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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Republican Party Today - November 7, 2012

Once again another election in my life and once again we see division. The vote goes right down the middle. As a Republican I found it hard to get 100% behind Romney, but I voted for him and I thought he would win, but I never thought for a minute that it would be a landslide and it was what I thought it would be.

Elections don't really matter. I have learned that. I go through the motions and participate, but Governance is what matters. These elections don't decide issues. The issues  are decided each and every day by actions of our representatives.

As someone who has studied Economics virtually my whole life, I saw Romney as representing austerity and Obama represents cranking up the printing presses and passing out the dough. Both of these extremes are bad. Romney's austere budgetary cuts would have led to deflation and Obama's print and spend policies will lead to hyperinflation -- way too many dollars pushed to the Banksters chasing commodities.

We have seen so many of these nail biting elections here lately. There will never be 100% agreement on anything, but we aren't even close to having a united front on the issues that face this nation.

My opinions are in the minority, because they take deep reflection and listening to others to develop. I care about the people in this country, but I am very frustrated by their trivial  and material desires. The Republican Party is 100% the opposite of its original founding. The GOP was the party of Lincoln, ended slavery, reined in the Robber Barons, and believed in keeping the military from getting overly involved in foreign entanglements. The Republicans need to get back to their roots or they are going to wither.

The Republicans have learned nothing over the last 12 years. The GOP still has the same strongholds and over the last 4 election cycles has not been able to expand its base. It has been spinning its wheels in the same battleground states; razor thin differences in Florida, Ohio, and Virginia and constantly trying to win Pennsylvania and Michigan, but failing each and every time by a couple percent.

The Republican Party is stagnant. It has not in my life seemed to have a long range plan and has for the most part been in denial about their prospects come election day. Look at what happened today. The Party always thinks candidates who aren't in the established hierarchy should wait their turn -- Bob Dole, Reagan, GHW Bush, McCain, and Romney. GW Bush was a product of his father. Democrats have pulled candidates from the background to the forefront -- Carter, Clinton, and Obama are prime examples.

The Republican Party needs to refresh itself. It needs to seek younger participants. It needs to represent the future generations and build momentum to the future. The GOP needs to reassess its priorities or it will keep having these failures. The Democrats can't help but overstep their bounds. It is in their inner being to create mandates out of thin air. The Republicans were able to capitalize on the overreach of 2009-10 in 2010, but the Republicans couldn't get out of their own way in this election, because of the staleness in the party.

The Republican Party couldn't motivate the Tea Party and they POed the working class with intolerant rhetoric and not thinking out, establishing, and educating the electorate about their positions. It is time that the Republicans take a look in the mirror to realize where the problems lie. When you represent narrow interests, then it is hard to gain expansive results. The Republican Party is viewed as the party of grumpy old white men. In order to move this nation forward, someone is going to have to step up to the plate and take us in another direction.


mbg said...

While I enjoy your blog and often see things the same way, I disagree with your perspective on the election and the problems with the Republicans.
If Romney (who like you I thought was better, but not the savior) favors austerity and Obama print and spend, what do you favor? Bush era print and spend but not quite as much? Is there really another way out short of "austerity" or is "death by a thousand cuts" preferable?
The print and spend hyperinflation model strongly favors the large corporations to the detriment of small business. Large corporations can leverage assets to generate working capital and use the commodity and currency markets to actually take advantage of hyperinflation. Not to mention taking advantage of global tax advantages. And as someone who studies economics you surely realize increasing taxes here on global corporations isn't the answer? They don't pay these taxes - their customers do in the counties that implement them.
Small businesses cannot flourish in the very environment that so many voted for, but don't understand. But many didn't vote that way for small or large business success of course. They voted that way because for the first time in my life we have reached the "tipping point." They voted for "free stuff from the government" which they will inevitably find out is the most expensive stuff on earth.
So is the Republican party really the party of "grumpy old white men"? (by the way I am of a Libertarian bent). Of course it is. Grumpy old white men (and quite a few grumpy old men & women of all colors) are the ones who invested hard earned money, worked 60 hour weeks, gambled much of what they had to succeed in business. Over years they learned that there is no "free stuff."
The young have always been the ones who thought life is long and things are easy. Those grumpy old men were once the young and naive men (and women).
So the Democrats have put together a coalition of the young and naive, the government employees, and the ones looking for "free stuff." They did this by telling them, "we can make life fair, easier, and don't worry anyway because we can give you what you need - just sign here."
That is a pretty easy sell I'm afraid and darn hard to compete with by telling people the truth - that life will never be fair or easy, and what I am giving you for free will cost you everything you have.
If I seem pessimistic - I am. But the print and spend model is a relatively short-term model although perhaps longer than than the life of a grumpy old man. The real question is what rises from the ashes. For our children's sake we can only hope it will be liberty again.

