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...."

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