Tag Archives: 2012

Mitt Romney

The Coveted Scoliotic Polyglot Endorsement

This will be something of a long one, but I have arrived at a conclusion that must be shared with the world. Or at least with Facebook and Goose.

From a libertarian position, both the president and his (main) challenger believe in a myriad of policies with which no sane person should ever agree, ranging from protectionism to prohibitionism to the executive’s warmaking powers to extrajudicial killing by executive order, but when they stop agreeing about how wonderful all the foreign and domestic blood and gore is and actually disagree on something, Romney is usually right.

I have thought this for some time, but what prompts my public declaration is the left’s blather over a lack of detail in Romney’s tax plan. Dearest reader, public finance is not all that difficult to understand. If a suggestion is made that tax rates be lowered and that tax deductions be eliminated to make tax reform revenue neutral, you don’t ask for further “details.” Those are the details. The rich are taxed at X%. They actually pay closer to Y% because of deductions. Change the tax rate to Y% and disallow them from having any deductions. Tax rates are now lowered without lowering revenues by a bill that could be written in one paragraph. Quid erat demonstratum.

You cannot debate with such people, and I will go so far as to say that I am entitled not to be governed by them.

The only potential hitch is that a deduction phaseout would need to be implemented after a certain threshold of deductions is reached if it is decided to keep the existing structure for the bottom 90% of the country, but that’s a high school math exercise once the powers that be finally reveal to us what the definition is of this “middle class” of which we hear so often, such that we know which threshold to use.

The more sophisticated critique has focused on the supposed mathematical impossibility of crafting a revenue-neutral tax reform bill with Romney’s numbers. Romney would lower tax rates further than Democrats argue he can balance with cuts to deductions, but their analysis is based on the conceit that marginal tax rates don’t affect income earned. Present income is merely multiplied by the proposed tax rate, and the product comes out too low, they say. But cutting tax rates while eliminating deductions is a textbook example of a tax reform that will increase taxable income. For the long reason, see here: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2012/10/romney_tax_cuts.html . For the short reason: A high burden of tax makes you poorer. A poorer person has to work harder to recoup income the government takes from him. Thus he wants to work more and take less leisure time. This is called the income effect. But a high tax rate means that an hour’s work produces less after-tax money than it used to, making work less valuable relative to leisure time. Thus he wants to work less and take more leisure time. This is called the substitution effect. It’s debatable to what extent these two forces cancel each other out in a tax raise or tax cut designed to change the burden of taxation. But a tax cut designed to cut tax rates and leave tax burden alone only increases the value of work relative to leisure. Thus more people will choose work over leisure, revenues will be significantly higher than would have been expected using a static tax analysis, and any revenue neutral tax reform proposition must lower tax rates significantly below the level which static-taxers require if their math is to add up.

Thus we get to the heart of the matter. I’ve been following tax reform proposals from the wonks on the right of the debate for years, and I fully expect that Paul Ryan of all people in Washington has been doing the same. Tax reform has always been premised on the idea that deductions are indefensible and must be eliminated. They masquerade as tax cuts which are supposedly good for the economy – indeed, Obama has run on his claim to have cut taxes for nearly everyone in the country, by which he means he’s created or maintained all these deductions – but they harm us dearly because they consist of a revenue-negative income effect which does nothing to actually soften the revenue negative-substitution effect caused by the high tax rates from which the deductions are in the first place deducted. If Ryan knows this it seems obvious that the Republicans’ plans to reform the tax structure began with the goal of eliminating deductions as an end in itself, but wanting to pass a plan that would be in all other ways outcome-neutral, proposed lower tax rates which would not modify the actually dollar amount paid in to the government after accounting for a stronger economy once the deadweight of deductions is cut away. But the left is perpetually deluded by visions of class warfare, and compulsively accuses its opponents not merely of being wrong, but evil, for disagreeing with it. Thus a fairly mundane tax reform proposal based on mainstream economic thought is, like so many similar proposals in the past, being recast as merely an attempt to lower the taxes* of the richest in society, as if that, and not a century of fairly well accepted public finance, were the driving force behind all but social-democratic tax proposals. You cannot debate with such people, and I will go so far as to say that I am entitled not to be governed by them.