James Thomas Shell said...

I want a sales tax on High Volume Computer trading on Wall Street. I want to see derivative trading made illegal. I want to see the Federal Reserve system wound down and the administration of monetary issues put back under the control of Congress.

I want to see an excise tax put on million dollar per year incomes and we need to revamp the business tax model so that revenues to small business aren't figured as income.

We need to simplfy and stramline the tax code, making it as flat as possible and getting rid of loopholes and deductions. We need to move move away from a consumption based tax model and toward a production/savings based tax model (ie reward savings, creativity, and production).

We need to rebuild the infrastructure in this country taking into account modern realities involving energy, transportation, broadband, population density, etc.

Cpmlete austerity takes us deeper into the depression. That is why we need to institute Fair Trade policies (Tariffs when necessary). We need to put people back to work. You can't cut WIC and/or social payments when there aren't jobs. People aren't going to willingly go over in the corner and starve. The will riot. There will be an UnCivil War. We are headed that way now. That would only push the foot to the floorboard.

I agree with your assessment of the hyperinflation model. It kills productivity and savings. We have subsidized those slowdowns by borrowing money at the Quantitative easing rate. Eventually that Bubble will burst.

I agree with everything you say about the Maga Corpoartions except for one thing you aren't taking into account. You can yank their charter. In the end, you could say that no Corp. pays taxes, because they pass it on to the consumer of their product. I think the least of our worries when it comes to the Corps is how we tax them. What we need from business is job creation (putting people back to work) and to operate in the interests of this country (USA) that they are doing business in.

Everyone loves Apple. They think it is so great. But, what has Apple done for the U.S. The production of their products are being carried out by this compant Foxconn. Go read about their labor practices and our workers are supposed to compete against that?

I mean I can go on and on and on.

As far as "Grumpy Old Men." I talk to people all the time and that is what they say. Times are changing and you have to adapt and I agree. This world has always changed and to succeed you have to adapt. Their are way to many people in the Republican party that do not want to change one iota.

Well, if we aren't willing to make some changes, then we are going to not be allowed at the table for the discussion. We are going to be ignored. We will go the way of the Whig Party.

People want a third way and the Democrats and Republicans want to keep a monopoly on the system. The lockstep support of fellow party member candidates has become a joke. There are parts of the Republican agenda that are very destructive to consensus and broadening the base. The Dems don't have that problem. Therefore, they are going to be hard to beat until some of this staunch exclusive philosophy is rethought.

Peace and thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

My critique of the Republican party runs a bit deeper. Likewise, in this debate of small business versus the behemoth corporations, there is quite a bit of wiggle room as well. First and foremost, what is a small business? In this country a small business is classified as being 1,500 employees or less. In its use, ‘small business’ is understood to be the local mom and pop store, Larry, Curly, and Moe plumbing or electrical; that kind of small business. 5 or less employees, including the owner in most cases. In the case of small business defined, those places with 800, 900, even 1,000 employees might not be what we consider small, but certainly on a world scale model which is now in vogue, it is. To me, they are micro corporations. The true small business, exemplified in the latter, illustrates the understanding of the term, but not the meaning of the term. Those are the true small businesses that are affected. Those are the true small businesses that are pummeled by the rules and regulations meant to address the sins of the micro and mega corporations and keep them in check and hopefully, above board.

