Presidents: Mitt Romney

Is it possible to be TOO smart to be president? If we hired presidents based on resume and experience, Mitt Romney would get the job. No recent candidate has been more qualified for the office. But that is not how we pick presidents.

This is the first of my series. Please refer to my introductory post for explanations. I will keep to 500 words or less for each.

Leadership & Management

Romney has been an outstanding leader business and government. He built his own company and displayed special skill at turning around troubled operations. His skill in managing the Winter Olympics, outlined in his book “Turnaround: Crisis, Leadership, and the Olympic Games", is particularly relevant since it included extensive multilateral negotiations among international stakeholders and leading in a situation where he had limited formal leverage. He did under an elevated threat of terrorism. Romney is rare among politicians in that he has significant executive experience in private business, international organizations and elected office. No other candidate running is better and few are as good in this category.

Intellectual Abilities

Education alone is not proof of intellect, but when a man graduates in the top 5% of his JD/MBA class at Harvard, you give him the benefit of the doubt. After graduation, his ability to master arcane details of financial operations and clear grasp of complicated issues confirms our belief that he highly intelligent. During the 14 years he headed Bain Capital the average annual internal rate of return on realized investments was 113%. Maybe he was just really lucky for 14 years, but probably not.

Substantive Knowledge

See above. Romney is quick on his feet. During This Week with George Stephanopoulos he obviously could call on great reserves of knowledge. Stephanopoulos, a Clinton insider, wasn't throwing only softballs.

Communication Ability

Romney is no Ronald Reagan when it comes to communication. He is obviously on top of the issues and I bet he is wonderful with the give and take of small groups of experts, but like many smart people he lacks a bit of that ability to connect with people on a personal level. As I wrote, he is no Ronald Reagan.

Foreign Affairs

The Winter Olympics showcased Romney’s ability to work with diverse international actors in a stressful and partisan environment. He also lived for more than two year overseas and speaks fluent French.

U.S. Economy

No presidential aspirant since Salmon P. Chase has had more relevant experience in finance. As governor, he took the State of Massachusetts from a $3 billion deficit to a surplus. I wrote more about his financial ability above.

Interpersonal skills

Romney is smart, well adjusted & good looking. Some people will dislike him for that reason alone. But a real consideration when dealing with people like that is that things come too easily. This impacts his communication ability as mentioned above. It is a little like the brainy kid who really cannot appreciate why you do not understand the differential equations the first time.

Special Considerations

Bigotry against Mormons still accepted by many otherwise tolerant people. A recent poll indicated that 88% say they would vote for a woman; 94% could support a black nominee, but only 72% would support a Mormon. Romney’s challenge parallels the one faced by John Kennedy, an attractive candidate facing the threat of bigotry. Bigotry will be an undertow, although most people will be ashamed to admit it.

Here are a few more references.
Romney on the Issues
General Bio
Supporting Romney
A Man With a Mission
Romney as Governor
What is Mormonism

Posted by Jack at February 19, 2007 4:32 PM
Comments
Comment #208922

He’s boring, but not because he’s smart. He’s boring because he’s constantly talking, saying the same thing over and over again without saying anything. He takes no positions of any kind. He stands for the satus quo on just about every issue imaginable. That, and he professes to worship Reagan and will never raise taxes (some financial genius). Puh-lease let him be your front runner.

Posted by: Max at February 19, 2007 5:50 PM
Comment #208928

What new thing is Hillary or Obama saying? All I hear Obama say is that ‘we need to come together, I can unite us’ but there’s no substance at all…

*shrug* If you think he’s any different in this respect than any other candidate I’ve got some land to sell you…

As for Reagan, you’re illusions that ‘Reaganomics’ was a failure are hilarious. The US brought it so much more in funds during those years it was amazing, just by lowering taxes. However, the president and congress just couldn’t control their spending and extension of governmental programs that the spending was even more amazing…

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 19, 2007 6:24 PM
Comment #208929

BTW, Reaganomics was little different than Kennedyomics that was used in the early 60s… And that was considered Camelot. Hmmm.

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 19, 2007 6:25 PM
Comment #208930

Max

He took a $3 billion deficit in Mass to a surplus. If he can do that w/o raising taxes don’t you think that is a good thing?

Reagan won reelection with almost 60% of the vote and carried every state except Minnesota. Lots of people liked Reagan. I do not think liking Reagan will hurt him.

Posted by: Jack at February 19, 2007 6:28 PM
Comment #208937

Rhinehold,

US brought it so much more in funds during those years

Want to explain that one? Are you talking tax revenue, GDP, Euros, Moneymarkets…What?

Posted by: gergle at February 19, 2007 7:12 PM
Comment #208941


Romney is the consumate flip-floper. He was for abortion in Mass. and now he is against it. He was for gun control but in August he joined the NRA and now he is against it. He endorsed Tsongas for president. The conservatives are going to have a field day with him in the primaries. However, he does have the endorsement of a great neocon, Jeb Bush.

Posted by: jlw at February 19, 2007 7:24 PM
Comment #208942


The olympics took a lot of bribe money not diplomacy. And oh my god, he is part French.

Posted by: jlw at February 19, 2007 7:29 PM
Comment #208947

Gergle

Since the early 1980s, the U.S. GDP has grown twice as fast as the countries that now make up the EU and created many times as many jobs. We have been a magnet for international investment, our tax revenues are at all time highs. I think when Rhinehold talks re money coming in, he probably means pretty much everything. I know that everyone predicts it will all collapse. They have been doing that since 1981. They will be right … eventually.

jlw

He got there after the bribe scandal and sorted it out. That showed consumate skill.

France is a great country, BTW. It is fun to poke fun at them (and they return the favor). You know that the French generate 78% of their electricity from nuclear. We only manage around 20%. We can learn some things from the French.

Posted by: Jack at February 19, 2007 7:43 PM
Comment #208948

Of all the Republicans I’ve been hearing about for President Mitt Romney is the only one I’d consider. But like Obama Barrack (so far the only Democrat I’d consider) he better start addressing the issues.
So far I haven’t heard anyone from either party saying anything worth listening to.

Max

That, and he professes to worship Reagan and will never raise taxes (some financial genius). Puh-lease let him be your front runner.

Do you really think that the only way to be a financial genius is to raise taxes? Or are you just taking the usual partisan stand against anyone that aint Democrat and for taxing everyone to death?

Rhinehold

BTW, Reaganomics was little different than Kennedyomics that was used in the early 60s… And that was considered Camelot. Hmmm.

The difference is Kennedy was a Democrat and Reagan was a Republican. If Reagan had been a Democrat they’d have embraced Reaganomics just like they did Kennedyomics.

Jack

Reagan won reelection with almost 60% of the vote…..Lots of people liked Reagan.

But like Nixon in 72, no one voted for him.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 19, 2007 7:56 PM
Comment #208951

To the end of my days I will be paying the bill for “reaganomics’, several hundred dollars a year in extra taxes to pay the deficit that was not only generated during the 12 reagan bush years but also compounding interest. Neither reagan, nor bush senior nor w came to office acknowledging that they were going to, through their policies, generate the amount of federal debt that they did. If they did admit that no one would have voted for them!!! Reagan was a joke, asleep when he came in and demented when he left. The sad part of it all is that the joke is on us!!!

