Saturday, August 11, 2012

Simple Math - And - What I like about Paul Ryan

How's the economy these days? How's the outlook for jobs, housing, auto sales, etc.? "Horrific" - if you watch Fox News. "Hopeful, inspiring even" - if you watch MSNBC. If you're a Fox News Republican; "four more years of President Obama will be our undoing." If you're an MSNBC Democrat; "we're finally turning the corner - gaining some momentum - and it's critical that we give the President four more years to finish the job."

I suppose I'll never meet a tax cut I won't like. Anytime we leave more capital in the hands of the people who've earned it, I'm all for it. Of course the problem is the spending. The President's term had seen an increase in spending not rivaled since the days of LBJ. I'm talking about GW Bush by the way. "Not fair!" You Foxnewsers cry. "Bush had 9/11 and the Middle East to contend with." You're right, discretionary defense spending rose by 107% during his two terms. However, discretionary domestic spending rose by 62%.

As for President Obama, there are those, no doubt MSNBCers, who would have us believe that spending has in fact trended lower under his administration. In the examples I've seen, the chart conveniently began after year one of his term - after spending utterly skyrocketed.

But of course politicians will manipulate charts till the cows come home, all in an effort to shield the painfully obvious. Under President Bush we saw spending rise from $1,789,000,000,000 to $2,983,000,000,000, a 70% increase - while revenue went from $2,025,000,000,000 to $2,524,000,000,000, a 35% increase. We can talk about Laffer Curves (how tax cuts can result in increased tax revenue) till yet more cows come home, but, no matter how you slice it, spending it faster than we're making it leads, at best, to a weakened economy.

As for President Obama, all you need to know is that the government is set to spend roughly $3,800,000,000,000 this year, against expected revenue of $2,500,000,000,000 - that's overspending at a rate of 52%. Is 'unconscionable' too strong a word?

Yes I know, we probably should be talking about Congress when it comes to spending. But we won't be - the charts forever fall on Presidents.

As for Mitt Romney picking Paul Ryan as his running mate; if Romney is to be the next president, and you're concerned with these numbers, you should (Ryan's yea votes on TARP and the auto bailout notwithstanding) like this pick. What I like about Ryan for the next 3.5 months is that I believe he'll bring the real, pressing, issues to the debate. And I suspect a heightened level of maturity as well. I.e., I don't expect we'll hear the utter silliness - such as Romney Hood or Obamaloney - coming from the composed young Congressman.


  1. My concern is that Ryan is, in all probability, going to be considered by many (including both Conservatives and Independents) as a Republican Establishment/Insider choice. He will do little, in my opinion, to help the numbers, leaving out the all-important Hispanic block and turning off many Independents.

    Not that I dislike Paul Ryan at all. His budget was gutsy and something that was badley needed, and he is generally conservative in spite of a few questionable spending votes in his past. I'd just rather have seen someone like Marco Rubio as the pick... he would have helped the November ticket much more, and that is the key to this most important in 200 years race!

  2. Where I mentioned "numbers" I was referring to the spending numbers, not poll numbers...