It’s the Economy, Stupid! Except it’s Not

Just two days until the final count for Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.  By most accounts, the race is too close to call.  By all accounts, the salvation or damnation of America rides on the outcome.  The list of Obama’s economics disasters mounts on the one side, while on the other side the specter of a Romney presidency is touted as a sell-out to foreign interests.

First of all, if we are going to talk about Romney’s promises to reduce trade deficits vs, Romney’s use of foreign outsourcing, we should remember a small but vary significant difference in the two.  As a business person, your number one goal is to use the laws as they stand to maximize profits for your company.  To do any less would be considered unethical, especially if you are beholden to shareholders.  As a president, on the other hand, your number one goal is to help shape laws that benefit your shareholders who are the citizen of the United States.  Therefore, you are beholden to a different set of people.  To say that Mitt Romney is going to favor China in trade policies because he outsourced to china in his business is about as incongruous as saying that Brett Favre the Viking wanted the Packers to win when he and the Vikings played them because that was his business record for 15 years.

When it comes to fixing the economy, the challenger has made promises, but there is no crystal ball to consult as to whether he can actually pull it off.  Much as some might think that Romney will be able to do whatever he wants to turn things around, the truth is the laws, with the exception of the executive orders, are written by congress.  Even if Romney were the greatest president since sliced bread ( spelled Reagan), the responsibility to fix our current mess rests in the hands of others–congress and courts.  Likewise, Obama may have been the catalyst for some awful fiscal policy decisions, but his was only the stamp of approval for congress run amok.

Whether Democratic or Republican, the congress of the last 30 years has been only too happy to politic away any semblance of fiscal or other responsibility in the name of garnering votes for the next election.  Both sides have had their chance to run things for two years with no presidential encumbrances, and neither side showed much of a real willingness to make the hard, but right, decisions.

Along has come the “Tea Party.”  It’s not really a party.  It’s just a groundswell of people who have finally had enough of bull**** as usual and are going to hold candidates’ feet to the fire.  The ignorant think of them as a radical wing of the Republican Party.  Therefore, they are marginalized as “lunatic fringe.”  However, the truth is that they are just ordinary people who have realized that both parties are failing this country, not just economically, but, more importantly, morally.  The fact that they usually vote Republican is more of an indictment of how fringe lunatic the Democratic Party has become, more than it is an endorsement of most of what passes for Republican.

Somehow, Democrats have convinced most of the media that lunatic fringe is the new normal, and that decent citizens are hatemongers, rednecks and prudes.  It didn’t hurt that their cohorts have practically taken over what passes for institutions of higher learning.  (Read Tenured Radicals and The Long March, by Roger Kimball, if my opinion isn’t “professional” enough for you.)  For decades, these crazies have been influencing the debate of morals and ethics in this country.  They have proven that, if you say a lie long enough, it begins to sound like truth.  And, unfortunately, they have cowed the once conservative Republican Party into believing that they can’t win with a true conservative candidate.  The Republican Party has become the scaredy-cat party.  They are afraid to really run on their principles.

The tide is finally turning.  Enough conservative ostriches finally realized that the whole head in the sand thing isn’t going to solve anything.  They began to become active.  They began to demand that people who say they are conservative had better be conservative–or else!  Or else, they would find normal citizens who would.  So, we see many instances of “Tea Party” candidates rising above all the ridicule and scorn heaped upon them by the “in-the-know” political elite and actually winning races!  But, the question one has to ask is whether this swing back to sanity in the election of public servants is a trend that will sweep the nation, or whether it will be too little too late.

The Republicans seem to have more hypocrites than the Democrats.  This is true for two reasons.  The first, as mentioned above, is because many Republicans are really Democrats when it matters.  The other reason is that, for the true Republicans, it’s harder to live up the the moral and ethical standards of their party.  If you are a Democratic, and your party sets really low standards, it’s almost impossible for you not to meet them.  It’s sort of like what we’ve done to the public school standards.  Instead of keeping the standards high and being able to mark out the exceptional students for positions of high trust,  we’ve just reset the standards lower, so that most can make the grade.  Then we have created a raft of mediocre jobs with important titles in which they can under-perform.

