Monday, December 20, 2010

Put Social Programs in the Hands of Private Institutions

Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. -- Frederic Bastiat, French Economist (1801-1850)


A recent New York Times column by Richard Thaler, professor of economics and behavioral science at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, Mr., Thaler makes a case for reducing the tax benefits for charitable donations, or, more suitably, changing the way we give tax benefits to people who donate money to charitable institutions and causes. Link to article - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/business/economy/19view.html?ref=business


Mr. Thaler makes some good points. He lists three principles to help “guide the debate.” Without reprinting everything he stated (link to his column is available below) I will note in summation his arguments - that any person donating to charitable organizations should be allowed the same tax benefit by implementing a tax credit system instead of using deductions (high income people receive a better tax deduction because they are in a higher tax bracket), limiting the tax-benefitted amount to above a certain minimum, such as 2% of AGI in order to require good record keeping and reduce the small-time cheating and resultant IRS nightmare, and keeping the tax credit rate low to prevent large “distortions,” which I take to mean keeping people from donating overly large amounts. As noted above, Mr. Thaler is not only a professor of economics, he is a behavioral scientist as well, and he has obviously thought this out. His article is worth reading.


There is, however, one issue I take exception with; that we should lessen the overall tax benefit, encouraging smaller total donations for the purpose of tax savings. It is my view that any money we can put into private hands (charitable entities) and take out of the public coffers is an excellent tradeoff. I would recommend to some degree just the opposite of Thaler’s suggestion; that we increase the amount of charitable giving through increased tax benefits (government subsidies as Mr. Thaler refers to them) but then lessen the amount the government spends on social welfare programs.


This would accomplish a number of sound, efficient objectives. One would be greatly increased implementation of social programs by charitable institutions such as religious entities and public interest groups, which would use the money far more efficiently than government workers. Private groups are more frugal about their expenditures, not giving money to people they know are faking or over-estimating need, and would be better about demanding effort out of those who are capable. In many cases the money would be spent in efficient food programs, such as those run by Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco. It is harder to pull the proverbial wool over the eyes of your pastor or an administrator of a private group than a government worker (highly paid government worker at that) who usually doesn’t really care. Fraud in the distribution of social program benefits such as welfare and food stamps is rampant, and the government knows about this but is seemingly powerless to stop it.


While it is hard to calculate for certain how much money would be saved through the increased efficiency, I believe private entities could do a better job than the government with less than half the money. By stripping the federal budget by 80%-90% of it’s social program expenditures and reducing revenues by the amount of the increased tax breaks to individuals, there would be a gain in net revenue for the government and a gain in the quality and scope of services to needy individuals.


It is certainly reasonable to expect that fraud will (and does) find it’s way into privately-run programs as well. However, it would probably be easier for the government to detect fraud by auditing private entities than it is to prevent fraud in their own operations.


As Mr. Thaler suggests, a debate on this issue could be beneficial, and his suggestion on issuing tax credits is a good one. However, I think one of the most effective principles for a “guideline” in the debate would be find ways to increase the incentive as opposed to a decrease. As a behavioral scientist, I am sure he would see the merit of this approach.


Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com





Political Humor for a Happy Holiday Season

Life is serious business. But if you can’t laugh your way through, it isn’t worth going through the serious stuff. Me, 2010.


Just a little right-wing holiday humor. If you have similar humor, right or left-wing, send it to me, and I will send another posting to include it. Please, nothing personal and no name calling.


My wife is making gravy for our turkey on Christmas.

She asks, “Would you please go to the store and get me four turkey wings for the gravy?” I asked her if she wanted left wings or right wings.

“Why does it make a difference?” she queries.

“Well, left wings may very well taste better, but right wings will work better.”

We decided to get three right wings and throw one left wing in for the heck of it.

____________________________


When you travel to Granny’s for Christmas this year, drive on the right side of the road. The left side may be more exciting, but you are less likely to reach your destination.

