Hiatus Break: Big Picture Policies

Once again, I have been inspired to write. This time its because I witnessed a discussion in a class that I’m taking in college (Occupational Therapy Assistant is my major).  The class is a community health lecture. I expected to learn about health and how to be a healthcare professional.  Instead I got a lot of political statements that were pretty controversial. Given the fact that it was a health class and not politics 101 I kept my mouth shut. Trust me I was probably one of the few to feel that way.  I won’t even mention what was said but it got me thinking.

When people espouse political views and opinions do they actually think about the big picture? My personal belief is that most of time, people just have beliefs and views in a vacuum with no reference to the realities. I have studied history and politics for years and have learned to think about the reality before choosing to accept a certain view. A lot of times for me, I don’t know about anyone else, but I find myself objecting to the means of political policy not the ends. Typically political views and beliefs express the need for a positive outcome that everyone should want. However, I feel that most of time the means is either impossible, more destructive than helpful or just plain nonsense. I want to give a few examples of policies that express positive outcomes but the means of getting there is just not worth it.

Before I give my examples I want preface it with just a little explanation on my title. Big Picture Policies. I think the title is simple enough to understand because the words aren’t complex. But grasping the big picture of complex and difficult issues is very hard to do. It takes something they rarely teach kids anymore, critical thinking and logic. I know they say that they teach it but the reality is that kids are guided too much and aren’t allowed to have an original thought because education is all repetition and brainwashing. Fortunately, you can break it by studying things on your OWN. Self learning is very important. So when dealing in Big Picture Policies or BPP as I want to abbreviate it, you need to look the realities of your surroundings.

The realities of your surroundings is basically the effect that a policy has on other policies and people. For example, my first example is healthcare. Recently Bernie Sanders is back at again with a universal single payer healthcare system. (changes every week?) So Sanders supports this single payer medicare for all system. Now lets say he get his way and Congress (by some unholy miracle passes a friggin law!!! Unreal!) passes this single payer medicare for all. Obviously the outcome is positive for everyone because they get government subsidized healthcare. But what about the policies affected this legislation? Once again this sounds great in a vacuum but when you start looking around at your surroundings you can see the problems. One of the biggest policies affected is the US Federal budget. This new single payer healthcare cost billions even trillions of dollars. Recently, the national debt went above 20 trillion dollars! Massive debt is never a good thing. Another surrounding affect is the doctors, nurses and hospitals that have to deal with the changes in payments, patient frequency, and increased operational expenses.

Expanding medicare for all would also affect tax policy because the federal government doesn’t just have money they would need to raise taxes. Which directly affects everyone with a tax increase, rich or poor. So you could say it would even affect yourself. Unbelievably many people are just fine with these realities. I imagine they aren’t thinking too clearly about the consequences of massive national debt that is being bought up and held by our enemies and rivals as leverage over US interests.

Okay Garrett, so you made your point the realities are shitty but isn’t healthcare is a right? Glad you brought that up. Healthcare is in fact a privilege that you pay for. Let me explain like this: If you are doctor with a private practice, just imagine you drive a Mercedes Benz and live in a nice house in a gated community. One day the police and someone in need of medical care barge into your practice. The police tell you that this patient requires medical care. You oblige and say is it life threatening? They say no. So you ask for the potential patients health insurance or however they might pay. The patient refuses to give you any health insurance info or money. The police threat to take you to jail. Do you still help this patient? If you still help them would you continue to do for every patient? If you don’t help then its obvious that healthcare is privilege because taking care of patients might be your passion but its also your only source of income.

The point is that healthcare for everybody is achievable but you can’t force it. The government is not good at running things. (Country is a mess have you looked around? Veteran Affairs is government healthcare program and its horrible) I believe that good ideas don’t necessary need to be laws. One easy way of making healthcare for everybody is by decreasing the price. One of the best way to decrease prices is to let the consumers decide which service is the best for the money. This is called a free market system. Also natural competition creates lower prices because companies are competing for business. All it would take on the government’s side is the repeal everything and replacing it with just a few regulations to keep everything fair in terms of monopolies and consumer safety.

This is essentially how I look at every policy and judge it based on how it affects other policies. One of my favorite policies is Universal Basic Income. I did a whole post explaining how it might be implemented. Go read that first. Obviously UBI (Universal Basic Income) is a positive outcome for everyone because every citizen over 18 (non-felon) would receive a monthly stipend from the government. This policy over top of all other welfare programs would quite literally end America because of the massive amount money it would take. Things like inflation and lack of motivation would be huge problems. In my post, I revised it so that it could eliminate some of those problems.