Posted by: charles Ross at February 19, 2007 8:10 PM
Comment #208955

Charles

Still waiting for the imminent collapse after 26 years. Our economy is much bigger. Real per capita income is at an all time high, things look good.

I know the reckoning is coming. Maybe it is like the nuclear confrontation Reagan provoked in 1985 or the depression of 1986. We actually did have a stock market crash in 1987. Most people do not remember, since nothing came of it. Or maybe it was when the Soviet Union crushed western capitalism in 1989.

Liberals are good at predicting what will happen about five or ten years away from the present and they always will be. Just don’t check back on the ones they made before.

Oh yeah - those high taxes you are paying. Huh?


Posted by: Jack at February 19, 2007 8:33 PM
Comment #208956

Jack:

“You know that the French generate 78% of their electricity from nuclear. We only manage around 20%. We can learn some things from the French.”

Care to direct me to the storage facilities France used for all that waste. Love to know (and I’m guessing it’s not Tooele, Utah).

Posted by: Andrew Arsht at February 19, 2007 8:41 PM
Comment #208957
To the end of my days I will be paying the bill for “reaganomics’

Sorry, but the increased deficits were from the congressional spending during the time, not the cutting of taxes. The cutting of taxes actually increased the revenue through taxation. It was the spending of the congress, not checked by Reagan (possibly argued as a deal to get the taxes cut), that caused the deficit…

IF we could increase revenue AND not spend liken drunken sailors (I am a former sailor so I can say that, lol) then perhaps we could cut the deficit…

OR, we could raise taxes, slow the economy down more and lower our tax revenue. At least, that’s what I hear the democrats offering.

I wonder which option will work the best?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 19, 2007 9:05 PM
Comment #208958

Andrew

You get the CO2 or you get the waste. You do not get the free lunch. Do you figure global warming is the bigger problem or the potential problem of waste?

Rhinehold

To add to your point, revenues are at an all time high and we are taking in about 19% of the GDP. That is probably enough.

Posted by: Jack at February 19, 2007 9:18 PM
Comment #208960

Andrew this was the link I found supporting Jack.

http://www.nea.fr/html/general/facts.html

Posted by: Edge at February 19, 2007 9:38 PM
Comment #208962

If you’re paying more taxes because of Reagan, it’s probably because you’re making more money as a result of his policies.

One thing a lot of Democrats don’t seem to grasp is that if you really want more tax revenues, the best way to generate it is a bigger and more robust economy.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 19, 2007 10:01 PM
Comment #208965

Rhinehold
It was Reagan that was submitting budgets to congress,now,wasn’t it. A huge chunk of that went to profigate unneccessary military spending for systems of little utility. He failed to heed the warning given by Eisenhaur,a great Rep president.

Jack

In the Kennedy debate,Romney was eloquent and couragious in defending his pro-choice stand. He came across,and I believe him,that these were his core convictions.Politics change,peoples views often change with time but not their core convictions. His move to the right is pandering and most unattractive. Off hand,looking at your bench,I would agree he would be the best for the country.To bad that you are about to find out just how bigoted a party you so often defend is.Not only concerning his faith but the very fact he is intelligent will work against him.Exhibit A. is in the White House.

Posted by: BillS at February 19, 2007 10:26 PM
Comment #208966

Jack
Is not the French power system socialist? You are right. Maybe we should emulate them.

Posted by: BillS at February 19, 2007 10:29 PM
Comment #208967

BillS

I am learning a lot about the budget this year. I guess I knew it, but I never really focused on the details. When President Bush submitted his budget, the House said it was DOA. They can add or subtract. We had Dem controlled House until 1994. When Republicans got in, we go a surplus, but they lost the knack. Dems never even had it, however.

Re socialism, the French are realizing that they need to make changes. We will see with their election whether they go back toward the socialist past or the free market future.

This whole abortion debate has poisoned politics. Most Americans think abortion is a bad thing morally, but should not be illegal. Unfortunately the extreme left wants to treat abortion like a tooth extraction and they force all Dems to swear fealty to Roe. There are few pro-life Dems. The same goes on the other side, so there are few pro-choice Republicans. I suspect most politicians are pragamatic as most Americans, but they cannot say so.

Posted by: Jack at February 19, 2007 10:41 PM
Comment #208970

Jack
The Dem congress cut every one of Reagans budgets. That dog won’t hunt.

RvW pretty much says that if you do not have a uterus its none of your business what goes on inside one. That is pretty much what most Dems and Americans believe. Of course abortions are tradgedies but they are not the provence of government. Sounds conservative to me. Many concerned people lose track of the fact that there have always been abortions and even if made illegal or difficult.It has and will lead to dangerious abortions,not happy babies. Promotion of adoption alternatives,real sex education,access to birth control actually work to prevent them.Like to admit it or not,economic factors play a part in many sad decisions. Another mouth to feed matters. The meager minimum wage increase will most likely be a pro-life factor in some decisions. Increasing daycare,so young mothers can work is a real solution. Clinton got some things started with the welfare reform package thankfully. Is Romny the kind of man that will do more?

Posted by: BillS at February 19, 2007 11:07 PM
Comment #208971

Jack
A short ps. Congress can do more than add or subtract. They can pass their own budget and the president is bound to abide by it. You are the historian. Is not one of the roles of congress to do exactly that but the responsibility has shifted over to the executive branch?

Posted by: BillS at February 19, 2007 11:12 PM
Comment #208974

All,

If Romney is refusing to raise taxes, and not bringing up an alternative solution for addressing our debt, then he’s ignoring our most pressing problem. This country is headed for bankruptcy.

Also, I’ve got to take back what I said about taxes and worshipping Reagan. I did more research, and this guy is really, really impossible to pin down. Name any issue, and he’s been on either one side or the other depending upon whatever would get him elected at the time. This guy will obviously say anything to get elected. Who knows what he really thinks.

http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070217/OPINION/702170372/1002/OPINION

Posted by: Max at February 19, 2007 11:31 PM
Comment #208976

Loyal opposition says: “if your paying more in taxes because of Reagan, it’s probably because you are making more as a result of his policies”.

First of all, there is no “if” to be considered. The debt created by reagan’s tax cuts is there and the interest, compounded, is paid yearly, a couple of hundred billion dollars a year.. So … I AM paying more in taxes, that is not open to dispute.

Second. As a member of the middle class, I have seen my income STAGNATE over the last twenty-five years. It has often been stated on this board that inflation adjusted middle class income has not grown over the last quarter century. So, believe me, I know that my standard of living has not increased over this time period, it has fallen. These are statistics that are there in black and white but I know that you would not want any facts to interfere with your “faith-based” belief’s

As was stated above, budgets submitted to the reagan administration were actually SMALLER than the ones eventually approved by negotiation between the congress and the administration, so the lie that is being promoted that reagan wanted to rein in spending but congress just wouldn’t let him, is just that, a lie.

Posted by: charles Ross at February 19, 2007 11:44 PM
Comment #208979
Reaganomics was little different than Kennedyomics

LOL! Rhinehold, Kennedy lowered top tier taxes from 90% to 70%. If you want to put the top tier back to 70%, then I’m with you all the way.

As for Romney, I like the universal health care plan he instituted in Massachusetts.

I don’t know why Jack neglected to mention the greatest thing Romney’s ever done. Maybe universal health care doesn’t fit the conservative agenda, but I like it. Go Mitt!