_____________________________


When you are watching the football on the tube, cheer for the team moving the ball from left to right on your screen. Especially if you don’t like football. It’ll give you something to cheer about and keep your mind occupied so you don’t fall asleep from eating all that food.

__________________________


This is fun, but only do this on Christmas.


Pretend you are a liberal. You can dream all day about how things are going to be wonderful, all 300M+ people in the country are going to be wealthy, every team is going to win the super bowl, and you can eat anything you want without getting sick or fat. It’s much more fun than being a conservative.


Another great thing about this is that you can talk politics with anyone if they are doing the same thing and there won’t be any arguments. (By the way, this only works by everyone being liberal because anyone can act like a liberal; all you have to do is say nice things. It doesn’t work the other way as liberals have a hard time acting like a conservative because they don’t understand how reality actually works, so they can't talk the talk.) Warning - only do this on Christmas, when you aren’t working or doing anything important. As soon as you must get back to the real world, you need to come back to your senses.


And if you tell any of your friends about this fun exercise, make sure you check in with them on the 26th, because saying nice, wishful things is fun and can get addictive, but they have to come back to reality as well.

_________________________


Put the food that is good for you on the right side of the plate where it is closer to the fork in hand. That way, it will be easier to eat what you should eat on the right, and when you get through the tough stuff, you can eat the fun stuff on the left.


Correspondingly, the food on the left is in proper position for being left overs if you don’t get to it. Left overs are hot and aromatic on the original presentation, but the next day they are cold and imbalanced, and the presentation doesn’t look so good anymore.


Actually, some left overs can be quite good. But, unfortunately, they usually have run out of gravy. If you are sneaking out to the kitchen late Christmas night it will be really good, because, remember, you are still thinking like a liberal and you can pretend it is whatever you want it to be.


Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com

Friday, December 17, 2010

Monet Parham (McDonald’s Wimp) is an Unfit Mother

A government big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have. -- Thomas Jefferson


Only in California. A Sacramento woman has sued McDonald’s over happy meals. It seems she has no control over her kids and, in true liberal fashion, wants the government (courts) to control her kids for her.


I lifted this from an opinion piece by Walter Olson in the NY Daily News: “...a consumer group has sued McDonald’s demanding that it take the toys out of its Happy Meals. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group, claims it violates California law for the hamburger chain to make its meals too appealing to kids, thus launching them on a lifelong course to overeating and other health horrors. It’s representing an allegedly typical mother of two from Sacramento name Monet Parham." A Link to the complete on-line article is below.


First, let’s get this out of the way. It turns out she is an advocate for “healthy” food - regional program manager on the state of California payroll for child nutrition matters. (As a resident of California, it is embarrassing that Monet is employed by us.) If that’s her true motivation behind this, I will back off of my claim she is an unfit mother, in which case she is just an idiot trying to help other parents become unfit. However, if she actually means the statements in the lawsuit, then my charge stands. Assuming she wouldn’t lie about her claims, I will continue.


As you may know, McDonald’s offers it’s happy meals with a toy, obviously to win favor with kids and grandmas. (Some grandmas who don’t eat much like to get the happy meal so they can give the toy to their favorite people.) The happy meal typically contains a burger or chicken bits, french fries, and a soda. However, you can make a choice to get apple slices instead of fries, and milk instead of soda.


Ms. Parham, it seems, can’t say no to her kids when they want a McDonald’s happy meal. And when she relents (probably immediately as it appears her will power is somewhat less than what Darwin would have declared necessary for human survival) she says only if they get apple slices and milk. Then they squawk so much that she again relents and lets them have the full-blown nutritional nightmare. It’s not fair she has to say “No,” and she wants McDonald’s to make it so she doesn’t have to.


Poor Monet, she has a tough road in front of her. She is going to face a lot more ‘No” moments in her roll as a mother, and she better get a grip now. If this is any indication of her motherly abilities she will make a wreck of her kids. In the future when her then 15-year old daughter announces she is going to New York for spring break with a 45-yr old suspected child rapist, she won’t be able to say no.


