Pose Your Questions to Amit Singh…

A few weeks ago, I got a chance to interview Amit Singh who is a currently a GOP primary candidate for Virginia’s 8th District congressional seat. The interview covered a variety of topics and generated some interesting comments & discussion amongst the Mutiny. One specific request was an opportunity for other folks to hit him with questions of their own.

I pinged Amit and not only did he enjoy reading the discussion spawned by the interview but he was pretty interested in doing more Q&A with us. So, we’re going to use this post for other readers to send their questions to Amit.

I do wanna set a few groundrules –

  • STRUCTURE: We’ve all got day jobs (this is a jetlagged-in-a-foreign-hotel blogpost, for ex.) so rather than a Live Q&A (which requires realtime moderation), I’m going to use this blogpost to compile questions from folks and present them to Amit who’ll hit ‘em in a subsequent post. Schedules permitting, we may try to do some Live Q&A afterwards.
  • TIMING: Between Amit’s campaign schedule and my work/travel schedule we’ll give commentor’s here ~1 week to post questions and about a week or so later, I’ll get the responses up and posted.
  • MODERATION: Because politics can bring out the nasty side of a very small number folks, it’s worth being pretty direct here – If your question / comment is a personal attack, rude or insulting, SM Intern will delete it (yep, our busy intern was forced to pounce on a few in the last interview with Amit; others were borderline). If it’s *really* rude or insulting, you get banned. One can disagree without being disagreeable. And, we’ll try our best but, in all likelihood, not all questions will get addressed.

Fire away….

56 thoughts on “Pose Your Questions to Amit Singh…

  1. Best of luck with your campaign! My question is on immigration–haven’t “guest worker programs” failed pretty badly (given their stated intentions) in countries that have tried to implement them–e.g., post-WWII Germany? Given that immigration is good for the U.S., what prevents us from implementing more of a Canadian or Singaporean style “point” system (i.e., valuing highly-skilled immigrants at the expense of country-specific quotas, family reunification beyond husband-wife, or back-door favoritism (expressed in any number of ways) toward geographically proximate countries) that would seem to offer us plenty of immigrants of the kind that would have the highest value-added for the US economy?

  2. All good indian sons become doctors, what went wrong with you?

    hahahahaha….i needed that, thanks

  3. What would you do to tone down the rhetoric of hate towards immigrants from some of the members of your party, when they call children of immigrants anchor babies or call for repealing the 14th amendment.

    Also, what would be your answer to Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), who said in a recent hearing to Bill Gates:

    “But when you look at those names, and we’re talking about maybe 30 high schools in that area, you see a lot of Asian and Indian names. And it seems like every year it’s more and more, a greater percentage. And, obviously, youngsters that look like me are not, as I did, not going on to Georgia Tech and majoring in chemistry and pure science and becoming one of our great engineers working on the space program or whatever. So I have some real concerns about that. I don’t know what to do about it. Maybe you can share your thoughts on that particular point.”

  4. Amit,

    What is your view on the Indo-US nuclear deal? Do you support it?

    What is your view on increasing H1-B visas for techie work?

    What is your opinion regarding using taxpayer money to bail out troubled financial institutions and individuals who bought houses at the market top?

    Best of luck.

    M. Nam

  5. What is your position on the effect of “war on terror” whereby NSA monitors/taps all US calls and e-mails to and from foreign lands ? This is especially relevant for desis who probably call/e-mail a lot to their relatives and cousins. Is there any mechanism via the freedom of information act whereby ordinary and innocent citizens can access information from the govt as to whether they are being snooped upon ?

    Best with your campaign.

  6. What is your position on the effect of “war on terror” whereby NSA monitors/taps all US calls and e-mails to and from foreign lands ? This is especially relevant for desis who probably call/e-mail a lot to their relatives and cousins. Is there any mechanism via the freedom of information act whereby ordinary and innocent citizens can access information from the govt as to whether they are being snooped upon ?

    You do realize that this is a non-issue now. The warrantless surveillance is no longer allowed. All surveillance has to pass through the FISA court where judges approve warrants. So, in theory you’re already protected. Additionally, your understanding of the program as it was originally conceived is very naive. The original warrantless surveillance program was intended as a data mining tool to red flag any suspicious calling activity from known terrorists locations to US numbers. The US government is not interested in what your Pati has to say about the neigbor.

