A Universal Basic Income

Published in the New York Times on June 8, 2016

To the Editor:

Re “Plan to End Poverty Is Wide of the Target,” by Eduardo Porter (Economic Scene column, June 1): The proposals in this article to end poverty improve as one reads further. It is ridiculous to think that the federal government could or would subsidize every American with several thousand dollars a year, a so-called universal basic income.

But a program that provides support with a commitment to work is a great idea. Simultaneously, welfare (with no work commitment) could be provided only for those who are impaired.

The government should be responsible for providing jobs and training to all Americans, not free money without any strings attached.

If this program were crafted and enacted by Congress, I would gladly pay more taxes. In the long run, it will decrease government entitlements and put many more people in the work force.

SALVATORE J. BOMMARITO

New York

Are These The Best America Has To Offer The Voters?

By Sal Bommarito

Frankly, I’m ashamed that either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be our next president barring any craziness between now and Election Day. Neither candidate has the right stuff to be the leader of the free world. Many people across the globe are scratching their heads and asking, “Are these two people the best that America has to offer?”

I’ve had scores of conversations with my friends about the election, and many of them say they are unsure about voting for either of the two candidates. All Americans want to elect a great president to represent them in Washington and with the rest of the world. But, the choices are very bad in 2016.

Trump deserves a lot of credit for the success he has had to this point. He certainly is a radical departure from the type of persons that have run for the presidency in the past. His claim to fame is that he’s not a Washington insider, and that all politicians are incompetent and lazy. Given that the approval ratings of the current president and Congress are at or near historical low points, it’s no wonder an “outsider” is making such a splash with voters.

But, bringing in new blood shouldn’t trump (pun intended) every other character trait that our presidents must have. Yet, millions have voted in the primaries for a man who has insulted women, Mexicans, Muslims, all of our current leaders and both political parties. Why is this guy so attractive to so many?

The answer is complex and one that has been debated ad nauseam by all the political windbags. They’ve been predicting Trump’s downfall since his campaign started almost a year ago.

I personally think Trump’s strongest suits are his ability to communicate using modern technology, his extraordinarily entertaining speeches and his TV celebrity. Should these be the attributes that swing a presidential election to one candidate over another?

We should expect our president to be a statesman. The ability to look, sound and act like a real leader is critical. It’s the skill to work with others collegially and effectively to create consensus that is so important. Interestingly, it is reasonable to doubt that Trump has a strong handle on complex world affairs, and one wonders whether he will select experts in those areas he has no experience in to help him, or will he just wing it?

Trump inherited a business that enabled him to bully employees, friends, business associates, competitors and banks for years. He only wants yes-men and yes-women. All of his acquaintances must idolize him or pretend to do so. Do you think the man may be insecure deep down inside?

Many Americans have fallen into Trump’s trap. He acts like a man of the people, but it’s untrue. They think he’s a really neat guy who will “make America great,” whatever the hell that means. Unfortunately, he could very well make the U.S. the laughing stock of the world.

Aren’t you tired of Bill and Hillary Clinton yet? I sure am. All the scandals of the past will be front and center and rehashed by Trump and his henchmen. We will hear about illicit sex in the White House and the venom spewed on the women abused by Bill during his presidency. We will hear about the countless times Hillary has twisted the truth (otherwise known as lying) about Benghazi, emails and the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton is not a good candidate for many reasons. She’s been unable to put away a proclaimed socialist because she isn’t an exciting speaker. Also, Clinton’s record haunts her, or should I say that Bernie Sanders is haunting her with it. And finally, she doesn’t have strong values and character.

Clinton’s performance as First Lady was a disaster as she botched her husband’s health plan proposal and supported welfare reform that so many Democrats resent to this day.

As senator, Clinton voted for war and got too cozy with the Wall Street crowd. Later, she made millions giving speeches to the same group. Now, of course she denigrates them.

As Secretary of State, in a nutshell, she was unable to restore the reputation of the U.S. In fact, she did more damage than good while supporting Barack Obama’s failed Middle East decisions to exit Iraq and Afghanistan and fight terror without an effective strategy. The world no longer trusts America to live up to its commitments. Even our closest ally, Israel, is concerned about our continued support of its security.

It’s no wonder that both Trump and Clinton are disliked by far more Americans than those who support them. In the voting booth, we will have to make a choice between two substandard candidates. Where are the good candidates in America?