Monet, listen up. If you are so willing to give up such simple parenting control to the government now, you may ultimately have to give the government permanent control. If your kids don’t pay attention to you and know they can get their way simply by squawking, you are toast. You are the parent - act like one. Stay on your current course and you will be lucky not lose your kids to prison or worse. That’s where a lot of kids go whose parents don’t exercise control early on.


I’ll stick my neck out here, but I’m not too worried. I’ve got $40 that says Monet and her lead attorney are registered Democrats - liberal ones at that. This is typical of progressives that want the government to control everything we can and cannot do.


It is not likely this lawsuit will prevail, even in California, and Mr. Olson notes they may be doing this for publicity as much as anything else. In my view, this is a clear case of a frivolous lawsuit, and I hope McDonald's pursues it as such. If Micky D’s wants to set up a legal defense fund on this and to pursue retribution, I will send in my donation in a heartbeat. This nonsense is destructive, distracting from issues that matter, and, like women who cry rape falsely, it deafens the cry from those who are telling the truth. It makes us numb, and weakens us.


And for those of you who feel it is so stupid as to bear no attention, keep in mind there was a time when you could paint your house any color you wanted.




Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Is Anyone Really Surprised by Obama?

A rose is still a rose by any other name. Shakespeare - sort of.


I hate to say “I told you so.” But I did. So did lots of other people. So why is anyone surprised about the policies and skill of our current president?


I understand why the left is upset. He isn’t as much a lefty as they had hoped. In reality, of course, he is. But he got his first lesson in being an executive when he got a dose of reality and had to compromise with the Republicans to stop the tax increases. Did he learn from that lesson? We’ll see. But the hard core lefties didn’t get the picture, and they are still confused. And as far as his executive abilities to carry out his policies? Typical of lefties, a good dreamer is who they follow, not someone with appropriate skill and ability. To that end, I am glad his executive skills are poor.


Anyway, some right wingers and most of the independents and moderates seem surprised that Obama has turned out to be such an unskilled and contrarian president. How could they be? Not only were all the indications there, but many people pointed out the signs, sent internet links of proof to everyone they knew, and screamed at the top of their lungs.


Okay, McCain ran a weak campaign and many people were upset with George. So I guess the voters had to play ostrich and bury their heads in the sand. After all, they were going to vote against Republicans anyway, so they talked themselves into believing in the most seriously flawed candidate ever put forward by the Democratic party. (Okay, maybe Carter was as bad. I guess to find out we will have to see how much Obama makes a fool of himself after he is out of office. It will be hard to top Carter.)


So, even if it understandable why people voted for Obama, I still don’t understand how they can be surprised by his presidency to date.


First of all, let’s examine his political leanings. Liberal? Ha! The man is far more than a liberal. It doesn’t take a mind reader to know that he would like to redistribute our income as completely as possible. He really doesn’t care about how well the economy performs, or exactly how well people live. All he cares about is that we all live the same. Regardless whether someone works fifteen hours per day for their whole life or parties his way through his youth and is in and out of the ranks of the unemployed, he believes they should all get the same medical treatment, and if he had his way, would probably require all pensions be the same. The inheritance tax would be 100%.


As mentioned in one of my previous postings, I believe Obama does not like America at it’s core. He dislikes the system that allows people to succeed or fail and be rewarded accordingly based on their own merit. Whether he believes the system is corrupt or thinks all men should have been created equal and wants to compensate for nature’s inequities, I don’t know. But he clearly does not like what America has been to date - Michelle’s comments included.


So what were the hints that were ignored? Let’s see, where do we start.


How about Bill Ayers. Confessed 60’s murderer and terrorist. Anti-American then, anti-American now. (Oh, that’s right. Ayers was just some guy who lived down the street)


Then there is Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Obama’s anti-American, hatred-spewing pastor for 20 years. (Obama sat in Wright’s church for 20 years, had dinner at his house, and was married to Michelle by him, yet didn’t know what he was preaching).


