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!

 

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Politics- Geography matters!

I just returned from a week long trip to the west coast. I had alot of fun and got to see a large part of California including San Fransisco and Los Angeles. I also was in Las Vegas, Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.Obviously on vacation I wasn’t able to blog because I was so busy. I got home yesterday and literally slept for 20 hours. However, now that I’m well rested and been able to contemplate about my travels; I’ve come up with an idea for a post. In the spirit of the upcoming primaries in California and spending time in California with locals. I realized that California has its own set of unique political issues. I knew before that California was in a drought. I knew before that it was the most populous state in the nation. California is absolutely huge. This post will first detailed the water situation in California and the absurd taxes in California. I will explain how a solution might look if politicians ever get their act together. I also want to preview the nomination race for both sides because two clear winners are emerging.

If you aren’t aware already then you should know that California is in the midst of a four year massive drought. A drought by definition is the lack of something, in this case water. But the word drought could be used in a sport context, for example, the New York Jets have a 43 year drought of Superbowl appearances and wins. (This example makes me very angry) So how bad is the drought currently? Well, the answer depends on where you live in California. Here is the link to a website that keeps track of drought conditions in California. If you click on the first picture, its a picture of California with different colors representing the severity of drought. The darkest red indicates that an area has an exceptional drought. According to this website if you scroll down, it captions the picture with a breakdown of the percentages: As of April 19, 25% of the state is under severe drought, 28% under extreme drought, and 21% under exceptional drought. Its well known that if you live in California there are many different restrictions on water use. For example, I experienced the short showers (low water pressure) and the restriction or ban of watering lawns. Water usage is carefully monitored with fines for going over.

If not having enough water was bad enough then Californians have it even worse with their taxes. Here is a breakdown of the taxes there:

For single and married filing separately taxpayers:

  • 1% on the first $7,850 of taxable income.
  • 2% on taxable income between $7,851 and $18,610.
  • 4% on taxable income between $18,611 and $29,372.
  • 6% on taxable income between $29,373 and $40,773.
  • 8% on taxable income between $40,774 and $51,530.
  • 9.3% on taxable income between $51,531 and $263,222.
  • 10.3% on taxable income between $263,223 and 315,866.
  • 11.3% on taxable income between $315,867 and $526,443.
  • 12.3% on taxable income of $526,444 and above.

A 1% surcharge, the mental health services tax, is collected on taxable incomes of $1 million or more, making California’s highest marginal rate 13.3%.

Now compare that with the tax rate for neighboring Nevada. Nevada is known for its tourism in Las Vegas. I would encourage everyone to go to Las Vegas at least once. Its a really awesome experience. Nevada has low taxes due to tourism. Its not like California doesn’t have tourist, its just that Nevada also has a lower population. Its still pretty crazy to see the differences.

Personal income tax

The Nevada Department of Taxation does not levy a state income tax.


Sales taxes

The state sales tax in Nevada is 6.85%.

Counties can assess option taxes as well, making the combined state and county sales taxes rate in some areas as high as 8.1%.

