Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Annotating Mitt Romney's jobs program 

Mitt Romney has just published a massive economic proposal (more than 150 dense pages), at the back of which is an appendix with 59 summary proposals to "Get America Back To Work." I haven not read the huge document, but I did read the appendix. Herewith, the Official TigerHawk Ill-Considered Reactions to Mitt Romney's 59 Proposals.

59 Policy Proposals That Will Get America Back To Work

1. Maintain current tax rates on personal income

This is pretty much required in order to get the Republican nomination, but does it make sense? What is so sacrosanct about the current rates other than their arbitrary political significance? More significantly, the game is not in the rates, but in numbers against which the rates apply.

2. Maintain current tax rates on interest, dividends, and capital gains
Even I, a consummate corporate tool and investor in private equity, do not understand the policy justification for taxing "carried interest" at capital gains rates, rather than as ordinary income. Romney's position on that question ought to make him vulnerable given his career in private equity, but it won't because (i) the GOP hard core is against raising any tax, no matter how justified in the abstract, and (ii) nobody understands what "carried interest" is.

3. Eliminate taxes for taxpayers with AGI below $200,000 on interest, dividends, and capital gains
This is a little weird. Taxes on dividends and capital gains for such people are only 15% to begin with. Putting interest on the same footing as profits (whether reflected as dividends or capital gains) would seem to encourage leverage and saving rather than equity financing and investment, and that seems counterproductive if the objective is to create jobs. So this seems like a random tax cut designed to buy votes from seniors rather than pro-growth tax policy, but maybe I am missing something.

4. Eliminate the death tax
Sure. But also eliminate the step-up in basis at death. (My own view is that the best estate tax would be one with a very low exemption -- say, $100,000 -- but also a tax rate so low that people would not go to a lot of trouble to avoid it. I suspect that a 15% rate with a $100,000 exemption would both generate more revenue and redirect estate planners and lawyers to more productive work.)

5. Pursue a conservative overhaul of the tax system over the long term that includes lower, flatter rates on a broader base
Yup. I'd go one further and make essentially everybody with income pay income tax by folding payroll taxes in to the mix so that people recognize FICA and such as a tax, rather than as a pension contribution or some such nonsense.
6. Reduce corporate income tax rate to 25 percent
Excellent. Along with proposal #7, that would make it worthwhile to keep profits in the United States compared to most other meaningful countries. I suspect we would actually collect a lot more corporate tax at the expense of the other OECD countries with lower corporate rates.

7. Pursue transition from “worldwide” to “territorial” system for corporate taxation
Again, excellent. Not only would hundreds of billions in overseas "trapped cash" come home, but vast armies of tax lawyers and accountants would have to find more productive work.

8. Repeal Obamacare
Coming from Mitt, that seems like rank pandering. And replace it with what? The status quo is a mess. I think Obamacare has many deep flaws and may also constitute a mess, but Republicans need a plan that goes beyond "repeal."

9. Repeal Dodd-Frank and replace with streamlined, modern regulatory framework
Yes. And while you are at it, figure out how to keep financial institutions from being too big to fail.

10. Amend Sarbanes-Oxley to relieve mid-size companies from onerous requirements
Wrong. Eliminate SOX 404 (relating to the internal controls audit) for all companies. It is a failure on many levels, but mostly because it makes companies obsess about process rather than results. Too much focus on process destroys initiative (because as organizations get larger people are worried that internal audit will whack them for a controls violation), and it distracts people from real business risk (see, e.g., the financial crisis). Also, eliminate the Federal Accounting Oversight Board, which is the indirect cause of staggering costs to public companies of all sizes.

11. Ensure that environmental laws properly account for cost in regulatory process
Pablum. How do you measure cost "properly"? All in the eye of the beholder. If failure to enact a policy will cause the ice caps to melt, it is easy to justify pretty much anything.

12 Provide multi-year lead times before companies must come into compliance with
onerous new environmental regulations
Yes, at least four years.

13. Initiate review and elimination of all Obama-era regulations that unduly burden the economy
There were plenty of Bush-era regulations that "unduly burden" the economy. See, e.g., Sarbanes-Oxley and its progeny. How about eliminating all regulations that unduly burden the economy, even if Ronald Reagan thought them up?
14. Impose a regulatory cap of zero dollars on all federal agencies
Huh? I suppose we have to read the tome in order to understand this one. That is a bad omen for a campaign proposal.

