As the equilibrium that is democracy sways between Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama, I thought it worthwhile to paint a portrait of three futures. For ease of description I will call them “Basketcase”, “MBA America” and “The Second Republic.” For grading purposes I adhere to the classic American ‘A’ through ‘F’ standard.
Basketcase (If Obama Wins)
Keynesians are like Cubs fans. All practical evidence suggests they are following a loser, yet they persist due to loyalty, emotion or mental defect. Barry is a Keynesian of the first order whose entire economic program involves taking capital from the capitalists and trickling it down to an alarmingly large class of government dependents. But it would be unfair to label him a full-on socialist. Barry tempers his aggressive anti-capitalism with a fascist cronyism that neatly parallels 1930s Germany and the larceny that passes for government in much of the Third World. Think GM, Solyndra or his pet corporations that prefer the crutch of government tax dollars over the competition of the marketplace.
Speaking of tax dollars, Barry wants more of them, lots more. I tend not to believe any politicians but I do accept the President at face value for his repeated assertions that he will let the Bush tax cuts expire. If one’s goal is to extend a government-created recession to another government-created depression, this is probably the most effective means to do it. Add to that the five of the 20 new Obamacare taxes starting in 2013, and the only sound investments will be in bulk, non-perishable food, guns and ammo and riot-proof glass for your homes.
Best case scenario with high-tax, big-spending, high regulatory, qualitatively-eased economies is permanently high structural unemployment and inflation that keep the poor poor and the middle class in free-fall. Think France or Great Britain. Worst and very likely scenario is that our $16 trillion debt becomes $21 trillion in four years and our debt-to-GDP ratio puts us on a path to Greece-style insolvency and urban chaos that will make the Occupy movement look like a knitting club.
Foreign Policy F
It’s bad enough that Barry adopted many of the neo-conservative foreign policies of his predecessors but worse that he actively aided and abetted the Islamist thugs whose so-called Arab Spring resulted in two more hostile anti-American regimes in the Muslim world. And playing Taliban whack-a-mole in Afghanistan and Pakistan has cost us bazillions of dollars and hundreds of gallons of American blood but has helped exactly zero people in your State become more free, prosperous or happy, unless they are fortunate enough to own shares in a defense contractor.
Constitutional Integrity F
If Barry believes in any limits to the powers of the National Government he has yet to share them with the American public. The President, who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution, has famously remarked that our nation’s charter is a ‘living document’. Now how exactly does that work? I will uphold it but it says whatever I say it means? How would you like if the deed to your house were a ‘living deed’?
I will say in Barry’s defense that he did not single-handedly create an omnipotent centralized government leviathan. Credit for that can be apportioned in large servings among Woodrow Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Nixon, Carter and Bush II. But with Obamacare and the rapid expansion of his dependency agenda, Barry’s leviathan has all but asphyxiated our constitutional Republic.
MBA America (If Mitt Wins)
Mitt is a poster-child for private sector success. He well understands the rising tide of affluence that springs from private sector investment (and risk) which leads to the collateral benefits of increased employment and higher standards of living. Mitt knows that redistributive taxation and government central planning are corrosive to our national economic health. He often campaigned against the burdensome regulations that strangle small businesses and add wasteful bureaucracies to large ones. Mitt, I believe, may be the most qualified business manager to ever sit in the Oval Office. If Mitt follows through on his modest campaign promises, unemployment should be under 6% within 18 months.
So why, Sweaty Federalist, are you so stingy with the grading? Easy. On the campaign trail and in the debates Mitt seemed far too timid in his tax policies, preferring to keep popular (but market distorting) deductions and tax credits in the Internal Revenue Code. Until he embraces a fair and flat Federal income tax for personal and corporate taxpayers, Congress will remain a warren of lobbyists and corporate dollars making special rules for the few at the expense of the rest of us.