And, of course, Obama’s books, his continual references to the unfair treatment his mother got from insurance companies, his statements that wealthy people can afford to pay a “little more” in taxes.


Or my favorite, his interview with Charles Gibson. "Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.” When Gibson responded that lowering the tax rate can increase revenues to the government, Obama replied "Well, that might happen, or it might not. It depends on what's happening on Wall Street and how business is going..." Again indicating he didn't care about the actual revenues received, only the principle of fairness. It’s the old adage “With Conservatives in control, there is a big difference in how well the poor people and the wealthy people live. With Liberals in control, everyone lives poorly.” But it is fair!


Foreign policy? Did anyone listen to his speech in Germany before he was elected? Was there any doubt how he viewed America and the world? He would reach out a kind hand and negotiate with people who don’t negotiate?


And he certainly promised to throw money down a rat hole on economically stupid concepts like job-killing “green” programs he promised in the middle of a huge economic recession. Oh, sorry - he did create a lot of jobs in China.


But the most glaring clue was when he said he would “fundamentally change” America. Read that again - Fundamentally Change America. One would have to assume that if he were going to change America, he would do it along the lines of what he talked about and promised. In my view, he has done his best to live up to what he promised the American people.


As far as his executive abilities, we didn’t know whether or not he had the moxie to be pres. Sure, he was a college professor, lawyer, community organizer, state senator and a US Senator. But none of those positions required executive ability. And, he never really accomplished anything notable while in those positions (except his books) because all he had to do was talk and pontificate. He simply had no experience at executive functions. The office of the President of the US is as much a job of crisis management as anything else. I know this is scoffed at by the left, but the fact remains - on paper he had less executive experience than Sarah Palin, and most people thought she was not qualified. How, then, could they think this guy was qualified? Baffling to say the least. I guess this explains why Obama appears so puzzled that his approval rating is low. He told everyone what he intended to do, and now they are upset when he did it.


I’m not just jumping on the bandwagon now. I wondered all along why the Dems were so stupid as to not run Hillary. Don’t get me wrong - I am not a fan of Hillary. She is still too left-leaning. But I don’t think anyone would doubt her capabilities, and she is certainly an American in spirit. In my opinion, had the Dems selected her as their candidate, she would have won, and the Democratic party would not be in such a mess today. She understands politics, not just running for office.


Understand I am not complaining, as some positive things have come out of his winning the presidency; mainly the upsurge in conservatism that has swept the country. And most importantly, the education and understanding of what conservatism actually is. It appears that most Americans are actually conservative in their political beliefs, but didn’t know it. Now they know. Additionally, the backlash has been so strong that the silent majority has finally awoken, and is speaking out, despite the left’s tendency to call them racists or other irrelevant names. They don’t want “fundamental change.” They like America and what it stands for. And political correctness, while still alive, is taking a beating. If this continues, we may actually preserve the greatness of this country for a few more generations.


Next time you hear a politician say they want to fundamentally change the country, ask yourself how, and ask your self whether he or she has the executive ability to carry it out. Read the signs. Then you won’t be surprised


Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Profile - Or Grab the Junk

To ignore the obvious is, well, dumb.


I’m bored to death with the news, hearing over and over again about some poor traveler who had to go through a pat down or a body scan.


Not that I don’t empathize with them. I’m not real keen on someone grabbing my “junk,” and it wouldn’t be hard to convince me that going through the scanner a bunch of times isn’t good for you. But, hey - it’s worth it to me to have a higher level of confidence that I won’t arrive on the runway of my destination as dust blowing in the wind because some joker wanted a shot at a bunch of virgins and blew himself up upon landing. I’ll be dust soon enough, but I want to see the Cubs win the world series first.


Anyway, I’m complaining about the complainers when my wife says, “Well, if you’re so smart, what would you do?”


“Why don’t we let people who will subject themselves to the searches to fly on one airline, and those who won’t can fly a different one? Funny, I bet the complaints will stop, and everyone will decide to fly the airline that requires the searches,” I answered.


Ignoring my sarcastic remark, she says “Complain if you must, but how will you get them to change the rules if no one complains?”


“Change them how?” I replied. “You want them to let anyone on? I know - just make them promise they won’t hurt anybody? Yeah, that’ll work!”


“No, dummy,” she says. “They need to do like Israel and profile the passengers. Israel has the safest airline around. Let’s just do what Israel does.”


I answered it would never be allowed here because we think racial profiling is a bad thing, regardless of the consequences. But then I got to thinking. This is different. This isn’t like police stopping someone on the freeway because of their race, aka driving while black. Or what the Feds are assuming will happen in Arizona with the immigration law hullabaloo. No, this is different.


Understand that all rights in our governing documents aren’t necessarily guaranteed, i.e., the old example that you cannot yell “Fire” in a crowded theater, even if you are claiming self expression. The courts are clear; while they will go to long, long lengths to keep our rights intact (as they should), they will bend the guarantees if the situation merits it. So, let’s look at this particular situation.


First, when we are flying, we usually do not have a choice - we have to fly. Driving to New York from San Francisco and taking a boat to Europe makes for a long trip. No two-week vacation here.


Second, national and international commerce depends on reasonably priced and efficient air travel. Today one Al Qaeda group released a statement claiming they were going to modify their procedures to do more small things, notably with air travel, to kaput our economy. Under current screening procedures they may be able to make some hay in doing that. Above all else, we need cost-efficient methods of making our airlines as safe as possible.


Third, in most situations where racial profiling is not allowed, there isn’t a large group of people having their rights usurped by forbidding it. In our airline security situation, while profiling will result in a violation of rights for the profiled group, it will result in a far larger number of people keeping their rights of privacy intact, not to mention the minor issue of their lives.


And last - but very important; whether the Administration wants to admit it or not, we are at war. And it might be a long one. In any war, there are certain actions taken that might not be taken in times of peace. Would anyone fault troops taking a good look into a suspicious vehicle in the streets of Baghdad or Kabul? What makes it suspicious? Would it be unreasonable to be more careful with someone wanting to gain access to a military camp in Afghanistan who is Arab as opposed to an obvious American?


By the way, there is no danger of this turning into a situation like what happened to Japanese Americans in World War Two.


To attempt compensation, I see no reason why the TSA can’t make it easy for “profiled” people to go through an expedited process, so the irritation of the extra requirement and embarrassment at least has an up side. Not to make light of the ill feeling that people get who have to go through this, but I bet some people would prefer to go through the expedited system in order to get through security quicker.


Obviously, at this time, the main group of profiled people would be Arab Muslim males between the ages of 18 and 40. The parameters may expand, or at some time in the future, they may change completely, in which case our security agencies should have the ability to change with them.


And, in the same sense that Muslims will tell you there were innocent Muslim males killed on 911 in the attacks on the World Trade Center, there will be innocent Muslim males who will survive and benefit from a more efficient profiling system of security.


In this piece, I am truly sorry if I offend anyone. When I take aim at liberals for what I deem are their skewed viewpoints, it is fair because they have the choice of coming to their senses, or fighting back, or whatever, and I stand behind my statements. It is unfair that the mere fact someone is an Arab Muslim male (and usually innocent) should make them subject to this differential treatment. If they are well-intentioned, however, they shouldn’t mind the inconvenience. Only those with bombs should be angry.


In these times, reality needs to be a part of the decision-making process. Reality dictates we do this. And as you go through airport security, stay focused on who did this to us and who is responsible in the first place.


Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com


Monday, November 15, 2010

Robinson is Wrong - The Progressive Brand is Clear

“Just when you think you have the answers, they change the questions.” Variation on an original quote from Rowdy Roddy Piper.


In an October 10, 2010 article from New Republic, Sarah Robinson, senior fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future, argues that progressives are at an electoral disadvantage with conservatives because they don’t have a well-known brand. Methinks she just doesn’t understand what her own brand is.


Ms. Robinson cites three main reasons for not having a brand in the way that conservatives do. One is the old argument that Republican candidates have deep-pocketed corporate donors. Next she states Republicans have used the same old war cry of lower taxes, less government, etc., so the public knows what they represent, therefore it doesn’t demand much time or money to explain conservative views. Finally, she declares Republicans don’t need training on how to run a campaign or speak their views because she says they are in some way trained at the outset, essentially to follow the party line, so they know automatically what to do. She calls all of this “party branding.”


First, of course, I have to comment on her assertions. One, the Democrats are frequently better-funded than Republicans. Most liberals don’t want to count funding from unions and lawyers as deep-pocket contributors who demand a return from their donation investment. I call reason number one a draw.


She is essentially correct about her second point, that Republicans have a firm grip on what they believe in, and therefore they don’t have a tough time figuring out how to explain their views. One aside on this point however - the public likes new arguments. They get tired of the same old arguments over and over, no matter how correct they are. I would argue Republicans need new ways to argue their points so they sound fresh, instead of tired.


And finally, she implies conservatives are automatons; that we attend some sort of de facto training. Huh? What is she talking about on that one? Has she not been paying attention to the tea party and other discontents on the right side of the isle?


Anyway, she thinks progressives have no such branding, which puts them at a distinct disadvantage. As a result, she believes Democrats have to “brand” themselves.


Sounds plausible. Unfortunately, she is exactly wrong - progressives do have a brand. A very distinct brand. It is in the word - progressive. It means that they can’t stay stagnant, they need change, status quo is not okay, regardless as to whether the status quo is good or not.


In her article she states (unbelievably) “Talking about policies and programs doesn't do it: progressives (have) always been at our best when we speak from a place of strong moral authority, rooted deeply in a daring vision of the kind of world we'd like to create. If we can't envision that world clearly in our own minds, we certainly can't describe it with conviction to other people.” In my view this is spot-on. The amazing thing is that she actually nailed it so well, and yet still does not understand how ridiculous this viewpoint is. If you have the time, read her statement again - it is truly remarkable.


When we look at her words we get an accurate, concise statement of exactly what the progressive “brand” is. Consistent with Ms. Robinson’s statement, progressives paint themselves as


  1. Speaking from a place of strong moral authority (self -designated authority);
  2. A daring vision of the world they want to create that they can’t describe; and
  3. No policies or programs to speak of.


If as she says, they are at their best when they espouse these policies, no wonder they are a mess! I read this as meaning they think they know what is best for everyone even if they can’t articulate it, and they have a daring vision of the world floating by the deep abscesses of their minds which they can’t put their finger on. That scares the hell out of the rest of us. Remember Nancy Pelosi? “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.” In other words, because of our high moral authority we can just dive into “daring” health care even if we don’t know what is waiting there for us.


Correspondingly, I have more than once had liberal friends say they agree Obamacare has serious flaws, but they deem it a starting point, as though government will improve it as time goes by. Even though history has shown that to be extremely unlikely, they still believe. They are willing to go to the “daring” world of government-run health care even if they don’t have a clue as to what will happen.


Sarah, I would submit the reason you can’t pin down or describe the vision in your mind of the world you want to create is because you are not actually moving towards something as opposed to moving away. It is obvious you don’t like the injustices of the world, but all you can do is flail away aimlessly at the symptoms because there are no perfect cures - a fact you refuse to accept. You do not like exceptionalism because it proves differences in the skill and ability of individuals; superiority of one individual or group over another.


So, Ms. Robinson, I respectfully submit progressives have, in fact, done an accurate job of branding themselves. That you can’t see it further illustrates the problem with the brand, not that the brand doesn’t exist. With that in mind, maybe I can help you. If you want to formally designate the progressive brand, it should be this-


“We hate the world and those people who do well within it, and will have none of it. Stick with us, and we will somehow figure out how to make it perfect. We don’t have any specifics at this time, but put your trust in us and all will be grand. We will tear down everything and everyone that is doing well, and when the dust settles, we are convinced that something good will pop up.”