Posted by: American Pundit at February 20, 2007 12:01 AM
Comment #208987

Sorry Charlie. The deficit rose because of increased spending, not tax cuts. Just as when Kennedy lowered taxes and tax revenue increased, so did it when Reagan and more recently Bush did it. We, as a nation are being over taxed. Bringing the rates down to the right level will increase tax revenue. BUT, unless our government spending is kept in check and lowered under the tax revenue, whatever it is, we will never get rid of the debt.

What governmental programs are YOU willing to get rid of to help achieve that goal?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 20, 2007 12:37 AM
Comment #208995

For all of you economic goldilocks lovers out there, have a look at this;

http://www.manufacturingnews.com/news/07/0206/art2.html

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 20, 2007 5:44 AM
Comment #209003

Come on, Jack. The guy is a shameless political whore, and I don’t say that lightly. Look at what he said abortion in 1994 when he was running for Senate in Massachusetts:

I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position since she ran in 1970… I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support… the right of a woman to make that choice.

Then Teddy Kennedy accuses him of being “multiple choice”, to great applause.

Romney again:

Many, many years I had a dear close family relative that was very close to me who passed away from an illegal abortion. It is since that time that my mother and my family have been committed to the belief… that we will not force our beliefs on others on that matter. And you will not see me wavering on that.

This a quick transcript, but you can see the video here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9IJUkYUbvI

Now let’s check back in with Mitt in 2002, when he is running for Governor in Massachusetts. Still pro-choice:

As Governor, Mitt Romney would protect the current pro-choice status quo in Massachusetts. No law would change. The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not the government’s.

Then in late 2004, Romney meets with a Harvard researcher about stem cell research, and then does a complete 180 on abortion. He and the Harvard researcher have rather different recollections of the conversation. Now he says he is pro-life and wants to repeal Roe vs. Wade.

And it isn’t just abortion he has flip-flopped on.
Either the guy is a liar or a complete airhead with no convictions. Take your choice.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 20, 2007 8:31 AM
Comment #209007

Oh and I wouldn’t sweat the Mormon thing. He’ll be a mainline Protestant by the end of the year. An angel will appear to him…

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 20, 2007 8:57 AM
Comment #209010

Charles

If your income has not increased over the past 25 years, you might reconsider your line of work. Income has increased across the board in real terms adjusted for inflation. Median income was around $38,000 in 1980 and was over $46,000 in 2005. It went up again in 2006, but the charts do not come out yet with the new figure. Since it is the median, it is not possible for all this increase to be only for the rich. The complaint is that total compensation increased significantly faster for those with skills and education. This is true. That is why the average income increased faster than the median, but no group is worse off today. But even in an economy where the median incomes do not rise very much (as in much of continental Europe) individuals tend to make more money as their skills and experience increase.

This idea that compensation has stagnated is a myth, a faith based belief, often repeated but not true. If you look at the chart you will see that income works in long waves, but the direction is generally up.

AP

I limit myself to 500 words. I am trying to compare over some skill sets and using specific achievements to illustrate. I think his health care proposal is good. I suppose I could have used that as an illustration of his ability to work across party lines.

Paul

The U.S. economy has produced many more new jobs than Europe since the 1980s. That comparison is a little unfair to Europe because U.S. population has grown faster and new jobs are created in relation to population to some extent. That is also why the article you mention is a little disingenuous. You do not need to create more jobs than you have workers. Unemployment is around 4.5%. It does not get very much lower than that. Actually the economy does not get much better than the one we currently enjoy. People who are unhappy today are probably just unhappy and I do not expect their lot to improve.

Woody

I am repeating this all over, but I think it makes sense. The abortion issue a poison in the American system. Most Americans think abortion is morally wrong, but should not be illegal. This is a highly nuanced, practical and inconsistent view. We have in our great country two groups of weirdoes on this issue. One group believes abortion should be treated like a tooth extraction. The Dems have to kiss their hinders. The other group thinks abortion is murder. The Republicans kowtow to these guys.

Most Americans would probably like to have abortions legal with significant restrictions. They would admit it is a moral problem, but should be legal. It should have been done that way. Roe v Wade derailed the political process and we have been suffering ever since.

Personally, I do not care what he thinks about abortion. In the most extreme case, the issue returns to the states, where some will put on restrictions; others not. In the most probable case, nothing much happens.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2007 9:37 AM
Comment #209012

Jack,

I understand that you are a moderate on abortion, but the issue here is really Mitt Romney’s personal character. It really looks like he simply says whatever he has to say to get into the office he is seeking at the moment. If I were a Republican, I would honestly wonder what I am getting with my vote for him.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 20, 2007 9:42 AM
Comment #209016

Do you really think all those Dems believe in abortion w/o significant restrictions? When my daughter had her wisdom teeth pulled, I had to be there. If she wanted an abortion, they do not even need to inform me.

I think most Americans are not moderates on abortion. They are conflicted. They believe it is morally wrong but should be legal. Our political system forces an up/down choice on a big gray areas.

You may recall when the protestant Henry of Navarre became king of France be converted to Catholicism. He didn’t really believe it, but he commented that “Paris is worth a mass.”

In my nuanced view of abortion, I really could come down on either side if a decision was forced. Why should I care if Romney does the same.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2007 9:50 AM
Comment #209019

Jack,

I’ve heard the “Paris is worth a mass” story before, but always as an example of someone being cynical and opportunistic!

Apparently you have no problem with politicians who say whatever they have to say to get elected. You are ready to forgive Romney for almost any degree of pandering it seems, perhaps including an actual Mass.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 20, 2007 10:04 AM
Comment #209022

Woody

Some things are core values; other things are tactical.

Re the abortion issue, there is very much smoke, sound and fury but little movement.

I think Roe v Wade was poorly decided. It should have been a political, not a legal case and it should have been decided by the states. So what are the stakes?

If Roe is upheld, we have the status quo that we have lived with for a generation. As a conservative, I like to leave things alone if I can.

If Roe is overturned, it goes to the states where various state legislatures produce a variety of similar results after much gnashing of teeth.

In either case, we are left with something not very different. Beyond that, the president only gets to affect the debate through judges. I think he should appoint fairly strict constructionist judges. That is a core value. What they do to Roe when they get in, does not matter to me very much. But most conservative judges also believe in stare decisis.

BTW - Henry did the right thing.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2007 10:30 AM
Comment #209025

Jack,

He’s flipped so many times on so many issues there’s simply no way he’s a viable candidate. Worse, he continues to talk as if he’s always making long soundbites he doesn’t believe in. With most politicians, I generally have an idea of what their true feelings are, of when they are “winking” to their audience. I get no bead on this guy at all. I truly have no idea where he stands on anything. He’s exactly the kind of politicking, lying, two-faced, say anything to get elected, candidate that I believe ALL OF US are sick and tired of. And I’ve got news for you, if you think after Bush any of us are going to vote for someone who says they are a “uniter not a divider”, “don’t believe in nation building”, etc. without absolutely trusting them, you’re wrong.