One thing that I didn’t cover or even really think of in that post was inflation. I read something recently that made me go: oh shit! I think the easiest solution is to end the Federal Reserve. This would allow the government to stop printing money and readjust the interest rates and all that. To stop inflation created by UBI, basically no money could be printed and they would have take money out of circulation. By my calculations, the government would put about 500 billion dollars into the economy artificially so they would need remove 500 billion dollars from the currency circulating.

If you don’t know how inflation works then here is simple example: If you and five of your friends each have 5 dollars. You can all go to subway and buy a six inch sub of the day with your 5 dollars. Now lets say everybody gets an extra 2 dollars bringing each person total to 7 dollars. You all go to subway to buy that same exact sub which now instead of costing 5 dollars they raised it 8 dollars. So you can’t afford that sub. Inflation is devaluation of money. Essentially can it occur when minimum wage is raised, more money is printed than is backed up by gold or government bonds or when the government artificially stimulates the economy.  Now you may ask why did subway raise their price by 3 dollars? Well remember if everyone gets a two dollar raise then so do those subway workers. The cost of pretty much everything that is required to run that subway goes up, the workers are paid more so the ownership has to cover those costs. Usually its pass to the consumer because profits might be slim especially if his location has high renting cost.

Once again, this is a very simplistic example. Its much more complex than I explained. My point of this post is that when you espouse political views or beliefs try to think about the surrounding realities. Try to understand that policies don’t just have one positive outcome. You also understand that the negatives of policies might weigh more than the positives for some people. Its hard for people to understand but I’m for affordable healthcare, free college, and personal freedom on every level. However, I’m not a democrat or republican. I want all those things but I want them in a way that doesn’t hurt our future or present. Once you understand the realities and complexities you can come up with solutions to make dreams a reality. Unfortunately, the hardest part will be getting Congress to pass anything, so Good LUCK!

Thank you for reading! Have an awesome day!

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The Deepening Divide: American Political Parties

You might be familiar with the term political parties. I think most people would conjure up images of a donkey and an elephant. Many people associate political parties with democrat and republican. In most countries, there is either no political parties or just one; or there are more than two. America is unique in having only two main parties. There may be some others but America is the best known. The point of this post is just to casually discuss the widening divide of the two main parties. I expect that with my own political compass to probably discuss the lack of a third-party.  Yesterday I was having a conversation with somebody who has some opposing views in terms of politics. The conversation really made me start to think about the political parties. In recent years, it seems that the democrats and republicans have gone to further extremes. Obviously if you were born in 2000 or after you probably wouldn’t notice.

You don’t have to be old to see the extremist stretch of the parties. All you have to know is a little historical context. I’m sure I have explained this before in some other post but its worth explaining again. Political parties started in America in 1776 on about the same day the declaration of independence was signed.  Typically historians will say somewhat ironically that after George Washington’s farewell address is when the parties really got going. I will get to George Washington’s farewell address too. But first lets discuss the political parties at that time. During the time before the constitution was signed, there were two sets of loosely based political beliefs. There was no actual organized parties til much later. The Federalists and the anti-Federalist. (Yes, very creative naming) The Federalists were led (loosely) by Alexander Hamilton. They believed that the constitution maintain a strong executive presence within the federal government. The anti-Federalists who led (loosely, not right away) by Thomas Jefferson. They believed that it should be the states who hold the majority of power not the federal government.

I say loosely lead because there wasn’t any organization not until after Thomas Jefferson’s presidency in 1801 to 1809. Now as for George Washington’s farewell address, this is part where its relevant to political parties: (Irony coming ahead)

I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.

This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.

Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another.

There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty. This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.

George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796 Yale Avalon Project

So here is the ironic thing about George Washington and his address, Washington himself was not above joining a party. Throughout his presidency, he tended to call on his secretary of treasury and in the revolutionary war, his first clerk to attend to government business. Alexander Hamilton was one of George Washington’s closest confidants. He also happens to be the de-facto leader of the Federalist party. Washington was actually pretty persuaded by Hamilton’s beliefs. He felt that Hamilton had the country going in the right direction. Washington also did try to stay above the Federalist and Anti-Federalist mudslinging.

If we fast forward to just before the Civil War, we see that political parties have evolved from Federalist and Anti-Federalist to Whigs and Republican-Democrats. The names seem to be different and very much the same even ironic. However, the Whigs represented the Federalist view in many ways. The Republican Democrats represented the Anti-Federalist view. The Whigs dominated the north and the Republican Democrats dominated the south. Abraham Lincoln was the end of the Whig party and the beginning of what many call today’s Republican party. At a contested convention in 1860, Lincoln was able to swing votes to his Republican party from the majority Whigs. From Lincoln time until Teddy Roosevelt, the Republicans and Southern Democrats dominated American politics. Even now, parties tend to be very regional and sectional in popularity. Its one way to define who votes for them. Of course up til 1919, it was only white men who owned land then women’s suffrage was passed.

