Ted Cruz

The son of a Cuban immigrant who knew the hardship of living without freedom, Republican Ted Cruz has worked to protect liberty and constitutional rights in the United States. Before his time in the Senate, Cruz worked for individual rights in landmark cases, such as Medellin v. Texas, where he defended United States sovereignty against the United Nations and the World Court. Cruz’s history as a Tea Party conservative in the Senate shows his ability to orate and convince, as he persuaded Tea Party members in the House of Representatives to shut down the government to halt President Obama’s Affordable Care Act [1]. Cruz defends those rights given to us by the Constitution, most notably the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms [2].

On the national stage, Cruz plans to reform our immigration policy and create a drastically different atmosphere than during the Obama administration. He maintains that ending President Obama’s amnesty program, increasing border security, and slowing legal immigration will help decrease unemployment for American citizens. Cruz also will initiate tax reform by promoting a 10% flat tax for all Americans, which the Tax Foundation posits will boost GDP by 13.9%, wages by 12.2%, and create 4,861,000 new jobs [3]. Cruz believes these two policies and decreased government regulation, through the passage of his REINS Act and his Five Freedom Plan, will help small business, which he asserts is the “life-blood” coursing through our economy. Cruz further links America’s economic problems to the current rate of student loans and price of higher education and believes that, with a stronger economy, students will be able to pay back loan debt faster and more easily.

Cruz aims to make even larger changes to the current environmental policy and embrace the Great American Energy Renaissance. Cruz thinks that we should use America’s natural resources, including oil, natural gas, and ethanol [4]. Along with this strategy, Cruz intends to end federal regulations that stifle growth and often help special interests far more than the environment. This includes ending the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. and Clean Power Plan that he feels inhibit small business.

On the global stage, Senator Cruz plans to improve and ensure America’s national security policy through military action. If elected president, Cruz will rebuild the military with increased spending. Because he finds ISIS to be a major threat to American way of life and security, he will station troops in the Middle East for an indefinite amount of time [5]. Finally, Cruz believes that a stronger US – Israel alliance will enhance America’s security, now more than ever, because they are in the direct and immediate firing line of ISIS.

Ross Reggio


AGAINST
With over 400 primary delegates as of mid-March, Ted Cruz has proven himself a serious contender. While this conservative firebrand is stirring up the evangelical wing of the Republican party, there are several reasons to fear a Cruz presidency.

First, Cruz’s tax plan presents several major problems. Cruz wants to implement a simple flat tax on incomes across the board of 10%. Cruz’s campaign claims that this simplification of the tax code will allow for a complete defunding and abolishment of the IRS. While simplifying the tax code sounds appealing, Cruz’s tax plan would leave the federal government with $8.6 trillion less in tax revenue over the next decade, exploding the federal budget deficit. Cruz’s own optimistic growth projections have the tax cuts adding about $2.3 trillion to the economy, falling far short of the tax revenue his campaign wishes to reduce. Also, while Cruz likes to tout his tax plan as “fair”, his tax plan would be quite the opposite, as Mr. Quaoser explains here. The plan operates on the fallacy that the current tax plan is complicated due to varying rates, but the real complexity comes in defining income. Analysis of flat tax plans such as Cruz’s by conservative economists show that a flat tax leads to those who can afford tax lawyers finding loopholes to achieve a significantly lower effective tax rate while the lower and middle classes take on significantly more of the tax burden.

