Saturday, January 14, 2012

Santorum: 'Supply-Sider' for the Working Man???

An interesting point. It is not enough to pitch the goodness of capitalism and the badness of the welfare state to the receptive "one percent" (sic--it's almost 50 times larger than that); we must also appeal to the "99 percent" (sic--again, it is less than half of that, but still a large percentage).
"I'm someone who believes that making things creates wealth," says Rick Santorum. It is primary day in New Hampshire, and the former Pennsylvania senator and current presidential candidate is describing his plan to slash corporate tax rates. To encourage companies to make things, he would completely eliminate the federal income tax on manufacturers. For all other businesses, the rate would be cut in half, to 17.5% from 35%.
In other words, point out how Leftist tax policies have *driven* the manufacturing jobs of Joe Sixpack overseas.
Mr. Santorum also believes that making babies creates wealth. It's very difficult to grow an economy with a shrinking population, he says, pointing to the "demographic winter in Europe" as a cause of that region's troubles. To help avoid that fate in the U.S., he wants to triple the per-child tax credit and also cut individual tax rates.
The Leftist eco-fiends still harbor fears of a "Population Bomb" but the reality is that the modern industrial world--whether "post-capitalist" like the USA, Europe, Japan, and the little Asian Tigers, or "post-communist" like the former Warsaw Pact and Red China, are having too few babies, not too many:
Mr. Santorum argues that the cost of Europe's massive welfare states made it too expensive for young people to have families. He notes that with plummeting birth rates, many European countries have resorted to "baby bonuses" to try to reverse the tide, but the demographic picture remains bleak, while the costs of entitlement programs have exploded. 

"Who are benefits promised to, overwhelmingly? Well, they're promised to older people. And if you have a society like Europe that is upside down where there are a lot more older people than younger people, you have economic calamity," he says. Asked if giving generous per-child credits will result in an even larger number of households exempt from the income tax and therefore amenable to more spending, he says his plan will drive growth and that, in turn, will bring more people on to the tax rolls. Elimination of deductions might also keep some people paying income taxes. He aims to balance overall taxes and spending at 18% of GDP. Spending has soared to 24% in the Obama era.
In other words, make "supply side economics" work for the working class. This working class, once called "Reagan Democrats", then "Perot-nistas", then "bitter clingers" by President Obama and his minions, is an important, perhaps THE important, piece of the GOP winning coalition. In general, though, the tale of years since has been the refusal of the Republican establishment to seal the deal. As Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam pointed out in their book "Grand New Party":
Over the forty years since, this problem – that the working class wants, and needs, more from public policy than simply to be left alone – has prevented the Republican Party from consolidating an enduring majority, despite all the right-wing intellectual victories and all the conservative electoral gains. It defeated Goldwater, it ruined Gingrich, and it crippled the domestic policy of George W. Bush. It was at the heart of a marginal conservatism’s 1964 defeat, and it lies at the heart of conservatism’s present crisis....
In a still-crowded field of non-Romneys trying to compete for the Republican nomination, Mr. Santorum could emerge in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary as the man who can bring together the old Reagan coalition. A champion of cultural conservatives with a blue-collar background, he is also making the case for deep cuts in federal spending. His credibility on this last issue derives from the political price he paid for being an early promoter of Social Security reform, which caused him to lose his Senate seat once.
Nor does he give ground in our discussion. I ask if his corporate tax plan opens him up to criticism that he and President Obama are both favoring particular sectors of the economy, with Mr. Santorum picking manufacturing while Mr. Obama anoints green energy. "Oh, green energy is not a sector, I mean, come on. It's like a half-dozen companies," says Mr. Santorum.

Does this mean the Obama policy would be more legitimate if the president were favoring a larger group of Solyndras?

"He's talking about handing out tax-free grants and loans," says Mr. Santorum, who adds that his own plan "is a conservative approach. It's supply-side. It's cutting rates. Why are we cutting the corporate rate to 17.5% and making it simple? . . . Because we think it's what's necessary to grow the economy. . . . So if what's necessary to grow the economy in one sector of the economy is different from another, then why should we have the same tax rate?" He argues that manufacturing has been hit particularly hard by the costs of regulation and litigation.

To avoid a lobbying festival, Mr. Santorum says, the existing IRS definition of manufacturing, which includes companies that make and process goods, will remain in place.