Teddy Roosevelt was elected by a third-party, one of the few presidents to do so. The 20th century represents a major change in the parties. After Teddy, the political extremes begin to take off. You can contrast the parties in the alternating decades of their rule. The republican decade of roaring twenties saw relaxed government meanwhile the progressive era of 1930s to 1940s  with Franklin D. Roosevelt saw the Democrats dominate because of the Great Depression. The democrats also held power during World War 2 and afterwards with Harry Truman. The 1950s saw the rise of Republicanism in Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was actually pretty moderate by today’s standards. The 1960s saw JFK and LBJ, the latter passing the Great Society, the so-called “second New Deal”. The 1970s saw even more moderates like Nixon and Carter but leaned Democrat. The 1980s is when the extremes pushed higher than ever with Ronald Reagan. Since Reagan, the Republicans have pushed for more tax cuts every year. The 1990s stay relatively moderate with Bill Clinton as a centrist democrat.

My point is that over years it seems like Democrats and Republicans seem to farther apart than ever especially today. I believe this last election really show how deep the divide came. I think when you politicians like Bernie Sanders running, whose view is more socialist than democrat, you have a problem. America always been able to stay the course and not veer to extremes. In part thanks to our constitution and our checks and balances. You know its extreme when Donald Trump is considered an acceptable candidate and is elected. I don’t have a solution to this extreme push to fringes. However, I would propose that we allow more than two dominate parties. I’m a libertarian and I take some opinions from both sides and mold them into one view. I think that being extreme politically is like being ignorant. You can irrationally argue just about anything but you won’t make progress. In order to make progress, you have to accept that there are other ways to achieving the same goals. I think one of the bests to describe the dysfunction of our political parties is that they all have the same goal with a different way to get there.So why can’t we just compromise. The reason is simple. Democrats want big government to control every aspect of our lives except abortions. Republicans want government out of lives except when it comes to abortions. We need to make our goal to make America the best it can be by any means necessary. We need to compromise. Until we can do that then the only thing that will happen is Congressional deadlock and fighting.

Thanks for reading!

Hack-A-DNC: The Real Face of the Party

Unless you live under a rock or maybe if you just really don’t care about politics then there is a good chance you have heard about the DNC email hack. Just the latest series of events proving that Democrats aren’t exactly the ‘good people’ they try to portray. You honestly couldn’t write this stuff if you tried. The origins of the hack seem to be from some pro-Russian hacker group or the Russia government itself. The origin of the hacker doesn’t change the content. Of course, Hillary and her campaign has been too quick to point out that these Russia hackers are trying to help Trump. However, there is no proof that says that’s the case at all. It seems that the DNC and the Clinton were collaborating to help Clinton and discredit Bernie Sanders. Not only that but they also degraded and made awful statements about voters and Sanders’ staff. This post will not be very long because the facts are out, I just want to point out that this is real democratic party.

I already knew that the Democrats were not the party of inclusion and fairness. Just look at their policies. Every policy that they propose is just a scam to help the elites. They market to the poorest, stupidest, and most underpriviledged people so that they easily trick them! Even worse, they are racist cheaters. Let’s start with poor Bernie Sanders who was not only cheated but also derided for his religious beliefs. If you read any of my blog you probably know that I am no fan of Sanders policies or platform. However, I would never attack him because he is Jewish. I would never call his campaign manager an asshole. It’s one thing to disagree with somebody. It’s a totally different thing to absolutely assualt their character and person.

As if that wasn’t enough, the DNC and their crooked ChairDemon (I don’t care, Debbie you belong in jail) also rigged the election so that it was an guarentee that Hillary Clinton would win. That is the eptiome of corruption. I am not even surprised. People need to re-evaluate who their voting for. If you think Trump is bad, the DNC and Clinton make Trump look like a good choice. At least Trump won fair and square. The worst of all these emails besides the assualt on Bernie, is the racism and sexism. Just type in google, DNC leaked Racist emails. You can find a few juicy ones. Like calling the outreach to Latinos the “Taco Bowl Engagment.” No Trump didn’t say that, it was the DNC calling their biggest base of voters fucking Taco Bowls! Are people really going to fucking vote for these lowlife pieces of shit?? Honestly!

Someone please help me understand this…The Democratic Party is the Demoncratic Party. It didn’t stop there with the racism. They even made fun of a black woman’s name. I won’t even say it because its that terrible. But if you want to see it, then here it fucking is. The biggest piece of shit is Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She is the Queen of the this evil empire. She is the mastermind behind slamming Sanders and fostering racism and sexism. She is the same woman who resigned from the DNC in shame, then in no shame was hired by Hillary Clinton to work on her campaign. In my opinion, this whole campagin and convention should have been stopped immediately. Number 1: They cheated, so there should be a re-vote. Number 2: Bernie Sanders should sue them for harassment and slander. Number 3: The FBI needs to put both Hillary and Debbie in fucking jail.