Foreign Policy D
Mitt is a neo-con’s wet dream: America quixotically remains the World Policeman. Well, guess what? There is nothing we can do in the Muslim world to get them to (1) like us, (2) embrace freedom, and (3) grow a middle class that cares more about their kids, iPhones and IKEA furniture than beheading Americans. Giving them money doesn’t work. Shooting up their villages doesn’t work. Note that I graded Mitt slightly higher than Barry; I don’t think Mitt would have handed Libya and Egypt to the Muslim Brotherhood jagoffs that are now cementing power in their respective caliphates.
Constitutional Integrity D
I have little doubt that Mitt is a man of integrity: he seems to be the rare variety of politician who hasn’t engaged in any torrid affairs, sexual assaults, cocaine binges or common graft. He appears to be a genuine family man who has soberly managed both his businesses and political careers. His resume strongly suggests that he will run our unconstitutionally large National government more efficiently and at lower cost. Yes, a smaller government is a goal of the liberty movement, but efficient does not equal constitutional. In a debate Mitt said that he’d reduce the size of government by attrition and avoid layoffs. So don’t expect the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development to cease operations during the next four years.
The Second Republic (If the Liberty Movement ever prevails…)
It is unfortunate that Dr. Ron Paul is no longer among the claimants for the next presidential term. But his movement remains frisky and sizeable, so let’s paint a picture of what could have been, and perhaps in our lifetimes, still can be.
Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are agnostic as to our economic system, but both rest upon the bedrock of inalienable rights of property and the prosperity derived therefrom. Even assuming we are stuck with the 16th Amendment, the need to pick the pockets of American taxpayers and businesses would be massively and commensurately reduced with the elimination of every department and expenditure not expressly authorized in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. The commercial regulatory scope would be limited to refereeing interstate disputes, and the once again sovereign States would compete with one another in balancing reasonable regulations with the desire to attract and retain businesses within their respective borders. Keynesian economics would have limited play in a National Government whose roles were returned to its Constitutional boundaries. States would remain free under a revived 10th Amendment to create whatever fiscal havoc they desired, but with no chance of bailout by less profligate. With Americans’ work ethic and entrepreneurialism unleashed, the concepts of national debt, unemployment and income stagnation would be remembered with a shudder in the way our grandparents recall the Great Depression.
Foreign Policy A
The American military would be strong, well-equipped and used solely for our national defense. Leave the Muslim world to sort it out amongst themselves. The Russians once laughed that our military assets were littered in various sandy quagmires on the southern edges of their continent. Now their southern border is the first line of defense against Islamic jihad. Good luck with that.
You know the $2 billion a year of Americans’ tax dollars we used to give Egypt so they would kind of sort of bottle up their hate for us? Gone. Do they still hate us? Not our problem.
Instead, we embrace energy independence in the Western Hemisphere and trade primarily with countries with expanding middle classes – like China – who value family and prosperity over geopolitical brinkmanship. People with rising incomes care more about their kids, their cars, their homes and vacations – that is, middle class stability – than setting off to war to impose their values on the rest of the world.
And by the way, we evicted the United Nations.
Constitutional Integrity A
I call it the Second Republic because the progressives killed our first one, substituting democratic wants and federal judicial tyranny for the rule of law and the counterbalance of State sovereignty. Restoring our Republic means eliminating all Federal endeavors not specifically authorized by the Constitution. As President, James Madison often vetoed congressional appropriations for bridges, roads, canals and the like – not because he thought they were bad ideas – but because those expenditures were not authorized by the Constitution which Madison himself helped write.
Pro-government weenies will exclaim that only the Federal government can pay for bridges, roads, food stamps, Main Street lamp posts, bank bailouts, doctor’s visits, mobile phones for the poor, etc. A common liberal argument, but one wholly without merit. Our Constitution has no restrictions on how the States raise revenue and spend it. The creativity and competition among States will spark a Renaissance of local control of local tax dollars. The people, unburdened by the tyranny of the Federal leviathan, will experience an economic and political freedom unmatched in the modern world.
And if the US Supreme Court ever again expands Federal power beyond its constitutional scope, the States will tell them to stick it where the sun don’t shine.