- What should be the role of science and scientists in government policy- and decision-making?
Science should inform all policies where it plays a role and scientists, both in and out of government, should have a major role in shaping policy.
- Optional: Taxpayer-funded basic research is a key economic driver. What is your position on the Endless Frontiers Act? With the added technology arm and focus on commercialization to the National Science Foundation’s mission, what policies would you support to ensure equity for taxpayers?
Endless Frontiers Act: Government can help with science in cases where there is a clear goal like cure disease x. I’m suspicious of government programs with fuzzier goals like “US Tech Leadership” especially when a stated goal is to combat China. Broad mandates like this are an invitation to corporate welfare, cronyism and worse. Let’s not repeat the mistakes of the Cold War or trade wars where fighting an external enemy leads to all sorts of excess.
- What have you learned from the coronavirus pandemic? What policy changes should be made to both prevent and respond to future pandemics in a more effective way?
We need much more flexible policies to allow people to solve problems. During the crisis we’ve loosened or abandoned restrictions on licensing for out-of-state and foreign medical personnel, on telemedicine and on certificate of need regulations. None of these regulations made sense even before the pandemic. We should continue to get rid of regulations which hamper ability to provide service even in good times, but especially in pandemics. Whenever we consider new regulations, we need to think about unintended consequences.
Another example: Helen Chu. She developed a covid test in January, yet regulators like the FDA/CDC prevented her from using it, pushing their own contaminated test instead. We need to make sure government policy enables scientists to help, rather than hindering their efforts.
- Optional: In your opinion, what is the ideal healthcare system? How will you incorporate advances in basic science, clinical, and public health research to inform your positions on healthcare policy?
AEI has a good plan. The gist is provider charge costs, which keeps healthy people (who usually subsidize the sick) in the system. The government subsidizes those who really need it. Healthcare is hard because of the stakes involved and the difficulty making informed choices. But having flexible market-based systems not bound by over-regulation is a surer path to incorporating innovation than relying on politicians to get things right.
CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT
- What are your policy priorities to address the ongoing climate crisis? How would these policies impact other systems, if any (e.g. economy, agriculture, education)?
Please refer to my platform: https://madrid4.nyc/green-the-market/
- Do you support the Green New Deal? Why or why not? If you support transitioning our economy away from fossil fuel dependence, how will you support workers who will need to transition to different industries?
I would like climate change to have a dedicated plan — not a plan which conflates climate and jobs — like the Green New Deal. Employment is important enough that it deserves its own dedicated plan. We should try to make energy as clean and cheap as possible, since cheap energy will fuel the economy and create jobs (not to mention save people money). Example: if the MTA’s energy costs went down, they’d have more money for jobs. Those jobs would not be green jobs, but they are jobs.
I’d also like to support workers transitioning, whether in energy or not, with basic income.
- What should our education system, from K-12 to higher ed, be doing to prepare students to be adaptable critical thinkers, especially considering the challenges of climate change, misinformation, and work at the human-technology frontier?
Education policy should be about giving our children the best possible education, regardless of provider. Technology opens up tremendous possibilities for more flexible, tailored arrangements, and providing underserved districts with the advantages richer districts have.
FOOD & AGRICULTURE
- To what extent are you concerned about the threat of climate change in disrupting agriculture in New York State in the coming decades? What, if any, policy changes should be made to ensure our farms are resilient?
Climate change is a worldwide issue not just a New York issue. I think most farmers are smart enough to realize climate change is on the horizon. They have better insight into what they need to do to safeguard their livelihood, whether in New York or elsewhere, than some office bureaucrat obligated to recommend what may be a suboptimal New York-based solution.
- Restrictions and suspensions of new work visas, especially for high-skilled workers in science and technology fields, could affect scientific progress and innovation. Do you agree with these restrictions? Why or why not?
I would like to relax immigration and visa rules and let in many more people with the skills, energy, and ideas to make America even more awesome!
- What is your position on the 1996 Dickey Amendment? What role should the federal government take in addressing issues relating to gun violence?
As I understand it the Dickey Amendment places restrictions on federally-funded researchers from researching gun violence. My mantra is Simplify and this is precisely the type of intrusive regulation I’d like to get rid of.
- Optional: Considering the majority (over 60%) of gun deaths are due to suicide, what are some policies that could be enacted to promote safer gun ownership practices and address people’s mental health needs?
I think the key here is to treat people’s mental health needs. Whether they use a gun or not, the mere fact that someone has suicidal thoughts is problematic. I’ve had some conversations about mental health with people in the field, but its a complicated issue entangled with many other issues such as financial and housing stability. I have ideas on those — basic income and removing barriers to building housing so people have abundant, reasonably-priced options. But beyond that, rather than expound a non-expert opinion, this is one I’ll have to admit I would have to study more.