  7. What changes, if any, to the current system of taxes and economic incentives would you support?

  8. Good Luck! Gotta bunch of questions.

    Immigration: (Voters wont care about this, but I will) Legal and illegal aliens are clubbed together, to the detriment of legal aliens (higher fees, worse service). What steps will you take to ensure that the two issues are treated separately.

    The process for legal aliens in the US has become extremely cumbersome. – Green Card processing times have grown nearly exponentially. It typically takes years before an application is even considered. This increases the vulnerability of applicants. (A job loss can force the applicant and his family to abandon the process without sufficient time to wrap up various pending ) How will you streamline this? What would you

    – A very large number of legitimate non — job related visa applicants (F-1 Students, visitors Visa) are rejected arbitrarily. This adversely impacts the image of the US, restricts the ability to favorably influence a large number of foreigners, and reduces the revenue US colleges and decreases ability of US academia to attract the best researchers. How will you address this to ensure that the assessment process is improved?

    – H-1B applications have become a lottery. The applications get filled up within a few days There is no assurance that the some of best applicants will not be rejected by the lottery—reducing the ability of US companies to attract the best talent. What steps will you take to ensure that companies can hire highly qualified candidates all year round? What do you think will be a would be a level of H-1’s that will balance companies’ needs to remain competitive and will

    – The USCIS (INS) lacks responsiveness. When it makes an error avenues to redress this error is low. What Steps will you take to ensure that USCIS has sufficient customer service levels.

    Other There is a lack of incentives for US companies to mentor and train candidates for skilled jobs in the technology sector. This decreases the ability of fresh college students to get entry level jobs in high skill areas and decreasing US competitiveness in those areas. What steps will you take to ensure that

    Will you advocate breaking the homeland security department into various parts or do you feel that the current setup can be made to work more efficiently?

    What % of GDP do will you support for 1. Military Spending 2. Non-Military foreign aid (and what restrictions will you add to this) 3. Debt servicing 4. Healthcare spending

    What industries would you want US to invest in?

    What US agencies will you reduce spending for / close?

    Which political leader do you want to emulate?

  9. Gopal@9, FYI. FISA restiction that you mention expired in January and new laws have been made which makes your statements technically incorrect

    ref: Wired Blog “…Simply put, the FISA law is intended to prevent the NSA from operating inside the United States. In any event, that restriction collapsed this summer with the fear-induced, strong-armed passage of the so-called Protect America Act. That law radically re-architected the nation’s surveillance apparatus. Now the NSA can turn Gmail’s servers and AT&T’s switches into de facto arms of the surveillance industrial complex without any court oversight….”

    So the questions about privacy remains

  10. will you pledge to do what you can to elevate our political discourse?

    Even if you can successfully define “elevate” in this context, which I doubt anyone can, I would disagree with this approach.

    America, like most democracies, has citizens of different intellectual levels. For some, Obama’s pastor’s rhetoric may be a driving factor in voting. For others, his ad campaign style. For some others, his healthcare policy. And for others, something else.

    So once you elevate political discourse (to your intellectual level), you run two risks: One – You disenfranchise voters who are not up to your intellectual level and want to vote based on more basal instincts (it is their right to do so), and two, people who are intellectually better than you will strive to bring the discourse up to their level, thus eventually disenfranchising you.

    A President should be for all people. Diversity is not just about race, religion – but also varying intellectual capacities.

    M. Nam

  11. Even if you can successfully define “elevate” in this context

    an “elevated discourse” is one that you engage in against your opponent – of course, along with the second grade excuse of she hit me first, a “manufactured distraction” is one that your opponent engages in against you. any obama supporter knows that!

    ou disenfranchise voters who are not up to your intellectual level and want to vote based on more basal instincts (it is their right to do so)

    are you kidding me? first off, most people are capable of understanding issues if they are discussed reasonably, and intellect has absolutely nothing to do with how willing people are to let their reptilian instincts rule. and second, just because things are peoples’ rights, it doesn’t make them inherently good or a social desirable. one might not outlaw many things that one deems undesirable – like ogling, but that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t try to minimize them.

