Saturday, September 08, 2012

Romney for President

With the kind of commentary in the last post it is not hard to discover where I would come down in this election.  But there are some caveats.

First and foremost, I am not altogether happy with his stand on immigration issues.  Ultimately, I believe if we are to live up to ideals of this nation we need to deal with a better long lasting solution to immigration.   From my perspective many of the proposals that the President tried to implement in his executive order could form the beginning of a long term solution.  But this is, after all, a country of immigrants and we should respect and appreciate their potential contributions.

Second, while I am appalled by the current president's record on deficits I recognize that the problem of deficits did not spring up during the last four years.  Indeed, almost a third of our $16 trillion problem came about during the eight years proceeding Obama's tenure.   That being said, what worries me most about the current setting is that the President has created in three and a half years about what the last president created in eight - and it should be said that all of their predecessors created in a bit more than 200 years.  Nonsense out of sources as diverse as Forbes and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities have tried to make the case that Obama, after a first year of whee has been tightfisted.   That is baloney.

Why then would I support Romney?  First, as opposed to his opponent he has deep and wide experience as a chief executive in both the private and public sectors.   His work at Bain, no matter how much the opponent's campaigns try to run it down was strong.   He did create jobs and in many cases save jobs that would have been lost.  From all accounts he was an ethical manager of private equity.   Obama lacks that background and more importantly has not shown a propensity to learn about how to do the job he was hired for in 2008.  Being a president is not about grand statements; it is about making choices.

Second, the Romney-Ryan plan, although lacking in some important specifics, is far superior to anything that the Administration has proposed.  The Obama people talk about deficit reduction but have little to show us in terms of concrete results.

Third, the candidate's proposals for tax reform are substantive and despite some doubts by those who engage in static revenue analysis - where it is supposed that taxpayers will react in only one direction - offers the best hope for reducing the complexity of the tax code while protecting equity.    The President has used high income taxpayers as a whipping boy - both to whip up his crowd and score points just outside of his groupies.  But ultimately, there are two facts that President Obama fails to grasp.  The highest income taxpayers have the widest range of discretion in when to bear tax burden and how much to pay.   At the same the President seems to believe that the highest income taxpayers are a permanent class - when most of the data suggests that that top 1% are highly volatile.

Fourth, Obama has overreached in a number of areas - he seems to either misunderstand or ignore that our government is intentionally based on the principles of division and separation of powers.  It amuses me that some of the most ardent yammerers about the "imperial presidency" in other eras are so silent now.   The video above parodies the ugly truth that this guy actually does not believe in the give and take of politics.  He claims that the GOP did not play nicely with him, or that Senator McConnell or several other GOP leaders vowed to try to make him a one term president.   Well, duh.   That is what the opposition does.   Did Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi try to help out George W. Bush?    Ultimately the best presidents know how to work in the give and take of politics.  But even if the other side is not playing nicely, it does not excuse the President in trying to figure out how to work with the opposition. This president did nothing in that direction.

Fifth, there is the continuing problem on the employment front.  Yesterday's jobs numbers were disappointing - no terrible.   Ultimately, job creation will begin when we back away from the current regulatory over-reach and when the tax system has some greater certainty.  Romney has a plan for both areas.  The President's plan to this point seems to want to simply tax the rich.  Employers are not creating new jobs because there is no incentive to do so.   Government should get out of the way - and with Obama, they will not.   Furthermore, we will continue to see government bureaucrats trying to pick winners (Cash for Clunkers, the many non-traditional energy producers - to name just two).   As Larry Summers once said (one of the few places where I agree with this windbag) "government is a lousy venture capitalist."

Finally, there is the over-reach of the administrative state.  The Bush administration people were not pikers in creating new and silly regulatory schemes.  But they look like amateurs when compared to the current administration.   There is an almost universal assumption that government is better than the private sector and that the federal government is better than the states.

As I suggested in the earlier post - did the President come in in tough times - sure.   But an incomplete is simply not enough.

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