Thursday, 3 November 2016

James Connolly forgive me - I'm voting conservative

            I’m voting conservative in this year’s presidential election.

            “What?” Says Yer Man up in Pearl River. “Where’s your James Connolly now?”

            I’m throwing in my lot with Hillary Clinton, even though I swore I’d never darken her door again after she voted to invade Iraq.

            Basically, Donald Trump scares the living daylights out of me. Now I won’t even get into his rooster ranting on the tape with Billy Bush. Anyone who has heard him on Howard Stern knows full well where he stands on such matters; besides, women are only dying to clean his clock on Nov. 8th.

            Mr. Trump claims there’s a media bias against him. Nothing could be further from the truth for he’s been given a free pass on his woeful economic and security policies this whole campaign. 

            I will say one thing for him – he does recognize that investing in infrastructure is vital for our changing economy. 

            If there’s one thing that the Great Recession has made clear – Keynesian economics works. When the economy stagnates it behooves the government to invest in it. Look at how quickly the US economy has recovered compared to the European model where austerity policies were favored.

            So is Mr. Trump a disciple of Keynes? Well, yes, in the sense that he believes in borrowing to promote growth – with the caveat that he prefers to renegotiate loans and has no problem in declaring bankruptcy.

            This would not be a prudent way to run the country, as was shown when the markets swooned on his suggestion that he would renegotiate federal loans; talk about delivering a Ringsend uppercut to US creditworthiness and the dollar.

            Worse still, he favors massive tax cuts that he claims would create a tidal wave of revenue. Bitter experience, however, suggests that this traditional Republican fiscal policy rarely works.

            No problem for Mr. Trump seeing that he doesn’t pay federal taxes anyway; but infrastructure spending plus massive tax cuts equals staggering deficits.

            Now it may seem that I often put undue emphasis on the health of financial markets, but collapsing stock prices are anathema to the many Americans dependent on 401(k) accounts for retirement. Be warned - the occasional time Mr. Trump’s poll numbers rise the markets correspondingly dive.

            Notwithstanding his threat of pitchfork revolution Wall Street does not fear reform under a Trump presidency; however it trembles at his general untrustworthiness and the likelihood that he might cause another “huge” recession.

            I share Wall Street’s pain – recessions are no fun.  So despite Iraq, emails and the hubris that swirls around the Clinton family I’m voting conservative. At least Mrs. Clinton is unlikely to declare bankruptcy and turn the US into another Atlantic City. 

            Let’s take a look at security, and making America great again. Is that code for invading other countries, blowing the hell out of their infrastructures, and then spending billions rebuilding – not to mention slaughtering and maiming their inhabitants?   
None of the last wars of choice have been successful. Raw power doesn’t do the trick any more, as was shown in Iraq where a $15 IED could blow up a $150K US Army Humvee. The world has become very complicated and interconnected; it has little tolerance for Mr. Trump’s bull in a china shop tactics.

            As for slapping tariffs on Mexico and China - be prepared for economic wars and the loss of millions of jobs. Also brace yourself for rising prices on imports that will lead to inflation, soaring interest rates, and another recession. Let’s not even revisit the ridiculous idea of a wall that Mexico will pay for.  

I suppose I should mention that Mr. Trump’s ongoing xenophobic and provocative statements have once again exposed the ugly seam of racism and know-nothing extremism that is only too willing to surface in times of national stress. 

But I’ve little doubt that once he has lost the election and his “brand” has suffered financially that a kinder, gentler Trump will re-emerge. Let’s hope his followers – many of whom have genuine grievances – will then see him for what he really is as the door slams behind him in his ivory New York tower.

            As for me, I’m voting conservative this year. I think the ghost of James Connolly will understand.

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