And this is very different from O’Bama to me. At his first rally in Iowa, when asked by Democrats if would decrease military spending, he said “No - actually under me it would probably go up, at least initially.” No ambiguity. Not what his audience there wanted to hear. Clear. Concise. Thoughtful. And he’s clean and articulate :-)

Posted by: Max at February 20, 2007 10:41 AM
Comment #209026

By the way Jack, I would respect Romney if he would say something along the lines of what you are saying “The nation is sick of the abortion issue, and we should leave it alone for a while.” But that’s not what he’s doing. He claims these issues are the most important issues to him, states his position, and then turns around and states the opposite position someplace else.

Posted by: Max at February 20, 2007 10:45 AM
Comment #209043

I don’t see abortion being an issue in the 08 elections. And I don’t see the abortion laws changing unless we get an extreme left winger as President. We’ve had Presidents sense Row v Wade that don’t believe in abortion. Has it been outlawed?
The Republicans controlled Congress for 5 years with a Republican President that is pro-life. Was abortion outlawed? The Democrats control Congress now. And it’s a safe bet that they won’t be passing any laws against abortion anytime in the next 1000 years.
The whole thing is just a smoke screen to keep us from focusing on the real problems that face this country. If we started doing that, the whole bunch up there in DC would have to answer some very tough questions or lose their jobs.

Posted by: Ron Brown at February 20, 2007 12:12 PM
Comment #209045


Jack: Romney wants to be president really bad. He’s running adds in 5 states already. You Tube has it.

Posted by: jlw at February 20, 2007 12:27 PM
Comment #209046

Jack,

Ok, you think strict constructionist (aka, conservative) judges are more important than abortion as such.

What makes you so confident he will appoint those kind of judges? Oh, I’m sure he will say that he want judges like Scalia and Thomas, because that is what good Republicans are supposed to say. But already give him permission to fudge on abortion, why not judges? “Paris is worth a mass”, right?

I hope you see what I am getting at here. How do you know that his values are aligned with yours, when his public statements about them are so unreliable?

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 20, 2007 12:27 PM
Comment #209062

This is pretty big given DeMint’s standing with the Bob Jones crowd….

On his pick for the GOP presidential nomination: “Mitt Romney has succeeded in business. He’s been a part of major corporations all over the world … As I look at the candidates that might be able to manage this very difficult, complex federal government, I’m looking for a CEO. I think Mitt Romney might be a CEO.”

- Sen Jim DeMint
Aiken Standard 2/20/07

Things are heating up early this year; I got a phonebot call from Hillary on Saturday!


Posted by: George in SC at February 20, 2007 1:22 PM
Comment #209063

Among various stories from friends and supporters, was one from Dr. Judith Dushku, a professor of government at Suffolk University. She tells of speaking with Romney (whom she knew from church) after he announced he would run against Sen. Kennedy in 1994, and writes,

“I congratulated him on taking a pro-choice position, one of the reasons I had been open to working with him. I remember his response was something like: “Well, this is Massachusetts. I realized I had to take this position,” which was the first indication to me that what I had understood to be his personal view was a stance he was actually taking pragmatically. He went on that day to talk about an aunt of his who had died during a botched abortion and how he thought legalized abortion was important. But those around him, and people who knew him closely in the ward, knew that it was a position he had taken because he thought he had to in order to win.”

It’s hard to know quite what to do with this suggestion that Romney was pro-life before he was pro-choice before he was pro-life.

Posted by: Max at February 20, 2007 1:29 PM
Comment #209069

Max

You still like Clinton, right? He was past master at not letting anybody know what he really thought and his triangulation was so effective because he seemed to have no fixed values. You have to admire the skill.

If you rated Obama on the factors I am using, he would get really high marks on communication and interpersonal, but would do less well on anything that required actual experience. People like him because he is a blank slate on which they can write their own ideas. That works at first, but let’s see how well he does when some of the spaces are filled in.

Woody & Max

The abortion is issue is a non starter. No president will significantly change the practical effects. It is a tale, told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing (to adapt a phrase). Any changes will be cultural and incremental, one step removed from politics. That is why I do not consider it a litmus test. It doesn’t really have any practical effects.

Maybe he is serious about the change; maybe not. It is not something I get upset about.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2007 1:56 PM
Comment #209072

Jack,

I like Clinton. I liked that he worked with Republicans, and was willing to put aside his own agenda. I did not like him lying about Monica Lewinsky. I thought he did a good job.

I do not like Bush. When Bush ran he lied about his positions and his plans for office. He misled the people about what he was going to do in office while leading this nation. To me, that is unforgivable.

I do not know whether I like Romney or not, but I know I don’t trust him! He has switched positions not just on abortion, but on taxes, gun ownership, gay marriage, gays in the military, how he feels about Reagan, etc. The people he worked with say he would say whatever would work where ever he was.

I’m sorry Jack, but a liar isn’t going to get into office, not after this president.

Posted by: Max at February 20, 2007 2:17 PM
Comment #209076

Max,

I live in MA. It’s clear that Romney said whatever he needed to in order to win in a very Liberal state. However, he did manage to keep to many of his commitments despite many questionable policy decisions. For example, the balance is better balanced than 4 years ago. However, he did this by (among other things) dramatically reducing distributions to localities from state funds, devastating the budgets of “lower economically advantaged” communities. Also, he did stay out of pushing the anti-choice agenda except for his now famous flipflop. In the end though he really antagonized many people in the state by taking the anti-gay position, which is probably because he didn’t plan to run again and instead went for President.
My guess is that people who would vote for a candidate based on thier having wingnut positions and those who would for his fiscal positions will be distrustful because of his abortion etc… flipflops. Meaning; he’ll flop in the end.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 20, 2007 2:46 PM
Comment #209078

I couldn’t agree more with Jack’s quote in the first paragraph, smarts, “is not how we pick presidents.”

Look no further than the Oval Office for proof.

Posted by: Boomer at February 20, 2007 2:54 PM
Comment #209081

Jack,

Ok, I get it! You don’t think aborton is a big deal.

But you keep ignoring my real point. It isn’t the issue of abortion as such, it’s Romney’s tendency to reverse himself when it is politically expedient. I don’t know how you can trust him on ANY issue. How do you know he isn’t thinking of what he needs to say to fool guys like you?

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 20, 2007 3:24 PM
Comment #209083

Woody

He is not fooling me.

My desires in a president at this time in our history perhaps are not the most common. I would like a pragmatic president who can operate effectively in an environment of complicated and changing relationships. I require only that he put America first and believe in the efficacy of the free market. There are some other specific things I would like, but I recognize that the person who will be president will handle a variety of situations we cannot currently forsee. That is why I am looking for ability more than specific programs.

Different times call for different types of leaders. Ronald Reagan was the perfect man for the job in 1980 when we needed consistent character to stand up to the evil of communism abroad and the rot of regulation at home. He would not be the best man in 2008 when we need a slightly different set of skills.

Even the great Ronald Reagan reversed himself on taxes when it was necessary, BTW. He also showed extraordinary flexibility in dealing with communists. I think both these things were possible because he had his values firmly in mind and was after the final goal and not the intermediate foolish consistencies.

I still have not made up my mind re whether the next president should be Romney, Guiliani or McCain. Any of them would make a good president, but I do not know which is best. That is one reason I am writing this, to work it out for myself. As far as I am concerned, Romney is still in the running and those things you mention do not change my mind.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2007 4:06 PM
Comment #209091

Jack, your response to the link I posted above does not appear to have any relevance to what was in the linked article. Did you in fact read it? It wasn’t actually about unemployment at all, but about globalism and its effects on developed countries economies, particularly that of the US. One of the points the author makes is that US growth is based upon debt driven consumption;

” The report mentions many times that the United States is the driver of global growth without emphasizing that U.S. growth is debt-driven. Both the U.S. government and U.S. consumers are accumulating debt at a rapid pace. Debt-driven consumption is exceeding U.S. output by a sum in excess of $800 billion annually.