If you look at California’s sales tax its very similar about 7.5 percent. New York is also on the same level as California tax wise. However, Nevada is a very tax friendly state. Of course there is a lot of factors that make it possible. It’s amazing to think that tourism funds pretty much the whole state.
So the real question is how can we fix California’s water problem without raising taxes any higher? I think the answer lies in using some libertarian views. For example, re-working the state budget to cut out unnecessary government spending. Many of the social programs could be privately funded. Once the budget to cut down to a minimal amount of spending then you have room to pay for a fix to the water problem. The main issue in California has not been the way to fix the drought but how to pay for it. I believe that the easiest and probably most expensive way to fix the drought is through desalinization. The basic process of desalinization is the removal of salt from the sea water. California sits next to the biggest ocean in the world. The pacific ocean has plenty of water. California just needs to build the appropriate amount of desalinization plants to offset the lack of natural water. These plants are costly to run because of energy consumption with 264 gallons costing approximately a dollar. You can learn more here.
I feel like this solution may be costly but there is no immediate fix for either global warming or the current lack of water. California may not have a choice soon. Even with the extreme water conservation, which I believe should be kept in effect. If they actually try desalinization, then the goal should be to store as much water as possible. If the plants get too expensive then water storage could ease the costs. For example, run the desalinization plants for 8 months to store up water. Then shut them off for six months. If they cycle an on and off pattern, it could potentially cut costs of running them all the time.
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Let’s transition into some nomination politics. Currently it looks Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will win the nominations. Of course, there is still a few major primaries to take place such as California. However, even with sweeping victories by Bernie Sanders or Ted Cruz, there is little chance that either candidate will win. With that being said, its almost time to look forward to the general election. I think that Clinton will have a significant advantage in the general election because of voter base and her political name recognition. Clinton makes one of the most intriguing candidates not because of her politics but because she could be the first woman president. She also is insanely corrupt and scandalous. As for Donald Trump, I think that he is doing something that no one expected. I have even heard from his advisors that Trump himself didn’t really think he would be this successful. In the end, I think that Clinton can easily make people forget shes a corrupted politician. Trump will be unfortunately tied to his controversial comments on abortion, women and Mexicans. Ultimately, there is always a chance of something unexpected happening.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Super Tuesday; Super Opinions

Super Tuesday was the most thrilling and shocking Super Tuesday in a long time. The breakthrough of Donald Trump has taken the nation by storm. It has surprised pudits and bucked trends. There is no way to predict what might happen because this type of candidate has never been seen before. I was anxiously awaiting the results to see what would happen. I predicted with some accuracy to my facebook friends that Trump would previal in most states except Texas. I was correct because Trump won 8 states inculding close victories in Virginia and Vermont. Ted Cruz won Alaska, Texas and a shocking victory in Oklahoma. On the Democratic side, Clinton won 9 states sweeping Sanders’ 4 and increasing her delegate margin. I find both of the primary races on each side to be so interesting. In this article, I want to talk about my opinion of Super Tuesday and prehaps predict some what may happen next. I also want to link the coolest delegate and poll watcher interactive made by fivethirtyeight. This interactive shows you an indepth look at how the candidates are doingand in polls of primary states and their delegate count. I would recommend that you see this interactive and explore it. I will also be referring to fivethirtyeight’s interactive throughout this post. It works as a great guide to see what has happened and what may happen in the future.

Let’s start with the orange rich guy, Donald Trump. So like I previously stated that Trump had won 8 states which equaled to about 254 delegates to add to his total which now stands at 336. Trump’s success was not seen in the beginning and many have been skeptical including me. But now its legitimate. Trump has bucked the trends. Usually a non-political background dooms a presidency. Just look at Ben Carson, he peaked in November and now he won’t be in the next debate. The interesting thing about Trump is his tactics seem to be more savvy than the media reports. Everyone knows about his racist rants and insults against women. However, that narrative is why the media is always covering him. You never know what he will say next. But I realize in listening to his speech last night with a terrified Chris Christie behind him, that Trump is pursuing a general election strategy. An analyst on tv noted it first but it got me thinking about his actions of late and in the past. Depsite being heavily attacked by other candidates, Trump always responded with a worst insult. But in the last few debates, he has been focusing more on Hillary Clinton and taking down her policies and record. In this speech last night, he spent time doing that same thing. Trump is clearly smart enough to realize with a strong lead going into mid march that he needs to start working on Clinton now. Because its likely that he will face her in the election. I say strong lead, but in reality I think its a lot closer. Let me explain why.