Thus, I throw my endorsement once again behind Not Obama.

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*Can we dispense with imprecise language like this? Taxation can be measured in at least four separate ways: the percentage of one’s dollar taken, the proportion of one’s income one is left with after taxation (these are different, and if you yet do not see how, I have failed you as a writer), the quantity of one’s dollars taken, and the percentage of government revenues provided from one’s income percentile. These four indicators seldom all move in the same direction under a given policy, which means every politician can (dis)honestly claim to have cut taxes, or claim his opponent has raised them. Bush could just as legitimately have claimed he raised taxes on the 1%** because both dollars raised and percentage of revenue paid by the top 1% rose to all time highs under his presidency.

**We need to dispense with imprecise language like this too, but that is a matter for an entirely different piece.

disagreement

A Chat with GooseRadio’s 2nd Favorite Democrat

Is it still possible to disagree with someone on public policy & not assault them and attempt to steal their spleen??? We find out on the very newest GooseRadio Podcast. Tim Hiatt joins us to speak of Reagan, Obama & the GOP 2012 contenders. Who, from his perspective has a chance to unseat the President? Entertainment, information, and a general sense of well being awaits you! Click play below…

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T-Paw Retreats afore Mittens — Debate Analysis w/ Goose

If Tim Pawlenty was trying to position himself as the dude who wasn’t Mitt Romney, well that was not a great night for Tim. T-Paw’s refusal to mix it up, or lock eyes with Old Mitt is discussed. Michelle did very well… but which of the GOP hopefuls didn’t? And what does it all mean?! Listen below…

2012pile

Who’s on Top of the GOP 2012 Pile?

As Pelosi, Reid, and Obama brace for the defeat that is rapidly approaching in the November mid-terms, minds can’t help but stray a bit further down the road. Conservatives will make many gains in less than 2 months – barring an epic national mood swing – but what are their odds of wresting away the Oval Office from the Libs in ’12? There’s no question that a whole lot depends on who they put forward to oppose the bringer of hope and change. And who will that creature be??? As of today, here are the top 5 prospects…

#5 – “Fig Newton” Gingrich

All good lists need 5 people, so Newt gets to hang out. The former speaker of the house and architect of the 1994 Republican revival has long been making the rounds as a political prognosticator, speaker, and author. But his comments recently that he’s again considering a Presidential run have garnered the obligatory buzz about his chances.

His public statements have recently been taking on more of a barbed nature. He opined that the President has a “Kenyan, Anti-Colonialist” view on life! Epic! I actually think that’s a perspective with no small amount of merit, but an interesting one coming from Gingrich – who at times tries to be the public face of calm moderation in the GOP.

There’s a tremendous amount of good will for what the man has accomplished and the good ideas he continues to have, but for Gingrich to gain the nod would require epic stumbles from the frontrunners in the opinion of this fowl.

#4 – “The Huckster” Huckabee

The Huck has continued to steadily make more Americans aware of his folksy existence since his loss in 2008. Along with his weekend variety show on FoxNews, he’s also taken up Paul Harvey’s old radio musing slot. Not only that, he’s now doing another weekday tv variety show that the Fox parent network is testing in select markets.

While Huckabee continues to enjoy enormous goodwill in much of the party, there’s a good bit of suspicion that he’s happy with his budding media career and won’t make a run. If he does decide to wade into the grandeur of the contest, he would have a strong base in Iowa after his 1st place finish last time. However, a Palin run would prove the most prickly for the Huck. The Social Conservatives in the GOP are the strongest base of both their support – and if each ran the resulting split may just make things much easier for Mittens or the Mittens-alternative.

#3 – “T-Paw” Pawlenty

The Minnesota Governor still isn’t well known outside of the Great White North, but he’s been by far the most relentless in festooning his person upon the early voters in Iowa in New Hampshire. He’s aggressively endorsing statewide candidates across the fruited plain, and has a pretty swell web presence after the hope & change model.

