Thursday, September 18, 2008

"A Conservative for Obama" editorial: Don't hate tax cuts, hate spending increases!

Someone sent me a copy of an essay published in September in the Dallas city magazine, Big D, in which the former publisher of the conservative National Review says he's going to vote for Obama because he's less likely to get us into a war than McCain, and Obama also shows glimmers of useful pragmatism.

Good essay. He's right about the Republicans not being conservatives in any helpful sense any more - or for a long time. I am not confident that the Democrats are a whit better, but still... He's not promoting the Demos, he's promoting Obama, and he makes a good case.

However, I hate the misreading of the value and meaning of tax cuts -- first, we are not in debt because of the tax cuts -- the improvement in the economy since then generated more money for the government than projections had it earning before the cuts. Second, we are in debt because we are spending even more, if that is possible, than ever before - much, much more. Much of that on the war, but equally profligate in every other area Washington touches. There is simply no amount of tax money that will pay the bill when the politicians hold the credit cards. Just try asking a politician or a tax-eating special interest how much is enough? You'll never get a useful answer--because enough is all of it. There will never be enough money to satisfy them. Every increase in revenues is overmastered by a bigger increase in spending - whether in war or peace, in crisis or in flush times.

Third, if the economy is indeed staggering at this time, the worst thing on earth is to increase taxes -- not even on those awful, awful people, the "rich." JFK made this exact same argument while President, and then signed the largest tax cut since WWII - which was followed by the boom that helped define the economics of the 60s. The right thing to do, in reality, would be to cut marginal tax rates, especially where they will boost the economy most -- on the rich, on investment, on capital gains, on corporations. Yeah, I know -- all the devils of the modern world, what could I be thinking?

And then, of course, to cut government spending, which we should be doing even if revenues are up and even if we increase taxes. But we will never, in our lifetimes, have a budget of any level of government that goes down from one year to the next. Or even stays even. The most we can hope for is that a planned 20% increase will be held to, say a 12% increase -- whereupon we'll have to endure complaints that spending has been "slashed" 8% and how we are suffering!

Marlarky, baloney, bullshit. I weary of it.

But as he says, Obama is marginally less likely to invade someone, and might actually be a Kennedy type of character who would hesitate to kick the economy in the nuts, if he's really as "pragmatic" as this guy is hoping. We can all only hope.

McCain would be better, even with his lust for invasion, if only he were a real Republican conservative, who would cut taxes, reduce government impositions, reduce spending *somewhere, anywhere*, regulate less impulsively, and argue against government intervention in every aspect of human endeavor. But of course he's not a conservative in any of these areas, he's only, like all of his kind, a lifetime member of the Republican faction of the Politicians' Party.

So is Obama, though for a shorter lifetime, and so less embedded. A tiny flicker of nonpolitician hesitation would be a welcome relief at this point. Not to mention any little hope, however faint, that we won't try to play policeman or Superman to anyone outside our borders for the next four years.

But me, I'm voting Libertarian across the board. The heck with it. Maybe we'll get lucky and Obama will get the nod instead of McCain. But either way, I'm not voting for the Politician's Party this year either. Marginal variations in levels of oppression are welcome, but not worth my vote.


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