So If I could impart you with just one piece of advice, don’t vote for those crooked, lying, racist, sexist, piece of shit people that call themselves Democrats. Never vote them for again because they are probably slandering you in their private emails.  They probably think your retarded for even wanting to vote for them. They know how bad your gonna get fucked. 

This being said, with all my french, You should seriously consider a third party candidate. I would recommend Gary Johnson. However, if your dog or neighbor makes a better candidate then by all means write them in.

#NeverHillary #NeverDemocrat

Thanks for reading and sorry for the swearing but I’m pissed as hell.

 

US Foreign Policy: Terrorism is the New War

Welcome back to the second installment of US Foreign Policy  as it relates to the presidential candidates and their future presidencies. Today, I will continue a little bit on my China and US narrative. Then I will start on a new issue which can be considered the most alarming threat to US national security. If you read or watch the news you know all about ISIS. I am more interested in how the candidates intend to fight back against ISIS. I will also preview a short history of terrorism, very similar to this post I wrote awhile back. I would encourage you to read both that article and read my last post: US Foreign Policy: Commander and Peace. I hope your ready for some complex international relations because these two situations typify two classic international relations circumstances. Just a warning, this post may be very long.

In my last post, I started out talking about the Chinese rise to a world power via economic dominance in manufacturing. I also covered the economic interdependence that tie the US and China closely. In my concluding statements, I talked about Hillary Clinton and her corporate connections that might draw us into war because of corporate and self interests. Now I want to try to explain as simply as I can, the order of preferences for both China and the US. Trying to pick out preferences or national interests in this case, can show us where the relationship between China and US is heading. Its nearly impossible to predict because sometimes actors make irrational decisions. However, most of the time, it is assumed that actors are rational. A rational decision maker follows standard logic of any given circumstance making it easier to predict. Also my perceived preferences could be totally wrong because I’m merely an observer, not an actor inside China or the US. Observations can be inaccurate due to a lack of information. For the sake of education and knowledge though, I will try to be as accurate as possible.

Let’s start with China’s preferences or national interests. Its clear from Chinese actions that they want to build up their power. I would say that power is China’s first preference. They already have economic power but they want to be considered among the great world powers. The Chinese have perceived by history, that they have been sort of second class in terms of world power. This perceived lack of power leads into their two second preference or national interests. Chinese are looking to become influential within their sphere of influence. I can tell this because the US influence in Asian is quite large. The US holds some type of alliance or mutual defense agreement with Japan, Philippines, and Vietnam. Japan is a powerful economic engine itself. Also they happen to be a Chinese sworn rival. The last Chinese preference from what I can tell, is the continuation of their economic dominance. This is both a power AND influence preference because the economy can allow a country the resources and wherewithal to pursue their national interests.

Of course with any preference order there is a preferred set of outcomes. Based on the China’s building up a navy and their defiance of international law, one outcome is war. I would assume that in a rational decision making process they would try diplomatic  or non-violent ways to get power and influence. However, I sense that now after nearly 20 years of economic dominance they still don’t feel respected. The outcome of war is very likely something that the Chinese would embrace given their large navy and abundant population. The only downside is that their opponent is already who or what their aiming to be.

The US preference is very similar to the Chinese but for different reasons. The US prefers to maintain their power because unlike China, the US already has the world power and elite status. The US also prefers to increase their influence in Asian to push back China via the Asian pivot. America also prefers to increase their economic production to catch up with China. As you can see, the US preferences are similar to China’s because the US wants to keep China from gaining too much power and influence. The most important difference is the outcome of war. US does not want to go war with China, hence the Asian pivot. Another factor that helps US national interests is economic interdependence with China. It also hurts the US because China has the same ability to effect a war.

Now in the perspective of a presidential candidate like Trump or Clinton, they will have access to much more classified information and intelligence. The most important foreign policy decision in regards to China is how to handle their bullying of other Asian countries. We can’t get caught up in their games. Its very similar to a game of poker, if a player bluffs a good or bad hand, then its up to you to figure out which their trying to hide. Sometimes you guess wrong. I believe that as long as Clinton or Trump protect US interests only and don’t try to overreach, they can keep China at bay. At the very least avoid a war that might cost over a billion people due to nuclear weapons.

