Should a president of either party use executive orders to make far-ranging immigration policy that changes laws without Congressional legislative approval? Would you feel the same way if your party was not in control?
Without supporting a major deployment, is the threat of an Islamic caliphate controlled by Islamic extremists worthy of providing special forces support to help Egypt and Jordan do whatever it takes to destroy ISIS and similar groups terrorizing Africa and the Middle East?
Should America have special laws and programs for different groups based on race, gender or faith or should America have the same laws and rights for all Americans?
In a presidential election, should you vote for the best presidential candidate based on what they promise to do in Washington or for a party’s candidate because of the principles and the people they will bring with them to drive the values you support throughout their administration?
Would you rather have a president who has confidence in what they can do in Washington or a president who believes in what “we the people” can do when given the freedom and the incentives to pursue our own American Dream?
Albert Einstein reminds us, “The important thing is not to stop questioning.” As we look to the 2016 presidential election, what questions do you feel are important for citizens to consider?