The trade and current account deficits are rapidly increasing the burden of debt service on Americans and threatening the dollar’s role as reserve currency. The competitiveness report makes these negatives sound like America is leading the world by driving economic growth.”

His comments on employment relate to how middle income jobs are either being outsourced or else given to lower paid immigrants with visas;

” Many American software engineers and IT professionals have been forced by jobs offshoring to abandon their professions. The November 6, 2006, issue of Chemical & Engineering News reports that “the percentage of American Chemical Society member chemists in the domestic workforce who did not have full-time jobs as of March of this year was 8.7 percent.” There is no reason for Americans to pursue education in science and technology when career opportunities in those fields are declining due to offshoring.”

” Princeton University economist Alan Blinder, former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, writes that “we have so far barely seen the tip of the offshoring iceberg, the eventual dimensions of which may be staggering” (Dallas Morning News, January 7, 2007). Elsewhere, Blinder has estimated that as many as 50 million jobs in tradable services are at risk of being offshored to lower-paid foreigners.”

” Like Porter, Blinder says that America’s future lies in service jobs. The good service jobs will be those delivering “creativity and imagination.” Blinder understands that the education solution might be a pipe dream as such abilities “are notoriously difficult to teach in schools.” Blinder also understands that “it is hard to imagine that truly creative positions will ever constitute anything close to the majority of jobs.” Blinder asks: “What will everyone else do?”

Blinder acknowledges that considering the wage differentials between the United States and India, Americans will find employment only in services that are not deliverable electronically, such as janitors and crane operators. These hands-on service jobs do “not correspond to traditional distinctions between jobs that require high levels of education and jobs that do not.

Blinder’s prediction of the future of American employment is in line with my own and that of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Where Blinder falls down is in not seeing the implication of these trends on the U.S. trade deficit. A country whose workforce is employed in domestic non-tradable services is a Third World country with nothing to export. How will the United States pay for its heavy dependence on imports of manufactured goods and energy?”

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at February 20, 2007 4:46 PM
Comment #209095


Paul in Euroland: We in America will wake up the day after it is to late. It is then that we will realize that our multi-national corporations and their share holders have sold our country down the drain.

Posted by: jlw at February 20, 2007 6:01 PM
Comment #209096

Bill Richardson is every bit as qualified as Romney.

Posted by: Arr-squared at February 20, 2007 6:06 PM
Comment #209100

Paul

I never quite understand your point in this.

The U.S. debt to GDP ratio is lower than that of most European countries and is lower than it was through most of the 1980s and 1990s. This is because the economy has grown faster than new debt.

The trade deficit is a potential problem but whether or not you are worried about it depends on the extent you believe in mercantilism and how fast investments pay off.

All accounts are double entry and each debit requires a credit. U.S. dollars are recycled into investments in the U.S. If these investments produce more value than they take in, it would be a net benefit. It is better if U.S. consumers saved enough to cover all the investment. In those cases Americans would gain all the benefit, but it is not a crippling problem.

If Americans bought less from the rest of the world, the world economy would suffer. The U.S. makes up about a quarter of the whole world.

You imply that it would not be a bad thing for the U.S. to retrench. It would indeed be bad for all of us. When the U.S. catches a cold, Europe gets pneumonia. We have a tight mutual relationship. Beyond that, if the U.S. turns protectionist the world economy would be in serious trouble. You may recall what happened last time with the Hawley-Smoot tariffs.

If I were a European, I might be annoyed at the U.S., but I would be very interested in it doing well.

This is an interesting article re trade.

Re jobs and income - we have been running deficits for many years. In that time, our economy has grown faster than any other large developed country, we created more jobs and median income has grow significantly. I really do not understand this myself, but maybe there is something wrong with the idea of mercantilism, especially if you are dealing in dollars.

Honestly, the trade deficit has frightened me for many years. MANY years. People have predicted the collapse for many years. The headlines in 1980 were almost the same as todays (read the link). Maybe after a generation of the theory not working in any predictive test, we should question some of the assumptions.

You know that in theory a bumble bee cannot fly. But it does. Maybe we got something really wrong in the deficit theory.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2007 6:32 PM
Comment #209101

Arr-squared

If Richardson runs against Romney the country will be well served by whomever wins. That would not be a bad contest.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2007 6:33 PM
Comment #209106

Bumbles can’t fly is based on the same science that got us ID. It’s BS, same as deficit spending. (It’s fine for the short term but only helps the lender in the long run)

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 20, 2007 8:29 PM
Comment #209110


I think the American people know that things can’t keep going on the way they are. They are saying what the hell, sooner or later everything is going to go bust and the bankers will have no choice but to right off a huge bunch of the massive consumer debt. If the government can do it so can we. We have lost confidence in our government, it is selling us out and we might as well enjoy the party while it lasts.

Posted by: jlw at February 20, 2007 8:58 PM
Comment #209111

Dave

As I understand it, it was based on wing to weight ratios. Obviously, the theory was wrong.

I think we may have a moe complicated situation with deficit spending. Most of us borrow money to buy our houses. We are much better off than if we tried to save enough first. Most firms carry debt all the time. It allows them to leverage their operations.

The case of government, especially the U.S. government is different still. What really matters is how much the government is pulling out of the economy. Whether it does it by taxing or borrowing is less important. If the government took 50% of GDP with a budget surplus, it would be a lot worse than 20% with a deficit. In fact the government should not run a surplus at all. That just means they are taxing too much.

Re the trade deficit, I think we have a real question. We have been running deficits for nearly 40 years. During those times our wealth increased faster than that of most of those with whom we traded.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2007 9:08 PM
Comment #209112

jlw

Yet individual net worth is at an all time high. Maybe we are counting savings in the wrong way. Money you invest in your home is consumptionp, for example, as are many things that increase your net worth. Net worth is really the measure that counts, not what you have in the bank or even what you owe.

If you borrow $100,000 that allows you to own something that ends up being worth $200,000, you have made $100,000. It would be wrong to fret too much about that debt.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2007 9:19 PM
Comment #209114


Jack: I have a friend who has been in business for 25 years. He is down to two workers. He told me he has never seen things as bad as they are now and he is about to go bankrupt because there is no business. He has always gotten first choice of work from the major contractors because he gets the job done and done right. They have great respect for him but they have no work. Guess what business he is in?

Posted by: jlw at February 20, 2007 9:31 PM
Comment #209116

Jack,

“If Richardson runs against Romney the country will be well served by whomever wins. That would not be a bad contest.”

That was well said. I appreciate your honesty.