15. Require congressional approval of all new “major” regulations
Excellent. The drafting agency should have to send them back to Congress for an up or down vote. I could live with eliminating filibusters for such votes just to make the fight a fair one.

16. Reform legal liability system to prevent spurious litigation
Mitt, nobody is against that. What is "spurious" litigation? The devil is in the details. I, however, have an answer: Require parties to pay for the costs of any discovery that they demand. That would make discovery requests a lot more reasonable in a hurry, and lower the cost of litigation by a lot.

17. Implement agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea
And every other country in the world.

18. Reinstate the president’s Trade Promotion Authority
Absolutely. The president cannot negotiate trade agreements on behalf of 100 Senators.

19. Complete negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership
I don't know what this is and it sounds creepy weird, like "the Trilateral Commission," but if it makes people here and their richer, let's do it!

20. Pursue new trade agreements with nations committed to free enterprise and open markets
And all other nations. Trade is a basic human right (or ought to be), and we do not help the oppressed peoples of the world by refusing to trade with them.

21. Create the Reagan Economic Zone
Sigh. This seems like a nonsense name for something buried in the tome.

22. Increase CBP resources to prevent the illegal entry of goods into our market
Sure, but could we prevent the illegal entry of people first?

23. Increase USTR resources to pursue and support litigation against unfair trade practices
Absolutely. Start with monopsonistic purchasers of medical devices, please.

24. Use unilateral and multilateral punitive measures to deter unfair Chinese practices
Panderer. Why only the Chinese?

25. Designate China a currency manipulator and impose countervailing duties
This feels like something that would be hard to do and might backfire hideously, but I admit I do not have the expertise to know. Does Romney?

26. Discontinue U.S. government procurement from China until China commits to GPA

27. Establish fixed timetables for all resource development approvals
Absolutely. The Obama administration's nonsense in the Gulf of Mexico is reason enough. (Although this item does make Romney sound like the candidate from ExxonMobil, a point the Donks will make in a trice.)

28. Create one-stop shop to streamline permitting process for approval of common activities
Frankly, this needs to be implemented within states, rather than at the federal level. But, sure. Lead the way, Mitt.

29. Implement fast-track procedures for companies with established safety records to conduct pre-approved activities in pre-approved areas

30. Amend Clean Air Act to exclude carbon dioxide from its purview
One would have hoped that this was not necessary, but since it is, good idea.

31. Expand NRC capabilities for approval of additional nuclear reactor designs
This is especially important if we don't allow the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide!

32. Streamline NRC processes to ensure that licensing decisions for reactors on or adjacent to approved sites, using approved designs, are complete within two years
Romney, unlike any other candidate, understands that delays cost actual money, which raises the return hurdles necessary for projects, which means that at the margins projects will not be done and people will not be hired.

33. Conduct comprehensive survey of America’s energy reserves
Why? This sounds like horseshit to me.

34. Open America’s energy reserves for development
Drill baby drill!

35. Expand opportunities for U.S. resource developers to forge partnerships with neighboring countries
Is this code for building the pipeline from Canada, or something else? Because it seems like code for something.

36. Support construction of pipelines to bring Canadian oil to the United States
See #35 above. But, yes, a good idea.

37. Prevent overregulation of shale gas development and extraction
Is there anybody who is against "overregulation"? The question is, what constitutes overregulation?

38. Concentrate alternative energy funding on basic research
Basic research is by far the most productive use of government R&D funding. But should there be any such thing?

39. Utilize long-term, apolitical funding mechanisms like ARPA-E for basic research
The problem with apolitical funding mechanisms is that no elected official can take the credit for having delivered money to a constituent. What politician would vote for such a program?

40. Appoint to the NLRB experienced individuals with respect for the rule of law
Who could be against that?

41. Amend NLRA to explicitly protect the right of business owners to allocate their capital as they see fit
What does this mean? What in the NLRA prohibits business owners from "allocating capital"?