I want to thank you for making exactly what you stand for so clear. Hopefully I have reciprocated by helping clear up some of the confusion in your own mind.


Click the link below to read Sarah Robinson’s article in full.


http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/78278/building-the-progressive-brand



Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Imagine...What if Kerry Had Been Elected?

"If "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, wouldn't it be a Merry Christmas?" - Don Meredith


The 2004 presidential election featuring George Bush and John Kerry was close. Kerry won 59.03 million votes, or 48.3 percent of the popular vote; Bush won 62.04 mil, and Bush won the electoral vote. It wasn’t as close as the Fiasco in Florida in 2000, in which Gore won the popular vote by approx 500,000 votes and lost in the electoral college, but it was close.


I was thinking back.....what if Kerry had won? I imagine we could do this ad nauseam with all elections. But in close elections, it is more of an “almost,” and because of the significance of the economic times we are in, especially interesting.


Fair or not, the president in power gets the credit and blame for what is transpiring. In general, the economy is the most important thing, but not the sole issue. Analyzing just the economy portion of this imaginary tale, it is hard to imagine Kerry would have done anything to change the flow of events that led us to the economic mess we were in during the 2008 campaign season. Dems would say like to say they would have immediately added regulations that would have prevented the meltdown, but that’s highly unlikely, especially since they blocked attempts from the Bush administration to reign in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is more likely Kerry would have focused his attention on the Iraq War and the polar ice cap. With the economy humming along, all would have gone down as it did.


Thus, in 2006 when the Dems took control of the House and the Senate, and if Kerry had won, the Dems would have been in full charge and had full accountability. Guess who would have gotten the blame in 2008?


Not that it would have been completely the Dems fault - no more than it was Bush’s fault. But they would have taken the heat from the American public. Republicans would have said “See, give the economy back to the Dems and in just two short years they crashed the car off a cliff. Don’t give them back the keys!” It is not unreasonable to believe the Republicans would have swept into office in a big way. We would have had - who - McCain? Doesn’t matter, it would have changed things. At the end of ’08 whether Kerry would have recognized the coming financial meltdown as Bush did or not, things would have been different. Would the Republicans have spent as much money? Probably not, but who knows.


Anyway, we would not have acquired Mr. Obama. It would certainly be possible for him to win in 2012 if the Republicans didn’t straighten things out, although by then he would have had four more years in the senate and be better known, which, I believe, would hurt his chances. And again, as is the case with American politics, the mid-term elections might have swung wildly back to the dems just as they did for the Republicans.


Going forward, if the economy remains the big issue the relevancy of all this will play out when we see who is in control if the big swings diminish and things start to settle down. If, however, the battle for control of the political ideology of the country becomes important, than the results of 2008 will, indeed, turn up huge in our country’s history. I believe the Tea Party would never have formed had not Obama, Pelosi, and Reid taken their merry ride. This radical trio helped spark the silent majority into action, which will probably have an effect on politics for a long time. Just what effect I don’t know.


If I had to guess at the time of this writing (and it is a guess), I would think Obama is a one-term president, and his policy making will be short lived. It is, however, still two years until we head to the polls again. Ultimately, economies always recover, so things may be better in two years. But good enough? Hard to say. If he goes to Pakistan and personally pulls Bin Laden out of a cave, his chances will increase.


As to whether the American public will embrace the decidedly socialistic tendencies of Mr. Obama, who knows. If things get really bad, they may. But Obama and his gang have brought the issues front and center to the average American people and they don’t like it. It is entirely possible that we will swing to the right for an extended period of time due to them.


Just imagine if Kerry had won. Socialism would probably not be a frequent “talking point” on the right-wing political commentary programs. Republicans would be fighting off criticism about the economy, and Hillary would be gearing up for 2012.


I would have bet on Hillary.


Mercer Tyson StraightThinker.com