Pawlenty has an interesting personal story – something about being lifted from poverty by the great game of hockey, Sam’s Club, and a pseudo-Mullet. He’s also gaining some important friends in high places within the party. He’s also done a bang-up job as his state’s chief executive – compiling a very nice record on budget battles and social issues. If enough Republican big-whigs come to the belief that Romney should not be the man – Pawlenty may well be positioned to become what ParaSalin would call ‘The Establishment’s’ choice.

#2 – “ParaSalin” Palin

Mom to the newest cast member of Dancing with The Stars – ParaSalin remains the most talked about woman in the Western World. Her recent exploits include a spat with the Governator, the creation of Christine O’Donnell, and lots and lots of endorsements and FoxNews appearances.

She continues to display the innate ability to galvanize a large segment of the Right in a way that no one else on this list can. We simply identify with her apparently. She can draw a crowd like no other, and she can certainly stick to her message. But her judgment, her perceived lack of policy know-how, and her circus-like personal life haven’t changed a smidgen.

The woman is like a carnival ride at the fair. You have absolutely no idea where you’re going or if you’ll survive, but the experience is unforgettable. She’ll never be President, but that may not stop her supporters from seeing her nominated.

#1 – “Mittens” Romney

The Rom-Bot has an enormous early (insanely early, to be sure) lead in New Hampshire polling, and has been spending an awful lot of time there of late. He’s steadily at or near the top of opinion polling nationally on who the GOP wants in 2012. Lately, he’s running around to 25 states in a matter of weeks to endorse everyone within site.

Romney has emerged as the sensible choice – with his economic background seemingly a perfect fit to the times. But will a ‘sensible’ choice be able to garner enough support in a party where seemingly every conventional wisdom on who should win and who should lose has been turned on its head? Will Tea Party activists be able to reconcile a vote for Romney with his healthcare plan and his Mormon faith?

He’s got challenges aplenty, but Mittens still has the most plausible path to being the top dog in 2012.

Photo credits – Angrywhitedude.com

The Palin Video – What People Are Missing

So Sarah Palin’s been in the news.

And what distinguishes this from any other week in the past 2 years?!

Well this week it’s epic youtube video footage! A video of her confronting an Alaskan who’s created a banner making fun of the former Governor. Hubbub has been generated. First, you’ve gotta watch this thing. If it is nothing else, it is entertaining…

The lion’s share of chatter about these moving pictures is over the look that Palin gives her daughter (the hooded female who notes that Alaska’s loss of her mother has now become America’s gain) after she learns the angsty woman’s profession. Admittedly, not a tremendous moment for Palin. If the look is meant to express something to the effect of, ‘Teacher’s unions are usually super liberal and I’m not surprised a member of one wouldn’t care for me…’ then that’s pretty legit. Unfortunately, not the best way to express it… on moving pictures… on the interwebs. Though it does appear this particularly filming experience was somewhat unconventional – note the strange dance that Todd Palin and the large looking bald gentleman undertake in an apparent effort to discourage the camera operator.

I actually think the more damaging moment is earlier in the video. The teacher’s beef is that Palin resigned as governor before her term expired… that she quit on Alaska. Palin attempts to blunt the woman’s attack by saying she is now free to fight. Then she notes this fighting is so other Conservatives can get elected to public office. Then this chain events will lead to our constitution being protected and our military being maintained to promote freedom o’er the globe.

Whahawahawaha?! On the one hand she dismisses the importance of holding her public office, but her reasoning for doing so is to elect others to public offices? And then we somehow make a leap towards the protection of our constitution and our troops overseas?! This is just not a logical or good bit of reasoning on the gov’s part.

To be fair!… It’s very possible this woman with the sign in the cold is also a super liberal who ideologically is predisposed to dislike the Alaskan who has become the rallying point for the Tea Parties. The motive for this is probably deeper than just the quitting. But this is the most obvious line of attack that any Republican opponent would have against Palin in a potential 2012 primary.