42. Amend NLRA to guarantee the secret ballot in every union certification election
Yes. Kill "card check" forever.

43. Amend NLRA to guarantee that all pre-election campaigns last at least one month
What are the unions afraid of?

44. Support states in pursuing Right-to-Work laws
What does that mean? President Romney is going to campaign for the proponents of right to work laws?

45. Prohibit the use for political purposes of funds automatically deducted from worker paychecks
Not sure how this creates jobs, but it is a great idea for weakening the Democrats!

46. Reverse executive orders issued by President Obama that tilt the playing field toward organized labor
Agreed. Hard to argue with "reversing" President Obama's executive orders.

47. Eliminate redundancy in federal retraining programs by consolidating programs and funding streams, centering as much activity as possible in a single agency
Who could be against this, but how will it create jobs?

48. Give states authority to manage retraining programs by block granting federal funds

49. Facilitate the creation of Personal Reemployment Accounts
Sigh. Gotta read the tome.

50. Encourage greater private sector involvement in retraining programs
How? That could go horribly wrong.

51. Raise visa caps for highly skilled workers
Yes. Drain the brains from the rest of the world.

52. Grant permanent residency to eligible graduates with advanced degrees in math, science, and engineering

53. Immediately cut non-security discretionary spending by 5 percent
Again, not sure how this creates jobs, but it sounds like a good idea in the abstract.

54. Reform and restructure Medicaid as block grant to states
There are competent states and incompetent states. These ideas only really work in competent states.

55. Align wages and benefits of government workers with market rates
At least some of the time, that will mean that wages will go up. U.S. Attorneys would earn a lot more under any such formula.

56. Reduce federal workforce by 10 percent via attrition
What is the annual turnover rate in the federal workforce? How long would it take to attrit by 10%? What do we do about unique skills?

57. Cap federal spending at 20 percent of GDP

58. Undertake fundamental restructuring of government programs and services
Isn't that like Al Gore's "reinvention of government"? 'Member that? If not, why not?

59. Pursue a Balanced Budget Amendment
"Pursue"? With all deliberate speed?

Release the hounds.


By Blogger Rohan, at Wed Sep 07, 02:43:00 AM:

I think #41 is targeting the Boeing/NRLB clash over the new plant in South Carolina. "Allocation of Capital" == "building new plants", is my guess.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Sep 07, 04:45:00 AM:

Constitutional Amendment on Individual Income Taxes

I don't much mind paying taxes per se; it's a cost of living in a civilized society. I do mind that the taxes are so complex that preparing taxes wastes the talent of otherwise productive and able people, and I mind that Congress is constantly tinkering with the social engineering they attempt through taxes, and that individuals have difficulty planning because taxes are so frequently changing.
So the Amendment would require the following.
The tax code for individuals may not exceed 50 pages, and if the tax code was last changed fewer than 10 years ago, then any change in the code can only be approved with a 2/3 majority of both houses of Congress.*
It's not enough for any single administration to reform or simplify; the natural tendency towards complexity, tinkering, lobby-created tax breaks and the like suggests that only an amendment can create stability.
I don't know where the quote originates but I read Senator Moynihan when he wrote to "not let the perfect be the enemy of the good" - so if this amendment has appeal but cannot get approved, rewrite it so that it is effective in 2025 or 2040. Better later than never.

* 10 years may seem too long without a change. What I refer to is really the general structure of the tax code. If the 50 page code included a section that said that tax rates for different brackets were say 10%, 20%, 30%, then the code may stipulate that with a simple majority the rates could change to say 8%, 18%, 28%, or to 11%, 22%, 33% - whatever small set of options (<6) were deemed reasonable. So there would be enough flexibility that the same tax CODE could be kept for 10 years, even if there were some wiggle room on the actual rates.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Sep 07, 04:55:00 AM:

8. Repeal Obamacare ...
And replace it with what? The status quo is a mess. I think Obamacare has many deep flaws and may also constitute a mess, but Republicans need a plan that goes beyond "repeal." ... EXACTLY. Greatest virtue of Obamacare was to break the inertia. I have heard so many workers over the years complain: "I want to leave my job, but cannot because I need the benefits" - Put aside the crazy costs, can not conservatives see that "old" health care creates a horrible distortion of our economy? How often do bosses want to create a new position, but are hesitant because of health care costs? A conservative improvement to old health care would be to tax the benefits, to start to disentangle health care and employment.  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Wed Sep 07, 08:33:00 AM:

4. Eliminate the Death Tax And leave it eliminated. It's not the government's property; it has no claim on any part of it. Period. Step up in basis? Irrelevant. See my (hubris-laden, perhaps) remarks on taxes, generally below.