Posted by: Arr-squared at February 20, 2007 9:37 PM
Comment #209121

Jack
Take the net worth figure,subtract the top 20% then figure the average again. Then compare it to previous numbers I suspect you will find very different results.
The deficit matters greatly. You do not like it but SS will be paid. The amount of pain involved is directly effected by the deficit. Just like if one is overwhelmed with credit card debt it is very hard to make ends meet.
The trade deficit can be addressed by including labor protections in all trade agreements.American workers can compete heads up with anybody. But how can we compete with slaves? Why should we deal with countries that shoot or imprison workers for trying to form unions? We do not have a problem with France or Ireland. Pushing policies that actually raise workers up to the point that they might be able to buy American made goods over time will help the balance. There is nothing in globalization economics that prohibits worker protections any more than copyright protections etc. for corporations. Our treaties are full of those.
Another way to improve the balance of trade is to impose a 10$ a barrel tariff on imported oil. We have had that discussion.

Posted by: BillS at February 20, 2007 10:57 PM
Comment #209127

BillS, many of the copyright protections in our treaties are almost completely ignored. You’d be hard pressed to find, for example, an actually licensed copy of Microsoft Office on a workstation in much of Asia, South America or Eastern Europe.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at February 21, 2007 12:06 AM
Comment #209128

Jack,

You claim that when the gov’t taxes it’s “taking money out of the economy”…Well, what exactly does the gov’t do with that revenue? It spends it! It’s part of the GDP, it goes to the doctors who service the elderly and the poor, it goes to the construction workers building the roads, it goes to the MilIndComplex making the bombs and the tanks, etc… etc… etc… And those salaries pay into the economy, and so on.
The gov’t ran a surplus to pay off the debt, BTW. Not for fun. There is an absolutely fundamental flaw in your logic there

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 21, 2007 12:27 AM
Comment #209129

For every $10,000 you pay in taxes roughly $2000 goes to pay of the debt and $2000 to the military. The amount we pay for debt is only going to increase so long as we don’t pay it off. Not paying off the debt while not raising taxes just means there’s less money for this countries infrastructure, education, etc. But hey, that’s Republicans for you. They want to have a war, not pay for it, and if that means take money away from children so be it. Then they’ll turn around and claim you don’t care about the country.

Posted by: Max at February 21, 2007 1:34 AM
Comment #209139

BillS

I like the oil tax, although not for the trade reasons. Your labor standards might make sense, but such things tend to be abused and protect the inefficient rather than the righteous. You know that you cannot get some kinds of French cheese in the U.S. because of health restrictions. There is nothing wrong with their cheese. They eat it and stay healthy. It is a protectionist thing. Similarly the Europeans give us trouble about our beef. Standards can be written in such a way that nobody passes.

On top of all that are two things. #1 it probably would not actually cut the trade deficit. It would just drive up prices for American consumers and #2 how or even IF the trade deficit is harmful is an open question.

Dave

If you think government bureaucrats know how to spend your money better than you do, you will support government controlling large parts, maybe all of the U.S. economy. If you think you can spend it better, maybe you do not want this result.

It is kind of like someone borrowing your watch to tell you what time it is and then charging you a 10% fee for doing it. Running things through any third party organization creates costs and opportunities for fraud, waste and corruption.

Remeber this too: about half the time the government will be controlled by people you did not support. If you favor givng George Bush more money to spend, by all means raise taxes.

We have the option to tax more or spend less. Since revenues are already at ALL TIME HIGHS, maybe we should look at the spending less.

Max

More than 2/3 of the Federal budget goes to transfer payments (i.e. entitlements) It doesn’t build anything or pay off anything. This is growing fast and it a time bomb.

Last year, Federal revenues were at an all time high. I agree that we should cut spending. If you have a kid who spends too much money, do you just increase his allowance and hope his appetite for high end sound equipment and expensive concerts will be satisfied, or do you ask him to live within your means?


Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2007 9:12 AM
Comment #209144

Jack,

You stated that taxes took money out of the economy. It doesn’t. How it’s spent we will never agree on and is not germaine. Declaring that our gevernment is corrupt on a massive scale is fear mongering, but the Republicans are usually much better at it. Also, I never said I wanted to raise taxes, thats empty rhetoric. What I implied was that Clinton did a much better job of handling our finances than those pricks in the white house we have today. Clinton paid off debt, he didn’t run it up in a failed attempt to take over the world.

Finally, entitlements pay the bills of our fellow citizens, just because you think they should suffer doesn’t mean those funds “don’t…pay off anything…”

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 21, 2007 10:27 AM
Comment #209150

Jack,

About 1.6 trillion dollars of our tax money is in transfers. $600 billion of that goes to pay interest on the debt and Federal revenue sharing.

If you want to reduce the debt, you need to pay it off, not just pay the interest. If you want to reduce Federal revenue sharing, you need to increase taxes, mostly in red states. Federal revenue sharing is when the folks in one state pay taxes that go to another state that needs help paying for education, road repair, etc. The transfer of these funds is mostly from Blue states to Red states, who are live off of Blue state welfare. The lion’s share of the rest of the transfer money goes to the Trust funds, mostly Social Security. That money is not going anywhere, nor should it.

You talk as if the panacea to all this nation’s problems would be to simply end all its social programs. You talk as if education, social secrurity and roads were the equivalent of unneeded toys. But that’s not where the money is held up anyway. It’s being used to pay interest on debt, and for Red state necessities. And most of our taxes overall still go to the military.

Posted by: Max at February 21, 2007 10:41 AM
Comment #209152

Oh, and the point of all that is that reducing the debt needs to be a priority, and when you stop all the nonsense that means taxes need to be raised in some way. But I don’t see any discussion of paying off the debt from Republicans, just more politicking non-sense.

When I think that the alternative to this war was taking our surplus and investing it in the market. I’m pretty peeved. But it’s not time to gripe, and there’s no more time for Republican BS, it’s time to get real about getting the country out of this state.

Posted by: Max at February 21, 2007 10:47 AM
Comment #209179

Dave

I never said and do not believe that our government is corrupt on a massive scale. In fact our government is mostly honest and competent, as far as governments go. But any time you set up someone to spend somebody else’s money, you lose something. The biggest problem with government allocation is not dishonesty, but lack of information. No bureaucracy, no matter how good, can handle the crush of data that determines demand, needs, prices etc.

That is why government should do what government does best (big projects, infrastructure, national defense), let the private firms do what they do best (production, distribution, logistics and management) and allow NGOs their role (charity, association etc)

Max

Reducing the deficit should be a priority. You want to do it by raising taxes. I prefer to cut waste and make the governent work within its means. We have record revenues and we are taking in about the same % of GDP as we did in 1999. There should be no reason we cannot live within our means and no reason to give government bureaucrats (& George Bush) more money to use and less incentive to save it.

Re investing in the market, you cannot have government doing that directly. Government investment is too large for the market to handle and it leads to politicization and collapse.

The Federal government, through individual accounts such as TSP, aleady has big money in the market anyway. This, however, is not harmful as it is in private accounts.

Re Blue/Red - this is a really silly thing to talk about. People pay taxes. If Dems are paying more in taxes than Republicans, it just means they make more money. If this is true, it goes against that Dem common man BS. If it is not true, than you guys should just get over it.

Besides, If you live in blue NY or even blue SF and you pay for a road that goes through Wyoming, presumably you gain from the commerce that passes that road. You are also paying for roads in the mostly red counties all around you. That is where you food and fuel comes from. It is very narrow minded to think only of your own backyard. Cities would not exist very long if they were not connected to anything else.

Just be a little logical. If you want to drive from SF to NYC, how much of that milage is in either of those cities? Does it make sense to you for the one guy who lives near ten miles of road in Nebraska to pay for that road himself?

