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May 26, 2011

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Romney appears to be the best choice, but the Republicans need to take a more centrist approach on the budget if they hope to win the Presidency. The Democrats seem unwilling to propose any meaningful budget cuts because it would upset some constituency group. The Republicans seem unable to accept any tax increases because it would upset the Tea Party. So, unless something changes we will enter the election cycle with the Democrats again running against Bush and engaging in class warfare. The argument will find friends in the press—Republicans only cut spending programs that help the poor and middle classes, while blocking tax increases on the wealthy class.
In my daydreams, Romney brokers a compromise Republican position that mirrors the Bowles/Simpson recommendation that the budget gap be resolved through a 2/3rds spending cut and a 1/3rd tax increase. This would be a serious effort to save our currency and economic health. Even if the Obama administration and Congressional Democrats reject the approach, many independent voters could be convinced that the Republicans made a serious effort to save the day. Even the New York Times would have to concede that the Democrats had not made a serious effort to fix the budget, whereas the Republics did (in fact, Democrats did not even propose a budget when they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House).
The charge that Romney has flip/flopped on a number of issues would not seem to be fatal. His success in governing Massachusetts and rescuing the Olympic Committee seem far more important. Name a politician who never changes his position and you will name one who lost his last election. Or, will the same critics also condemn Obama for troops remaining in Iraq and Afghanistan, for not closing Gitmo and prosecuting remaining terrorists in New York City courts, for being silent on card-check, or for other expectations raised during the last election? I think not. Those who would condemn Romney for this “reason” never would have supported him anyway.
In my nightmares, Republicans remain true to the mantra of no tax increases and serious economic problems surface before the next election. The media and Democratic Party rail against all Republican nominees. TV coverage on election eve briefly covers Republican concession speeches, wherein the candidates report purity on their pledge of no tax increases. So, we have elected a recast Congress that eagerly supports “tax adjustments for the rich” to support further expansion of entitlement and ”social justice” programs.

ONE DAY LATER----

And so here we go another slam to the markets, the unemployed and the nation as job creation falls to 38,000 from the expected 170,000. Construction spending up 1.4% in April is revised downward to .1%. While this is just one month's data it does show the vulnerablilty of the economy to continued "political fighting" between the parties. Once the campaigning starts and the politicians begin their games to try and gain leverage on each other American managers confidence wanes and they stop hiring. Consumers confidence wanes and they stop buying. And, America slows down. An even worse sign is that China is slowing and that is a sure sign that America is not buying. Right now we have the President campaigning at every opportunity. We have the Republicans trying to decide who will run and who will not. We have the battle raging over the deficit reduction plans. We have the battle over which party can scare the seniors more about medicare changes. And, behind the scenes we have the gang of 8 negotiating on a plan for debt reduction while Biden heads up negotiations to reduce the deficit promising spending cuts and refusing to rule out tax increases. Then we have a battle over the debt ceiling with people predicting default on our bills. We could be in for a long 18 month slide backwards.

Meanwhile, Hillary is back! Yesterday saying that the killing of a 14 year old boy by Syria is definitely not progress toward reform. What about the 1000 demonstrators who they have killed so far? Is that reform? Only 6 weeks ago Hillary was hailing Assad as the new reformist in the middle east. Assad? The guy who is Iran's buddy? Meanwhile, Quadaffi strolls into Tripoli and meets with African leaders to discuss a cease fire. Aren't we trying to kill that guy?

IT'S THE ECONOMY-----

If Romney or any other Republican hopeful is going to win the President's job then the focus must be clearly on the economy. Housing values, forever the basis for American's savings and weath creation, fell 4.2 % last quarter. Consider that along with the 9% unemployemnt, the rapidly rising cost of food, the payroll tax increases, the medical cost increases being laid on the backs of American businesses, the rising gas costs and you have a situation that is ripe for economic stagnation. Economic growth estimates by economists were revised down to 2.8% this month. This anemic performance may cost Obama his job.

HARRYCAT----Obama may have inherited a terrible financial situation when he took office but it was created by the push by Congress for a "house for everyone" among other factors. But, to casually blame it all on GWB when Dems had control of Congress is not credible. GWB inherited from Bill Clinton a sinking economy which triggered Congress to lower taxes. A few months later he "suffered" 9-11 and the impact that had not only on the economy but the need for incresed security costs as well as the war in Afghanistan. He also faced the psunami in Asia and the Hurricane in the South. Not exactly a "walk in the park" for GWB. Just to make matters worse he had to deal with all those Dems who sided with him on the war and then reversed two years later. It's time to work on solutions. Republican candidates need to focus on the economy or lose.

Lots of reading on the internet trying to not be influenced by ideological sites or reporting. The Economist gives a great outsiders view. Of course I bring my own biases, we all do.

Harry-Cat, What do you read and where do you get your information? I appreciate Bowen's depth of research and McCormick's business background. Other than things I can easily get from MSNBC or the New York Times, where do you get your information?

LisainSt.Louis

One of the problems left vs right dialog is a certain lack of intellectual honesty. My point, there should be no question that Obama was left with a horrible mess by the previous admin. That is just a fact. Two ongoing wars, huge budget deficit, and the worst recession since the Great Depression. Those are facts. Denying this is just dishonest. One may argue whether Obama has done a good job with the problems, but there should be no denying that it was (and is) a hell of a mess.

Herman Cain - He is far from mainstream. He advocates a national sales tax and abolition of most (all ?) other taxes including income tax and corporate taxes. He also advocates a return to the gold standard. Neither of these policies will get any traction in the near future. I understand the attraction, but I think he is the "new face of the day"

Romney - I expect he will be the nominee, but by default, not with any real enthusiasm. Even with the name recognition and all the money he still polls poorly in most geographical areas. I see his biggest problem with conservatives as having been an establish liberal while in MA and also his pandering to everyone at one time or another.

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