If you haven’t done so already, please read The Post 9/11 Narrative vs. The Past 50 years of American Foreign Policy. This is will give you some background about terrorism, also you could read my post on 9/11’s 14th anniversary. In order to save my word count and your time, I will get right into ISIS and how the candidates might deal with it. I think the best place to start is with former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Secretary of State is an appointed position within the President’s cabinet. The Secretary of State is responsible for diplomatic relations with other countries. Under Clinton’s tenure, the rise of ISIS happened among the civil war in Syria and chaos in the Afghanistan and Iraq. Many news pundits like to blame Bush for creating a power void that let ISIS come to power. I don’t want to get into how it was formed or why because it would take a rather complex, scholarly effort to conclude such a hypothesis. However, if we look back on how Clinton handle foreign policy situations we can see how her policies might unfold as president.

One of Clinton’s most controversial moves as Secretary of State was a decision to leave ambassadors in Libya despite the dangerous conditions in the north African country. The political scandal that has followed Clinton because of the deaths of these four ambassadors under her watch. It has become known as the Benghazi Scandal. I feel like Clinton’s handling of the situation was poor, however the surprise attack cannot be faulted on her. At the same time, she should have known that surprise attacks are common and had prepare an appropriate security force to protect those ambassadors. I think from this situation, I gather the Clinton will follow a policy of national interests over human interests. During her tenure, she choose to remain out of the Syrian Civil War, which has just begun a year or two earlier. This was despite the reports of Syrian president Assad killing his own people. Once again, Clinton doesn’t deserve all the blame because I feel she made the right choice.

The Syria Civil war is a very complex conflict within the country of Syria. There are multiple warring factions. It would be stupid to get involved in such a conflict. Even to this day, President Obama and new Secretary of State John Kerry, have decided to stay away with the exception of training some rebels and bombing campaigns. An all out war on Syria would be more costly than Iraq and Afghanistan combined. Unfortunately one consequences of not intervening has been the formation of ISIS. We have seen how Clinton handled some situations as Secretary of State, but how will she handle ISIS as president?

In the next series of this US Foreign policy, I will take the each of the Candidates platform on Terrorism and see how that will work against ISIS. To concluded this post, I will talk a little bit about why Trump worries me in foreign policy. Then I will do quick explanation of my title. Donald Trump is by profession, a business man. He brags about his book, Art of the Deal. Despite Trump being a savvy businessman, I have some anxiety about his foreign policy. Business deals tend not to have as high stakes as diplomatic talks can. Trump has to remember that in foreign policy, he represents the world’s most powerful nation. There are other countries and terrorist who want to see America go down in flames. Trump negotiating skills will definitely come in handy. However, his knowledge of foreign policy is probably not on par with many other past presidents.If there is one thing he could do to sooth my fears, it would be to get a very experienced Secretary of State that has been in foreign policy.

Obviously I can find positives and scary negatives about both candidates in foreign policy.  To conclude this post, let me explain why “Terrorism is the New War”. If you remember in your American and Global history classes,  in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries it was common for States or Nations to fight against each other. There is a multitude of wars that pit two or more countries against each other. The wars usually start over economic, religious, or land issues. Now, in the 21st century, we have seen a dramatic change in the face of war. Since the 9/11 terrorist attack, we have seen wars not to conquer other countries for land. The wars fought especially by the US have been over religious extremists and some economic interests like Oil.  War has changed and so has how we conduct foreign policy. Whoever becomes President in January 2017 will be dealing primarily with a terrorism threat. It was much easier when Nations fought each other because you know who your negotiating with. Also it was easy to impose international sanctions. Now, terrorists are just groups of people with a common cause. They don’t care about being diplomatic, they want to use force and coercion.

In order to defeat these terrorist who feed off fear and overreactions, we need to unite as country. We need to unite as allies with Europe and Asian. These groups of terrorist are not new or invisible. They are human beings. Whoever is President will need to bring peace of mind and stability. Their leadership will be instrumental in fighting back the terrorists. I personally feel that their intentions are to incite war. The best defense against another costly war is to be determined to keep peace through increased homeland security of our borders. We must keep out those terrorists and allow those who deserve to be here, to come freely. The future of our nation rests upon the foreign policy decisions made in these critical years.

Part 3 of this series in a few days! Thanks for reading!

 

General Election: Political Superbowl

As we approach June, the end of the primary season is near. There are two leading candidates whose nominations are in line without any major incidents. The primaries are always different than the general election. The primaries tend to sieve out issues in both parties. These headline issues then morph into the broader fights in the general election. On the Republican side, there is a lot of turbulence because of Donald Trump’s surprising run at the nomination. In some ways, the Republicans have splinter into different groups varying in support of Trump. It has revealed the establishment republicans haven’t been able to come to a consensus about any candidate. In the process, they have made room for a candidate like Trump. In an exact opposite reality, the Democrat’s have found their candidate in Hillary Clinton. Clinton has successfully talk down her baggage as Secretary of State. The Democratic establishment is firmly behind her despite the resurgent and popular Bernie Sanders.