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2007 1:30 PM
Comment #209180

Max,

I’m not sure where you are getting your numbers, but I don’t think they are accurate…

In the early part of the 1900s when the New Deal first started and into the 1940s, ‘wealth redistribution’ programs took up about 3% of the budget. In the 60s, the DoD took up 45% and the wealth redistribution progams were around 10.

Today, the DoD gets approximately 14% of the budget while wealth redistribution programs account for 75% with 25% going directly to the Deaprtment of Health and Human Services.

These number are according to the Office of Management and Budget.

If you go to http://www.fms.treas.gov/fr/06frusg/06stmt.pdf you will see that last year the net cost of the DoD and DHHS were almost identical, that doesn’t take into account the other departments. Social Security is a close (and rising) 3rd.

Where are you getting your numbers from?

Posted by: Rhinehold at February 21, 2007 1:44 PM
Comment #209183

Jack,

First; you connected governement spending with corruption. Now you say it’s not a big part, so why mention it in the first place?
Second; You want to eliminate social nets from the gov’t to reduce taxes and allow free market forces to meet the needs of those not succesful in society. Yah, that will work, after all the Salvation Army has room for 20 million people without SocSec to pay the rent and medical bills and the YMCA will take in the rest.

Government of the people, by the people, for the people You people always forget that.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 21, 2007 2:22 PM
Comment #209187

Dave1-20-2009

Hey Dave that is quite novel. Of the people, by the people, for the people.

The lefties and liberals should attend government 101 just to get an education. They certainly are not practicing of, by and for the people. They are practicing of myself, by myself, and for myself. Hairy Reed is leading the way in the Senate and San Fran Nan is leading the way in the House.

BTW the Salvation Army has a track record of taking care of people all over the country. They should get a huge reward and award for their accomplishments.

Posted by: tomh at February 21, 2007 3:03 PM
Comment #209192

What kind of vapid tripe is that? Hope none of those rationed neurons got sprained bending into that pretzel…

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 21, 2007 3:27 PM
Comment #209197

sorry, my bad….But there was nothing in that post beyond “liberal lefties are hypocritical ignorant/stupid and Salvation Army is underappreciated/good.”

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 21, 2007 3:53 PM
Comment #209201

Dave

We are also part of the people. That is something you people seem to forget.

Government takes and reprograms your money. Some government is necessary and good, but like everything else, it matters how much. Whether something is a wonderful medicine or a deadly poison often depends on the dosage.

Last year, tax freedom day was April 26. That means the average taxpayer worked almost five months for government of various kinds. I kind of think that is enough. The government cannot give anything w/o taking it first. Most of us are recipients as well as donors. Sometimes we should just eliminate the middle man.

Here is a a chart of the number of days we work for the various things we buy. How many more days do you want to give to government?

Returning to your Lincoln quote, the government elected by the people gave us our current tax rates. A future government elected by the people may raise or lower them. We could both quote Lincoln and both be as correct.

I find it a bit insulting that Dems think they represent the people. It is childish and counterfactual. It makes you wonder what their point of reference really is. In 2006, the Dems represented a majority of the people. In 2004, the Republicans represented the majority. I do not know what it will be in 2008, but neither party represents most “the people” all of the time and no party ever represnts all of the people.

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2007 4:32 PM
Comment #209206

Jack,

You make no pretense that your first interest is profit and business and if it exacerbates inequalities so be it. I make no pretence that if I’m going to have an inefficient government, I want the mistakes to be in the direct favor of it citizens not some voodoo trickledown economics foolishness couched in allegories ala Darmok.
Both parties represent their constiuent base. Your partie is the fundamentalists, religious and profit driven.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 21, 2007 4:59 PM
Comment #209208

Dave

My goal is a society where most people have the most possible opportunity, where firms work efficiently to provide the goods and services the people demand and where government provides stability, rule of law and necessary infrastructure. I do not know what choices that society will make. It probably will change its mind a lot.

What society considers “good” is something no particular individual can decide and it is a perenially unanswered question. The things I describe above are the methods by which we can best provide what society wants. There will be frequent miskakes and some breakdowns, but this system is robust and provides for learning and adaption.

This is what I want and I believe it is usually what “the people” want if you really see what they do and the choices they make.

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2007 5:42 PM
Comment #209249

Jack,

The difference is you want those opportunities to exist in a world where business unfettered by regulations will provide the best opportunities to its people. I think that’s nonsense and your paradigm will only provide for the elite.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 21, 2007 10:28 PM
Comment #209281

Dave

The free market requires reasonable regulation, rule of law and the market method of distribution and production. It has produced the most prosperous societies in the history of the world, even though everyone has predicted its quick death ever since the paradigm emerged around 250 years ago. But it works. Conversely, those seeking to force a utopia, especially revolutionary socialists such as communists & Nazis, have just gotten lots of people killed.

The key to everything is its reasonablness. We should have consistent and operational regulation, not regulations based on envy or the desire to create a particular social model.

The free market has worked better for the common man than anything else that went before or anything else that exists today. You can argue the flavors. The U.S. follows a successful strategy for a large country. Nobody else has come close to this success over a large area. Each of our states has a slightly different regulatory regime. If you have the money, move to Vermont and have a semi-socialist model. If you are opening a business, you may prefer Texas.

Now go international. You may prefer the French variety of a market economy, that provides more security with more regulation but at the cost of lower growth, higher unemployment and less innovation. Or you can try the Irish model with very low corporate income taxes and an export orientation, or the Esonian model with a flat tax. Of course each of these depends on the particular cultural and societal realities.

I know you prefer the simple hatred/envy/class struggle paradigm, but the more is more complicated than you think. You cannot remove the parts you do not like w/o pulling out other things too. The free market is robust and adaptive. It provides most of the things you probalby want, if you know how to find them.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2007 8:49 AM
Comment #209307
I know you prefer the simple hatred/envy/class struggle paradigm, but the more is more complicated than you think. …Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2007 08:49 AM
You need to stop thinking that you know what I prefer or impugn that I have linear two-D thought processes. You choose punishment for failure by ignoring plight (you have repeated this constantly by claiming poverty and failure is a choice). I choose to provide during times of failure without regards to the cause. You repeat incessantly that financial opportunity is everything yet history teaches us that “the haves” will oppress “the withouts” unless there is an effective limit on the inequalities.

I have nothing against efficient use of capital but the “free market” mantra of the neuvofascist is evil in its misrepresentations, full of irrational assumptions, and requires serious doublethink. IMNSHO the middle class is what made America great; the current crop of trust fund babies and their sychophantic minnions wish to set us back to feudal times of knights and barrons in the castle and surfs in the fields.

Even as a “knight” that is not the future I want. What kind of world do you want your kids to live in? Not just what kind of house…

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 22, 2007 1:42 PM
Comment #209325

Fascists, neo or otherwise, do dislike the free market. They believe in government control. Can you imagine rich Jews starting up firms in Nazi Germany? Can you imagine anyone running a firm w/o fairly explicit government control and/or permission? These are the enemies of freedom.