Austerity. The drastic cuts in, most often, public services to facilitate debt reduction. Yes, lets cut the debt by cutting the budget. Then, when the roads, bridges, and sidewalks start collapsing, we can float new debt to re-build. Since by the time it is likely to happen, it will be someone else’s problem. Well, guys, here we are. We’ve paid for 2 wars now in Iraq and another in Afghanistan and we have bridges in this country that you see through; that had concrete decking that you’re not supposed to see through. You’re right Thom, complete austerity is not the answer. It merely serves to delay the inevitable.

Print and spend hyperinflation. With interest rates at or near zero, we haven’t seen hyperinflation. Doesn’t mean that it won’t show up however. And while low interest is good for consumer borrowing and corporate expansion, it fails by discouraging savings, generating very poor returns on each dollar stashed away.

Democrats coddle the masses no more than the Republicans coddle the rich. The difference is, there are more of one than the other. The Republican party likes it that way since they don’t have to share anything with anyone but themselves. Which reverts back to the ‘Country Club’ mentality that I’ve seen spoken of here in times past. There are such things as conservative democrats and moderate republicans. Although I think using the terms liberal republican conjunctively would be fantasy in anyone’s blog column. The problem with both is the radicalization of both. Two parties work fine in my view. The different factions of both, historically in the minority in both camps, while the majority of both parties were relatively mainstream. The moderate perspectives of both enabled consensus and bi-partisanship to get things done for all of us. Now however, you have the extremist perspectives that predominate in both camps. Well any aircraft engineer will tell you, a wing has to flex or it will break. So too in politics. You can’t have it your way, all of the time. Simply because there is all of these people out here, call citizens (and I’m not going to use voter) that look to the politicians to lead, not bicker and squabble. I don’t really care whose fault it is; fix it. That means working together. And if you can’t, if you can’t lay down your little elephant or donkey lapel pin long enough to accomplish what is best for the people, then you need to go. If you’ve been in the legislature for two plus decades and have been deemed the most ineffective member of that body, it’s time for someone else. But that takes informed voters, not people who walk in and check one block. I can only hope that one day, common sense will actually be common once again.

James Thomas Shell said...

Awesome. well thought out comments!

deejay said...

It appears the "Gridlock" will continue, unless both parties realize hoe close we are to financial ruin, and begin to govern as a "unit" the way we did for years regardless of what party held the majority in the White House, The US Congress, or the US Senate. As time passes and we move to 2013, and 2014, it will interesting to watch and see if we keep the "mexican standoff" in place, or if we learn from all the problems we have today, and choose to "FIX" the financial problems we see today so as not to saddle the next generation with huge debt. I just saw a news report today that said the 16 Trillion Dollar Deficit equates to roughly $52,000 dollars for each man, woman and child in this country. This is sad, we don't have to continue on this road to ruin but we must start to FIX the problem TODAY !!

deejay said...

Also, I wanted to comment about a problem that continues to cause and perpetuate a lack of working together, the lack of 'TERM LIMITS' I feel we need to enact term limits on every office from the Courthouse to the Statehouse. We have a two term maximum for both President and the North Carolina Governor, why not have term limits for not only city and town councils, but local boards of education, and for state house and senate members. The lack of term limits allows some to become "Career Politicians" and the citizens and voters suffer since the long serving elected officials become entrenched and start to focus on "Elite" groups while losing the reason for why they were elected to start with.

mbg said...

