ACtion Magazine - June 2016 - (Page 10)
ampaign promises have evolved (or
maybe devolved) from slogans to
sound bites. President Dwight Eisenhower's slogan during the 1956 campaign
was Peace and Prosperity. When Herbert
Hoover ran for President in 1928, his slogan
was A Chicken in Every Pot and A Car in Every Garage. Though stated differently, both
conveyed a simple message - you will do
better economically if you vote for me. In the
current campaign a sound bite for a frontrunner has become his slogan - Make America
Great Again®. Those words have been trademarked by Donald Trump in connection with
products such as sport bags and clothing, as
well as a variety of campaign paraphernalia.
License fees are a part of Mr. Trump's business model as well as real estate.
Campaign slogans, sound bites and
promises certainly seem to draw attention to
and support for candidates. However, when
faced with legal requirements or practicalities do they hold up historically?
Multiple candidates this year promised to
repeal the Affordable Care Act (a/k/a Obamacare) in short order if elected. Putting aside
any merits and costs of the Affordable Care
Act, it is a federal law. Apparently those candidates forgot their basic civics lessons, or
they assume the voting public is not smart
enough to understand the separation of powers built into the Constitution. The power to
make (and to repeal) laws is vested in Congress, not the President.
Candidates are also touting they will
make the military strong again, inferring
that the military is currently weak. I doubt
any American wants our military forces to
be weak, but how exactly do you measure
the strength or weakness of the military? Is
it measured in sheer numbers of men and
women in the military? Since 1995, the number of uniformed military personnel has remained fairly constant at around 1,500,000.
How about in terms of military spending? A
report of the Council on Foreign Relations
shows military spending did decline between
2011 and 2014; yet considering pure dollars
does not take into account factors such as the
reduction in the country's operations in the
Middle East over that same period of time
(where funding dropped by 70% from 2008
to 2014). So, what is the criteria to: (1) conclude our present military forces are weak,
and (2) determine what will make our military strong? Moreover, regardless of what
the President proposes, the defense budget is
ultimately approved by Congress.
Gun control is certainly an issue in this
country. However, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
(SIRI), from 2010 to 2014, the United States
was the world's biggest exporter of major
arms (e.g., aircraft, artillery and missiles).
The Executive Branch is directly involved
in making government to government sales
of military equipment, but Congress has to
be given prior notice and the opportunity to
ACTION * June 2016
challenge a proposed sale. How will each
candidate determine to whom we sell such
Candidates are uniformly opposed to illegal immigration, with some also being in
favor of deporting all undocumented immigrants. In addition to the costs of locating
and transporting them to their birth country,
what will happen to their children if they
were born in this country? The Fourteenth
Amendment provides, in part, All persons
born ... in the United States ..., are citizens
of the United States ... . A natural-born citizen cannot legally have his or her citizenship
revoked against his or her will.
One candidate, in particular, points to a
Census Bureau statistic that, despite the requirements of the Equal Pay Act, women are
only making 76 cents to every dollar paid to
a man. That statistic is however the midpoint
for all women in all jobs, not for women doing the same work or working the same number of hours as men. Currently women on
average work fewer hours than men and are
generally under-represented in higher paying
jobs. Thus, the gender discrimination may be
in terms of higher paying jobs rather than creating the foregoing wage gap if you consider
women doing the same jobs as men for the
same number of hours. That form of discrimination is not easily eliminated by more laws.
Borrowing loosely from a Seinfeld episode, a politician may know how to make a
promise, but they do not always know how
to keep a promise. This is a thoughtful reminder that we should not simply vote on
any candidate's promises. ❆
Remember that laws are constantly
changing and are often not uniform
throughout the United States. Do not
place unqualified reliance on the information in this article. Always contact
legal counsel for detailed advice.
If you have a particular issue, law or
problem you would like to see addressed in a future column, please contact me at KLeonard@LeonardSciolla.
com, or Leonard, Sciolla, Hutchison,
Leonard & Tinari, LLP, 215-567-1530.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - June 2016
ACtion Magazine - June 2016
Back to Basics
New Products and Services
ACtion Magazine - June 2016