Second, Cruz’s foreign policy borders on the belligerent. He has claimed several times that he will “carpet bomb ISIS until the sand glows”. The problem with this strategy is that ISIS lives among civilians, and any indiscriminate bombing campaign against the terrorist group would leave massive amounts of civilian casualties. Such a campaign would not only be massive human rights violation, but would also likely lead to large recruitment for ISIS as news of the U.S. killing moderate Muslims in their attempt to kill radical Muslims surely cannot help the problem of radicalization happening across the world and not just in the deserts of Iraq. Top generals that would be forced to execute such a strategy if Cruz wins have called his remarks deeply concerning. Another questionable foreign policy position held by Cruz is his position on Iran. In September 2015, Cruz stated, “If you vote for me, under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. And if the ayatollah doesn’t understand that, we may have to help introduce him to his 72 virgins.” Cruz also happens to vehemently oppose the Iran deal that is currently stopping Iran from creating a Nuclear weapon within the next two years, saying he would tear up the deal on day one of his presidency. This would make Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons all but inevitable, and Cruz would be forced to engage in armed conflict if he truly does not want Iran having a nuclear weapon. Such a conflict with Iran would be a far worse version of U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. A U.S. victory in such a conflict seems completely out of reach. Even if we dedicate the decades of effort and trillions of dollars necessary to win such a conflict, attacking a Muslim country like Iran would surely hurt our security interests in terms of alienating the Muslim world and inciting radicalization across the world. The more we fight, the more radicalizing we’d be and the more enemy troops we’d create. We cannot afford to begin such an endless cycle of death and destruction.

Third and finally, Cruz is heavily against any action to curb climate change. In fact, he equates those who believe in climate change as “the equivalent of the flat-earthers.” He wants to completely deconstruct any policy Barack Obama has implemented to curb carbon emissions while he simultaneously takes over a million dollars in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industry. With the effects of climate change already apparent and nearly apocalyptic predictions of how the world will look by the end of the century becoming more and more agreed upon by the scientific community, such a setback would all but ensure that we would see the massive sea level rises Obama’s policies have sought to avoid. It’s perfectly reasonable to have differing opinions on how we should deal with climate change, but to deny a problem that 97% of the scientific community deems a threat to our very existence is an incredibly dangerous state of mind. The idea that the president of the world’s most industrialized nation would be a denier of this problem’s existence is astounding, if not a testament to the lobbying power of the oil and gas industry.

This Canadian constitutionalist may have politiced his way into the spotlight of the radical right wing, but when the President of the United States is tasked with making decisions that could decimate the human population, he cannot be allowed into the west wing.

Chris Raguz

REBUTTAL
Mr. Raguz criticizes Senator Cruz’s tax plan by pointing out that lowered tax rates would bring in less money to the government, to the tune of $8.6 trillion [11]. As novel an observation as this, it’s not the smoking gun against Cruz’s tax plan that Mr. Raguz intends it to be. Government spending is inefficient and wasteful, with an estimated $100 billion dollars of spending a year being lost to fraud [12]. Furthermore, Cruz’s plan would become revenue-neutral if Medicare and Social Security spending were cut by just 34%, a cut that will become unavoidable as these massive programs continue to grow unsustainably [13].

Mr. Raguz also fails to address the impact of Cruz’s flat tax on businesses. Again, the current U.S. corporate tax rate is one of the highest in the world, strangling small businesses and forcing larger companies to ‘invert’ by moving their headquarters to a more business-friendly country such as Ireland, Switzerland, or the Netherlands. However, the situation is worse than that. Large companies in the United States take advantage of tax loopholes, including inversion, only their bloated legal staff can find and exploit to pay a real tax rate of 12.6% [14] in 2010. However, with the average effective tax rate in the U.S. estimated between 23.6% and 35.3%, smaller companies are still stuck paying tax rates much higher than that paid by large companies [15]. Clearly, Cruz’s flat tax would increase taxes paid by large companies while lowering taxes paid by smaller companies, simplifying the tax code, eliminating loopholes, and making commerce easier.

Additionally, Mr. Raguz also implies that the United States has not already embarked on a bombing campaign against ISIS. In fact, under the Obama administration, “The United States and its coalition partners have targeted ISIS with 8,216 airstrikes – 5,383 in Iraq and 2,833 in Syria, through November 16, the Pentagon says” [16]. ” Not only is such a bombing campaign necessary to push ISIS out of power, but the notion that these bombings constitute a violation of international law is quite strange considering the strong international involvement in these bombings and the myriad of universally-documented human rights violations by ISIS, including systematic rape, sex trafficking, and murder [17].

Mr. Raguz then asserts that the deal with Iran will keep the country from obtaining a bomb within two years. However, liberals have constantly criticized the government for continually overestimating Iran’s nuclear capability. U.S. or Israeli officials have declared that Iran is less than five years from creating a bomb since 1984, yet no bomb is in sight [18]. This speaks to the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions on the country. Yet, despite the effectiveness of these sanctions keeping Iran from nuclear capabilities for over thirty years, Mr. Raguz claims reverting this awful deal would make Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons “inevitable” and lead to a ground war in Iran. Such a deal is necessary in the long run to ensure Iran does not ever develop nuclear weaponry, but Obama gave too many concessions, such as access to conventional weapons and ballistic missiles, in exchange for too little from Iran. We are the world’s superpower – we can make a better deal.

Though his policies may come off as less-agreeable than the flip-flopping Secretary Clinton, Cruz stands on firm conservative ground, with his eyes set on advocating small government, returning power to the states, and ensuring the rights our forefathers promised us.

Daniel Walker

FOR
With Marco Rubio now out of the race, Senator Ted Cruz is quickly appearing to be the Republican’s only alternative to nominating Trump to run for President. Considering Trump’s questionable ability to appeal to a broad spectrum of voters and the establishment’s dedication to keeping Trump away from the nomination by any means possible, Cruz has a serious chance at representing the Republican Party come elections.

A classic conservative, Cruz is a disciplined Constitutionalist who stands for states’ rights, lower taxes, acknowledging the failure of social security, and school choice. Though every critic can find a policy with which they disagree, Cruz would enact a number of commonsense reforms that would benefit America as a whole.

Cruz stands firmly for states’ rights. As a result of this position, Cruz disagrees with the ruling of Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized gay marriage in all 50 states. Rather, the option to legalize gay marriage should be left up to each state individually. Some might say that this position, rather than being based in any principled belief in the Constitution’s separation of powers, simply lies in Cruz’s disapproval of gay marriage. After all, Cruz, an evangelical Christian, stated that marriage traditionalists should “fall to our knees and pray” against the court decision [19]. Yet, when asked whether he would, as president, force states such as Colorado to follow federal enforcement rules on the illegality of marijuana, he stated that “I think it is appropriate for the federal government to recognize that the citizens of those states have made that decision”, despite the fact that “If it were on the ballot in the state of Texas, I would vote no” [20]. Clearly, Cruz stands for the states’ rights to make their own decisions on issues that affect the welfare and morals of their citizens, even if it means those states making decisions with which he disagrees.

As President, Cruz has pledged to lower taxes across the board. Such a resolution is sorely needed, as the United States, despite its popular reputation for low taxes, actually maintains the highest corporate tax rate in the OECD, at 39%. Compared to everyone else, the U.S.’s corporate tax rate comes in third in the entire world, behind Saudi Arabia and Chad [21]. It’s unfair as well, with smaller companies making $100,000-$335,000 of taxable income being taxed at 39% while mega corporations earning $18,333,333 are being taxed at only 35% [22]. Cruz would replace these taxes with a fair flat 16% rate, bringing it 2.7% below Europe’s average tax rate and making the U.S. actually a competitive country in which to run a business [23]. Perhaps, then, businesses will actually choose to headquarter in the United States, rather than being coerced through legislation.

Moreover, Cruz is described as a Free Trader by the Cato Institute, a conservative think tank [24]. Free trade is universally recognized by economists as beneficial to the economy [25], while his primary Democratic competition, Hillary Clinton, opposed NAFTA and is rated an Interventionist by Cato [26].

Ted Cruz is our only candidate who acknowledges the imminent shortcomings of Social Security. Other candidates claim they will maintain or expand social security even though the Social Security Administration projects it will be unable to meet its financial obligations as soon as 2035, despite Social Security payments making up 25% of all federal spending [28]. Cruz is the only politician brave enough to face the reality that current spending on Social Security cannot be maintained. To remedy this, he proposes to gradually increase the retirement age and allow taxpayers to have a portion of the Social Security funds go to a personal account that they own and control, bringing power back to everyday Americans [29].