The republican race is interesting because of Trump and the candidates that he’s running against. Ted Cruz has won 3 states and is considered to be the most conservative candidate left. Marco Rubio is the essisential establishment candidate that can appael to anyone and has won one state, Minnesota. You also might forget about Ben Carson and John Kaisch. The race as it stands right now actually favors Trump because the delegates and votes are split between five candidates. Meaning you need less votes to win. Obviously with Trump being so racist and sexist at times it means he may scare off some voters. There’s actually a new super pac that wants to stop Trump from getting the nomination but I think its a little late. The first thing is that they need to eliminate all candidates except the strongest one. That is going to be tough. I believe ideally the candidate to face off with Trump would be Cruz and with 3 states. The super pac needs to put all their weight on Cruz in order to beat Trump. I think its possible but it might be too late. With the next round of primaries next week, with the likes of Florida and Ohio. The problem is if Trump can win Florida, he gets 99 delegates and the second place winner gets nothing. So Florida could easily decide a nominee. I will be watching carefully to see if anything happens because it could be interesting.

On a short side note, there is a growing list of celebrities who say they will leave the country if Trump is elected. I wish them good luck and goodbye. Canada has different problems than here doesn’t mean its better. Plus I don’t understand because if Trump is elected then usually a democratic congress is elected. So President Trump won’t have much luck doing anything with Congress.

In democratic side, its pretty simple to breakdown. Clinton has a YUGE lead on Sanders. Try 596 to 399. Nearly two hundred delegates. The problem for Sanders, his social justice appael just doesn’t work. Unfortunately, Clinton can lie and cheat all she wants but is still trusted by minorities. Meanwhile Sanders who means well and doesn’t seem to be racist in anyway, can’t seem to connect with black voters. I have a few thoeries but my main one is that being a white male, socialist isn’t really what black voters are looking for. Hillary has a good record with black voters so by default she seems to edging Sanders out. As for the future, I don’t see Sanders ever really catching up because I think Hillary will win the biggest delegate states like New York, Ohio, and California.

So my take on Super Tuesday is that the general election will be Trump vs. Clinton. Probably one of the most unlikely presidential races to
ever occur. The first woman to ever be nominated for president in the US. Trump will be the first ever non-career politcian to be elected. Although a historic race, I feel like there should still be a third party candidate. If you have read any of my past posts you would find I don’t favor either of the candidates. I feel like there is a gray area in politics between left and right. That’s right, I want a libertarian candidate. I think the race would be much more interesting with another candidate up there. The problem for me and this country is that libertarians are unpopular among the media and voters. Many assume its just anarchy or fence sitting but its actually a fine line between the two extremes. Contrary to preception, a libertarian fire department where you put out your own fires or a libertarian intersection with no stop lights or signs is just a joke. There’s a point where there is too much regulation in government. Usually too much means advantages for the private sector. Libertarians want just enough regulation to keep special interests at bay and keep citizens free of government control. Everyone should consider the libertarian point of view.

Thanks for reading!

Republican Debate: The Media Bashing Monster

I regretfully did not watch the debate last night because I was watching the World Series. However, the good news I was able to record the debate and watch it this morning. Let’s talk about the World Series because during the conference series I said that I hoped the Blue Jays would win over the Royals. My reason was that the Blue Jays are power hitting team similar to the Cubs. The Mets’ strength is pitching especially their starters. The Royals even before seeing the two games already played versus the Mets, I saw they could be a potentially dangerous opponent. The Royals with their contact hitting and situational genius are the Mets worse nightmare. That is what we are seeing in the World Series. Unfortunately, as a Mets fan I have to concede to the Royals because the Mets have no answer.

I also have another reason for bringing up sports before going into the nitty gritty of politics. I was watching the Herd on fox sports 1 and he was talking about the similarities of sports and politics. It is a very similar world where winners and losers are created through a contest, both being of physical and mental in nature.  Both worlds are built on big money and big time publicity. Both drive the conversation of the media. Rarely ever do sports and politics mix but as an analogy I feel they work perfectly.

