Posts Tagged ‘Romney’

On the 2012 Elections: Issues

August 27, 2012

I wrote this reply to a friend named Harry in a group on Facebook:
Read what you wrote, Harry. “Obama is now seeking…” and “suggesting that he’s grabbing the taxing power for himself.” You don’t’ say that Obama has usurped the powers of congress, you imply motives for actions (not documented, except by your opinion; and not really knowable in any case; we can only judge actions, not motives) and some vague suggestion based on no cited evidence.
Be honest; how far would you get in court with that sort of argument?
What you’re left with is a single answer: Congress. Not Obama, but Congress. Fact.
And we all know what Congress has done, or more properly has not done. While earning the opinion that this is the worst Congress in modern history.
They have refused to consider Obama’s jobs bill. Fact. Easily verifiable.
They have taken no independent action to push the economy for jobs. Fact.
Indeed, public sector jobs have declined, but private sector jobs have risen steadily. Not fast enough, but then note who has the greater power to affect the economy. There are literally thousands of citations to confirm that; it’s not an unsubstantiated claim by me, as you have made in your post. Both working together, Congress and presidency, could have done more, but we also know that this Congress has had one aim, to deny Obama a second term. That’s been their aim, and it’s colored every thing they’ve done in the past two years. They’ve repeatedly said so. Fact. Easily verified.
Two horses harnessed together by the Constitution; but one pulls forward, the other balks and sits down. And then claims that it’s the other who is responsible for going nowhere.
Congress has had the power, and has not used it. They have done many things beloved to the right regarding Obamacare and abortion and women’s rights, although they’ve acted to block both of the last two in any bill that’s pushed forward. They’ve also blocked immigration reform. They have generated no bill to do anything about the economy. Fact. Easily verifiable.
Not one.
Despite the fact that THEY have the ability to do that. Obama couldn’t stop them if he wanted to. Presidents don’t control Congress; if anything, it’s the other way around. Congress holds the power of the purse. Presidents can, at most, influence Congress. But nothing can stop Congress from passing a bill to create jobs. They have that power and are answerable only to the voters. They can even override a presidential veto. Of course, first they have to send a bill forward. And they haven’t. Fact.
The Republican Party controls Congress. They can generate financial bills in the Republican controlled House. They have blocked bills in the Senate through use of the filibuster. They have blocked presidential appointments and they used the filibuster to block the bipartisan immigration reform bill. Fact.
Facts. Not opinions. Except for that one statement that the president and Congress, working together, could have done more.
And this is something that no amount of rhetoric can change. Something that Romney and Ryan don’t want to talk about. Ryan might have put something into that budget he brought out of committee to create jobs. He did not.


Political commentary

August 20, 2012

To me, there’s an issue of character about Romney and also Ryan. Bluntly, I don’t see anything I’d label as character about either. And I’m not at all sure that Romney’s evasions are always legal. Show the records; let investigators dig into them.
Meantime, it may be very satisfying to boot Obama. But what will you replace him with?
What will Romney do? He won’t say. So we’re asked to ‘trust’ a man of no demonstrated character to take principled stands regarding jobs and housing and immigration and education? A man who famously has said he’s not concerned with the poor, that he likes firing people, that he thinks we don’t need cops and firemen and teachers? Who would turn more social programs over to the rapacious healthcare insurance executives and for-profit entities to teach children? To care for old people at the end of life? We’ve see what their objective is: profit. Anything else is secondary. We’ve seen rebates from companies that spend less than 80 of the money they collect on healthcare for people; that, after paying executives tens of millions per year. Trust the man who thinks this is good? A man who led the offshoring of jobs? Who deliberately wrecked companies so he could loot the bones, regardless of the human cost?
No character. No ethic, other than personal profit first. No morality beyond “I’ve got mine!” And no openness from a man who conceals great wealth offshore and who now asks you to trust him.
Obama has made some mistakes by not being bold enough, in my judgment. Romney? He’s going to cost lives and increase national misery by exponential amounts.
It’s discouraging that others refuse to recognize this.

Financialists and the Entitlement Nation

August 1, 2012

“On the campaign trail, Mitt Romney mocks it as “a social welfare state” and an “entitlement nation.” He rails that it smothers entrepreneurs and innovators. And he says it is simply not working. The target of Mr. Romney’s dismissiveness: Europe. And he warns ominously that if the United States is not careful, the country may end up just like it. ”

The above quote is from an article published in the NY Times, Aug 1 2012. It caused me to think about Mitt Romney and what his campaign and his comments have revealed about the man.