When it comes to education, Cruz acknowledges the fact that Common Core has failed to increased test scores in any capacity. On the contrary, scores continue to decline [30]. Cruz would do away with this embarrassment of a policy and give students vouchers to attend private schools [31], catching up with countries such as the Netherlands, where 70% of children use public vouchers to attend private schools. Students would receive the opportunity to choose an institution which fits their ambitions and learning requirements, rather than having to fit into a one-size-fits-all public school. Such vouchers save money, too. In DC, students who use a government voucher to attend private school cost the government only $8,500 a year, compared to $17,500 a year for children in the public system [32].

In addition, Ted Cruz also recognizes the hasty and poor strategy of the Obama administration when negotiating the Iranian nuclear deal. Iran, as an active supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah, has already decided to boost its funding of the two terror groups in anticipation of its $150 billion windfall from President Obama’s agreement [33]. In addition, the deal gives Iran access to conventional weapons after just five years and access to ballistic missiles after eight years [34]. Ballistics have a long enough range to strike Israel, a country that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has vowed will not exist in 25 years, and that jihad keeps him worried every moment [35]. Giving Iran access to conventional weapons would also increase its influence over Iraq, where its Badr Organization has since merged with the Iraqi military [36]. Clearly, this deal must be nullified while there’s still time, and Cruz is just the man to do it.

Though Cruz’s bid for the White House is controversial, he stands for commonsense policies that put power back into the hands of individuals and their communities rather than our current oversized government. Anyone can disagree a policy or two of his, but all-in-all this career constitutionalist provides America with the just the right tools needed for America to prosper.

Daniel Walker

REBUTTAL
My opponent starts by arguing that Senator Cruz is firmly against the recent supreme court decision legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states. He argues that the decision should be left to the states rather than mandated by the federal government. It is true that Cruz opposes the ruling, but his opposition is not only logically incorrect, but fundamentally illegal. States’ rights are only relevant if the constitutions does not declare a broader right according to the tenth amendment. The Obergefell v. Hodges ruling clearly shows that the 14th amendment is violated when we deny some people the right to marry [37]. The job of the supreme court is to determine and protect rights. If everything was a states rights issue, as Cruz would like you to believe, half our country would live in the Confederacy dreamed up by Jefferson Davis. That’s because – you guessed it – states’ rights was the same argument used by those who wished to continue slavery.

When it comes to taxes, Cruz would like to revert the U.S. to an extremely regressive tax system that would cause a massive budget deficit for the foreseeable future. His tax plan is a “flat tax”, but anybody with a rudimentary understanding of public policy can tell you that a flat tax, further explained by Mr. Quaoser here [38], is inherently regressive and favors the wealthy at the expense of the lower and middle classes. As The Economist has consistently pointed out, such a tax is an archaic way to blatantly favor the wealthiest in our society under the guise of “fairness” [39].

When it comes to education, Cruz’s insistence on ridding the U.S. of public education would only further hurt the poor in this country. The U.S. Department of Education has shown that test scores among students at private schools are often no better than those at their public counterparts after considering external student characteristics like race, gender, and income [40]. Furthermore, such a switch to private education would drop teacher pay even further by cutting out public-sector unions. It is widely known that we have a massive shortage of teachers, and a drop in pay across the board surely will not help that problem. While Cruz claims to want to help children, his education plan is just a way to cut government spending in order to continue massive tax cuts on the wealthy. The U.S. needs more money in education, not less, if we are to compete with those (dare I mention public) schools in Europe and Asia that consistently beat the U.S. across the board in education metrics.

Lastly, when it comes to ending the Iran nuclear deal, Cruz essentially advocates for a drawn-out war with Iran that cannot end well for the United States. Cruz does not want them to obtain a nuclear weapon but does not want to do so diplomatically. Without the current deal, it is estimated that Iran could create a nuclear weapon by the end of this year. If Cruz wants to stop such a weapon from being obtained, he would have to declare war on Iran, a country of nearly 80 million people. If Cruz wins the election, I hope you have your draft cards handy.