The country cannot be fixed in four years.  Obama said he could do it in three.  But that either makes him a liar or decidedly delusional.  (I vote for liar, but in the political promises rhetoric sort of liar way, like all good politicians do.)  In truth, Reagan, the last to really try, couldn’t do it in eight years.  I doubt he could have done it in 16, working with the congress he had.  During Clinton, we had one small surplus year.  The answer to that was to exponentially raise spending.  Yes, both parties have had their moments where they got along and the good of the country became a priority.  But, in this century, we have not even come close to anything of the sort.  But, again, although the problem is the economy, it really isn’t.

Today, anything old is considered outdated and useless.  This includes things like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the united States.  Ask a lawyer if he knows the Constitution.  Most would have to admit that they don’t.  After all, it is not studied much in law schools.  Those institutions are more concerned about tort law, because it’s all about the money.  Who cares about a free and fair society?  Consider that the majority of the people running our country are lawyers.  That means that most of the people running our country don’t even know what America really is.

In order to really fix this country, we have to take it back from the lawyers, and from the people who hold the puppet strings of the lawyers.  The International Bar Association is run by the World Bank.  That means that lawyers work first for an international monetary company, and last for American citizens.  Unless and until we replace all these people with people who will work for us, we are never going to see America prosper.

Even though study after study shows that a strong nuclear (that’s new-kle-are, Mr. Bush) family is the backbone of a great society, our political elite continue to feed us the horse crap that the Village Model is better. Why?  Although all evidence suggests that abortion kills a living, feeling human being, it still is sanctioned and even promoted.  Why?  Although historical evidence has always proven that creditor nations fare much better than debtor nations, our politicians continue to push us into the red.  Why?  What do we gain by “cultural diversity” vs. “the Three R’s”?  What have we gained besides slipping from top educated of all nations to sixteenth?

An unstable America is one that must rely on the teat of government.  Politicians aren’t stupid.  Most are corrupt, but they are not stupid.  Destabilizing the country gives them more power.  The best way to destabilize the country is to slowly cripple all of its stabilizing institutions.  Anyone who has been around since the 60’s and has paid any attention would know that this is precisely what they have done.  The America of today is one only in name.  Anyone who fears that the country might be in trouble is about 40 years behind reality.   (Actually, the seeds were planted in the late 1700’s.)

Will Mitt Romney actually help create twelve million new jobs in America?  I surely hope so.  But it won’t save America.  Will he lower spending and reduce the deficit?  I hope so.  But, even he were to balance the budget in his first year, it still won’t save the country.  (Would be a huge step in the right direction, though.)  If he were to fix all foreign policy problems, it would maybe make others like us more.  But it won’t save the country.  If he were to supercharge domestic energy production, it might really allow us to pay down the debt.  But it won’t save the country.

This is a country of, by and for the people.  It’s up to the people to fix the country.  It will be done, if it is done, at the state and local level.  It will require a major retooling of personal morality and ethics on the part of the majority of people.  It will require putting more stock in real production and less emphasis on the paper chase.  It will require a more realistic view of government employment as public service and not the brass ring.  It will require people who aren’t going to allow mediocrity and politics as usual, who aren’t going to be satisfied with the party hacks as candidates, who are willing to put themselves on the line for the good of their fellow constituents, win or lose be damned.

OK, America, go vote.  But don’t think that what happens on Tuesday is going to make or break America.  America is us.  We are already broken.  We need to fix ourselves.  That doesn’t take a lot of flag waving.  But it does take a love of your country.  Michael Jackson told us where to look for a change–in the mirror.

I say, God bless America.  And I pray for him to do that.  And I ask him to make me a better person, to give me the wisdom and strength to do for my fellow citizen and for my country.  I know that writing a few words and wearing a campaign button are not as important as what I do that day after the election, and all the days after that, to actually help.  I have my man, who I hope is the winner.  But it’s like watching  football on Sunday.  Yeah, it’s nice if my team wins.  But neither team is working for me.  All they do for me is distract me from reality and give something on which to spend my money.  What really counts in my life is what I’m doing on Monday.   In Rome, they called it “bread and circus”.  There isn’t much bread, so we are left with circus–football and politics.

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Filed under Economics/ Book Reviews, Law and Politics, Meditations

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