Entries from July 2008
A few weeks ago, now former McCain top economic adviser Phil Gramm got into all sorts of trouble, ultimately having to step down from his position, for saying that America is in a mental recession and that we are a nation of whiners. Oddly enough, I agree. I think the fact that we are in a mental recession is a huge reason why John McCain should not be elected president. Let me explain:
For those who do not know, our economy is not based on the gold standard, the silver standard, or any other standard. Our money is backed by the “Good faith of the American Government.” Which means that when people lose faith in the American Government (President with a 25% approval rating, congress lingering in the low teens) the economy tanks. (Borrowing $600 billion dollars from China doesn’t help either.)
Our economy is also based (quite a lot) on debt. When Americans borrow money from a bank, the bank isn’t loaning money that they have, they’re conjuring money into existence because our government allows banks to give bank credits in American currency. Thus every time a loan is granted, the American economy grows. If people are afraid that they will not be able to pay back their debts, or are afraid for their jobs, they don’t take out loans, or worse yet start defaulting on their loans. When people are unable to pay back their debts, the Economy shrinks dramatically. So in order for our economy to remain strong, people need to feel confident enough in their future to take out loans. So who would be better able to restore trust in the government and restore the people’s faith? The only cure for a mental recession is something that McCain openly scoffs at: Hope.
First some background on this post: The CEO of the company I work for has a very interesting political perspective and is frequently asking us thought provoking questions. Being as I am not terribly quick on my feet when it comes to verbal conversations (I’d never make it as a pundit,) I’ll attempt to answer his latest ones here. Supposedly how you answer these questions will tell you if you are actually a Republican or a Democrat.
1) Do we pay too much in taxes? Too little? Just enough?
My initial reaction would be that we pay to much tax, because quite frankly I hate having to pay taxes. However, given that we have borrowed $600 billion dollars from China and our national debt is skyrocketing thus lowering the value of the dollar to the point that Canadians are making “What’s that in real money” jokes at our expense instead of the other way around, it may just be possible that we might be paying too little on our taxes. Let me ask a question here, has there been a single war in history that was not financed in some way by a raising of taxes? (More on this in question 3)
2) Are our doctors the best in the world?
Nope, we’re 18th in the world as far as health care is concerned. Hanging out this past weekend listening to my mother-in-law’s stories (she’s a nurse) leaves me skeptical of the idea that our doctors are the best in the world. Best in the world or not, there are a lot of people in this country who do not have the privilege of seeing a doctor because the way our system is set up, the only people the insurance companies want to give health insurance to is the healthy. (Which is a sound business decision on their part, but kind of defeats the purpose.) Allowing hospitals to be for-profit enterprises in the best case leads to increased choices, higher quality, and better care than any type of socialized medicine. In the worst case, it leads to loss of caring for many of the people who need it most, especially from the all too often callous insurance companies. The real trick is to balance the needs of the patients with the needs of medical businesses to make money. How would you best ensure that balance?
3) Should we finish what we started in Iraq?
I counter your question with this question: What did we start in Iraq that we are supposed to finish? We went into Iraq originally because we believed that a) Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and b) Saddam was a threat to our interests and allies in the region. It turns out there were no WMDs in Iraq, and we captured and executed Saddam. Now we’re stuck in a 5 way civil war in Iraq, between us, the Shiites, the Sunnis, the Kurds, and “Al Qaeda in Iraq” and have spent $750 billion dollars ($600 billion of which we borrowed from China, as previously stated) with nothing to really show for it except $4/gallon gas. We have finished what we started and then some. Ignoring the ret-con’ed reasons for going to war, the real questions should be, “What constitutes victory in Iraq?” and “Is that victory attainable through any of our current means?”
4) Should we be able to determine where our tax money goes?
Oh heavens no. But we, the American people, should have a lot better oversight of where it does go. For instance, I’d like to know where that $9 billion went. I think the American people might be a bit more willing to pay thier taxes if they didn’t think that the government was wasting it ($50 for an ash-tray, $300 for a hammer, etc.) and if they are wasting the taxpayer’s money, there should be a national outcry and those in the government that authorized it should be held accountable. …and as long as I’m dreaming, I’d like a pony.
So, does that make me a Republican or a Democrat?
I am sorry to say that I am getting very sick of this election cycle. I made the tragic mistake of watching pundits. The media has been spinning their wheels, analyzing and analyzing back and forth. The pundits seem to think that they can tell what the mythical Average American Voter will glean from any minor flub or gaff. We haven’t even gotten to the conventions yet and we’re spending hours of our time analyzing every word or change of phrasing. The candidates have not said anything new in months. They say the same thing in a slightly different way and oh my God! Flip flop!
NO ONE IS PAYING ATTENTION TO THIS! NONE OF THIS WILL MATTER IN NOVEMBER. THE ONLY THING THAT WILL MATTER IN NOVEMBER IS THE STUFF THAT HAPPENS IN LATE OCTOBER!
What I would like to see in the run-up to the election in November would be to take an issue a day and show us where each candidate stands and give us the argument for and against those positions. That’s all we need at that point. For now, I’m almost longing for the days of frivolous news stories. What is Brittany up to these days?
…I take it back. I’ll take this crap over that crap any day.