Archive for the ‘Hillary Clinton’ category

Close To Greatness

July 14, 2017

Republicans are running the ship. The GOP controls the Presidency and both Houses of Congress. What more could any party want if they wished to leave their imprint upon America. Each day, however, Americans are observing a President and a Congress aim at greatness but suddenly swerve away, missing the mark by a mile.

  • The “Healthcare” train went off the tracks quickly. Instead of focusing on premium and drug costs, the GOP struck up the “repeal and replace” band only to find they possessed no consensus on “replace”. The one attempt at attacking cost was instead diverted to bait and switch. The GOP offered to sell “stripped down” policies, as if they were Obamacare quality, for lower price. That was their version of cost reduction. Would you buy a car with no passenger or back seat (just the open space) just because the price was slightly lower?
  • Even more obvious as a ripe target is the cost of prescription drugs. What other country in the world makes drugs and sells these patented compounds in other countries for less than they sell the exact same materials in the US? The GOP could have seemed genuinely interested in the well being of Americans had they not taken the “repeal and replace” course.
  • The “Tax Reform” train, on a different track, seems destine for a similar miss. Anyone who prepares their own taxes knows full well how complicated a reasonably straight forward process can be. But “tax reform” is political code for “tax cuts”. And if you are wondering how much you might realize, don’t waste your time, the GOP tax cuts are about those who don’t need them, the wealthy.
  • Infrastructure investment, like building roads, bridges, harbors, and airports, is a time proven method to improve productivity by modernizing shared means necessary for economic growth (read jobs). Infrastructure investment is also a popular method to just put people to work regardless of whether the work produces any economic return. Under certain circumstances, even just employing people can be a good thing.
  • Not, apparently, with this Administration. Infrastructure investment means privatization and transferring more wealth from tax payers to private investors.
  • Along these same lines, the growing crisis around student loan debt is viewed as another opportunity to use private enterprises to assist the financial needs of students seeking higher education… at a substantial profit.
  • If training skills and higher education are needed to make workers more employable and more productive, then why would government add a layer of profit from loan administrators? Why would government treat student loans differently in bankruptcy cases than if someone bought too much house or too many cars?

Americans may have been frustrated with these situations in 2016, and decided Hillary Clinton and the Democrats were not the route to fixing them, hence Donald Trump became the 4 5th President and the Republican Party got control of both Houses of Congress. With seven months of this new Administration, Americans instead are seeing “greatness” by-passed in favor of wealth transfer from the average American to the wealthiest Americans. Hmmm.

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President Elect Donald J Trump

November 9, 2016

For many (but not enough), the unthinkable has happened. Donald Trump has won the 2016 Presidential election with a narrow but clear cut electoral college victory. Americans have spoken and their choice of Trump over Hillary Clinton was wide and broad based.

Along with President-elect Trump, the GOP kept control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. The keys to the White House and the governance of Congress (and soon the Supreme Court) have passed to the Republican Party.

Pundits will spin this outcome for days, weeks and maybe months pinning the Democrat loss on this reason or that one. For many the dislike of Hillary Clinton was enough to vote for Trump. For others, the election was about the economy, it was simply not good enough for these voters, anything would be better. Another group saw Trump as anti-establishment and a change agent from the current status quo. Political pundits will fault the basic campaign strategy and criticize the decisions to under estimate the importance of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. And so on.

For centrists, especial those on both coast, their worst fears has been realized. The GOP which has specialized in gridlock and just saying “no” now possesses the reigns of government. The George W Bush years set a poor standard where a narrow victory lead him and his Administration to unbounded hubris, ultimately into a unnecessary failed Iraq War, and concluding with a near death of the world economy. President elect Trump deserves a chance to lead the country in more measured steps. Whether he does, remains to be seen.

President elect Trump’s victory has left an indelible mark in the ground. He has promised to make America Great Again. For the rust belt States that provided Trump the margin of victory, nothing short of a resurgence of good paying jobs will be enough. Were Trump and the GOP to somehow deliver on this promise, the Country and most citizens will be better for it. If, however, global realities on trade and foreign policies actually show that the past 7 years have been actually as good as global realities allow, then President elect Trump could be a one term President.

We must also not forget that a Clinton victory would not have been a bed of roses. Most all her pledges would have elicited strong opposition from the Republican controlled Congress. And, no one should be delusional and think Clinton would suddenly become open and transparent in her communications. Personally I was willing to accept these tradeoffs in exchange for a centrist to moderately left of center Supreme Court Justice.

Life sometimes seems unfair and President elect Trumps victory could be seem in that light. But Americans voted freely and the results elected Donald Trump. The future will take care of itself.