(Pictured Above:By Abraham Lincoln, digital reproduction by George Chriss (GChriss). With prior publication, the Emancipation Proclamation, the most famous Executive Order became effective 1-January-1863. – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1627541)

This is post is more of an introduction to general elections. I have in previous posts written about different aspects of general elections, like the Electoral College.  I enjoy minute details of elections because its an interesting statistical study of the American voter population. The way that different people vote of different socioeconomic background, origins and biological sex. There is even regional bias that show up in the voter data. The voter base has changed dramatically since beginning of America. George Washington was elected strictly by white, landowning, men. A war hero like Washington is actually an common feature among Presidents especially before the 20th century. (1900) Over the years, the voting process has changed dramatically. After the civil war, free blacks were allowed to vote, however, Jim Crow laws in the South prevent many from actually doing so. Then in 1919, women’s suffrage was achieved throughout the US. This dramatically changed the way that Americans voted. The 1920s and beyond saw women gain a voice in politics and in the workforce.

Forty some years later, Lyndon B. Johnson passed the Voting rights act which made Jim Crow laws illegal. Unfortunately, some of the Southern state courts have rejected parts of this act. Voter suppression is a real problem among black and minority voters in the south. The most common form is now through voter id. Recently, I believe in Alabama, they closed all but 4 DMV offices so that voters could not easily get IDs. This type of voter suppression and the change in population by ethnic origin creates an ever changing statistical analysis of the American people. For example, the increase of Hispanics via immigration has created a large Latino bloc of voters. This changes the dynamic of who becomes president.

In my title, I refer to the general election as the political Superbowl. The general election certainly holds the most gravity in the American political sphere. Not only does the leader of the Free World get elected, so does most of congress. I have often stressed that voting is so important as a civic duty. Part of the reason is that congress seats are just as important as the presidency if not more so! The general election may be the Superbowl because of the presidential candidates, but the playoffs would be the congressional elections. These state wide elections hold greater consequences for the American people than the president.

Let me explain why the Presidential election is overrated and why you should be concerned who your state’s senator or house of representatives are. Its actually an simple explanation because if you know how our government operates then you can see it. As you probably know, the legislative branch writes and passes the laws. The executive branch executes them and makes sure they are being imposed in every state. The Supreme Court makes sure the laws are followed correctly and thanks to Alex Hamilton and John Marshall are constitution visa via Judicial Review. The legislative branch or Congress makes everything that government does, happen. They approve the budgets, increase and decrease taxes, declare wars, confirm appointments and etc etc. The President’s job has expanded but it remains simply to sign laws, veto laws, push for new laws, and be the Commander and Chief.

So if you are worried that Hillary or Trump might be the worst President ever just remember that their presidential fortunes are tied to the ambitions of Congress. Now if you follow politics closely there has been some outrage about executive orders. I can’t say that I blame Obama because house republicans tend to block everything. However, executive orders are not like martial law or above the constitution. Executive orders can be challenged by the Supreme Court. You can rest easy knowing that no President has unlimited power. Checks and balances are a wonderful thing. Each branch of government can be checked by another. Now I realize that Trump and Clinton don’t strike many people as favorable candidates.

You can also bet that Congress will be the opposite party of the elected Presidential candidate. Its almost inevitable that if Hillary Clinton is elected that she will deal with an Republican controlled senate and house of representatives. The same is true for Trump, he will deal with a Democratic senate and house of representatives. In rare cases of overwhelming sentiment there has been a same party President and Congress. More importantly, my point is that Congress controls what laws are made and passed. So unless your like me and your voting for Gary Johnson, then remember to focus on those congresspeople.

Despite who you vote for, just remember that Congress has the power. They are the engine that makes our government go. The President is just an enforcer and voice for foreign relations. So my point is that the general election has the hype of a Superbowl because of the Presidential election but the Congressional elections are the playoffs that really count in the clutch. I want to quickly go back to foreign relations, I have not written a whole ton of foreign relations posts because usually its a general election issue. I have a quite in depth knowledge of international relations. In the future, I will definitely be looking at foreign relations and how the candidates should act as President. The wildcard will be Trump because we have not seen him in such a role. At least with Hillary her stint as Secretary of State can clue us into what her foreign relations might look like.

Stay tuned for more foreign relations and election analysis. Thanks for reading!

 

Economic Intelligence: Politicans Lack it

Its occurred to me on multiple occasions that politicians seem to lack any sort of intelligence in regards to economics. My last post was a heated detest of Trump’s printing money comments. I scathingly scold him for being so stupid about messing with our currency and debt. Trump’s comment literally make me think that candidates running for President think that money grows on trees. In some magical way their tax plans and spending outlays will work out in some kind of utopian dream. Let’s be honest though, its not just Trump, its Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, even recently dropped out Ted Cruz and John Kaisch. I think for me, the biggest weight of decision on who to vote for is through economic policy.