If an angry voter in Alaska can reduce Palin to this startlingly weak response on her biggest vulnerability, what could Mitt Romney do in a debate in New Hampshire?

Well, T-Paw is Running for President

Just in case there was any question, Minnesota’s soon to be former governor intends to seek the GOP nod for President in 2012. This first campaign commercial of our next soiree into the Presidential selection festival was put forward by Tim Pawlenty’s camp this week…

Although Pawlenty’s PAC, Freedom First, is theoretically in existence to help advance the causes of GOP hopefuls in 2010 races – one can’t help but notice this collection of moving pictures focuses almost entirely on the merits of Tim Pawlenty. The message of a candidate Pawlenty seems to be that the governor is a humble everyman who can carry the banner of Conservatism to the regular folks.

It’s hard to dislike the guy. Word is that he once sported a mullet. In this sort of phony war between the potential GOP Presidential candidates, T-Paw is emerging as my leading 2nd choice. If I can’t have Mitt, I’d definitely take T-Paw.

Newton? Is that you?!

Newt Gingrich Is Still Alive?

Newton Leroy Gingrich has returned from the grave. Recently, he’s been appearing on the moving picture box and telling people he’s thinking about running for president. Well – he’s telling folks that he’s thinking about possibly thinking about running for President. But not until after November, you understand.

The former Speaker of the US House and frequent foil of one WJ Clinton, hasn’t been fully deceased of course. He’s continued popping up frequently on FoxNews and as a columnist on the interwebs. But as an active participant in politics? Old Newt hasn’t held elected office since 1999, when he stepped down as speaker in the wake of some unfriendly headlines and a sort of mini-coup from fellow Republicans. That’s over 11 years since he’s been in the game. The man’s been churning out books and good ideas, sure – but now he wants to be President? The prospect of Newton being the GOP nominee does not tantalize me.

Newt’s done some tremendous things for Conservatism. His brainchild, the Contract with America, swept Republicans into power in 1994 and forcibly brought Bill Clinton’s presidency to the center. However, the man also had quite a bit of difficulty in the scandal department, which had a hand in his exit from active politics. Those difficulties would come back to haunt him if he was attempting to lead the party of family values in a general election against Barack Obama.

The distance from now to the age in which Newt made his mark is an issue for me as well. I don’t think we need a fresh faced puppy as our nominee by any means, but Gingrich is a bit dated. Newt was a fixture of the age of Clinton. This is the age of Obama. Recycling a 2008 hopeful is one thing, but recycling a speaker of the house who announced his retirement 12 years ago doesn’t seem like a winning strategy to me.

Catching up with the Huckster

Of late, many of the intelligent folks were dismissing the Presidential possibilities of one Mike Huckabee. After the tragic incident in recent months involving a criminal he pardoned as Governor of Arkansas, it was thought that pardon problems would be a pickle in primary season. But even more than that, one just didn’t get the sense that the Huckster was interested in running again. He has national tv and radio gigs now, and he just seems to be enjoying the heck out of himself.

But this past week is raising some eyebrows to the effect that old Mike might still have a hankering for the nation’s top job. A fascinating and lengthy profile of the ex-Arkansanian Governor appeared in the New Yorker. Then Huckabee cracked a drug joke at the expense of Parah Salin…

‘Is Palin inhalin?’! Gotta be one of the more humorous things said in recent memory.

But the most interesting of all these potential signs of a Huck-return came on Sunday, when Huckabee appeared with Chris Wallace on Foxnews Sunday. Skip to about 5 minutes in on this video and watch what the Huckster says about a potential run.


It is indeed too soon to tell if Huckabee will make a second effort at the White House. But it sure looks more likely than it did just a couple months ago.

Starpower Alone Does Not a President Make

TWG Update

Reflections on the opening salvos of Sarah Palin’s reintroduction party. Bill O’Reilly last evening called her the only Republican in the land with ‘star power’. I go ape on that analysis, particularly where he was going with it. Also discussed is the governor’s intereview Wednesday evening with Sean Hannity and why so many of the conservative talkers-in-chief are investing themselves in Palin.

Sarah Palin resigns as Governor