All Quiet On The US Election Front?

November 8, 2016

The voting has begun, counting will soon follow. Who will be the 45th President? In a few hours (following poll closings), we should learn.

At this time, there is no need for television ads and all the venom that seemed so normal for the past oh so many months. Regrettably, election day is not exempt from the enormously wasteful expenditure of campaign money. But tomorrow will be another day, somewhat like the quiet that comes with a snow storm, eerily the wait will be over and the next President will be known… for better or worse.

Most all the political forecasters predict the election is unlikely to repeat the closeness of George W Bush’s 2000 election. Most pollsters are predicting a Clinton victory and most probably with an electoral college margin about 5+ points higher than Trump’s. So why is there so much anxiety today?

Donald Trump has run an unconventional campaign and tapped into a large number of voters who often don’t vote.  The question on most people’s minds is how many voters will that be?

A Clinton victory, however, will represent the third time in a row where Republicans considered their proposition a sure winner for most Americans. And, the third time in a row where Americans said “no thinks” to the GOP offer. Why?

The Republican Party of 60’s, 70’s or 80’s is not the Republican Party of today. The Party is not the one which once boasted Dwight Eisenhower or even Ronald Reagan as its standard bearer. The GOP has sold its soul to small, ideologically different factions which individually represents views not held by a majority of Americans. These factions are demographically out of touch with Americans.

For example, “building a wall” may sound inviting to unemployed workers but will likely lose Donald Trump far more votes than he can afford. GOP Bible thumpers cheer when Donald Trump says he will close Planned Parenthood while the GOP Tea Party segment jump up and down at Trump’s promise of “huge” tax cuts. What will these subgroups do if Trump does not win?

A wiser GOP (compared to 2012) would once again do an autopsy on the 2016 results. The study will most likely conclude (again) that alienating women, gays, Blacks, and Hispanics was not a good strategy for a national election.

And an even wiser strategy might emerge if the GOP remembered that Americans have a special spot in their hearts for “fairness”. Just saying “no” is transparently unfair to all Americans, even though to certain Republican segments, saying “no” is well appreciated.

What the GOP needs to recognize is that Democrats occupy the demographic high ground and will continue to win if Republicans insist upon replaying the same old game the same way.

Ironically, Donald Trump’s nomination is a wake up call in itself for the GOP. This Pied Piper blew through 16 other traditional GOP candidates in the primaries by picking and choosing which part of the GOP he wished to attract. His opponents were either too bland, too wedded to a certain faction, or just too small in comparison to Trump’s oversized persona.

Trump’s voting coalition also has a demographic handicap.  The GOP’s weakness may have been compounded by Trump with his denigration of this group or that one.  (Trump may have seen this behavior differently because his strongest supporters cheered.)

Sadly, Democrats do not possess all the best answers to today’s problems. But current GOP strategies and policies make it possible for Democrats to win the Presidency. Competition makes organizations improve and continuing to contest the Presidency with an unwinnable platform does no one any good.

And surprise, surprise, a sharper GOP would inevitably spur a sharper Democrat Party to become more relevant and serve America better.
Wise Republicans will be thinking about this even during the relative peace that follows election day. Whether thinking will lead to change actions is another question. Time will tell.

Hillary’s Last Message

November 7, 2016

In the 2016 Presidential Campaign’s final days, what more can be said? Hillary Clinton must be thinking “how many more times must I say Donald Trump is unfit to be President”? Donald Trump must be thinking “If I keep calling Hillary Clinton a criminal, her supporters will become even more disenchanted”. The public is exhausted and might wish for the campaign to end immediately if that could be possible. Well, tomorrow is the day, voting day. Hmmm.

Regrettably Clinton has become synonymous with the “establishment” and “status quo”. For many voters this experience does not inspire. Add to this the negatives on emails and the hill to an election victory gets steeper. What could Hillary do?

How about a positive closing statement? How about a call for unity and a pledge about what she would do to provide common ground if fortunate to win the Presidency. This type of statement would certainly look and sound “Presidential”. But it might do even more.

Her words could remind Americans, without specifically saying it that since 2008, the Republican Party has been the party of “no”. The GOP’s first goal of making President Obama a one term President and even though the GOP failed, it was not for lack of effort. In 2012, Mitt Romney lead the charge to displace President Obama and failed. Republican leaders had the gall to say the Country had not given the President a mandate and offered as proof the number of Congressional Republican members. Lost in this argument, of course, is Congress is elected on the basis of “gerrymandered” districts and Presidents are elected on the basis of national votes, one person, one vote.