As I usually do, I want to pose a question then slowly answer using historical and modern references. This time instead of posing any real question I just want to review a little historical background on who made our economy because its the subject this great biography on Alexander Hamilton. Then I want to review why the policies of both democrats and republicans alike are misguided. I may also dive into the problems with our economic system. The best starting point on a such a broad topic is to actually narrow it. More specifically, I want to discuss the taxation throughout American history. Then I want to get into the federal budget and debt.

On the subject of taxation, there is famous saying from the Revolutionary War that was a common rallying cry for independence from Great Britain. You may even remember this saying from middle school history: No Taxation without Representation!  The British heavily taxed the colonies to pay for their ever-growing debt. The monarch, King George III had many foreign wars and colonies to protect. As a result, high taxes were levied on the American colonies. The problem was that colonists had no representation in the British constitutional monarchy. When the colonist tried to gain influence and resisted the taxes, the British responded with even harsher taxes. In a simplified version, this lead to the Revolution and ended with the American colonist winning the war.

After the war, the issues of taxes came up again. The main proponent of America’s future financial stability was Alexander Hamilton, first secretary of Treasury. Hamilton wrote and pushed through many of today’s financial laws in government. Hamilton was able to establish excellent credit through the payment of debts. He was able to consolidate state debt and federal debt because each state held its own debt before the constitution was created. In order to make sure that the federal power came before the state’s power, Hamilton pushed for the consolidation. Hamilton also created bonds to help pay for the war debt. The main form of income in the early 1790s was import duties. Hamilton revamped the customs, invented the coast guard and cut down on the smuggling. (Smuggling was popular during the Revolution against the British.)

As the United States grew bigger its need for government revenue increased. Obviously this meant an tax on actual citizens. While Hamilton was still alive there was no such support for an income or land tax. Part of the reason that many rich landowners were against it, the same ones that were also in government. It was not until the Civil War that an actual income tax was passed.  The government also tried varies taxes on goods like alcohols. This only resulted in rebellions. These measures were never popular. Of course as we progress to the early 20th century we can see that taxes increase by each decade. One of main sources of income by the federal government was through bonds especially during the World Wars. If you don’t know how bonds work then its basically a government backed loan. You pay 100 dollars for a bond slip. In a certain period of time your able to cash it in with an interest rate.

In modern times, by this I mean post WW2, taxes are generally considered to be fairly certain like death. Taxes have always fluctuated, such as during the 1950s into the late 1960s with the Vietnam War saw taxes go high. Then in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan cut taxes and the trend of lower taxes continue up until about the early 2000s. Of course, our tax code is very complicated due to politicians messing with it. Many former presidential  candidates wanted to scrap this tax code. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse because I have talked about tax plans numerous times. To save my word count, I will just generally say that all three current candidates tax plans are either very wrong or very misguided or both. (scroll through my blog to find their tax plans)

Alexander Hamilton did a ton of good for America’s financial system. He also held the opinion that being in debt was a good thing. I honestly think that if he knew that we have accumulated 20 trillion dollars in debt, he would roll in his grave. America has always been in and out of debt through our history. You can typically identify times of debt with wars. I have also noticed that following a war, the debt will vanish due to economic dominance. The best example is probably World War 2. The post-war period saw America as the world’s number one creditor and business leader. This is mainly due to the fact that most of Europe and Asia had been destroyed. I believe that and many economists believe that our debt is way too big. It will nearly impossible to pay it off. Not to mention that people like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders want to wreck havoc with insane policies like printing money and spending as much as 10 trillion!

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So your probably wondering where exactly I’m going with all this history and modern references. (to the bank, of course!) First, I think that Economic Intelligence is more than just an understanding of economics. Economic Intelligence is knowing when your policy is working or not working. Its knowing that printing money will surly ruin us, DONALD TRUMP! Economic Intelligence is being smart about money, its being similar to Alexander Hamilton. I’m not saying that Hamilton is the end all–be all, but his wisdom on economics has endured over 200 years. The fact is that I could take any of the three clowns running for president and poke holes in their economic and tax plans. The problem is that really don’t understand how economics works. Repentantly, they haven’t been paying attention because the last 75 years have shown that their methods won’t work.

For example, Hillary and Bernie plans to raise minimum wage and use a democratic socialism platform has been tried before by countries of similar or larger size. Let’s take Russia for example under the Bolsheviks, Lenin, Stalin. All these communism leaders installed a socialist economic system or state run economy. The Russians faced problems of shortages, starvation and to add insult to injury, genocide. In a similar fashion to what Sanders wants to do, Stalin also wanted to take down the rich people. Guess what happened, he certain took them out by killing them. State run economies just don’t work. You need capitalism because the market should decide. I think economically speaking, I would rather have some poor and disadvantaged over having many poor and disadvantaged.