In this debate, we saw countless candidates bash the media especially coming from Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Interestingly enough, these two stand to gain the most from doing so. Mr. Trump kept quiet because as I have written before, Trump has the media to thank for the success of his candidacy. Almost everyone including pundits and others feel that Cruz and Rubio are the hold the line establishment republicans. One could also include Jeb Bush in there due to his large amount of endorsements. I will come back to Bush later. I thought Cruz and Rubio both put on strong performances. They were able to grab a lot of air time. They also made their points and plans clear. The more I listen to Rubio the more I actually like him.  I that think Rubio sometimes makes sense. He also has a legitimate shot especially if Carson or Trump fall apart.

As for Jeb Bush, it seems the end is near. This article that I have linked is a very interesting one because it breaks down the performance of Bush compared to the other candidates. Bush just couldn’t seem to gain any traction or talk time. Foreign policy was not Bush’s biggest fault in this debate. (They barely touched it) Chris Christie was another surprising candidate to me. Christie helped push Bush near the edge with his blast about fantasy football. Christie literally told him, “Look, who cares about fantasy football, if they want to play let them” I thought Christie along with Mike Huckabee also put on a strong performance. Huckabee has never been my favorite candidate. He’s a little too much into religion and pushing it on others. The problem is not that he is religious but that he is willing to criticize and tried to convert anyone who isn’t. Let’s face it, Huckabee, this country is moving away from not towards to god. Fewer people attend church every Sunday now than ever in the history of this country!

Before I move on to Rand Paul’s performance, I want to rant and rave about this fantasy football thing. I believe each candidate nailed it when they said government should not be involved. However, I do believe that unregulated gambling is above the law. These daily fantasy companies definitely stretch the rules. I don’t care if people want to gamble all their money away. The problem I have is that they might actually just be blind robbing people. I read articles that their commercials which are annoying as hell, fleece the regular person who would want to play. The word ‘fleece’ means trick in this case. They show these people who are actually professional gamblers that win millions. Its not right. At least portray the reality of the game. I think that regulation to make sure there is no false advertising and there is no insider advantage. Also stop playing so many damn annoying commercials!

Pheww.

Ok then, Rand Paul’s debate performance was lackluster because he got very little air time. It seems like my man Rand always the shaft on air time. Either way, when he did get a chance to talk, he made it count. He set some things straight about taxes, the fed, and healthcare. I love how everyone says Dr. Carson is sooooo fucking great. Bullshit. I’d take Rand Paul as my doctor any day of the week. Excuse my french. For one thing, I do like Rand’s tax plan as I have written in previous posts.  I think Rand is a dark horse candidate. Despite the media ignoring him, he is still doing well. Also unlike other candidates, Rand is a class act and polite. I think its going to take more than no media attention to kill his campaign. Give me any candidate against Rand and I’ll take Rand’s view on the issues 80 percent of the time. Vote Rand.

Now let’s turn our attention to the two clowns in front. Dr. Jykell and Mr. Hyde. Aka Dr. Carson and Mr. Trump. I thought they both underperformed. I feel like Trump’s punch lines have gotten old and stale. He has been saying the same things about the same issues. Its boring. I know that they have worked in the past. I would also place the blame on the moderators who literally asked him the stupidest questions (fittingly). While Trump struggles to find a new tune to scream, Dr. Carson just finds new ways to look like a novice. I just can’t get over Dr. Carson’s inability to explain his views on issues. I also feel like  he has no clue what he is talking about. Seriously. Especially with foreign policy, I rather have Jeb Bush. (Rand Paul over anyone else) There is a big part of me that wants to see both of these candidates get lost. They might be outsiders but I don’t think they can run it properly.