And just this year, Mitch McConnell refused to consider Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland on the basis that “the next President needed to decide”. McConnell’s words did not fool anyone. The GOP was not about to cooperate at all with Democrats. And why should we expect 2017 to be different?

Hillary would do well in her closing remarks to remind Americans of what is missing in Washington, DC these days, without whining. Do the opposite and say she is optimistic and will take the first steps to bring about bi-partisan cooperation.

According to pundits, the election will be close, and unbelievably could tilt to Donald Trump. While Donald Trump is running as a “Republican”, his proposals contain many actions which elements of the GOP are dead against. He, too, will face an obstinate Congress and bi-partisanship will be one challenge too far.

So, in the end, voters will need to choose between someone who acts “Presidential” and promise to work with the opposition party, and someone else who promises to “fix” everything himself because he knows better. Anyone who takes the time to think about this choice must see that Clinton is President material and Trump is not.

Hillary needs to make her last message about willingness to work with everyone for everyone.

Promises Have Consequences

November 4, 2016

Donald Trump has promised “big time” tax cuts, the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, a get tough policy with China, renegotiation of major trade treaties, a massive investment in the infrastructure, new wall between Mexico and the US, and a return of previously outsourced jobs, including steel and coal jobs. There are many who like these positions and will vote for Trump thinking the Donald will produce. I wonder whether they ever thought “will he/she love me in the morning”?

My guess is that Trump really doesn’t worry about keeping these promises, even if he gets elected. He will simply make up some new promises while claiming he never promised anything in the first place. But what might happen if Trump actually tries to fulfill his campaign pledges?

Were Congress to pass a “big time” tax cut, Congress would be immediately confronted with an exploding deficit. The Federal Debt would have to expand to cover the tax shortfall. Trump is a businessman and no stranger to debt and even bankruptcy would remain relaxed.

The more fiscally conservative Republicans, however, would go apoplectic.

These conservative budget hawks would demand immediate budget cuts and target entitlements along with defense spending. Defense cuts, however, would put the fear of god into other Republicans especially the neoconservative crowd. These patriots would agree to entitlement cuts but cutting defense is a non-starter for them. So much for party unity.

But what about the infrastructure and all the new jobs it would bring, or the Mexican wall and all the immigrants it would keep out, and what about the buses, trains, and federal agents necessary to deport the 11 million undocumented aliens? These might have to wait.

About this time, Ford, General Motors, GE, and dozens of other companies will announce they are unable to bring back outsourced jobs for competitive reasons, even if President Trump does cut their corporate income tax. And by the way, in order to remain competitive, more jobs might be teed up to go overseas… for competitive reasons.

Oh, and repealing Obamacare will bring with it some significant political damage when most Americans find out that their insurance costs are not going to decrease. (Do you remember the US healthcare delivery program before Obamacare?  The previous program experienced annual increases two or more times the rate of inflation.  So why should we expect cost to suddenly decrease?)

Insurance companies will say “no, thank you” to picking up the extra cost for “pre-existing conditions” and “no limits on total payouts”. Insurance companies will balk at covering dependents under 26 years of age too. And when President Trump asks States to pick up more Medicaid costs, they will not so politely say no.

And, those “low cost” policies sold across State borders, we’ve heard so much about, will come more into focus. They will protect the insured for just what they are written to do and no more. These bargain policies will come with huge deductibles and co-pays or very narrow coverage, or both.  Those wanting broader coverage will need to get the check book out again.

By this time, Trump will realize it was so much easier running for office than actual being President. Who will he blame then?

When Truthful Words Mislead

November 2, 2016

“President Obama has been a disaster. He has presided over the worst economic recovery in history. Hillary Clinton means more of the same for another 4 years.” So, elect Republicans, including Donald Trump in order to elect real change”. Hmmm.

Do these words sound familiar? They should. The first paragraph represents one of the primary campaign threads the GOP is using. But do these words represents truthful statements?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes, these words are truthful. They simply, however, are misleading and not relevant.

First, one has to recall that it was during the last Republican Administration (2000 to 2008) when large tax cuts (promised by Replicants if elected in 2016) were introduced and subsequently (1) the Federal Budget went from an annual surplus to an annual deficit, and after 7 lack luster years of uneven growth (under “W”), (2) the country’s economic growth crashed into a severe recession (approaching the depths of a depression).

Second, the recession was not limited to the US economy. Rather, the broken US bubble dragged most of the rest of the world (including China) into similar recessions. Those countries which responded with “stimulus” policies, stabilized and then experienced economic growth, and those which chose austerity, saw contraction or at best anemic growth.

