Paul Hackett

Paul Hackett for Congress:

I don't know if I have a single reader in Ohio, let alone in this district, but for what it's worth Grim's Hall endorses Reserve Major of Marines Paul Hackett for Congress. I do so with one reservation, and it's an important one: I don't like his position on gun rights, as I'll explain below. In the event that you should elect him, I think he's going to prove weak on this point and will need holding to the fire, more perhaps than his opponent would.

You all know what that issue means to me, so you'll understand that it's not lightly I'll endorse a fellow who strikes me as wobbly on the point. I think I'm right to say he's wobbly, though he is himself both a Marine and a gun owner. His statement is this:

I grew up with guns. I’ve been a hunter since I was kid.

I understand that guns in the wrong hands are deadly. They must be kept out of the hands of criminals. And we must demand that law-abiding citizens who do own guns, like me, use them safely, responsibly and in compliance with the law.

I have safety locks on my firearms. At home, they’re locked in a safe. When I go hunting outside of Ohio, I make sure I comply with the local gun laws.

All my friends who share my interest in hunting share my sense of responsibility toward the safe use and storage of their firearms.
As it happens, I also agree that guns should be used and kept safely. I'm no fan of "safety locks," but I agree that you should have a safe and you should keep your firearms locked up unloaded, except for the one or two you designate as for immediate defense. Even those should be kept in the safe or on your person, not in circumstances where kids can get at them or where they might get stolen.

Still, although I essentially agree with everything he said, it bothers me when a candidate (1) speaks to guns mostly in terms of hunting, which has nothing to do with the purpose and function of the 2nd Amendment, and (2) then speaks of them in terms of the need for "safety," which is a genuinely important issue that is nevertheless often misused by gun control advocates. Saftey, yes; but rights first. The proper statement isn't, "I've always had guns for hunting," but "I recognize the right of the individual to keep and bear arms in defense of the common peace."

His opponent doesn't mention her position on guns at all, but she does have the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, which points to a solid record of voting to defend gun rights. So, my reservation stands: I gather that his opponent is solid on the issue, while Major Hackett doesn't appear to understand the principles at work. He'll need a lot closer tending from his constitutents for that reason; but his constitutents are so devoted to the correct principles, to judge by how they have voted in the past, that I am sure they are up to the task -- or, at least, will replace him if he fails to uphold their interests.

My endorsement in spite of this large reservation comes because I think Congress could use a Marine and a veteran of Iraq, and because I respect his views on other issues. His position on the Iraq war is not my own, but he has earned the right to it, and I have no fear that he would fail to see the job through.

That is the main reason, but he does have some interesting things to say on other issues. His position on Social Security is interesting because I think he has the correct model in mind, although I'm not sure if he's thought through the consequences of that model based on what he says:
The administration has manufactured a crisis because it doesn’t believe the government should offer citizens this kind of insurance policy. The administration would prefer we treat social security as a money making investment account with all the risks that go along with such investments as opposed to what it is; an insurance policy. Just like car insurance when you pay the premiums you know and expect it will be there when you need it. We don't treat our car insurance like an opportunity to make money we shouldn't treat social security insurance that way either.
I think the insurance model is right. However, I think that advocates of the insurance model need to recall that retirement was, when SS was designed, a somewhat unlikely occurance; now, it is a virtual certainty. This means that the correct model is not automobile insurance, but life insurance.

What we need to do with Social Security is move the program from a thing like Term Life Insurance to a thing like Whole Life Insurance. Essentially, TLI is like renting a house -- you make payments that are relatively low, in return for which you have insurance only while you're making the payments. When you stop, the insurance stops. WLI is like buying a house: the payments are larger, but you build equity in the program, and can later "cash it out."

The reason TLI payments are lower is that it is really a proposition bet: the insurance company is betting that you won't die during the term. If you don't, they walk away winners -- they keep your money at no cost to themselves. WLI costs more because the insurance company knows it has to pay out sooner or later. While it's not likely that you'll die between 30 and 50, say, it's absolutely certain that you will die eventually. So, a program that offers payments whenever your death comes has to charge more and be structured differently than a program that is simply gambling on actuarial tables.

Social Security is in the trouble that it is because it is funded like a TLI, but now has payouts almost as certain as a WLI. It needs to be restructured to take account for that. This is not to say that I oppose personal accounts on principle -- after all, a WLI program is in fact an investment, with a cash value that is yours. I see no reason Social Security couldn't be funded in a similar fashion.

Still, it's not a money making scheme. It's an insurance program, and that's a good starting point for thinking about the issue.

I don't care for Hackett's position on health care; but I think he's right on the economy. We should be formulating our policies based on encouraging and developing small businesses. The small business is the modern equivalent of the yeoman farm: the man who owns one is free in a way that a man who works for a corporation never can be. That's nothing against corporations; it's just that owning your own business makes you freer to pursue your own vision of happiness, and that's what the American dream is all about.

While I find myself with strong disagreements and concerns about the gentleman on a few issues, and one of particular importance to me, my respect for his service -- and his good thinking on the issues in which I do agree with him -- overcomes most of my concerns. I am also convinced that the strongly Red nature of his district will motivate him to adopt a correct line of thinking if he wishes to enjoy the continued trust and support of his constituents. I think we do need a veteran of the Iraq war, and of Fallujah in particular, in office.

I have decided to endorse Major Hackett, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank him for his service. Semper Fi, sir, and good luck.

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