Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Political update for October, 2011

Not another debate tonight. What's left to say? 9-9-9. Yeaahh. Romneycare. Booo. Make Obama a one term president. Yeaahh. Utah, no Texas, no Massachusetts. Reagan, Reagan, Reagan. And, seriously, no more mentioning your wives and kids. Oh, and stop saying you are "job creators." Really, I just can't take it anymore.

I don't think I'm watching. No, who am I kidding? I'm recording it. I'm going to watch later.

There are 13 months to go until the election and already I am so bored of these guys, I can't tell you. It's not that the issues aren't important or interesting. It's just - we know, we know already. All we have to look forward to is that Newt Gingrich will recite some obscure historical fact for us at some point, while referring to his time as Speaker of the House (ignoring his ignoble demise and taking credit for whatever was accomplished during that time).

Oh, I know what's new. Huntsman is boycotting this debate because it's in Nevada and he's supposedly protesting that that state moved its caucus up. Never has there been such a successful presidential campaign boycott since John McCain suspended his campaign to deal (in a futile and unimpressive fashion) with the financial crisis of 2008. It actually reminds me about a joke about himself Rodney Dangerfield used to tell: "To give you an idea of how well I was doing at the time I quit, I was the only one who knew I quit." If anyone notices Huntsman wasn't there, that will be the most attention he's gotten so far. Maybe he's just bored too and needs a break.

Of course, I have to mention Herman Cain, the rising star. First, let me (quoting Bear) self-reference myself from May of this year, when I first brought up the contestants. With respect to Cain I wrote that I didn't think he had a chance "unless everyone else clears out except him and Mitt Romney" and that though "he might do well in debate," not so much with several other contestants with similar views. I didn't like his views on Muslims, as, they are idiotic not to mention unconstitutional. But, ultimately I wrote:

"Leaving that issue aside, I get the feeling that he could do better in the nomination process than many of the other maybes. . . Cain . . . He is my dark horse surprise." And no, for the few of you who think that that was some racial remark, oh shut up.

Pretty good call if I say so myself (sorry Bear). Herman Cain has gone from a name almost no one knew to the front runner in some polls. But, already he stumbled in a couple of weeks, insisting on Meet the Press - his first really big public opportunity, that he wasn't familiar with neocons. Seriously? I wouldn't have expected him to be an expert on them, and frankly, political ideologies are always difficult to define, but how about pro-democracy, militarily agressive and free traders, which are pretty easy identifying characteristics. After his somewhat ignorant remarks about Muslims a few months ago, this also strikes me as a little ignorant for anyone who wants to run for president. I mean, Neocons were in the news the whole Bush administration.

I'm also not so cracked up about the 9-9-9, the mere mention of which makes me cringe. From the description of it I've read so far, it doesn't make all that much sense to me either. Not that the present tax code makes sense, or is especially fair, but when you are loudly proclaiming that you have the solution to something as big as taxation, it should be good, not some cool sounding plan that doesn't really measure up.

The first problem I see with 9-9-9 is will greatly increase taxes for people who just can't afford it. People who don't pay taxes now and make very little money would soon find themselves not paying a few percentage points, but close to 18% (a 9% income tax and 9% federal sales tax). Those who make millions of dollars investing might find themselves paying a few percentage points.

More, take a man who makes $15,000. He will probably spend most if not all of that money, so they will pay 18% of  that, leaving only $12,300. If he happens to have made that money through his own business - that's another 9% of whatever profit he made.

Of course, those who are unemployed and making no money now, will still pay the new 9% federal sales tax in addition to their state tax, if they have one.

Now, to make matters worse, suppose he has $5000 in medical bills - which is hardly ourtageous. I personally have spent much more than that in the last two years each. But, this poor snook will not be able to deduct it under 9-9-9. The guy who gave $5000 to charity gets the deduction, but not the guy who was saving his life. Fair?

Another aspect is that business can deduct costs but not its payroll. Cain claims it is more than set off by the reduction in corporate tax from 35% to 9%. I'm not sure it will really work that way, because we know many corporations now pay no taxes. How does a new business manage this, if it has a high payroll as its main costs, but not a lot of revenue yet?

There are other problems with it, but, the internet tells me that it has already, predictively, come under strong attack in the debate tonight, and, of course, they are Republicans, not Democrats.

Besides - Herman? That's not a president's name, is it?

Ten best Herman's in history:

10) Herman Cain
9) Herman Brooks (fictional main character of the short lived tv show, Herman's Head)
8) Jerry Herman (composer - Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles)
7) Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
6) Woody Herman (musician)
5) Herman (from the early rock group, Herman's Hermits - actually, Herman was a nickname for lead singer Peter Noone)
4) Hermann Goring (a Nazi who committed suicide at his trial for war crimes, he makes the list because of notoriety - don't hate me. I left out the umlaut over the "o" to punish him)
3) Pee Wee Herman
2) Herman Munster
1) George Herman "Babe" Ruth


This abbreviation is short for Occupy Wall Street, the only thing to challenge Herman Cain in political news these days (President Obama's job bill isn't even close).

What is it? I'm not sure. From the little I can tell (most of the coverage is either mockery or sensationalism) it sounds a lot like the Greek protesters who have to take less from the government or the anarchists who show up at WTO meetings to disrupt and with no clear ideological perspective except sort of down with capitalism. Marxists? I'm sure some. Crazy? Some. Anti-semites? Some.

But, the one major idea underlying the protests is that Wall Street screwed up and led us into a financial decline. There's some truth to that, of course, but I find more fault with government policies that led to  and even caused the mortgage crisis and has essentially bailed out Wall Street to the tune of possibly 60 trillion dollars over the years, at least according to some estimates. Even if that is high, it makes you wonder whether Wall Street has really made any money at all, or has really been the biggest stimulus package in history. Ironically, since wealthy people pay most of the taxes in the country, it has been rich people bailing out and supplementing other rich people.

What will OWS accomplish? Nothing. I do not believe it has either the staying power or the organization of the various tea parties which led to a Republican sweep of congress in 2010. Right now, OWS seems like a bad movie with no plot or great writing.

This is the easiest prediction of the year.

Short post this week, you lucky dogs.

Post note: I am watching the debate. It is more fun than I thought.  I have to say, Rick Perry went after Romney on an unfair charge (Romney had landscapers who apparently hired some illegals). Romney not only smoothly body slammed Perry twice, but Perry looked foolish. Even the crowd seemed to be down on him. He looked to me like he wanted to punch Romney in his mouth.

No doubt, Romney is simply the best debater on the floor. It would be hard even for his critics (unless they are working for one of the others) to deny that, even if they don't trust him or disagree with him on policy. No one has succeeded yet, though they beat up Perry and beat up Herman Cain tonight. They can't land a glove on him (as I write this, he got booed lightly by the crowd for taking a shot at Perry, and then cheered when Perry took a shot back at him). After tonight, I even more strongly believe he will be the nominee.


  1. Best hair, best TV smile -Romnney, therefore he will be the nominee. There you go Frodo, all sorted out for you in less than 10 gazillion words and no self references. Who luvs ya, baby?

  2. You might have a point there, old boy. You forgot that he's also tall though.


Your comments are welcome.

About Me

My photo
I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .