Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Choice

With the selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, Mitt Romney has defined himself and the race. The question is no longer "Who can best manage the economy?", it is now "What direction do we want for government?" The answer to this will determine how the economy is managed as well as a host of other issues.

President Obama is a proponent of big government. He sees government as a mediating factor in every aspect of life. This is explicitly shown in the web site "The life of Julia" as well in his general outlook. The government's job is to equalize outcomes. People should not have to be poor and should not be allowed to be rich. Two years ago he said,
"I want to be clear, we're not trying to push financial reform because we begrudge success that's fairly earned.  I mean, I do think at a certain point you've made enough money."

Obama sees government as superior to business. In his 20s he felt like an enemy agent when working for a company that provided investment advice. He also passes moral judgement on businesses and entire industries. During the BP oil spill, he was reluctant to contact the head of BP directly. He explained it this way:

I have not spoken to him directly – and here's the reason: because my experience is when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO, he's going to say all the right things to me. I'm not interested in words, I'm interested in action.  And we are communicating to him every single day, exactly what we expect of him and what we expect of that administration.

He thinks nothing of calling bank and investment officials "fat cats".

Obama believes that the government should pick winners and losers. Many times he personally picks the losers as he did in the GM bankruptcy. Unions were the winners with a controlling stake in the company and assured pensions. Salaried workers for the subsidiary Delphi lost their pensions.

Obama is willing to sacrifice economic growth for increased fairness. He has also stated his willingness to raise taxes on the rich, even if they would reduce less revenue.

Obama has flirted with determining individual outcomes. He supports legislation that would eliminate pay differences between genders even though that would mean having the government setting all wages.

Obama believes in expanding presidential powers. He rewrote immigration law by executive order. His EPA has increased its authority over coal-fired power plants and auto mileage. His Department of Health and Human Resources notified states that they could ask for waivers on the Welfare work requirement even though that section of the law was written to preclude waivers. He has engaged in wars in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula without Congressional approval.

Obama picks and chooses targets for drone warfare - the ultimate in picking and choosing. His drone strikes have been free of collateral damage because his state department defined terrorists as anyone within the blast radius of a missile strike.

Romney is harder to define since we only have his promises to go on. He is for smaller, limited government. He is in favor of flattening the tax rate which would bring it down to levels comparable to the Reagan years. He believes that the government should not pick and choose winners. He was against the GM bailout, believing that a traditional bankruptcy would result is a stronger GM.

Where Obama avoids talking about looming crises with Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, Romney has proposals for long-term fixes.

Under Romney, you will not have as much government assistance. It is up to the individual to succeed or fail. Romney's goal is growth of the economy in general in the hopes that it would help everyone.

As governor of Massachusetts Romney tackled a deficit without raising taxes. He did this through a combination of cuts and minor increases in fees.

Romney has said little about his foreign policy goals. Hopefully he will back away from the drone wars that are making the US hated among the Arab world. The main goals that he has expressed have involved closer ties to traditional allies.

Romney's America is a continuation of the current one. Obama's is a transformation into a European social democracy. Pick your sides. 

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