Third, the average GDP growth rate for George W Bush’s 8 years was 1.8% ending in the largest economic contraction since the 1929 crash. During President Obama’s Administration, GDP growth has averaged about 1.8% with no period over 3%. Rather than feast and bust GDP growth, Obama years have been marked but steady but unspectacular growth. More importantly, one must realize that the GOP controlled Congress resisted all of President Obama’s calls for stimulus from 2010 until now. With a world report card visible to everyone, blaming the lower level of GDP growth on President Obama is grossly misleading.

Ironically, the steady but slow GDP growth might just as easily be seen as a sign of the US economy’s inherent economic strength, which without stimulus is still one of the best in the world. The push-pull Congressional-Presidential relationship is currently not suited for a comprehensive domestic growth policy.

President Obama’s presidency has experienced its share of setbacks, many self inflicted. Truthful but clearly misleading statements, however, do no one a service. Republican leaders know the difference and have intentionally created “truthful but misleading” statements for the purpose of distracting voters and convincing them to expect better results than are likely.

Truthful but misleading is not a Donald Trump phenomena. Trump prefers overtly untruthful and misleading statements since they require less time to think up. People, however, like Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell both know better and occupy leadership positions where Americans have been conditioned to expect “non-misleading” statements. Both elected officials occupy key Congressional positions and Ryan is second in line to succeed the President should it be necessary.  They know better but are content not to do better.

Hmmm.

So, Why Hillary?

October 31, 2016

The FBI Director’s recent announcement that new emails had been found which might be related to Hillary Clinton’s private email server has cast a hush over her campaign. While nothing incriminating has been revealed, innuendos are rife. And in an unintended (hopefully) consequence, her opponent Donald Trump, has significantly modulated his rhetoric and has made no new inflammatory (and fact checkable as untrue claims). Either as a consequence or a coincident, the polls are once again very close. One wonders whether the unthinkable might just come to pass.

Once again thoughtful Americans are asking themselves, “how can I vote for Clinton?”

Accordingly it is necessary to review the bidding. Is Donald Trump hands down the superior candidate with a clear cut better platform? Is Donald Trump free and clear of any improprieties or potential conflicts of interest? Is Donald Trump a role model for America’s youth and someone who can bring Americans together? Has Donald Trump provided any insight into how he would handle complex domestic and foreign policy issues?

If, at this point, one can affirm these questions, then clearly your candidate will be Donald Trump.

On the other hand, if one considers that as complex and complicated domestic and foreign policy seems today, history instructs us that in the coming years new and unexpected crises will come front and center. History also tells us that great Presidencies are made not by plan, but by how well a President responds to unforeseen and unplanned events.

The Trump campaign has explained that a President Trump will appoint competent subordinates (the best of the best) and he will provide broad direction and intervene to make things happen. While this approach is laudable, does anyone believe someone who makes almost all his campaign speeches somehow about himself could delegate anything?

There are three reasons why Hillary Clinton remains the superior choice:

  • She is not Donald Trump.
  • She favors progressive solutions to complex domestic problems and is slightly right of center on foreign policy.
  • Her Vice President running mate is a competent, well balanced person and would be a consensus builder should he need to assume the Presidency.

Thinking ahead and wondering what Hillary’s legacy might be is difficult. Her speeches reveal much that she thinks is needed and would bring benefits to many Americans. Her speeches, however, are thickly worded and leave the listener with not easy to recall objective. She is most likely destine to be remembered for how she handles events not of her making.

For example on just domestic issues, (1) Obamacare will need at the minimum modifications to take into account insurance company greed and their unwillingness to support many “exchange” operations. If government simply opens the check book and reimburses exchange participating insurance companies, healthcare costs will rise dramatically. US healthcare has and still does with Obamacare suffer from a fatal flaw, depending upon the good intentions of for profit medical service providers. In a capitalist system, increasing profits as much as is possible will bring down any other healthcare model, short of a European style universal healthcare system.

(2) Related to Obamacare is Medicare and Medicaid. Although both are totally separate systems from Obamacare, both are underfunded. With constant cost creep, Medicare and Medicaid must either receive more tax revenue, or must be cut back on services they provide (read, Americans on Medicare or Medicaid will need to pay more individually).

(3) Social Security is another government program which has looming financial difficulties. Similar options of either raising tax revenues or cutting benefits (or both) will likely arise during the next 4 years.

And lastly, (4) when another section of the interstate highway system collapses into a river or gorge, the President will have to lead Congress into action.

Oh, and maybe one more reason to elect Hillary. She will be the adult in the room and will act and appear Presidential representing the Country around the world.