The only two people whom I didn’t mention is the Ohio governor John Kasich. I felt like he did a lot of talking. Unfortunately it was always the same thing. “I have a proven record and a plan to fix Washington.” (Repeat 7 times) OK Mr. Kaisch WE GET IT. ugh. We know that you did it in OHIO. If Ohio is so great then why can’t Lebron James fix the Cavs? Riddle me that. I digress. And Carly Fiorina. Carly seem to do okay. My opinion about her hasn’t changed. The moderators went after her HP experience. The only thing I do want to say is that if her and Hillary Clinton got in a fight, a big cat fight. I think my money is on Hillary. Clinton probably beats the shit out of Bill Clinton all the time. After all, Monica kinda made them look bad. hahahaha

To bring this post full circle, I am going to use a little sports analogy. With so many candidates in the Republican field the candidates have a distinct disadvantage. Hillary Clinton has it pretty easy as a frontrunner because other than Bernie Sanders there is no other legitimate threats. (Let’s face it, Bernie is hardly an enemy basically supporting Clinton in that debate) Meanwhile the Republicans face a longer and tougher road. In sports, usually better tested teams tend to win. However, the game is a little different. The problem that Republicans face is divided support at this moment. Meanwhile Hillary enjoys a strong lead with most of the support split between her and Bernie. If Republicans want to go for the victory, they will need to focus on maybe two candidates to push behind. The two strongest candidates both outside and establishment. The more voters behind the Republican nominee the better. The nomination is like a goal line stand, your just trying to punch in the touchdown. But you don’t want to use all your energy there, because the election is a marathon with the game going into overtime. Regardless of sports or politics, there is only one thing that matters, winning.

Thanks for reading!

Debates, Candidates and Polls

The third Republican Debate is coming soon on October 28th on CNBC. The amount of candidates still in the running will force a JV debate to occur once again. I came across a few interesting pieces on FiveThirtyEight. One of these highlights who might be in the JV debate or who may not make it. It seems that Lindsey Graham may not make it to the debate stage at all.

CANDIDATE CNBC’S POLL AVERAGE FOR THE DEBATE
Donald Trump 23.8%
Ben Carson 18.7
Carly Fiorina 9.5
Marco Rubio 9.3
Jeb Bush 8.3
Ted Cruz 7.2
Mike Huckabee 3.5
Chris Christie 3.2
John Kasich 3.2
Rand Paul 3.0
Rick Santorum 0.7
Bobby Jindal 0.5
George Pataki 0.3
Jim Gilmore 0.0
Lindsey Graham 0.0

These are the polling numbers as averaged by CNBC. The rules for this debate are that you need to have at least one percent in of the national polls.  Jim Gilmore and Lindsey Graham both have big zeros. I have never heard of Jim Gilmore. So who cares? However, Lindsey Graham seem to perform strong in the last debate.  So I am a little surprised that he might fall off the debate stage. (Not literally) I just want to comment on how interesting this chart actually is.  It shows a good rundown of each candidate is doing. Of course, Trump is leading with Carson trailing by about 5 points.  My horse (candidate) in the race is doing good old 3 percent. Typical for a libertarian conservative.  Unfortunately, the best candidates aren’t even close to the top. Moving on…

I found another interesting piece on fivethirtyeight call “Stop Comparing Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders”. I recommend reading it. The quick summary of it is that Trump will not have staying power or experience to win a republican nomination. Meanwhile, Sanders is a veteran of politics and has a better staff and more experience. They also point out that Trump is going up against a large field of candidates. Bernie only has one to two opponents, one being Hillary Clinton. If Joe Biden were to run then he would have two. It’s a really interesting narrative to look at despite the vast differences.

I think that the author, Nate Sliver is correct in saying that they should be compared. However, despite their huge differences in one-one political experience, they are microcosms of their respective parties. Let’s first take Bernie Sanders. Sanders is a self proclaimed Socialist. He votes democratic on nearly on bill. He is a Washington insider being a senator since 1991.  He has been in politics his whole life. The democratic offers much of the same with each candidate. If you look at Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden or even some of the other candidates they all have years of political experience. This is what the democratic party is basically brought to the election. Now contrast their candidate profiles against the profiles of the leading Republican candidates.  Donald Trump is a business man. Never run an election campaign. Trump has never been in politics. He is an outsider. The same could be said for second place Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina. All the candidates with political experience like Jeb, Cruz, Rubio, and Paul are all failing to get voter traction.