Entitlement nation. Mr Romney and his supporters use that term. One contributor complained that President Obama’s policies would ‘take my money and give it to those animals’.
Who is entitled to what?
Three groups, it seems to me, are involved if you’re to understand that view. Much ado was made about President Obama’s comments regarding entrepreneurs, “You didn’t build that.” He should have said, as Elizabeth Warren said, “you didn’t build that alone.” Both understand that there is more to building a company and creating wealth than simply identifying an opportunity, the root of entrepreneurship.
The economy needs all three, the entrepreneurs who see a need and move to provide for that need, and the capitalists and the production workers.
Perhaps that ‘need’ is imaginary, but never mind; advertising will sell us what we don’t really need. At any rate, it’s presumed that the entrepreneur takes the risks and so is entitled to rewards, whatever he/she can milk from the system. That concept gets lip service in the USA.
But the first thing many of these entrepreneurs do is set up a shield to limit their exposure to risk. It’s called a corporation or partnership or LLC. Limited Liability is the name of this game.
Entrepreneurs then seek financing from the third group, who also like limits to any liability (forgotten is the concept of ‘risk capital’; they expect guaranteed income from their money).
With financing, the entrepreneur is now poised to hire workers. Capital and entrepreneurship together cannot produce anything at all. But because workers are presumed to be interchangeable cogs to be slipped into the machine and removed at will, both classes have forgotten that production is at least equal to the other two parts…and production workers cannot milk the system for all that the market will bear. Only they have an upper limit to income.
And that attitude must change. The ‘entitlement’ part of that entitlement nation concept deals with the social support network that production workers need to gain some of the fruits of their labor. And some of the financing for that social support network comes from entrepreneurs and financialists. Both groups resent this in large part.
The American worker is at least as important as the other two parts. Financialists consider it ‘my money’ without regard to how that came to be and are adept at protecting money through political chicanery. The entrepreneur is lauded publicly but the financialists understand that it’s about money; the more you have, the more important you are, and the money is the source of that importance so therefore those who have little money have little importance. Once a company ‘goes public’, i.e. sells shares, the financialists now own what the entrepreneur built. And still at the bottom of all of this is the guys and girls who manufacture cars and steel and roofing and plumbing units and who install and maintain all of it. They are the ones who support the nation, generate the economic activity, and pay much of the taxes, but for some reason, the financialists see no need for them to BENEFIT from those tthings. Hence, ‘entitlements’. Somehow, they view the worker as a parasite unless he’s directly being exploited (and employment exploits; there’s no concept of sharing or equality involved. Employees are expected to produce a profit for employers to pay the entrepreneurs, the management elites after companies become publicly traded, and the financialists who own stock and sit on Boards of Directors).
The separation between groups is becoming greater all the time. The financialists at one time invested in a company and helped to make it profitable, and as it profited so did they; wealth was created. International finance in the 1970’s consisted of about 90% risk capital invested in development and creation of wealth, 10% speculation (gambling). That’s now reversed, according to Noam Chomsky; 10% is invested in development, 90% gambling. The gamblers, financialists, no longer involve themselves in creation of wealth so that their profits have some justification. It doesn’t matter; profits spend, regardless of how they are acquired.
And somehow the gamblers see everyone else as unimportant in their view of society.
Mitt Romney is the poster child for this view.
Understanding this may help you understand why he holds the opinions he does, and says and does the things that he does.

A Critique of Both Presidential Candidates, and a Suggested Tax Solution

June 22, 2012

There’s a point behind some of Romney’s criticism.
While Obama had Congressional power, he worked to get the Affordable Health Care Act passed. That took much of his political capital. Attempting to also get immigration reform, education reform, any number of other issues addressed, would simply have meant that nothing got passed, given the obstructionist aims of Republicans.
But Obama allowed Congress to work through most of this without risking his own political status. This is not the action of a strong president.
He also didn’t risk that status by attempting to address any other hot-button issue such as immigration reform.
That weakness or unwillingness is now coming around. He’s been a weak president. Put into context, that’s understandable. He’s the first Black president. A serious mistake can set back 70 years of progress in a nation that has had a history of enslavement of Blacks and oppression of minorities in general. For a lot of the Republican base, Mr Obama’s skin color trumps all of the other issues. Racism is not an issue that Republicans address; there’s a reason for that. Put simply, Republicans can count on the racist vote.
Not that I think Romney is an improvement over Obama. The policies he apparently favors, as much as any outsider can determine his real opinions regarding education, budget, the safety net, and the economy, are a disaster in the making.
He would ‘encourage private enterprise.’ I hope he has a better idea than his predecessor in the Republican Party. Encouragement then was to simply shovel enormous amounts of public money to financial firms, who were then suitably ‘encouraged’ to sit on some of that money as a cushion for future losses, skim off some of it as shareholder dividends and executive bonuses, and use some of it to acquire competitors. Supposedly, they were to loan the money in the hope that this would stimulate the economy; not being fools, they used it in ways that seemed most profitable to themselves.
That, BTW, is how you encourage industry: you decide what you want them to do, and via a carrot-stick approach (tax breaks, tax penalties) you encourage them to do that. They’re in it for the money, after all; so use that to encourage them to act in the national interest.
A Value-Added Tax, to replace the current corporate tax system, works. Say you dump the tax rate that only the foolish pay and the savvy avoid; replace it with a VAT, but suspend a portion of that tax for any product produced domestically using domestic labor. No loopholes. Set this at a nominal 15% (vice the current rate, the one that Apple and GE and Big Oil doesn’t pay), and put in a mechanism that automatically raises or lowers this depending on our international balance-of-trade. Work to keep trade within a narrow range, + or – 1% of balance for example. Trade will still happen, but not based on cost; instead, it would be based on quality. Better quality always wins out in international trade.  Nations that want to sell us goods and services would thereby be encouraged to purchase our goods and services or see that VAT rise.
In this way, everyone who has access to the US market pays for that, and those who bring goods in as imports will pay more than those who produce goods domestically.  Want to export a lot of goods to us, then buy our domestically produced goods.  If you don’t want to buy from us, then don’t plan to sell to us.  Balance of trade can easily be determined quarterly; indeed, such information is currently published in The Economist.  And the automatic adjustment mechanism (needed to take the matter out of the hands of a Congress that is far too easily bought by special interests) can take effect as soon as this information is obtained, certainly within the following quarter.
What about planning on the part of managers who might want reassurance of tax rates before they produce goods?  So long as those goods are produced domestically, the manufacturers can be sure their products won’t be undercut in price by imports.
Simple. And it encourages domestic companies to act in the national interest, not their own financial interest. That’s the kind of ‘encouragement’ that they understand.