"No, we're not going to have a free-for-all over who is a manufacturer. It's pretty clear if you're making products you're making products and if you're processing products like if you're an oil refiner, you're a processor. . . . You're making things, as opposed to a lawyer who is not a manufacturer." And while only a small percentage of Americans still work in manufacturing, Mr. Santorum says that such businesses have a powerful "multiplier effect" as they support various other enterprises.
We could do worse than that. If Rick Santorum is not the anti-Romney, perhaps he *is* the Working Man's Capitalist.

Friday, January 06, 2012

The Club For Growth Presdential Voter Guide

Interesting! The Club for Growth has issued evaluations of where the remaining candidates stand on economic freedom. The topics covered include:
--Free Trade
--Entitlement Reform
--School Choice
--Tort Reform
--Political Free Speech
--Political Activity and Endorsements

The following six candidates are evaluated:
Rick Santorum
Mitt Romney
Newt Gingrich 
Ron Paul
Rick Perry
Jon Huntsman

And previous Club for Growth Presidential White Papers on candidates no longer seeking the Republican nomination can be found by clicking here.

Because the Club For Growth does not evaluate foreign policy, I suspect Ron Paul will look a lot better to the Club For Growth than he really is. However, the Club For Growth has *this* to say about Ron Paul:
But Ron Paul is a purist, too often at the cost of real accomplishments on free trade, school choice, entitlement reform, and tort reform. It is perfectly legitimate, and in fact vital, that think tanks, free-market groups, and individual members of Congress develop and propose idealized solutions. But presidents have the responsibility of making progress, and often, Ron Paul opposes progress because, in his mind, the progress is not perfect. In these cases, although for very different reasons, Ron Paul is practically often aligned with the most left-wing Democrats, voting against important, albeit imperfect, pro-growth legislation.

Ron Paul is, undoubtedly, ideologically committed to pro-growth, limited government policies. But his insistence on opposing all but the perfect means that under a Ron Paul presidency we might never get a chance to pursue the good too.
Compare the Club For Growth summary of Rick Perry with their summary of Mitt Romney. For Rick Perry, the Club For Growth says this:
When evaluating members of congress, it is somewhat informative to look at the partisan nature of their congressional district in the case of a House member or their state in the case of a Senator. When evaluating a Governor, it is even more instructive to judge performance in the context of the political climate of their state and the partisan and ideological composition of their legislature. Working in the environment in which a Governor finds him or herself, the operative question is often whether he or she improved or worsened the climate for economic growth.

The Texas tax and regulatory climate Governor Rick Perry inherited from Governor George W. Bush was already among the best in the nation. Further, during Perry’s entire long tenure as governor, the Texas Legislature has had conservative Republican majorities. So the bar for judging Perry’s performance should be set high.

It is quite clear that Perry did not move his state in reverse, or on the wrong course. In many instances, he merely maintained a positive status quo. In others, such as tort reform and regulations, he improved the Texas economic climate.

Still, his support for taxpayer-subsidized funds to lure jobs away from other states shows he has at times an interventionist streak rather than consistent free-market principles. His semi apology for the big government interventions of President Bush suggests a similar inclination.
You would think they would give Governor Romney a big break by this standard, considering leftist Massachusetts. But they say this about Mitt Romney, and I think accurately:
(Romney) labels himself as a pro-growth fiscal conservative, and we have no doubt that Romney would move the country in a pro-growth direction. He would promote the unwinding of Obama’s bad economic policies, but we also think that Romney is somewhat of a technocrat. After a career in business, quickly finding a “solution”seems to be his goal, even if it means more government intrusion as a means to an end. To this day, Romney supports big government solutions to health care and opposes pro-growth tax code reform – positions that are simply opposite to those supported by true economic conservatives.
All in all, I do very much agree with the Club For Growth. However the Club For Growth has two flaws:

(1) The Club For Growth does not look at the immigration issue, despite its undeniable economic consequences, as we are experiencing with our overwhelmed public services in California.

(2) The Club For Growth are very sanguine to the point of goo-goo about economic globalization and "Free Trade". Never mind that much of the rest of the world does not really practice free trade and we Americans are played for chumps this way again and again. And never mind that national security does trump free trade, at least in the mind of any sane patriot, no matter how devoutly capitalist.