5, usw. Pursue a conservative overhaul of the tax system.... A single flat tax of 10% which everyone--people and corporations--pay, with a single exemption equal to half the then-current Federal Income Poverty Guideline. Eliminate all other exemptions and all the deductions, subsidies, credits, etc. altogether.

10. Amend Sarbanes-Oxley to relieve mid-size companies from onerous requirements If they're onerous, they're onerous. Eliminate SOX altogether.

12. Provide multi-year lead times.... I'd say five years, rather than four--reduce as much as possible election-cycle influences.

15. Require congressional approval of all new “major” regulations Define "major." More importantly, make the regulations automatically expire, unless in their last year they're individually renewed (for a fixed lifetime) by individual debate under the same rules as the so-called major regulations' initial approval.

And so on.

!? My Word Verification is etrash? Are you hinting at something, TH?

Eric Hines  

By Blogger W.LindsayWheeler, at Wed Sep 07, 09:30:00 AM:

#4 Eliminate all together the Estate Tax!!

The Estate tax like the progressive income tax is from the Communist Manifesto. Have not we all paid taxes on our stuff? Then, after we are dead, the gov taxes it again? That is NOT Justice. Howabout we remove all the communist planks from our government.

#19 """but if it makes people here and their richer, let's do it!"""

This is what I hate about the corporate elite----it is about money, money, money, money. Do anything as long as it makes people richer!!!!

So in essence, our whole lives ought to be centered around "being rich"!!! Whoohooo!

Where's Culture? What about Life in general? Your free trade is destroying American culture. What is more important Culture or Money?

For you corporate types you are typical materialists. All in it for the money. Life consists in "getting richer". It is not about community, shared experience, enjoying the fruit of community. You have no wide experience. Is Life more than Money? Culture is what is important. The individual leaves, but the type remains. What sort of country are you leaving your children? Capitalism only breeds the dog-eat-dog world. What about the rugged Frontier American prototype John Wayne of the 50s and 60s. What about American culture? How can you protect American culture with Free Trade?

Free Trade is about destroying countries. It is also Marxist! Open societies and Free Trade is all about destroying nations and their distinctiveness. In your captialist, corporate rush---to get richer, you betray your kinsmen and sell them out for a filthy bag of lucre.

Corporate people have NO business in politics or telling us what should be going on. You have no view of the whole world or reality, or what The Good is.  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Wed Sep 07, 10:31:00 AM:

only 59? .... and people say I'm prolix!

Most Republican candidates have staffers that can quickly generate a lenghty list that would look something like this. But you can't focus on everything.

In a campaign I'd focus on:

1) Repeal Obamacare - Mitt's #8. But also address long-term entitlements with something like the Ryan plan. Mitt doesn't say what he'd do.

2) Open America’s energy reserves for development -- Drill, baby drill indeed! Mitt's #34

3) Regulatory relief -- whack Washington back to the Stone Age, or at least something like 2005. Especially the EPA. Mitt spread's across the spectrum on this.

4) Eliminate the corporate tax entirely. Mitt's #6 would cut it to 25%, which wouldn't do much given that most multinationals (except oil) don't even pay 25%. Eliminating it entirely would get domestic investment capital off the sidelines AND suck it in from abroad (most of the rest of the world sucks more than we do). Half the lobbyists would be put out of work. Lots of tax lawyers too. Combined with ##1-3, we can grow again. Unemployment would come down. GE may even hire again in the USA. This isn't an easy sell, but it could be amazingly effective.

This happens to be Sarah's plan. #4 is new for her ... and agressive. #2 has been her signature issue.

If Rick can sell this better than Sarah, then Rick's my guy.