Re what I should be thinking, didn’t you indicate your caricature of what I think? It seems okay for liberals to call us fascists, greedy etc. Mostly I am interested in freedom and choice. I allow people the dignity of assuming they can make decisions. Sometimes this is not true and we need to help out. Not to do your thinking for you, but maybe you have a problem with that concept of freedom. It means you get to choose. Sometimes you will make choices that lead to inequality. You may even choose - as I have - to make less money in exchange for a more interesting work.

I do not believe in virtue in running a society. I expect some people will lie, cheat and steal. The free market tends to balance the perfidity of individuals and firms. When they doesn’t work, why we have rule of law. Both are necessary for a good society. It does not mean we need to regulate everything our substitute the judgment of government for the judgment of individuals.

The feudalism, barons and kings you speak about did not represent a market system. A great theme of the middle ages is merchants and producers trying to free themselves from the onerous regulations imposed by religious and secular authorities. I believe in freedom. The king usually did not.

Re helping people during hard times - That is something most of us believe. Conservatives tend to do it through private charities. That is the American way, and Americans are by far the most generous people on earth in that way. Much of what other countries do through government, we do through private charities. Some government help is sometimes necessary, but you have to ask re behaviors. If someone’s problems are caused by bad luck, a helping hand will do just fine. If his problems are caused by behaviors, it will not be much use to just supply the means for him to persist in his error. It may even be a bad thing to do. Often it is a combination of both and our response must also be flexible.

You know, however, that it is impossible for anybody to be generous with somebody else’s money. Government cannot be generous. It can only coerce one group of citizens and give to another, subtracting the salaries of bureaucrats and infrastructure required for the transaction.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2007 4:15 PM
Comment #209370

LO
Piracy occurs but there are at least enforcemnt mechanisms.I could have used anti-dumping regulations also. That was just an example of how our treaties protect corporations in global trade but ignore protections for workers both here and abroad.

Posted by: BillS at February 22, 2007 9:09 PM
Comment #209425
Fascists, neo or otherwise, do dislike the free market. They believe in government control. Can you imagine rich Jews starting up firms in Nazi Germany? Can you imagine anyone running a firm w/o fairly explicit government control and/or permission? These are the enemies of freedom.
Fascism is a dictatorship in close partnership with business. The nazi antisemitism/homophobia/anti-not-aryan philosophy is independent from the political structures.
Re what I should be thinking, didn’t you indicate your caricature of what I think? It seems okay for liberals to call us fascists, greedy etc. Mostly I am interested in freedom and choice. I allow people the dignity of assuming they can make decisions. Sometimes this is not true and we need to help out. Not to do your thinking for you, but maybe you have a problem with that concept of freedom. It means you get to choose. Sometimes you will make choices that lead to inequality. You may even choose - as I have - to make less money in exchange for a more interesting work.
I was very careful to repeat what you’ve posted in the past and not get into your thinking. However I will promise to stop using leftwing freeper speak if you promise to stop being condescending.
I do not believe in virtue in running a society. I expect some people will lie, cheat and steal. The free market tends to balance the perfidity of individuals and firms. When they doesn’t work, why we have rule of law. Both are necessary for a good society. It does not mean we need to regulate everything our substitute the judgment of government for the judgment of individuals.
This is something for a real debate. IMO free market never adjusts adequately on it’s own for “perfundity” but requires people focused intervention and punishments that make the risk unacceptable for misbehavior.
The feudalism, barons and kings you speak about did not represent a market system. A great theme of the middle ages is merchants and producers trying to free themselves from the onerous regulations imposed by religious and secular authorities. I believe in freedom. The king usually did not.
Another area for debate. You say you believe in freedom but the freedom that is most risky is unfettered business. That only serves a few, not the many (although in the middle ages the world was much diffrent place, there is no correlation beyond the castle analogy).
Re helping people during hard times - That is something most of us believe. Conservatives tend to do it through private charities. That is the American way, and Americans are by far the most generous people on earth in that way. Much of what other countries do through government, we do through private charities. Some government help is sometimes necessary, but you have to ask re behaviors. If someone’s problems are caused by bad luck, a helping hand will do just fine. If his problems are caused by behaviors, it will not be much use to just supply the means for him to persist in his error. It may even be a bad thing to do. Often it is a combination of both and our response must also be flexible. You know, however, that it is impossible for anybody to be generous with somebody else’s money. Government cannot be generous. It can only coerce one group of citizens and give to another, subtracting the salaries of bureaucrats and infrastructure required for the transaction.
As I said above, you think reasons are important in deciding when to help. I don’t, as a government “for the people” you either help or not. Finally, the government is ours, so it’s our money to be generous with. Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 23, 2007 12:29 PM
Comment #209434

Dave

“For the people” means what to you? If you have 100 people and 5 of them refuse to cooperate, is giving them money in the best interests of “the people”? Is that what “the people” want if you ask them? You are right, it is our money to be generous with OR NOT. In order to give it away, we have to first TAKE it away, or not. To decide what we should do is why we have politics. You can give away your money as you please. By all means, go down to the bus station and hand out $20 bills to all the bums you find. I will not stop you.

I disagree, BTW, that all my (or your) money belongs to the government and they just are letting me use it. That is the fascist idea.

Remember also that the richest 20% of the population represents as much of the “people” as the poorest 20%, and today most of “the people” live in suburbs and own their own homes. They are often less enthusiastic about giving away money w/o conditions. That is the will of the people. n fact, the system we have right now generally represents the people.

Re fascism, feudalism etc - a simple question. You are a from a group disliked by the leader of the country. businessman with an idea for a product that will create innovation. What are the chances you can open a firm and make that product? In a free market, you can. To the extent you cannot, you have a less free market.

Nazis, barons, kings and commissars do not use the market mechanism. They outlaw a lot, regulate everything and require everybody to get government permission for anything they want to do. This is not a free market by any definition. It is a type of socialism.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2007 1:23 PM
Comment #209469

100 people and 5 of them refuse to cooperate, is giving them money in the best interests of “the people”? …

This is exactly why we don’t agree. Public assistance and entitlements come with conditions and requirements. Follow the conditions, you get the benefit. Who do they have to cooperate with, You? Is it all about what You want and that people have to act the way You want them to? Those “bums” you refer to are too often PTSD victims of war. Do you think ignoring them because it’s “their choice” is the sign of an advanced society or one that excludes undesirable groups?

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 23, 2007 5:09 PM
Comment #209498

When they come with conditions, we are doing the sort of behavior modification I support. We are giving them incentives & choices and holding them to the choices they make. They have to cooperate with society.

You just managed to destroy your own point.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2007 10:30 PM
Comment #209721

Jack,

I didn’t destroy my own point, it’s always been my point. You just proved you’re not listening.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 26, 2007 11:04 AM
Comment #209796

Dave

Then why are you arguing with me if you agree with the initial post?

Posted by: Jack at February 26, 2007 11:05 PM
Comment #209799

Which “original post” was that? I still don’t like Romney, although almost anyone will be better than Bush. Another Scott Adams quote:

My favorite conspiracy theory is the one that says the world is being run by a handful of ultra-rich capitalists, and that our elected governments are mere puppets. I sure hope it’s true. Otherwise my survival depends on hordes of clueless goobers electing competent leaders. That’s about as likely as a dog pissing the Mona Lisa into a snow bank.
this quote is funny based on my formerly held assumption that ultra-rich capitalists were competent, which we now know to be empirically false.

Posted by: Dave1-20-2009 at February 26, 2007 11:38 PM
Post a comment