Friday, August 17, 2012

The Endless Election, AndWhy I Can't Stop Writing About it After All

I tried to do something I had been threatening myself with doing for some time--to stop blogging about the current elections.  Anyone who knows me from my Multiply blog knows this a radical step for me. I' wasn't t even sure I could stop it--is there such a thing as Election Junkies anonymous?

As it turns out I can't keep that promise.  Not even for a day.  Politics is my nicotine.  Here I go again.

One thing that is clear is that we have two and one half months to go before the General Election and, honestly, if anyone hasn't decided whom they are going to vote for (Obama, Romney, Jill Stein of the Greens, The Libertarian Guy Who I Can Never Remember) than they really haven't been paying attention.

Part of the reason for this has been my sheer frustration in seeing candidates like Romney get away with not disclosing the most basic information one should have about their candidacy in the modern Presidency; at least 5-7 years of their tax returns.  Why did isn't a law that all candidates to high office need to disclose their taxes when they are running for national office baffles me!  The other is the notion that Romney and Obama are essentially the same.  In some ways, perhaps they are I'll admit in foreign policy matters; but Romney candidacy will have a very  different impact on professional, and  middle and lower  income families and the elderly.     

In plain terms the Romney Ryan ticket will devastate the social safety net  for the jobless, the ill , the elderly and for all people who actually have to work for a living.  And then give yet another round of tax breaks to millionaires.  So while the policies of the USA in the Middle East may be change so much if one or the other of these political birds wins, it makes a huge difference to a middle-aged and   middle class guy like me.

The USA has a lot of problems right now, at home and abroad.  We have had high unemployment since 2008 and a stagnant economy in part  because greedy people played fast and loose with the housing markets and investment bankers on Wall Street shovelled money into a system that created a huge bubble that burst on us and took an estimated 14 trillion dollar out of the pockets of people who were the bedrock of our economy.

This economic tsunami will not be cleared up by anyone in four years or even eight.  The country is in a state of slow and painful recovery.    I see the only way out is to for the average income Americans coming together and saying "NO" to anyone who wants to take us back to the Wild West days on Wall Street.  No one likes being regulated but we all have to drive on the right hand side of the road and stop at a red light over here to drive. Just as a driver of a car or a truck needs regulations, so do mortgage holders and bankers.  Romney and Ryan want to pretend that 30 years of deregulation and increased income inequality under Reagan, and the Bushes didn't happen. Sorry it did.  We need to restore a serious regulatory system such as the Glass-Stegall Act again and we need to start making the wealthy pay their fair share again---not 13 percent or 17 percent but more like 30-35 percent to build up our infrastructure.  And cut the loopholes back as even Ronald Reagan and the Democrats in Congress did in 1986.

And lest you cry our "class  warfare" my visiting Republican friends bare  in mind that    the last and longest post-World War II  growth we had  was under  Bill Clinton and he raised taxes through Congress to a top rate of 39 percent. 

As Warren Buffett the enlightened billionaire investor ruefully put it, "Yes, there is class warfare in this country.  And my side is winning."
It's time we change that course, once and for the rest of the decades to come.


  1. I agree with you that Romney would be a disaster for America, but I think so would the other principle options for all the reasons I have raised over the years on Multiply and elsewhere Doug.

    Personally I cannot see any possiblity of 'recovery' slow or otherwise, I don't think it will happen, ever.
    The problem is that for policy makers all of the incentives are to continue with business as usual. To pursue economic growth even if it’s no longer possible.
    Any politician that suggests future growth is possible is I think either lying or completely misguided (possibly insane).
    The future is about sustainability not growth, we have come to the end of the growth ideology and the economic situation today is transitional.
    Global economics has already been restructured but the sclerotic political systems in the US and the UK (as well as other places) are out of step with history and thus bound to fail.

    Jill Stein might be a good compromise candidate, but in reality the entire system is broken beyond repair and nobody will ever be able to fix it.
    We are I think now living with new realities, with local and global realities in which there is no room for the (largely illusory)nation state.
    I don't only reject Obama and Romney on political grounds, I reject them on the basis that they are just obsolete and cannot produce anything of use in the coming epoch of sustanability and the future creative use of renewable resources. Stein may grasp that point but really her candidature is merely symboloic, the presidential election is in my view literally meaningless.

    1. Thanks for looking in on my anti-Romney repost from June, AA. I cannot say I view the possibilities for economic recovery in the US in terms quite that bleak. It is true, however, that the global situation is such that localized solutions will be welcomed as you say as time passes.

      As to the system being broken, perhaps it is but I fail to see in the USA a viable alternative in the near-run: there is always some talk about a vague "take America back" movement on the part of the Far Right. It is fueled by anger and to me an irrational mistrust of government coupled with a total faith or ignorance in the corporate power that guides this "populist" movement. It is another case of voters being led down the primrose path to surrender hard-won progressive victories in the past to a trickle-down, small government system that would essentially give us a 19th Century public commonwealth left to deal with multi-national powers and force far beyond the abilities of the regulatory state we already have in place.

      Parties like the Greens need to grow from the ground upwards, capturing seats in legislatures and the Congress first before trying to run symbolic and quixotic bids for the Presidency. Left populism is small and concentrated and only extends so far in a giant lean-conservative nation.

      As I have stated, I don't think the election of Obama will have much difference to the policies the US carries out overseas. But it does have an effect on the living standards of ordinary people who work and want to see education and public programs maintained. If Obama's approach to foreign policy were all that is at stake here, I would agree with what you are saying. But, internally, there are I feel great differences in public policy like health care, senior citizens living in dignity and education that cannot be overlooked.