But Mitt's challenged in selling much of his 59. Can you say Romneycare? Can you say *carried interest*?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Sep 07, 10:32:00 AM:

(1) I have never understood why I am covered by social security and medicare but ALL public sector employees require different, more expensive plans. ALL public sector plans must immediately convert to the base plans at base planes benefit levels.
(2) Make illegal the concept of pensions based on final annual salary and recalculate current payments based on such a concept to conform to the new law.
(3) Rank all the above suggestions on the number of lobbyists (high to low) who would become unemployed upon adoption. Double credit for any such lobbyist who is related to a member of Congress or a cabinet level officer.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Sep 07, 10:36:00 AM:

"Your free trade is destroying American culture."

Free trade IS American culture, dude. It was our idea (which we pilfered from the Dutch, but did better with) and it made us great.

"Free Trade is about destroying countries. It is also Marxist!"

This. Is. Hilarious.

As the the main post itself...

I'm reasonably impressed. I think this was a good move by Mitt. It got people like me, who are not fans, to reconsider him. While some of the language is (as TH and commenters have pointed out) watered down for political palatability, on the whole I'm pleased. It shows that he and his team actually know what they're about and have seriously considered systemic problems facing American business.

I also like that he put 'repeal Obamacare' down on paper. That's a major strike against him in my book; that and his refusal to reconsider Romneycare's genius, even as it slowly bankrupts Massachusetts, smells of Obama's progressive "You'd think they would just say thank you" hubris.

A thought on personal income tax rates. Democrats are always screaming about taxing "millionaires and billionaires," but they always want to accomplish this by raising taxes on people (and businesses with pass-through taxation) making $250k; a far cry from their supposed targets. They also often refer to the upper tax brackets (+-90%)from the 1950s. But apparently, no one in the Democratic party understands the concept of inflation. $250k in 1950 is equal to about $2,239,056.73 in 2010 dollars.

In a similar vein, the lowest tax rates in 1950 were 38% on $10,000, which is equal to about $89,562.27 in modern dollars.

You may notice that the same tax brackets have existed for more than 60 years and inflation has effectively pushed them lower and lower so that, over time, everyone's taxes get higher and higher automatically. Until you get to the top bracket, that is.

I'll eventually run out of characters for this reply, so suffice to say that this should be fixed.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Sep 07, 10:50:00 AM:

Anon Attorney here. These are mostly good ideas but will be largely ineffective because they do not address the core of our economic problems. We are in a depression caused by the bursting of the credit bubble in 2007, not a business cycle recession.

When the credit bubble burst in 2007 and asset values collapsed in 2008 investors should have been forced to take their losses to clear the bad debt from the system, precisely as required by the principles of capitalism. America's oligopoly of banks--the very banks which created this mess--would have failed and been replaced by a network of smaller, more competitive banks.

Instead we chose to bail out the financial oligopoly by transferring private losses onto the public balance sheet and implementing fiscal, regulatory, and monetary policies to ensure the survival of these entities. This is financial fascism, not capitalism.

Job creation requires capital. America cannot create jobs because government policies are driving capital into the unproductive use of supporting asset prices and big banks. Job creation will be stalled until we reverse policy.

This should be plainly obvious to anyone who took a smattering of economics coursework. I have been preaching this meme on here for three years now. In 2009 I wrote that we would see depression-era jobs programs being proposed in 2011 and here we are.

The Republican Party has got to return the to the free market principles that generated robust economic growth in this country. This necessarily means stepping away from Wall Street banking interests, which are quite literally sucking the excess capital generated by Main Street to ensure their own survival.

I won't vote for Mitt Romney. Ignoramus nailed it the other day when he wrote that Romney is Obama in Corporatist Establishment Whiteface." I would rather see four more years of Obama than suffer the stain of failed policies on a Republican administration.  

By Blogger W.LindsayWheeler, at Wed Sep 07, 11:25:00 AM:

I am sorry Dawnfire: "Free Trade is American"?

What are Tariffs, Dawnfire?

Isn't this what Pat Buchanan wrote awhile back that kept America strong, kept its manufacturing base?

It was Tariffs that provided the Federal government with its money. It was Tariffs that protected the fledgling manufacturing base of America from European businesses.

