Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Here We Go Again

Well, we’ve hit the final furlong and, as a Mets fan, I ain’t talking baseball! We’ve entered the rundown for the Presidential, and just as importantly, the congressional elections.

I’ve been keeping my powder dry, partly because of the degeneration of the race into a money-grubbing disgrace, but also on account of the abject failure of Gov. Romney to come up with any credible economic platform. His old company, Bain Capital, wouldn’t give his national business plan a second look.

According to a friend none of that matters. She feels that this election will be settled on social matters – that women will think long and hard before handing over power to a party that’s being fueled by a misogynist Christian Right.

I wonder? Personally, I think that two numbers will decide the election – should the national average for gas remain under $4 a gallon and the Dow above 13,000, President Obama will be entertaining Malia’s high school boyfriends in the White House over the next four years.

Awful though it may seem, Americans have become somewhat inured to the 8% unemployment figure. Not that they’re being heartless but most are just plain relieved that they’re not on the bread line themselves.

If the unemployed were to feel that they would get a better deal under Gov. Romney, then the president would soon be updating his resume; but given some of his recent “victim” statements one gathers the Republican candidate is not a fan of unemployment insurance.

Gov. Romney talks about creating 12 million jobs. Where did he get the figure from – the 12 apostles? Might as well have said 47 million and given Black 47 the credit.

He’s obviously pulling figures from a hat – a common Republican economic practice ever since President Bush, in his wisdom, cut taxes while fighting two wars.

Now despite his bellicose tirades about Iran, Gov. Romney is hardly crazy enough to bomb the ayatollahs, yet he’s reciting the same old failed Bush economic cant – lower taxes and abolish regulations.

Oddly enough, over the last 25 years economic growth has closely followed tax increases, while there’s been a corresponding economic decline in the wake of tax cuts. Go figure!

Amazingly, bad as things have been, more private sector jobs have been created in the three plus years of the Obama regime than in either term of the George W. Bush administration. And yet we’re being asked to place our faith in Gov. Romney, a man who hails from the world of venture capitalism where the lure of profit usually trumps any thought of job creation.

As for his running mate, I wonder if he’s using a pseudonym? I’ve known many Ryans and, to a person, they all call it as they see it. The gentleman from Janesville, WI has no problem doing the calling, but is either not very good at arithmetic or is a born optimist.

He wishes to redraw income taxes into two brackets 25% and 10% and slash corporate taxes. This would, of course, knock the bottom out of government revenues; quite conveniently, he neglects to mention the spending cuts necessary to make up the shortfall.

The most obvious cut is the mortgage-interest deduction. Try explaining that to homeowners, not to mention that it could really put the boot into a housing market that is finally showing signs of revival. No wonder the Republican ticket tiptoes through the tulips whenever this sensitive subject is broached.

What else could be pared down? Defense, hell no! And have all those poor arms contractors go belly-up? It’s far more likely that infrastructure renewal, education, medical and scientific research would get a severe haircut; whereas investment in each of these sectors is far more likely to spur economic growth than tax cuts. So where does that leave us?

One could quote Democratic president, William Jefferson Clinton and complain of Gov. Romney’s grasp of basic arithmetic, but in the interests of bipartisanship, I defer to that most revered Republican president, Ronald Wilson Reagan, and instead declaim, “there you go again!”

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