Thursday, December 1, 2011

Economically Ignorant Candidates

The slightly poorer economic conditions of the United States have been one of the major focuses with the current Republican presidential candidates.  However, most of them have lacked a coherent plan for creating jobs and bringing wealth back to the United States.

Herman Cain, for example, has been constantly touting his 9-9-9 plan, which while a bit novel, will never pass in Congress unless we vote out at least 88% of them.  This is because most of the career politicians who work officially as members of Congress have too much money and interests invested in the mess of a tax code that we have.  More to the point, this plan only addresses the taxation side of things,  it does not address the spending side.  If we had a balanced budget, then I would be more keen on talking about tax reform.  Also, why did he abandon the FairTax plan?

Other candidates have offered various plans such as bringing the troops home to lifting restrictions on oil drilling.  These are all good ideas but they do not address the real problem.  If the troops come home and are discharged from service, they will still need jobs.  If they remain in the military in some capacity, we still have to pay them with tax revenue from the productive sector, which is not good economics.  As for oil drilling, this would create more jobs for working Americans, but not everyone wants to spend their days on an oil rig or in an oil field.  Most people would prefer a different kind of job not because they are snobs, but because they simply have different interests.

The real issue with economic stagnation that the government can address is to simply step aside and do nothing about it.  For the past several decades, we have been allowing our government to engage in spending plans in order to bring us back from Economic Armageddon yet it does not seem to be working all that well, especially as of late.  Perhaps it is time for the Federal government to do nothing and step aside.  A government does not produce anything of value, of course, and it can only leech off of the productive sector in order to fund its operations.

Of course, having the government step aside is easier said than done.  There are millions upon billions of pages of government laws, regulations, and mandates all pointed to intervening in your life in some way, shape, and form.  All of these actions have an impact on the way business is done by all economic actors.  Therefore, simply telling the government to step aside or a candidate promising to get the government to step aside is way too broad a suggestion.  What is really needed is a specific list of agencies, departments, regulations, mandates, and laws that will be done away with completely.

So far, I have seen only one candidate who has outlined a specific plan where deficits are done away with in the next Presidential term, government is cut down significantly, and most of the Federal government’s end of life obligations such as Medicare and Social Security are met.  I cannot name him here, because his name has become a curse among the mainstream political culture.

At the same time, his support has slowly been growing while the other candidate’s have had volatile support as many of the Republican primary and caucus voters have been trying each one out like some flavor of ice cream.  I suspect that he under-polls in most national poll services from mainstream pollsters because he tends to be more popular with younger generations rather than older ones.  And the elderly usually answer their landline phones on weekdays because they have nothing better to do.  Also, most young people have cell phones and don’t bother with landlines.

In any event, unless any Presidential candidate offers a plan to make deep, drastic, and long-lasting cuts to the Federal government’s budget and offers to eliminate large numbers of government workers, then any economic plan put forth is not worth the dust on your bookshelf.  You may as well vote for the status quo because that is exactly what you are going to get.

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