See, Tariffs are Liberal/Leftist/Rhino Republican/Corporate boogeyman. Tariffs is what helped this country. Tariffs is not what Corporate elites want. Tariffs is not what the Multicultists want either! The globalists don't want tariffs.

If we are to turn this country around, we must end the Unions, Bring Back the Tariffs, and end the corporate tax rate and the progressive income tax! No government employee should be in a union.

Any American for President should have on his platform--The Return of Tariffs. American jobs, American Products---America Profits!!!!!  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Wed Sep 07, 11:26:00 AM:

Further to Anon Attorney's points.

We still have a lot of unrealized losses on domestic residential real estate. Three years after the crisis and it's still not clear how much of this will fall on Big Banks v. Institutional Investors vs. Government vs. Homeowners. We're still hiding the ball. It's quite a tell that our Big Banks are trading at big discounts to their book value -- even Goldman. Bank of America (BAC) and Citi are trading at big discounts to their tangible book value.

The irony is that the amount of bad residential mortgages -- while huge -- is smaller than the amount of money that we've already shoveled into the Big Banks in various ways. I suspect that Credit Default Swaps have multiplied the effect. We could have written down principal on underwater mortgages by 50%, refinanced them at 4%, and moved on -- for far less money. But then Lloyd would have been forced to give up his triplex on Central Park.

Our Big Banks are nothing but a Big Drag. Little Timmy and Big Ben have been running monetary policy to "save the system" but we could have shut down the Big Banks at far less cost, and moved on.

(1) Little Timmy has a private meeting with the BAC CEO, (2) Warren has a revelation about investing in BAC while in his bathtub, (3) Warren agrees to host a big fundraiser for Barrack, (4) Wells Fargo -- one of Warren's big holdings -- is left out of the "$200 billion" Fannie/Freddie litigation ... another week at the office.

Even worse are the European Banks. We fucked a lot of them with our mortgage-backed securities and related derivatives. But worse still are their holdings of European sovereign debt. Collectively they're insolvent on any realistic mark-to-market. But instead, it's been Extend and Pretend.

What's not clear to me is how a string of European bank failures will affect us here. Has Big Ben been propping them up without our knowing? Developing ...  

By Blogger TigerHawk, at Wed Sep 07, 12:00:00 PM:

A couple of unrelated points.

1. If this were a list of random policy prescriptions, a lot of it would make sense. Much of it has little or nothing to do with creating jobs.

2. As critical as entitlement reform is, it will create just the sort of short-term uncertainty that business hates. Therefore, entitlement reform will not help the near-term job problem, as useful as it might be otherwise. The debate alone will take ages and be very distracting and divisive.

3. Free trade and its imperialist first cousin freedom of the seas has been at the center of Anglo-American foreign policy since at least World War I, with a few lapses (like Smoot-Hawley) along the way. Since World War II, now over 66 years, the United States has been the premier defender of free trade in the world. This has been an excellent policy for America and the world.  

By Anonymous Dan D, at Wed Sep 07, 12:28:00 PM:

This listing is a perfect example of why the thought of Mitt Romney being the Republican nominee fills me with such unease.

Look, leadership means making choices, often hard choices, and focusing on a few important but achievable objectives. It's the leader's role to simplify a complex world to direct action that makes the country better off.

Romney's list is absurdly long, with little to tie it all together. It's an obsessive's laundry list, not a clear and high level platform. He's a micromanager and not a leader, and I fear that he would flounder in the Oval Office.

Reagan had focus, and he succeeded admirably as he was able to convince enough of the nation to follow him on a few high level paths. Will President Romney be judged a failure because Congress enacted only 27 of his 59 proposals?

Please, we must do better than this.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Sep 07, 12:53:00 PM:

"What are Tariffs, Dawnfire?"

Tariffs as a serious American political issue are a relic of the 19th century. Tariffs are protectionism that is met with retaliation by foreign powers. Tariffs are what kicked the Great Depression into overdrive and cratered global trade for decades. Google Smoot-Hawley Tariff (the same one that TH mentioned), one of the worst policies ever implemented.

Tariffs are also largely illegal under international law to which the United States ascribes.

Google 'Bretton Woods system,' 'GATT,' and 'WTO.'

