Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Republican Economic Plans: Splurge or Purge?

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An overweight man was approached by two men with two different ways to get his weight under control. The first man stated the obvious, "You need to stop eating all of that junk food, and overall cut back on calories."

The second man frowned and said, "No. Any reduction in calories could kill you. What you really need is to eat more. It'll raise your metabolism and burn more calories than you take in. Then, later on you can reduce your calories responsibly."

Now, approached with the options to cut back or consume more, which path do you think the already obese man will prefer? He got to where he is by over-consumption, so when he hears the (idiotic) idea that he can work his way out the same way he got there it is destined to be the greatest idea since (buttered) sliced bread.

In a nutshell, that's our political system. Those are the options. In the GOP Presidential contest there are two types of candidates. Those who say we need to cut the junk out now, to prevent the forthcoming heart attack, and those who say let's switch pudding for yogurt and kick the can down the road to the next guy. There are far more in the latter category than in the former.

If you listen to Herman Cain, he is all about fiscal responsibility, but there is nothing he actually wants to cut out. If politics were football, Herman Cain would be a safety with all of his backpedaling and turning around just trying to figure out where the issues are going to land.

Cain has no intention of getting the fiscal house in order. None. He has a tax plan that produces another foothold for taxation, and he is already quickly turning his simple flat plan into a plan with exceptions. I admit, he is trying to do what is right by giving lower income earners an out, but he has revealed that the plan is open to fiddling, and how long will it be before he starts creating loopholes for his business buddies? Even if he left it as-is, what he has proposed is something few Americans will vote for, because it is too easy to demagogue, and rightly so.

I think most Americans do not like paying taxes. The reason is simple: people believe they are better at spending their own money than the government is at spending their money. When I spend my money I know it is being spent on my local businesses, it helps my community. I can pay back my debts that were lent by local banks. When government spends my money it goes to dictators, bailing out Wall Street bigwigs and every rare once in a while it actually finds a way to do something good for someone. I think those good things would be done more efficiently by letting me do it myself, if I so choose.

I know that I volunteer at soup kitchens, foster kid's homes and donate to charities, among other charitable occasions like disaster relief. Letting me keep my money gives me more resources to pour out to businesses and charities, or simply getting out of debt. (For the record, I'm debt-free. It took a year, lots of OT, odd jobs and clinical research trials, but I'm not radioactive...to my knowledge.)

There are Rick Perries, Mitt Romneys and Herman Cains out there who speak of having "serious, adult conversations about the issues", and they say it incessantly as if the mere recognition that it is needed is evidence of their commitment to see it done. Perry as governor of Texas, my state, has overseen the state double in debt during his term (link). Mitt Romney claims to be the businessman's best friend yet he raised fees and fines to produce half a billion in new revenues (link). That may not be a literal tax, but to the governed it looks the same.

There are those who say we should grow our way out of the deficits rather than diet. Vote for a heart attack if you like, but what about those sane candidates who want to cut back?

Ron Paul, bold by any measure, has put out a plan to cut a Trillion in spending during his first year in office (link). Showing exactly what he would cut, such as militarism and five cabinets, he also manages to slice taxes to leave more money for businesses to be more competitive. Despite the tax cuts his "Plan to Restore America" is still able to show a balanced budget by the third year of his Presidency while finding a way to make Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid viable.

Gary Johnson is the other candidate with a record that proves his fiscal sanity. He is on record as saying he will veto any unbalanced budget, and lays out his plan to slash taxes and reduce government intervention in the economy (link). As governor of New Mexico he balanced the budget while reducing spending and taxes, so his track record shows he is capable of following through on his promises.

Herman Cain thinks this is too bold. But hey, he's a pizza guy, he made a living getting the overweight to pig out.

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