Of course, this a generalization of all candidates so its bound to have inaccuracies. But my point is that each party is aiming something different with the candidates put forward. It seems to me that typically the parties will go against in each other or in the opposite direction. Republicans want an outsider to win the Presidency. Democrats want an insider to win the Presidency. As a libertarian, I see that their both after the same thing, control. It doesn’t matter who becomes President from what party because either way its given that congress will be elected mostly in the opposite party.

I have talked about Congress and their ability to stop bills from making any progress. Congress also makes the government seemingly non-productive. People always wonder why President Obama turns to executive actions? Congress refuses to help him pass anything. So in a way I can’t blame Obama for using executive orders. (although I may disagree with the laws that are passed) I think that regardless of who wins this election, we should really look at congress. I can only hope that if an republican gets elected that their will be a republican controlled congress and vice versa. Otherwise I believe that things will continue to be as they are.

Let’s face the reality that comparing Sanders and Trump may be futile as many doubt they will get the nomination. Not to say that Sanders cannot overcome Clinton. Also not saying that Trump could gain staying power. Stranger things have happened in elections.

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I always look forward to these debates. I remember last election watching Obama and Mitt Romney debate. I thought it was the most intellectually entertaining event. Right now, I feel like the Republican debates are just a circus because of sheer number of candidates. So I’m hoping that maybe a few will drop out between now and next year. Its hard to make good predictions and comparisons with so many candidates. Its also hard to gauge who is doing good and bad. I found that with the dem debate it was easier to see who was doing well and who was falling on their face. Also a smaller number of candidates means more focus on issues. (With Republicans this is a shaky point)

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Looking to do a historical piece about an past election. Obviously it will require some research. So keep on the look out for it. I want to see if theres any historical precedent for this election. With 44 presidents there has been a lot of races. If you have any suggestions on what I should write then drop me a line gsmit006@plattsburgh.edu.

Thanks for Reading!!!!

Republican Debate: Round 2

The republican debate aired last night on CNN. The debate set records for viewership on CNN with 23 million tuning in to hear what the candidates had to say. One of those 23 million viewers was me. I watched the whole debate from 6pm to 11:30pm. It was quite a show. The early debate offer just a preview of what was to come.

I only want to touch two of four candidates in the first debate. Lindsey Graham and George Pataki. I thought both men had a good debate. Pataki was the more of a surprise. The formerly disgraced governor of New York seem to come out strong. He was able to bounce back the attacks from the likes of Santorum and Jindal. Pataki was also more moderate in views and was able to soften the hard political rhetoric. I thought that he performed well. Lindsey Graham was thought to have won the first debate. I will say that Graham was able to use humor to his advantage, making many good one liners. He was also very aggressive pushing his hawkish foreign policy plan to put boots on the ground to fight ISIS. I felt like his push for boots on ground might not be as well received as many think. I feel the American is going to hesitate to send in troops without a good cause. However, all the candidates in both debates strongly push the idea that Obama’s foreign policy has made the US weaker. The American people are definitely weary of another war. The test for Graham will be to show that his plan would actually work and be worth the cost. Overall, the first debate was entertaining and interesting with only 4 candidates.

The second debate had a long list of candidates. A quick google search of the republic debate will give you winners, losers, and analysis of every candidate! I took the liberty of writing down some quick notes about what went on during the debate. In order to keep this blog post from becoming very long  and boring, I want to just list the candidates names (not all of them) and then put a few short points about their performance in the debate. After this list, I want to highlight some themes and similarities across each candidate.

Donald Trump- Held strong despite personal attacks on his background and business failures, Was passive aggressive, calmer than the first debate, still wasn’t specific enough in his plans for immigration and leadership in foreign policy, would write off social security for himself.

