Boxed In and Just Recognizing It

Republican strategists must be good poker players.  Republican leaders keep on making promises and accusations that just don’t add up.  As a result, the GOP finds itself in a web of contradiction in a Presidential election that is winnable.

The big question is, can they talk their way out or at least play for enough time to win in November?

Mitt Romney is currently getting a good whipping about his boasts that his leadership at Bain Capital makes him a better candidate for President than Barack Obama.  In response to Democratic charges that Bain, under Romney outsourced jobs to foreign countries, Romney spins this to President Obama is anti-capitalist.  When challenged to release more tax returns, Romney says flatly two are enough.  He simply says that off-shore bank accounts are legal.  So is that what a capitalist is suppose to do?

Of course, Bain owned companies outsourced jobs.  Show me any companies that could outsource that didn’t.  Romney should have said, “Outsourcing did occur” but that was the only way to save the remaining jobs.

Romney also would have been on much more solid ground had he put forth an understandable plan on how he would fix the economy, fix the deficit/debt, AND reduce unemployment.  Such a discussion would lead to one of two places-

  • Romney’s programs would, if they worked, impact unemployment two or more years out.  In other words, he has no clue how to reduce unemployment before 2014.  Why?  Because the world is in a recession and without a huge Keynesian spending program there is no way to jump start the economy based solely upon the private sector.
  • Or, Romney would have to recommend increasing the debt by substantially more borrowing.  The new debt would support a stimulus of GOP making.

So here’s the web of contradictions.

The GOP says we need tax cuts for individuals and corporations.  We also need less regulations.  And let’s not forget, we must repeal (and replace) the Affordable Care Act.  And all of this while we balance the budget and reduce the debt.

So how would we “pay” for the tax cuts?  GOP spokespersons say government spending must be reduced but none of that reduction should be Defense spending.  It’s a stretch to imagine how any tax break offset by an equal amount of spending reductions can “stimulate” the economy.

The US is getting by because we keep borrowing to make up the difference between what we collect in tax revenues and what we actually spend.  Is the GOP actually prepared to increase the debt limit?  Is the GOP thinking about some government spending under the guise of national security (increasing defense spending) as a job creator?

And think about this.  The GOP idea of Medicare vouchers will shift some government spending to seniors.  While this may be small at first, it will increase each year as health care costs exceed inflation.  Regardless, these vouchers will take money (and demand) out of the economy.

So back to the present.

The drums are starting to beat in Washington.  Defense contractors sense a decrease in their gravy train.  Contractors know this Congress has shown little appetite for compromise.  Automatic defense spending cuts look more and more likely.  Oh, but don’t forget those Iranians, and those Chinese, and heck, we don’t want the Taliban coming to New York.  We need more spending.

And remember we can’t tax the job creators.  Dividends and capital gains are reason why our capitalist system is so powerful and bountiful.  No tax increases on them.

This brings us back to the fundamental problem the GOP has backed themselves into.  There is a weak world economy in which a weak US economy is trying to recover.  The US economy was weakened when the building bubble collapsed and the financial sector imploded.  Time will heal both.

The debt crisis was brought on for politically tactical reasons.  The GOP created grid lock for political gains.  Now Romney is stuck having to imply what he would do tomorrow (while lowering taxes, cutting entitlements, and reducing government spending in general) and not how he might be a better President long term.

The GOP proposals are logically inconsistent.  Any one of them might have merit, and a President Romney just might turn out to be a better Chief Executive.  Unfortunately for the GOP, their 2012 election efforts have lead to a hodgepodge of policies which together are contradictory.

Cynically, one is left to think that neither the GOP or the Democrats are serious about either jobs or the deficit/debt.  Both of course would like to see lower unemployment and get the deficit/debt under control.  Neither party wants to do the heavy lifting and level with Americans about what needs to be done in a comprehensive set of policies.

What is clear is that both parties want to gain the Presidency.

I wonder why?

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