  12. A President should be for all people. Diversity is not just about race, religion – but also varying intellectual capacities.

    MoorNam, I am constantly amazed at the bullsht your vast mind throws up. Simply amazed!

  13. Gopal@9, FYI. FISA restiction that you mention expired in January and new laws have been made which makes your statements technically incorrect

    No actually it’s not incorrect. All domestic surveillance is done under the authority of the FISA court. The Protect America Act is intended to give the President authority to conduct surveillance of foreign nationals in foreign countries. This reverses a FISA court ruling which required the NSA to get warrants on foreign surveillance.

  14. Immigration is bad for Americans. Please stand up for the well being of Americans and do something to end the lax immigration laws which have transferred wealth from the middle class to the super rich.

  15. Dear Amit,

    A few weeks ago, NASA announced massive budget cuts to their mars program. Many have criticized that projects as large as these cannot be privatized because of the large amount of resources needed. As an engineer and a libertarian republican, what are your thoughts on private space programs? Do you think that projects, such as manned mission to Mars, can be carried out by private enterprise or do they need multi-national government collaboration to have any realistic chance?

  16. I think the presidential candidates should concentrate on explaining how they would handle a black-swan event that is financial-military in nature, without upsetting the social equillibrium sought by the founding fathers and without getting the judiciary involved.

    Just in case you’re wondering what I’m talking about: I’m sorry. The political discourse has been elevated beyond petty issues like Obama’s pastor, healthcare, Iraq war and other sundry items. On election day, I suggest you stay home and eat tacos while watching “Married with children” reruns.

    M. Nam

  17. 23 · abdul said

    Like me, do you as a Republican find Ann Coulter attractive?

    You’re Muslim, and you like Ann Coulter? Shhhit. That’s the first Muslim I know that likes her.

  18. Like me, do you as a Republican find Ann Coulter attractive?

    If yes, do you consider yourself gay ? if not, plesae do so from today.

  19. Just in case you’re wondering what I’m talking about: I’m sorry. The political discourse has been elevated beyond petty issues like Obama’s pastor, healthcare, Iraq war and other sundry items.

    way to confuse talking about meaningful things with sounding like a pompous ass.

  20. and nobody reasonable considers things like healthcare and the iraq war to be out of bounds. but shouting “hillarycare”, “socialized medicine” or “cut and run” does not a discussion make.

  21. 22 · MoorNam said

    I think the presidential candidates should concentrate on explaining how they would handle a black-swan event that is financial-military in nature, without upsetting the social equillibrium sought by the founding fathers and without getting the judiciary involved.

    healthcare and iraq war are petty discourse, while the political candidates should focus their energies on providing us a plan for a “large-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare event beyond the realm of normal expectations?” emergency preparedness is one thing — but relegating predictable, difficult, and high-impact crises to the back burner is a deeply flawed strategy (= stupidity). that’s like ignoring a punctured car tyre while asteroid-proofing your house.

  22. No offense, but I’m not too impressed by Mr. Singh’s resume or policy positions and articulations, as a congressional candidate. I feel like the desi communityh could offer a lot better, in terms of candidates at this level. Where are the constitutional law experts? The economics Ph.D.? How about someone with a masters degree in a relevant field … or at all? Mr. Singh deserves credit for a good campaign website layout, and for being willing to run. But he seems to me to be a place-holder for a more credible desi candidate. Which is a shame, since there’s a lot of talent in the desi american community.

  23. What will you do to prevent the health insurance companies from further sucking the life blood out of both doctors and patients?

  24. 30 · HMF said

    What will you do to prevent the health insurance companies from further sucking the life blood out of both doctors and patients?

    by turning DEMOCRAT…

  25. I suggest you stay home and eat tacos while watching “Married with children” reruns.

    eat tacos? i would breezily pardon your french moor nam, but beware! there is a lobby on sepia that is campaigning to bring Hays back.

  26. @ Kali and HMF

    Government bureaucrats can be just as bad as HMO types when it comes to sucking the blood out of doctors and patients. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…..it’s a mess. Seriously, everyone is struggling with their medical systems, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, the US. We have aging populations and increasing expectations regarding medical care – we want a Lexus for the price of a Hyundai when it comes to our medical systems.