This myopia about trade is apparent in their evaluation of Rick Santorum:
In perhaps the most important free trade vote of the last generation, Santorum voted against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993, perhaps the most important trade vote cast during his career in Congress. Days before the vote, he said, “NAFTA will produce pockets of winners and losers across the country. Our area is unfortunately one of the losers."

That analysis, while arguably correct with regard to a small number of industries in Pennsylvania, ignores the fact that every single consumer in Pennsylvania benefited tremendously from NAFTA, as well as did many more affected industries.
Oh, really? That claim would be called "bullshit" by most Quaker State residents after nearly two decades, even if better for the rest of the nation.
In 2005, Santorum voted in support of an amendment that would impose a massive, job-killing 27.5% tariff on all Chinese imports if China didn’t readjust their currency upward.
Because having our most likely next major enemy profit by their currency manipulation is such a good thing? Really? Sorry, Red China is not Colombia or South Korea or other places where recent good free trade initiatives have been proposed. Red China is a nation building up its military--including its nuclear missile arsenal and an unprecedented "blue-water" (global) navy, most likely for a future military showdown against the USA and/or its Asian allies.

The Club For Growth, like the Wall Street Journal and some others, sometimes seem to wish to prove Vladimir Lenin's assertion correct, that "when the time comes the hang the capitalists, they will sell us the rope with which to do it...."

Thursday, January 05, 2012

"Keep Your Hands Off My Medicare!"

Yes, there were senior citizens who opposed Obamacare who held up signs like that, and yes, the Leftists mocked them, as Medicare is a government program.

But the leftist mockery says more about the Leftists than it does about the senior citizens.

MediCare was supposed to be "self-financing" from the workers' payroll, right? Remember that, liberals? So you leftist statists were lying about that too, weren't you? Just like you lied about everything else, from the New Deal to the Great Society to the current Obamunism.

Meanwhile, Obamacare effectively dumps younger people who never paid a lifetime into Medicare into the program, increasing demand, and cuts payments to doctors, decreasing supply, while controlling prices. All of which means the existing seniors will get short shrift. You think they are not supposed to notice that, liberals? Really?

Or are they just supposed to do what you tell them to?

Just when the facts are that the retirement ages will have to be raised because people are living longer and there are fewer young workers in proportion to elderly retirees, Obamacare blatantly disregards these two inevitable facts.

And those who rely on Medicare *now* are supposed to just lay back and think of heaven, to which the New Obama oversight (rationing) panel will bring them to that much sooner.

Really, Leftists? You want to keep thinking you can pull off this crap? Even the naive elderly, who were raised on The New Deal and The Great Society, see through you now.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Rick Santorum: Not the Anti-Romney

It's Wednesday after the 2012 Iowa caucuses and this morning I caught an hour of Rush Limbaugh insisting that Rick Santorum is not a "big government conservative". Rush was attempting to allay fears that former Senator Santorum is yet another politician positioning himself as a conservative while actually being just another ally of bloated government, proposing new government programs, regulations, etc. in areas where the federal government has little or no Constitutional mandate. That's the charge against Mitt Romney and those paying attention to the post-caucus punditry know that Santorum did quite well and is now poised to be this week's "anti-Romney".

And, we need an anti-Romney. Romney is the neon "I Don't Get It" sign whose annoying, buzzing message is that the GOP establishment learned nothing about how to win elections or its constituents from 2010 and the TEA Party. Romney is this year's McCain, who many of us real, small government conservatives hoped was the last gasp of Republican presidential candidates nominated under the assumption that big government was okay with conservative voters, as long as "our" guy sat in the big chair. But, the epic fail that is big government - unconstrained by the Constitution, common sense, or any sense of fiscal responsibility - is not okay. In 2006 and 2008, voters told the GOP, "You aren't giving us much reason to show up at the polls." Putting another big government Republican statist on the 2012 ticket will result in another painful lesson for the GOP, which doesn't seem to realize that many Republican voters have no enthusiasm for politicians who are clearly just paying lip service to reducing government. Romney is an electoral disaster in a nice suit. If the 2012 Presidential race comes down to voting for one candidate who defends Obamacare or another candidate who defends Romneycare, well... Let's just hope the GOP can hold the House.

