Thursday, February 25, 2016

Why Bernie Sanders Would Be the Most Fiscally Conservative Candidate

    I'll bet you think it's crazy to suggest the Sanders Administration would shrink the deficit more than any other potential candidate's administration.   But it's blatantly obvious.  

     Although Republican Obama-phobes would have you believe that the President can unilaterally enact new spending programs and that Congress is helpless to oppose it , America is still a a democracy, and increasing the budget is simply not possible without a vote from the House and Senate.   Both of these are solidly in Republican control and would likely remain in Republican control in an unpopular Presidency.  Certainly Sanders might ask for a new bill to provide free tuition, say, but there is no way that the Republicans would vote for such a bill.  It is simply a fantasy from both sides that Sanders can increase spending by himself.  

     On the other hand, what he might do is to disengage the military from its current role as enforcer in Middle Eastern political systems and reduce operational military expenses.   That might reduce spending a little.  

     Conversely, Hillary Clinton embraced American intervention as Secretary of State, and the Republicans hope to prove their manhood by doing even more.  That means more spending for military operations.  

     As far as taxes are concerned, Bernie might like to carry out punitive taxation on the rich, but here again, the Republican majority would never permit it.  Perhaps, some token tax increase might get through, but that's about it.  

     Conversely, if a Republican President gets in, he will ask for and receive from Congress a bill with additional unnecessary tax cuts.  Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Kasich and Carson are all on record as favoring big juicy tax cuts despite the fact that the deficit is currently 400 billion dollars per year. A six year old can figure out that the Republicans will definitely increase the deficit if they get their guy in the White House plus control both Houses of the Legislature.   

     Hence it is obvious that if you want to control spending, the best way to do that would be to elect Bernie Sanders and to maintain Republican control in both the House and Senate.
      Okay, it's a stretch to call Sanders a fiscal conservative. But his Administration will be forced to restrict spending growth whether he likes it or not.  

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Trump's Popularity Explained to Those on the Left

The Village Elliot says Mr. Trump's popularity is not so hard to understand.   

Why is Donald Trump so popular?  Some of my friends on the left are astonished, and others are horrified by the success of Donald Trump.   All along I've said that Donald Trump has a realistic chance to win the White House, and that appears to be the case.   

I'm not saying that Donald Trump is a great candidate or my favorite candidate even among Republicans.  For the record, I am a registered Democrat and will vote for Bernie Sanders in the Ohio primary.  I am not an expert on measuring political sentiment, but I think I do understand the sentiment for Trump and I admit that in some ways I sympathize with it.    
   I believe that the center of American Politics has become corrupt in some important ways, and many Americans would like an outsider to come in and fix it. The Republican center in particular has become the party of Obamaphobia, too terrified of President Obama to participate in politics, and now totally devoted to simply opposing Obama on everything.   This does not sit well with many Republicans any more than it does with Democrats.  

     The last time a Republican President was elected, he created a depression and two wars, went from a slight surplus to an enormous deficit and increased both non-defenses and defense spending across the board.   True, many Republicans celebrate that style of government, but not all do.  Many Republicans genuinely believe the government should limit its role in the economy and that moreover there need to be limits on taxation.  Centrist candidates like Jeb Bush (the Republican centerfold at the beginning of the election) do not have much appeal for true economic conservatives.  

     The party bosses support perpetual war in the Middle East (hopefully at an even higher level than the Democrats), are okay with 400 billion dollar deficits and are willing to muddle through the immigration situation without resolving anything. Not all Republicans are happy with this. Many Republics do in fact want to see an end to war sometime, and they want to see some real spending cuts because they think that the current situation is unsustainable.  They are also afraid of tax hikes, because the Democrats can mobilize millions of have-nots to vote to take away all the hard-earned money that the middle and upper class have saved for themselves.  

Trump has loudly stated the obvious, that going into Iraq was a mistake, not a stroke of genius as Jeb and others would have us believe.   If you want to have policy shifts, increased levels of deportations, spending cuts, you're going to have to have a tough guy who is willing to accept criticism. 