Chris Raguz

NEXT ARTICLE: HILLARY CLINTON
FINAL ARTICLE: DONALD TRUMP


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:
[1] http://news.yahoo.com/ted-cruz-tea-party-firebrand-aims-storm-white-044405979.html
[2] https://www.tedcruz.org/about/
[3] http://taxfoundation.org/blog/ted-cruz-s-business-flat-tax-primer
[4] http://www/forbes.com/sites/peterferrara/2014/04/24/senator-cruzs-energy-bill-promotes-energy-liberation-job-creation-and-prosperity-for-america/#7b1e27ed5fb6
[5] http://www.breitbart.com/video/2015/12/09/cruz-may-use-ground-troops-to-fight-islamic-state-depends-on-commanders-use-kurds-as-boots-on-ground/
[6] http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/url.cfm?ID=2000612
[7] http://claremontradius.com/2015/12/04/edition-i-progressive-vs-flat-taxes/
[8] https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/05/26/the-flat-tax-falls-flat-for-good-reasons/
[9] http://www.politico.com/story/2015/12/cruz-isil-bombing-216454
[10] http://trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com/2015/09/ted-cruz-calls-obama-communist-gloats-about-boehner-quitting-threatens-to-assassinate-irans-supreme-leader.html/
[11] http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/2000612-an-analysis-of-ted-cruzs-tax-plan.pdf
[12] http://mercatus.org/publication/improper-federal-payments-waste-over-100-billion-2012
[13] http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/2000612-an-analysis-of-ted-cruzs-tax-plan.pdf
[14] http://money.cnn.com/2013/07/01/news/economy/corporate-tax-rate/
[15] http://www.forbes.com/sites/taxanalysts/2015/03/25/the-truth-about-corporate-tax-rates/#b233b9e20a54
[16] http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/20/world/war-on-isis-whos-doing-what/
[17] http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/IQ/UNAMIReport1May31October2015.pdf
[18] http://opiniojuris.org/2013/01/28/yet-another-estimate-of-when-iran-will-have-the-bomb/
[19] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/26/us/politics/republican-field-woos-iowa-evangelical-christians.html?_r=1
[20] http://www.breitbart.com/video/2015/04/16/cruz-feds-should-recognize-state-decisions-on-marijuana/
[21] http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/sep/09/eric-bolling/does-us-have-highest-corporate-tax-rate-free-world/
[22] https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1120.pdf
[23] http://taxfoundation.org/article/corporate-income-tax-rates-around-world-2015
[24] http://www.cato.org/research/trade-immigration/congress?senator=192
[25] http://www.igmchicago.org/igm-economic-experts-panel/poll-results?SurveyID=SV_d68906VNWqVmiGN
[26] http://www.cato.org/research/trade-immigration/congress?senator=23
[27] https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v70n3/v70n3p111.html
[28] http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/aug/17/facebook-posts/pie-chart-federal-spending-circulating-internet-mi/
[29] http://www.ontheissues.org/2012_AARP.htm
[30] http://www.edweek.org/ew/section/multimedia/map-common-core-2015-test-results.html#al
[31] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775796000787
[32] http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21643165-republicans-resurgent-school-vouchers-are-back-pro-choice
[33] http://www.timesofisrael.com/boosted-by-nuke-deal-iran-ups-funding-to-hezbollah-hamas/
[34] http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/07/13/lifting-conventional-weapons-ban-among-final-obstacles-to-irans-nuclear-deal-final-reached/
[35] http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/10/world/middleeast/iran-ayatollah-khamenei-israel-will-not-exist.html
[36] http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-02-03/exclusive-iran-s-militias-are-taking-over-iraq-s-army
[37] https://www.oyez.org/cases/2014/14-556
[38] http://claremontradius.com/2015/12/04/edition-i-progressive-vs-flat-taxes/
[39] http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21693205-policymakers-rich-economies-need-consider-some-radical-approaches-tackling-next
[40] https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2006461.asp https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/studies/2006461.asp

image: “Senator of Texas Ted Cruz” by Michael Vadon – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/17/Senator_of_Texas_Ted_Cruz_at_New_England_College_Town_Hall_Meeting_on_Feb_3rd%2C_2016_a_by_Michael_Vadon_11.jpg

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