    *Anyway, my question to the candidate is this – what do you think you can do if elected to confront the ethical lapses and general mismanagement that have played such a part in turning the public away from the GOP (and I say this as a registered Republican!)? Perhaps expanding your comments on earmarks from the last post might be helpful. Thank you.

  27. 30 · HMF said

    king the blood out of doctors and patients. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…..it’s a mess. Seriously, everyone is struggling with their medical systems, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, the US. We have aging populations and increasing expectations regarding medical care – we want a Lexus for the price of a Hyundai when it comes to our medical systems. *Anyway, my question to the candidate is this – what do you think you can do if elected to co

    Telling people to get treatment in India. Heart attacks cost 150,000 here, while heart attack costs 10,000. Let’s outsource our healthcare.

  28. 31 · kali said

    30 · HMF said
    What will you do to prevent the health insurance companies from further sucking the life blood out of both doctors and patients?
    by turning DEMOCRAT…

    It quoted wrong again.

    Telling people to get treatment in India. Heart attacks cost 150,000 here, while heart attack costs 10,000 there. Let’s outsource our healthcare! haha.

  29. Seriously, everyone is struggling with their medical systems, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, the US.

    But find me a Frenchie, Kanuck, Brit (or Lymie) or Kraut that would trade in their national health plan for a completely privatized system, as the yanks have.

    Government bureaucrats can be just as bad as HMO types when it comes to sucking the blood out of doctors and patients.

    Where’s your stats on this? According to the NEJM, the US has the highest percentage for administrative costs in the health care sector.

  30. Yes, the touted saying, “If you’re going to get sick, it’s best to be in the US” really only applies to a small segment of those rich enough to afford that care, which I wouldn’t be surprised if this group has a high intersection with the GOP membership list.

  31. I bet their are some brits and canadians who might want to switch. Seriously, all I ever hear from docs from Canada, UK, US is how much they can’t stand what’s happening to medicine in ‘insert country here’. Anyway, part of our administrative costs are related to government mandates….there are things you have to do that are mandated by the gov. It’s actually pretty complicated.

    Anyway, I don’t particularly care. I hate what has been done to medicine so much I’ll probably quit practicing in 5 or so years. I’m just not into the money and I hate that I can’t do a good job because of all the mess around me. Do what you want with the system, HMF – I’m opting out of it.

  32. I bet their are some brits and canadians who might want to switch

    And I bet there are people who live in the desert that want to ban drinking water. But the point is, you never hear this as a serious voice or collective argument from any of these countries that have universal health care.

    Certainly there’s no major organisation that wants to completely uproot it.

  33. If we truly had a free market health-care system, then states wouldn’t place restrictions on buying insurance over state lines. This legislation prevents a Walmart of Insurance Comapnies to exist within the U.S. Government regulation shafts the small guy once again.

  34. It’s slightly different, walmart’s business is goods, not services. Also, the need for services varies from state to state, ie, some states are more of a health risk (like NY, Cali, etc..) Imagine living in one of these states and paying the rate for living in some rinky dink city in South Dakota or something. This is why state run health care would be good.

  35. You’re right that there would be problems with that. Yes, some companies would be wiped out (due to large costs), while there would be some winners (probably due to insurance companies hedging properly and making prudent investment decisions with the money the get through patient premiums). McCain is proposing what I said, but the Democratic congress will impede him from doing that once he gets elected.

  36. hey guys – the healthcare issue is noted and Amit will hit it…. But lets not debate it here ;-)

  37. Amit, Congressmen are often the person of last resort when it comes to immigration petitions. If you were approached by two candidates – an illegal immigrant who has a lived in the US for twenty years and holds a minimum wage job and a Indian programmer who has run out of his H1-B extensions – who would be more worthy of your time? And why?

  38. Amit,

    What do you think about torture? I’ve read accounts that our torture system is preventing potential terrorist attacks from occurring; in addition, I’ve read that our torture cells treat the prisoners unlike the Arab prison cells. What is your take on this?

  39. Amit,

    I was a big Ron Paul supporter (still am) and I imagine you are, too.

    No question, just want to say thanks for running and to encourage you to embrace the term “Ron Paul Republican”! It is the future for America (and India, too, BTW — as victims of the License Raj will tell you)

    Alok