All these reasons add up to a great desire to support a political outsider this year.  The same logic applies to someone like Bernie Sanders for the Democrats.   The center of the Democratic Party likewise may be on unstable footing and people are not happy with it.  Is Sanders the answer?  I don't know but he's the only alternative out there.  

Moreover, the rules for winning have changed in the Internet age.  To cite one example, it used to be that televised debates were not allowed to show the reaction of the audience.   Now the media rules favor candidates that can draw cheers and applause with snappy sound bites, and even slinging insults and interruptions.  Trump has realized this and he is playing the game the way that it needs to be played in order to win.  So, to some extent if we don't like Trump's sound bites, a lot of it has to do with the way that the Media has set things up.  This is the what the rules favor.  At the beginning of primary season, I thought that his experience in his chaotic reality TV “boardroom” would serve him well.   

In view of the media preference for shouting, interruption and sound bites, I think it would be very very difficult for Hilary Clinton to beat Donald Trump one on one.  Hillary will say smart things, Trump will say a few dumb things, and a lot of outrageous things, and that will probably work well for him.  

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Primary Season is Upon Us!

What season is it?  Why, it's primary season!

   Today (Feb 9) is the New Hampshire primary, and the election gets into full swing.  I'm both excited by it and repulsed.   

     I'm repulsed by the normally sensible center of American politics which has learned to embrace huge deficits, perpetual war in the Middle East, out of control immigration and several other huge problems as the norm.   

    Not surprisingly, then, we have serious challenges being mounted by relative outsiders to the political process such as Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson.  The Republican inside man, Jeb Bush has already been thoroughly routed whereas the erstwhile Democrat juggernaut, Hillary Clinton, has been hit hard by a 74 year old socialist named Bernie Sanders. 

    At this point, nine months before the election there is plenty of time to pick which party to support.  I think it is good to look at both sides, just like when you go to buy a new car you're better off to look at more than one brand of car.

    In my humble opinion, if you can't differentiate between candidates from the "other" party (say, you're a Democrat and you see no difference between Donald Trump and Jeb Bush), you're in danger of becoming a partisan ideologue. There are huge differences between the nine or so Republicans duking it out, and even the two Democrats are sharply divided on most issues.  

   The Democratic National Committee has done a good job of eliminating potential candidacies of people like Elizabeth Warren who is young enough and bright enough to make a difference.  Hillary Clinton is their annointed candidate, with only Bernie Sanders to challenge her.  Bernie is apparently too naughty to obey the memo.  The Republican primary is kind of like the clown car in the circus, with all sorts of zany characters along for the ride.  I think there may be a good one in there someplace, but I'm not sure.  

    I don't know who it I'm going to vote for for President, but I know it won't be Hillary Clinton, or Ted Cruz.   Clinton is addicted to war in the Middle East, in my opinion.  I believe as Scretary of State she hoped American would lead an extended Arab Spring revolution to "liberate" Arab peoples via the "Regime Change" policy, in which the US is allowed to take down foreign governments as kind of a public service to the inhabitants, but which instead is dragging down the US economy and nobody seems to much like us in the Middle East despite our wonderful intentions.  This is simply a disaster, compounding the mistakes of the Bush Administration, and I can't accept it or even make sense of it. Why in the world are we intervening in a Civil War in Syria while not supporting either of the two warring parties?  Cruz on the other hand, appears to be incapable of accepting a compromise, and moreover tried via filibustering to cause the US government to default on the Federal Deficit in order to destroy the banking system.  I'm not sure how either of these two got to the point of being so highly respected as politicians.     

Can somebody please do better than these two, I hope?  

     If the major parties diverge too far from reality, might a third party candidacy take hold? Michael Bloomberg may be leaning that way.  

    Earlier, I offered the opinion that a third party might emerge this year for a number of reasons.  Perhaps even someone with some common sense might be needed if the major parties veer too far from the sensible center.  We're hearing now that Michael Bloomberg is strongly considering a run.  That might be a good thing.