Unfortunately, economics dictates that re-distribution through unnatural means leads to more distress and poor. In addition, the biggest and most irritating issue that of spending and debt. I would love to understand how printing money won’t lead to disaster. Also how will spending MONEY decrease our debt that was created by SPENDING money? In conclusion, I want to underline the point that economic intelligence is necessary in a good presidential candidate. History has shown us both good and bad ways to make an nation economically viable. We need to choose carefully otherwise face consequences not unlike economic unintelligent nations before us.

Thanks for reading! Sorry it was so long!

 

Trump Goes Full Retard

I was peacefully eating my brunch of spaghetti because I didn’t wake up in time for breakfast. The TV just happened to be on CNN. I don’t typically watch CNN. However, for the few minutes that I was listening I heard a sound bite and explanation of Donald Trump’s newest controversial comments. These comments were regarding the national debt. If you haven’t heard yet, here is a link. I could not believe what I was hearing. I could have expected this from some democrat especially on CNN. I never heard any politician propose such a disastrous plan to fix our national debt. And yes, this is even worse than Bernie Sanders whose grasp of economics is about as good as a first grader.

Of many troubling statements that Trump uttered, I found two pieces to be the most unwise and cringe-worthy. So now I will quote parts of his quip then explain why ‘Trump Goes Full Retard’ as my title indicates.

If interest rates go up, and we can buy bonds back at a discount, if we are liquid enough as a country, we should do that. In other words, we can buy back debt at a discount. People said I wanted to go and buy debt and default on debt, these people are crazy. This is the United States government. First of all, you never have to default because you print the money, I hate to tell you.

Well Donald Trump, I hate to tell you that buying back bonds at a discount is an unadvised action that would have major consequences. You see the US government has one of the best credit ratings in the world. (Recently was downgraded from AAA to AA during the recession though) This means that if we buy back bonds at a discounted rate it would undermine the value of those bonds therefore making the government liable for lost money on investment. The result is our credit rating sinks even lower! Its similar to private loans when you don’t pay the loan back in full, it tends to sink your credit rating and crush you with creditors phone calls.

The other problem with buying back bonds whether at an discounted rate or not, is that what money will you be buying with? Trump’s tax doesn’t actually raise any revenues because he doesn’t specify any spending cuts. I am curious to see how he will buy debt without just making more debt. It sounds like a person who addicted to credit cards. Its a good analogy because if you use the credit cards to outspend the money you actually have eventually it turns into more maxed out credit cards. The rate that your debt will increase will be huge because of interest rates. I don’t know what makes Trump think that creating debt by buying debt will help shrink anything. In fact, its bound to make it even worse. Trump is literally treating the national debt like its junk bonds or securities. Its totally different because your messing with America’s hard earned financial reputation.

My rant doesn’t end here because the second part of his statement about “you never have to default because you print money” is even more insane than the first part. I think Trump needs to go back to Economics 101 with Bernie! I believe that its common knowledge that printing money is a risky proposition. Its been tried before too by Europe, Asia and even here in the US! The results are never good. Just look at Germany during World War 2. Hitler decided that printing money was a good way to pay for his war. It resulted in mass hardships for the German people. The money was useless paper and all commodities like food and oil were either very expensive or scarce.

I hope Donald Trump realizes the printing money can lead to things like inflation and devaluation of money. As of right now the dollar isn’t the strongest because of the repeal of the gold standard. The dollar is only as good as the government that issues it. If Trump were to print money to pay off the debt this is what would happen. First off, he would never pay it off because before he could print enough money it would be pretty much worthless. Second, inflation would go way up given that our national debt is 20 trillion dollars. Third, the price of everything would go sky high because of inflation and devaluation. Just imagine a dollar being worth the equivalent of a less than penny. You would need hundreds of thousands of dollars just equal the value of a dollar now. I’m not sure of the math but I’m pretty sure that it would only take a couple billion or trillion to make it worthless.

Up until now I haven’t been too hard on Trump. Obviously his ridiculous stances on immigration and women are hard to overlook. I think we all know that Trump’s fantasies won’t come true because the US government tends to repel any major change. To some degree, I think that Trump tries to sensationalize his views in order to get media attention. I also feel like he may not truly be married to his policy positions. He is also not a politician by nature. Despite all of that, I had to throw down the hammer. These comments are pure garbage. It would be one thing if made any economic sense. I just hope that if Trump ends as President that he selects some good economic advisors. For the sake of America’s future financial status.

I hope the Trump supporters will make Trump realize his fatal error. We could be in some seriously trouble if Trump is able to pull any of this crap.

Thanks for reading! oh and Trump, YOU NEVER GO FULL RETARD!