Rand Paul- A few good rebuttals especially at Trump, Bush, Christie. Made some quietly good points, Wasn’t aggressive enough.

Carly Fiorina- Took on Trump, overcame personal attacks especially for business failures, articulated her views quite well.

Jeb Bush- Not aggressive enough, his family history was used against him in foreign policy, bashes Hillary Clinton about guns, admitted to smoking marijuana.

Chris Christie-Against marijuana legalization, bashes Hillary Clinton

Ben Carson- Went against Trump, not aggressive enough, didn’t make impact but also didn’t lose anything.

Marco Rubio- strong points on gun control: criminals ignore laws. Not aggressive enough.

Ted Cruz: Too quiet and not aggressive enough.

The overall themes of the debate were mainly on foreign policy, immigration, supreme court justices, economics and gun control. On foreign policy, almost all the candidates are for boots on the ground to stop ISIS. They all are against the Iran deal. They all want to stand up to Russia and Valdmir Putin. These ideals are all great for rhetoric but they are in reality much tougher. I’m skeptical that an American army intervention will stop ISIS. The Iran deal should be fine as long as we retain the ability to reapply sanctions. Standing up to Russia is a bit harder because Putin is not afraid to play hardball. Any candidate faces many problems around the world.

On the topic of immigration, the conversation centered on birthright citizenship and whether or not it should be repealed. This means changing the 14th amendment. If you aren’t familiar with process of repealing an amendment to the constitution his a brief rundown. First, the senate and house of representatives must both pass another amendment to repeal the 14th. Each house needs 2/3 vote. Then if it is passed the amendment goes to states. The state legislatures have pass the amendment. If 2/3 of the states vote for the amendment it passes.  If not, then it goes back to congress. I personally feel repealing the 14th amendment has little chance to work. Neither will a wall as Trump wants. The immigration issue could remedied by an in and out system to keep track of who is here and who is not. Some of candidates endorse this. The problem with immigration will be the costs of it.

On the topic of economics and taxes, the strongest candidate was Rand Paul. He gave some very concrete numbers and logic on the way to fix the economy. The other candidates like Trump and Fiorina were just talk. They probably don’t have the understanding that some of the other career politicians have of government budgets. This is not to say that Trump or Fiorina can’t manage. However, most candidates in line with Rand agree that some kind of flat tax is the best. I think they are on the right track but its more than just taxes that need to be cut.

On the topic of supreme court justices, the conversation circled around the reappointment of Justice John Roberts Jr. The controversy among republicans is that he kept Obamacare as law and repeal marriage laws for gay marriage. I thought Obamacare should have repealed. However, gay marriage was a good call. I think that any justice will have a mixed bag of good and bad decisions. I think it was a moot point because new appointments always come up.

On the topic of gun control, the candidates disagreed on how to do gun control. Marco Rubio made a really good point on gun laws. He basically said that criminals ignore gun laws just like any other law. I believe that Rubio made an excellent point. Despite his otherwise weak performance, he is right that criminals ignore laws. I strongly support more background checks and mental health evaluations. I  think that banning guns will not work because banning drugs hasn’t worked, people still use heroin and cocaine. So its purely logical.

My last takeaway from this debate is that President Barack Obama came out relatively untouched. The candidates were obviously skeptical of Obama’s moves as president.  The person who was attacked the most by far was Hillary Clinton. Trump was also attacked a lot but he was able to deflect it. Hillary got slammed for her foreign policy, social issues and corruption. I can’t say I was surprised to hear her bashed so hard. Hillary hasn’t yet offered response except trolling Trump for slamming Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish. 

This debate certain set some records in entertainment value. It has set up an interesting political fight for the republican nominee. I am looking forward to the democratic debate as I anticipate Trump and GOP bashing. I love debates and cannot wait for more to happen.

Thank you for reading! More on political fallout from the debate!