Monday, November 5, 2012

The Big Day!

Tomorrow's the big day! And make no mistake, this presidential election is without question the most important of your life. That is if you're a hedgehog (they live about four years on average). If you happen to be a human, the next 48 months will (assuming you're taking care of yourself) represent merely 5% or so of your earthly experience.

Oh but I know, there's so much at stake! A couple Supreme Court appointments could change the landscape for literally generations to come. Sure, that's something to consider. But weren't you blown away by conservative judge Roberts' deciding vote on the health care plan. Even with the panel stacked on an issue, human beings can surprise you.

And sure, we can wax eternal (oh and I will) about the ills of big government. But the thing is, while government growth has indeed accelerated of late, both parties have a proven penchant for wielding policy at virtually every arising issue. Remember, the recent round of corporate bailouts was born under a Republican administration. And if you think McCain would not have signed on to a few thousand pages of new banking regulations, you better think again. Here's the man himself on the stump in 2008:

"Government has a clear responsibility to act in defense of the public interest, and that's exactly what I intend to do."  "In my administration, we're going to hold people on Wall Street responsible. And we're going to enact and enforce reforms to make sure that these outrages never happen in the first place."

But would we now have McCaincare? Good or bad, surely not, right? Well, he was promising health care reform should he win the White House—although his approach was (supposedly) somewhat market-oriented. But would the debt have grown by $5 trillion under McCain (Obama accomplished that feat in half the time it took GW Bush)? I would like to think not.

Of course we can do this for a dozen pages—there's this website that lists Obama's top 50
"accomplishments" (I read the first 20 and had to stop—I treasure my low blood pressure)—but I'll cut to the chase. A day and a half from now, assuming no Bush/Gore repeat, we'll know which puppet is going to man the nation's helm for the next 16 quarters. That's right "puppet". Folks, wherever we're to be in the years to come will not be determined by a single politician who, at best (or worst), will captain our ship through a couple generations of hedgehogs. Whatever the metaphor, puppet or chameleon, know that the politician aims to please his base (whatever group he determines that to be on any given day). If we don't like the direction we're heading—if our present course destines us to wreckage on the rocky shores with Europe—well then, I suppose we should grab hold of the strings now and force a change in course onto our captain and crew.

Read again my 9/29 post, in its entirety below. And, when you vote tomorrow, I urge you to vote for whomever and whatever you believe will result in less government. And lobby ever-harder in that direction going forward...

The Next American Idol - Or - We Need Our Own Euro-Moment - Or - Be Careful What You Pine For...

Of all the arguments for limiting government, the fact that, in the best of circumstances, some number of elected agents composing an effective majority on a given issue determines the standard for 100% of the people (speaking of our representative democracy) is probably the most compelling. Of course it goes without saying that 51% (or 66%) – attending, alas, to their respective agendas – dictating a standard is infinitely better than .0000003% (a single dictator). But, nonetheless, those things we decide collectively should be, at all costs, as few as possible.

So what are we to do with this contagion we call government? This virus that consumes the limbic system of the under-achieving individual. Through sensory-dulling support (which includes a debit card, a cell phone, heavily subsidized rent, etc.), it destroys his motivation – he dare not dare to exploit the American opportunity. As for institutions, it opens itself and baits the highest bidder. Deals are struck. Capital, via subsidies, tariffs, regulatory engineering and tax loopholes, is redistributed to the politically favored. The alleged efficacy of a given regulation or program is trumpeted by the institutions it was designed to serve – the CEO turns politician.

Back-stage-Washington is where politicians bargain on behalf of their respective agendas. Front-stage is where they say what we want to hear. They know their constituent. They know the voting majority is more interested in the next American Idol than it is the next American President. Thus, the candidate with the swagger – the stage-presence – takes home the spoils.

Some (not, I presume, the American-Idol-worshipers) believe this to be the most important election of our time. I disagree. Yes, policy is at the root of the uncertainty holding the American economy at bay, but policy is a mere reflection of the wants of the populace. Obama, the consummate politician, the community organizer, has read the tea leaves and made his calculations. November 6 is entirely his to lose.

My conservative friends fear that he’ll do great damage with four more years and no reelection to concern him. They pray for a Republican dominated congress to stonewall his efforts. Consider me agnostic. Let’s say the Democrats take Congress and Obama wins another term. If his aim is to bring us to some socialist state, as some seem to fear, I suspect the markets will [severely] punish his efforts, and his party will abandon him faster than the Republicans abandoned GW Bush when the Iraqi conflict went awry. Should Romney and company sweep, what are the odds they’ll muster the political will to affect meaningful spending reform in the face of this tepid economic recovery? Zero to none, I imagine.

I’m afraid we need our own Euro-moment before we get our nation back on track. Some see it coming sooner than later, and, again, I see no evidence suggesting either side has the will to force the kind of reforms that would avert such an event. Thus, if the seers are right (our comeupins coming sooner than later), and you’re pining away over your candidate – well – just be careful what you pine for…

1 comment:

  1. I know this got posted the other day before the election but I read it again today to try to get myself out of my severe post election depression. It worked temporarily. I know I can always get some perspective from you. Now if you can explain why I should continue to live in California that would be great!