And The Winner Is?

The Democrat Convention ended last evening.  Which convention, Democrat or Republican was better?  Which candidate will win in November?  Will America be better off because of who wins?

Which convention was better?

There is a small advantageous, I think, that always goes to the party that goes second.  This year the Democrats knew the Republican message.  By most commentators’ opinions, the Michele Obama and Bill Clinton combo won the first two nights handily.  President Obama probably bested Mitt Romney by a slight margin on night three.

Who will win in November?

The Republicans have designed their campaign (without saying this) around the notion that the “pie” is just so big and that Republican supporters need to get their piece early and often.

Consequently, many Republican supporters, most of whom are not members of the top 2%, do not worry about the implications of cutting Medicare or Medicaid, or what raising Defense spending means or whether reducing taxes with a $16 billion debt is even possible.  These voters have accepted the argument that entitlements are going to those who have not earned them, even though they will be eligible some day .  These voters have also accepted the notion that those earning a lot of money must be bright and are realizing their just gain.

Democrats have built their ship upon the idea that if the middle class gains, all others will gain too.  Economic and historical arguments strongly support these positions.  Unfortunately helping the middle class back to where they were in the 50’s, 60’s, 70;s and 80’s will not be a quick process.    So, will that argument carry the day?

President Obama told us last night it will be more of the same.  He has no “home run” ideas.  (At least he is an honest man.)  In many regards, this may be just what America needs.

Consider.

The top 200 Corporate CEOs in 2011 earned on average about $20 million each.  Compared to the average workers earnings (about $50,000), the CEOs are taking home 400 times more.  Fifty years ago this ration was more like 20 times more.  The wealth accumulating at the top of corporations comes at the expense of the middle class.

Business ethics, especially in large banks and investment firms has all but disappeared.  Goldman promised its good name selling mortgage backed securities to others (including pension funds) while secretly betting against these same obligations on its own account.  Most recently most of the global banks have been called out for having tried to manipulate the LIBOR benchmark interest rate.  Why?  In order to make some of their deals pay greater returns even though they held LIBOR up as a gold standard.

I have not heard any proposals by either party that will get CEOs or bank and investment leaders to act responsibly and not in their own self interest.  Maybe that’s not the role of government.  Human nature I guess.

It just seems that reducing taxes and eliminating regulations must be in the wrong direction.

Will America be better off because of who wins?

Since the election will be close and there will be Congressional elections in 2014, I would expect the GOP to continue its “just say no” approach.  There simply is nothing in it for them.

Four more years of grid lock?  In that case, would it not be better to elect Mitt Romney?  I suppose there is an argument there.  Just like the gunman who says give me your money, unless one says no or calls authorities, the forces of darkness win.

Mitt Romney and the GOP have not made a case for their election.  President Obama’s is promising more of the same.   We would all, I think, hope for more if there was not a robber standing in the shadows.

 

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2 Comments on “And The Winner Is?”

  1. Bob Wilken Says:

    The leaks in advance hinting that Obama would put forth a plan for the next four years had me riveted to the television last night. I thought this would seal the election and put it over the top for the Democrats. Those undecided Independents would see something worthy and pile on board.

    Over a period of three nights viewers were treated to a series of magnificent campaign speeches all interspersed with humorous, stinging jabs at Romney, Ryan and the Tampa event. They were some of the best pieces of political oratory I had heard in many years. The table was set for Obama to swoop in and change the tone from that of the previous irreverent, raucous presenters …change it to a tone that would be in keeping with the serious difficulty in which the country finds itself… change it with proposals that would address serious issues and give some gravitas to the campaign. .

    Instead, we head more of the same…most of which was not delivered as well as by earlier speakers. Maybe I have heard too many of Obama’s speeches. This one simply sounded like a lengthened retread of earlier ones. Now the snappy, little Romney-Ryan jabs were beginning to wear and simply sound hurtful. With a couple of notable exceptions, many zingers seemed to lack humor.

    It’s fine for a while, but this person is wearying of the one-upsmanship, the “cute” “gotcha” sound bytes that are used by both parties… sound bytes and cliches that are designed as nothing more than blunt instrument-clubs to put the other in his place.

    So… Obama and/or his handlers apparently determined that they better fold their hand…that they better be content with the already declared media conclusion that Charlotte was a “boffo” event that had accomplished the task of mobilizing the democratic base. It seems they just did not want to take too many chances By sticking their necks out with real mesures, they just might end up a new target for Republicans. Simply put, they decided to play it safe.

    I longed for some specificity, some explanation of HOW 1) to achieve deficit reduction 2) to grow manufacturing 3) to further energy independence 4) to improve educational opportunity 5) to reduce the costs of Medicare. The list could go on. Is there such a poverty of ideas? Is the electorate too stupid to be entrusted with such ideas? Or, is politics so fraught with a fear of the 24-hour news cycle that it is relegated to inanities and superficialities.

    There are lots of people out there that yearn for intelligent measures to be put on the table for discussion. What made Bill Clinton’s speech so refreshing was that it was down-to-earth and substantive. His points were based in fact. But, it was about the past not the future. I’m sure a discussion with him about the future would likewise be substantive and fun too.

    So, it looks like we are condemned to slog it out for another two months. We can hope that the debates will wheedle some tidbit of importance out of the candidates. But, somehow I doubt it!


    • Bob, I think your reactions are spot on. And I also think it is the handlers whose advice Obama accepted. The last two months look bleak.

      Some things remain the same. Romney’s proposals are no more defined than before. Cutting taxes, raising defense spending, and eliminating regulations still must be paid for. If they do it by sharply cutting entitlements, that will require lots of people to use money they may have used to buy goods and services, to now buy health care. That won’t restart the economy, I think.

      The answer seems straight forward. We need a 5 or 10 year plan where we make some progress each year. The plan must contain increased taxes and reduced government spending including Medicare and Social Security. I see no path to that compromise today given the intransigent positions of Democrats and Republicans, but the Catholic Church once said the world was flat, but that did not make it so.


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