But, Rick Santorum? Rick Santorum is not a small government guy. Rick Santorum has a record and it's the record of a big government statist. And, no, I am not talking about his social conservatism. It's true that he's a traditionalist on social issues, for what that's worth. (So much for any hope of peeling away younger voters disillusioned with Obama.) But, the problem with Santorum is that he's also a straight up fiscal "I Don't Get It" statist. As in: Affirmative votes for Medicare Part D, for the "Bridge to Nowhere", for Ted Kennedy's No Child Left Behind, actually co-sponsoring the government-subsidized mortgage downpayment legislation, and so on. So, yes, Rick Santorum is undeniably another big government guy.

Johnson is out. Bachmann is out. Cain is out. Perry is dithering. Gingrich, articulation aside, is an another variation on Romney. Is there no GOP candidate with a record of opposing the expansion of the federal government? Is there no one to whom serious fiscal conservatives and TEA Partiers can look and say, "I am sure my vote for him is a vote for the limited government authorized by the Constitution?" Whatever the answer to that question, it is not Rick Santorum.

Monday, January 02, 2012

"The Bachelor(ette)": Wisdom for our times

Truer words were never spoken, and on a rather tacky "Reality TV" (sic) show, at that:

"Good things don't end unless they end badly...." -- Ben Flajnik, "The Bachelor", spoken to Ashley Hebert.

That goes for politics and for economics even more than for pseudo-romantic relationships arranged on television.

"What I don't need you to do is sugar coat it," either.....

Sunday, January 01, 2012

2012: The make or break year???

In a 2008 radio interview, Barack Obama said:
" ... the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and the Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties."
And there you have it. There is a reason I call many of that political party Demunists, or Commiecrats.

No, Barack, it was NOT an oversight that the Founding Fathers never addressed the issue of the government taking your assets and giving them to who they deemed "deserving". Perhaps it's just an indication that George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and James Madison were cold, calloused individuals who enjoyed watching people suffer. That is what they teach in Multicommunist Ethnic Brainwash Studies 101 nowadays.
In the same interview, future President Obama went on to say that the Constitution:
 "[says] what the Federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn't shifted ... and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was ... um ... because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change."
Excuse me? Do on your behalf? Those stupid Founding Fathers again. They didn't even think to put in the Constitution what the government must do on your behalf (which are code words for what it can do to you). What were those mentally challenged Old White fuddy-duddy guys thinking?

And what a tragedy it was that the civil rights movement didn't put together the coalition of powers that could bring about "redistributive change." Forget the fact that the Constitution never mentions the redistribution of anything. After all, as with man-made global warming, the debate is over: We all know that redistribution of wealth is the only moral way to operate a country, right? If we are caught alluding to the Constitution, Queen Nancy Pelosi herself simply laughs us off with, "Are you serious?"

America will go through a fundamental change in 2012 - guaranteed. Either the gains of Obama and his minions will not be reversed, which means we are that much closer to having our nation fundamentally transformed into a Euro-weenie welfare state, then, following the Europeans, a bankrupt state.....
Or those in the Republican Party who still believe in freedom (and sadly, they do not seem to be anywhere near an overwhelming majority) will do whatever it takes to overthrow the "czars" and policies of the Obamunist oligarchy that now rules over us.

If the Republicans, after winning back the House and Senate - or even coming close - continue to act like RINOs / Republicrats / Demopublicans and ignore the Constitution, it will be a sad time indeed.

Having said this, the only way that a "fundamentally transformed America" can be avoided is if:
1. Free elections without significant vote fraud are held in 2010.
2. Conservative Republicans sweep into power.
3. Said conservative Republicans immediately began to repeal ALL unconstitutional legislation - including ALL federal government involvement in health care, ALL forms of federal government welfare, ALL federal government involvement in education ... and so on.

State and local matters like education and public health belong back in state and local hands.

In short, get rid of ALL Federal government functions other than providing a legal system for arbitrating national disputes, protecting the lives and property of American citizens, and providing for a national defense.

And we must spend enormous amounts of time and energy educating the anesthetized, sports-crazy, entertainment-crazy, vacation-crazy masses about the wonders of the free market. We must expain to them why liberty is the most valuable commodity they can ever possess. We must have enough love in our hearts to help them understand that liberty, not government handouts, gives them the best opportunity to achieve economic freedom.