What I Learned by Not Watching Whitney

Last night's "Whitney" debut was disappointing, though she's still hot...I didn't watch much of it.


But the Republican debate, which I turned to instead, was as fascinating, even mesmerizing, as ever, and I learned a good deal from watching it.  I learned that we should do away with the federal Dept. of Education, that Washington has no business being involved in educating our children, and that if the feds are going to send money to the states for that purpose, they should do it with no strings attached.  I learned that we can fence off every mile, every yard, every foot, and every inch of our border, although how we'll pay for that is beyond me, since Michelle Bachmann, who insisted we should build that impenetrable barrier, also said that anyone who works hard is entitled to keep every cent of his or her money and owes nothing at all to the government (I guess Ms. Bachmann will have to take up donations from now on to pay her own congressional salary, having ruled out taxes on principle).  I learned--though, really, I already knew this--that Barack Obama doesn't understand America, doesn't understand what makes us great, doesn't know how the economy works or how jobs are created.  It's a shame that Obama didn't have the instructive and character-building experience of pulling himself up by his own bootstraps, the way, for example, Mitt Romney did.  Mitt had to overcome being born into wealth, the son of the former head of GM and the former governor of Michigan; he had to overcome his family's business and political connections in order to make it the American way--on his own, with no help from anyone (and certainly not from the government).  Obama, on the other hand, was coddled and promoted by affirmative action programs, which treatment therefore taints his every "accomplishment".


What else did I learn?  I learned that we want to put our national government in the hands of people who don't like government and don't think it works.  Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, bragged about how many times he wielded the gubernatorial veto, and promised to do the same as President: "Elect me," in other words, "and I'll make sure nothing gets done." 

Ron Paul jumped on that same bandwagon (in fairness, Mr. Paul started the bandwagon in the first place); because, of course, government governs best that governs least, so no government at all would be the best government of all--although one could argue, against Governor Johnson, that exercising executive veto power is in fact a form of governing, and often overrides clear legislative majorities, thus being a form of one-man rule.  That's not an unpopular option for these candidates, apparently, since many of them emphasized that "on Day One" of their putative Presidencies, they'll be issuing executive orders, repealing existing legislation, and going around turning off the lights in all sorts of federal agencies--Day One promises to be busy, but at least it won't be cluttered with or hindered by any democratic process; it'll just be our new Leader imposing his or her will on the rest of us (isn't that why we'll elect him or her?).


In any case, Governor Johnson is going to present the nation with a balanced budget in 2013, by cutting back all federal spending, including the military, 43%.  The great thing about such cutbacks is that they won't affect anyone's services or benefits, and they won't put anyone out of work--because if you work for the government, you're not really "working" like regular Americans, and losing your "job" isn't something regular Americans should worry about.  In fact, you could eliminate the entire federal government tomorrow, and all those people currently working for it would--well, I don't know what they would do, or what we would do with them; I just know it doesn't matter, because we want to get government off our backs.  We should also note that the various government agencies, being reduced 43%, will also be ordering fewer things from suppliers (everything from office supplies to furniture to computers to whatever), which might impact the economy somewhat adversely--but hey, as Ron Paul would say, that's the price of freedom.


I learned, of course, that Ronald Reagan was a saint, a genius, and the greatest man ever to grace the Oval Office.  I also learned not to mention his signing of an abortion-rights bill in California, or his accumulating of deficits every year of his Presidency, or his tax hikes to offset his tax cuts, or his payroll tax increase to (temporarily) restore Social Security's long-term solvency.

Those things are not what earned him sainthood, and shall therefore not be spoken of.


Finally, I learned last night (or re-learned) that it's class warfare to suggest higher taxes for the wealthiest people in the nation, but not to attack unions (especially  public employees) and to suggest cutting their wages, benefits, and bargaining power.  I learned that the only revenue problem we have is that poor folks aren't paying their fare share (and damn it, there's more and more of them every day).  I learned that we should institute a flat tax, a consumption tax, a 9% tax across the board (income, sales, corporate), and that we should eliminate taxes on capital gains and dividends, and maybe eliminate the corporate tax, too, which would create 10 million jobs right away or my name isn't Gary Johnson.  I learned that Republicans believe that it's the rich people who made this country great, and that we have to be nicer to those people if we expect them to allow any of their wealth to trickle down to the rest of us--to the ordinary folks, the ones who don't count for so much because we don't have as much money.  And I learned that actual facts, empirical evidence, proven economic (or, for that matter, scientific) theories, and basic logic don't matter if you're running for President: it's all talking points, sound bytes, stick to your script, God bless America, and who looks the most  "Presidential".


I must have missed, by the way, the questions about Troy Davis and about capital punishment; it would have been good to hear these anti-government folks defend government's infallible capacity to determine who lives and who dies.


For what it's worth: there is, for anyone who's interested, an actual debate to be had in this country, and, with over 9% unemployment and little chance of improvement any time soon, it would be an extremely relevant one.  The debate is this: do we prosper, as a nation, when we allow wealth to accumulate at the top, leaving the rest of us to wait on the largesse of the "job creators," or do we prosper when wealth is more evenly distributed and the working class has some political and economic clout?  In other words, should we focus on the ordinary working person and devise our policies (tax and job creating) accordingly, or should we continue the trends of the last 30 (post-Reagan) years in which corporations have thrived and the rich have gotten unbelievably richer while wages and wealth have stagnated for about 80-90% of Americans and good jobs (or, for that matter, jobs of any kind) have become increasingly rare?  The results of that trend to date are not encouraging, unless you're one of the fortunate few (like, say, Mitt Romney).  We should at least talk about it.  Right now, only one side of the argument is being heard on Republican debate stages. 


The folks participating in those debates would  like you to believe that our current economic morass is the creation and sole responsibility of Barack Hussein Obama, and that his (unspecified) policies have ruined the nation; they don't want you to see today's economy as the predictable outcome of three decades of Republican supply-side trickle-down policies--nope, they'll insist, things were fine until Obama took office and did all those (unspecified) socialist things.  The fact that taxes are lower now than when Obama took office isn't mentioned; no, he's a "tax and spend" socialist.  The fact that much of the original stimulus (which did in fact create jobs, GOP mythology to the contrary notwithstanding) was actually tax reduction, and that more than half of his new jobs bill is tax reduction and tax credits, isn't mentioned.  The fact that "Obamacare" wouldn't have delayed Herman Cain's treatment for cancer, because it doesn't create any government board to make such decisions, isn't mentioned; the fact that "bureaucrats" are already involved in medical decision-making--bureaucrats from private, for-profit insurance companies--isn't mentioned, or the fact that many people are denied treatment and/or coverage every single day by those same private sector bureacrats...


It wears me out.  Yep: let's have that debate, and let's try to bring some facts to the table.

Uploaded 09/23/2011
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