I appreciate your comments and your view. But I have to say your view and that of the other comment seems to be "tax" more - corporations, the so called rich, etc.
I am surprised that you believe this is the way out. Because that is exactly the same as saying the "government" can make better investment decisions than the earner - whether that be persons or businesses. I simply do not believe that to be true nor have I ever seen evidence of it.
Of course I believe and support some form of government and some infrastructure managed by said government - whether it be roads, bridges, or armies. But we quickly transverse into government "favoring" one group or industry with such investment for POLITICAL reasons without measuring or calculating the return (see green energy or downtown tents).
There are basically 6 things that a person or corporation can do with money not confiscated in taxes:
1. Spend it in the economy where they see value.
2. Invest it in a business or stocks - where they perceive return.
3. Place it in a financial institution where it can be spent by others in the economy or invested in a business.
4. Lend it to the government in the form of treasuries, etc.
5. Pay off debt which can free up availability of lending.
6. Buy and hold commodities for future return.
At least 5 of these are nearly immediately good for the economy. But these decisions are based on a judgement of ROI. The government makes no ROI judgements and therefore makes poor investments. Every dollar sent to the government in taxes is not necessarily a dollar wasted (see infrastructure - but also see tents), but it is a dollar that is often not used to create wealth - the basis of our prosperity. And as my father used to say concerning government spending - "you ever notice how strong I make my drinks when I'm drinking your liquor?"
I believe that the economic success we have enjoyed as a nation is not due to the AMOUNT of government we have, but to the KIND of government we have (had).
Furthermore I take strong issue with the statement "What we need from business is job creation (putting people back to work) and to operate in the interests of this country (USA) that they are doing business in."
That is NOT WHAT HAS OR EVER WILL motivate people to create businesses and therefore jobs. Businesses REASON TO EXIST is to make money (create wealth). You should just as well say water should run up hill to get to the poor people on the mountain. Businesses, like water, will ALWAYS seek the path of least resistance (risk, expense) to maximize wealth creation just as we as individuals do. Call it greed if you want, but which of you turned down a raise and instead asked it to be given to someone else? There is no difference (see Milton Friedman for further info).
So do we get out of this without great pain?
No. I referenced in gentler terms the uncivil war. Hopefully not war of course, but we could very well see in our lifetime an effort by some states or regions to disassociate themselves from the debt burden being generated by other states and the federal government. How or if that happens I don't know, but taxing more is not a zero sum game and not going to close the gap. But we'll try it...

James Thomas Shell said...

And I also appreciate your perspective. It seems to come from a point of view that I am trying to work with in my own party that has brought us to where we are today, which is doomed and relegated to irrelevancy.

I'm saying that the current system is so beyond broken and that it isn't salvageable. Do the wealthy need to pay more taxes? Yes. When people look at Romney paying 14% in income tax, while the tax system say he is supposed to be paying 28% what kind of picture is that painting? And then Bain Capital is stripping the companies, laying off workers, and sending jobs overseas. Yep, that's a winner.

Why did Republicans get our "you know what's" handed to us? Because the middle class are disgusted to see the wealthy game the system at their expense. The poor are irrelevant and people are sick and tired of seeing the wealthy point to the downtrodden as the problem, when they belly up to the community chest or expect to get infrastructure built for them with minimal investment or they continually neglect the ecosystem.

I'm not saying tax more. I'm saying tax correctly. Where the Republicans screw the pooch is that they want the status quo and the status quo is Economic Depression and stagflation and keeping failure simple so that those who have theirs keep theirs, while the rest of us rot in this stew of malfeasance.

What the individual wealthy do with their individual personal investments is really irrelevant. It's about the overarching big picture. The only way this world works is when people work together and participate together in the ecosystem in which we live.

I believe in self reliance as much as anyone on God's green earth, but we have not created a culture of self-reliance in this country. We have created a system of dependency for everyone in this nation. It's hard to be self reliant if you don't have a job to support yourself.

I'm not saying I have all of the answers, but I am willing to listen to everyone and allow everyone into the decision making process to help us move forward. I certainly am not like the wealthy I have seen who have an all or nothing at all mindset. That is what has brought us here.