You can follow that up with a visit to this link. In case you don't, here's a taste, summarized briefly because math is hard: "However, the loss to consumers is greater than the gains by producers and the government... Removing the tariff and having free trade would be a net gain for society."

Free trade is provably, mathematically superior to non-free trade in the aggregate, though even the WTO recognizes protectionist tariffs for certain strategic reasons, like food security and military industry (a wholly justified bow to realism).

And as for Pat Buchanan, I submit : Exhibit A. Good judgment is not one of his gifts.  

By Blogger W.LindsayWheeler, at Wed Sep 07, 04:28:00 PM:

Do any of you observe reality?

Are we to commit suicide?

I point to Ross Perot and that famous quip, when NAFTA passes, "We are going to hear that giant sucking sound". He was very correct.

Free Trade, it may have been beneficial at one time. WWII destroyed all the infrastructure of all the countries but America. We were the sole manufacturer for the longest time. That is now over. Can you not read the tea leaves?

Free trade is suicide. Cultural suicide. Just look at the cars. I remember our 'boats' of the pavement. Remember the crome, the wings. The muscle. What do we have now? All our cars look euorpean. We have no distinctive 'American' look to our cars like we once did! This is how Free Trade destroys our Culture.

Free Trade is communist, New World Order, boondoggle. Must we continue the path to suicide?

We invented and made the Jukebox. The Jukebox is a staple of the American culture. It is an American icon. The last company was here in Michigan. It has now moved to Mexico. This is suicide. We invented computers. Where are our computers made now? In Asia!

No. Free Trade is about social engineering--To bring the First World Down, and bring the Third World up. But like all liberal ideas---it is only about the destruction of Europe and of European civilization. They care more about outsiders, than our own. Well, reality doesn't work like that.

Culture is more important. Is the American Soul worth preserving, or are we all going to Multi-culti hell?

This is the problem in the Repub party, Economic partisans vs the street level patriotic redneck. Is our way of life worth preserving? The answer of our elites---is Hell no. What is more important is my portfolio.

Is our way of life worth preserving? That is the political question of the day.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Sep 08, 12:46:00 AM:

4. "A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children . . ." Proverbs 13:22

There is no need at all for an inheritance tax. It is simply theft by our government.

8. Replace Obamacare with the health care that we had before HMOs and other health organizations were forced upon us by congress. Pay as you go. Well golly gee that worked for years until we had to pay according to the rules that Washington set up.

Is there any reason for an overall tax of more than 8%? No. There is so much waste in our budget that it would be easy to fix America in a few years rather than 10 years, 20 years or some distant point in the future that financiers and politicians love to pontificate upon.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Sep 08, 06:39:00 AM:

I admit to largely ignoring Romney, because he doesn't have much chance of winning the nomination, and this long sort of absurd recitation of GOP standards, couched in carefully hedged language, just reinforces my attitude.

But after watching the debate last night I despair. There was little to like about that group. Romney was bad, yes, but Perry wasn't much better and the rest of the dwarves were pretty useless. I like Cain, but somebody should tell him not to open Pandoras box by offering the hungry monster a new form of taxation. The social conservatives can't get elected, so they should shut up and sit down. Why is Ron Paul a Republican? Newt is smart as hell but also is electoral toast.

There is still room in this race.  

By Anonymous Mick Reactionary, at Tue Sep 13, 04:48:00 PM:

"51. Raise visa caps for highly skilled workers

Yes. Drain the brains from the rest of the world."

Define highly skilled.
Is 3 year degree in Animal Machinery from PingPong FrogState University proves that one is highly skilled?

Is Diploma aquired for $500 in Ukranian village is prove of it?

How about limits of numbers of "Highly Skilled"?

Are there any?

Is One Million a year not excessive?

How about 3 Million a year "Highly Skilled" Visas?

If you are Open Borderista, as you are seem to be, why you are shy about it?

Just state that there is Unlimited number of Work Visas will be issued to anyone who can produce a piece of paper with words Diploma on it, or who procured a piece of paper from a business or individual about a job waiting.

Of course, as is practice of US Immigration Service, once Visa is issued, job can and often does evaporates, but a "highly skilled" individual stays in this country.  

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