I like what talferris says when he makes the point about not investing in our infrastructure. Very, very good point. We are just pushing the problems down the road. Everyone has an obligation to our community, state, and nation. That is our Ecosystem. It is more important to rebuild the middle class than to worry about the rich having more money. It is better to sell 99 middle class cars, houses, etc. than to worry about the one guy's mansion and luxury sedan.

It is so obvious that we have to have a tax structure in this country and there is no use in turning the word tax into a negative epithet. We have to have revenues. The question is do you want them to be consumption or production based. I choose production based. Those types of tax systems are more simple and virtually flat and they lead to growth investments, not gambling investments.

Let's take tax professionals, accountants, and lawyers out of the tax system as much as possible.

I also want to cut expenditures like being in all of these wars, paying all of this foreign aid, paying for all of this Homeland Security stuff, and all of these foreign and domestic cultural wars.

I am not for Big Government. I am for the reality of today and how we move forward to a better future.

Anonymous said...

I can’t speak for anyone but myself, however, I will say that yes we need to “tax” the corporations more and the rich, so called or not, more; we haven’t been taxing them enough by my estimation, at least, not at the same percentage I’m assessed, so in that regard, not enough. As far as government making investment decisions, I have a question. When was it deemed that government existed to turn a profit? Are they supposed to be good stewards of the funds they are entrusted with? Yes. Are the supposed to provide services such as police and fire protection, garbage pick-up, water and sewer service, good roads, and a host of other things? They are. Those things come at a price based on primarily what others pay for the raw materials, equipment, and labor to provide those things. That is the return on your investment – safety, security, safe water, the toilet flushing, and roads that don’t jar your teeth loose.

Insofar as economic success is concerned, our industry fed and perpetuated our middle class. We were (I purposefully use that word indicating past tense) vibrant and thriving in that paradigm where one perpetuated the other. Today however, we have middle classes in other countries and our middle class is no longer necessary to perpetuate industry or business. There are other economies and social classes to court and market to, we Americans are no longer the important part of that equation. You need look only so far as the closed factories and manufacturing capability that used to be a vital part of the Catawba Valley as evidence to that conclusion. In that regard, it had little do with the kind of government we had. Because during our growth and might, what was the tax rate paid by corporations and the wealthy? No one mentions that however. They just want to talk success and who was in office or which party had control, ignoring the obvious fact that government only enacts policy which in reality has very little direct or actual impact. If low taxes were such a boon to the ‘job creators’, why is it we weren’t flooded with new jobs when the Bush tax cuts were extended? That certainly went toward those ‘job creators’. Truth is low tax rates on the rich or corporations don’t serve to create jobs. Talk about productivity and manufacturing efficiency. Which right now is running in the high 90’s percentile of capability. WHY would you hire more people if you’re running at peak efficiency? That’s right, you wouldn’t. What we need to do is shut off subsidies for off-shoring jobs to business.

Let’s face it, business moved off-shore when the rules and regulations they paid for through political contributions enabled them to do so without penalty or sanction. That opened up a labor market where they could pay pennies compared to what they were paying here even in the South, where the wages were notoriously low to begin with. So let’s not delude reality. Business gutted the manufacturing capability of the United States and the region to make a lot of money fast. Well now they’ve done that and created serious competition in the marketplace for precious resources, primarily energy. And now they whine about their trade secrets being stolen by the Chinese. Boo Hoo. They could have stayed and kept that patent and trademark protection in the US.

People lament the debt. “Oh, the debt is blah, blah, blah.. our kids are going to be in debt…” There have only been a few years in the history of this country when we didn’t have a national debt. It might be high at the moment, but avoiding another depression isn’t cheap; neither is paying for 3 wars and enough military development and high tech procurement that we have the strongest nation in the world.. militarily. Everything else pretty much sucks, but we can wage war. Since we can’t seem to learn from the mistakes of our ancestors, maybe another Civil War is truly in the making. I truly hope not, but it seems almost inevitable. I guess that’s something we’re bound to try as well.