I am an independent voter; fiscally conservative, somewhat moderate even libertarian in other matters. I am sickened by the daily displays of excesses in ideological behavior, the presumptive power of the Internet, Social Media, and especially cable news. We have become an angry nation, lacking compassion, basic critical thinking skills, and cannot digest even the most basic ideas of how our spoiled, selfish selves, uber consumers and international moral authorities, have dominated the landscape for too many recent generations.
I am weary of my own holier than thou pronouncements and critiques of people in office who perhaps are no better than they can or even should be. I mean who the hell can Noam look up to in this day and age -- surely not Barack Obama and our sons and daughters with their seemingly endless series of "wants" be it in modern technology or off the wall priced sneakers, worship where they are directed toward by their parents, music and sports heroes, and so....
Where the hell do you you begin? I have been wrestling with this in my own life for several years and have gone through the recognition of inner false pride, hypocrisy, anger, and so much more. I am not out of the woods, but I think I can see through a glass darkly a lot better than before.
This is really a long prelude to reluctantly endorse Barack Obama in November. I do this for several reasons but the most compelling set of reasons come from some analysis performed by Steven Rattner , a skilled economist and former member of the Treasury Department.
Rattner has presented compelling evidence to indicate that Obama, while seriously flawed, is less so than his opponent. I literally had to employ the notion of Hobson's Choice here; you may remember this as being a choice you make when there is no real alternative. Hobson, a former horse dealer I believe, would simplify the choice mechanism by telling his clientele that each would get the next available horse.
Given the fact that neither candidate meets the one credible criteria, the extraordinary Simpson-Bowles Report, I take the next best alternative, Obama.
Why? It is relatively simple if you accept my logic up to this point. Rattner has done a comprehensive analysis of how each candidate would meet the fiscal realities we face now and in the future. Actually Romney has two rather diaphonous plans; his I suppose and Paul Ryan's and while Ryan's is much more specific and grounded, it is lacking any notion of the shifting paradigm we face.... meaning that the world is essentially under global management assault, our entitlement programs are through the roof, there is little understanding of the dynamics of the 2012 work force and job markets.
The issues involving "small government" and let the states decide is really a form of ignorance and even a political Ponzi scheme. You cannot play fast and loose with matters such as substituting state vouchers, for example, for Medicaid. It opens up the probability of migration from tough states such as Texas to more accommodating states such as Massachusetts. That is not a good thing and here is where you will surely see some Supreme Court action around the Interstate Commerce Clause.
Simpson-Bowles was ignored by Obama and the Congress. Obama wanted a form of state controlled government without taking into account our evolved economic and social history and Romney and his advisors want to resurrect their version of Supply Side Economics which flat out cannot and even did not work during the salad days of the Reagan years.
Reagan was a transformational president, but had his limits economically. But, he was honest and direct and the times were so dynamic, he could be seen as he was during a pre-global economic period. Unfortunately he had the world's most ideological musclehead, a man called Grover Norquist who has weaved a web around the critical thinking abilities of thousands of politicians who signed his stupid pledge of "no new taxes."
The trouble begins there. Here is why Obama is the better choice.
1. he has a economic plan that, while imperfect, stands up better on revenue than Romney 1 or 2.
2. He must, literally must embrace Simpson-Bowles if he is ever to get his arms around the dynamics of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. He will
3. the GOP inevitably snatches defeat from the jaws of victory and are doing it again. If they would have forced a rapprochment with Obama, put his feet to the fire on Obamacare and other matters, forgot their literally betrayal oath to Norquist and bargained for a ratio of direct costs savings to any revenue producing tax increases, they would have won the day.... of course a more attractive candidate would have ensured that.
The Norquist no tax pledge is predicated upon liberal excesses. If more money is available it will be spent in ways that increase the national debt. Alas that has been the case.
The Simpson-Bowlses initiative recognizes via specific business plan strategies controlling Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, other traditionally large expenses while STILL protecting the least privileged among us and producing a revised tax plan and structure to deal with the growing effects of a global marketplace.
We need to also recognize that right sizing not down sizing government is the ultimate answer. Like it or not, we will NOT ever be the same. Government is one of the major employers and must continue to be so. There are many efficiencies we can employ, but we will never revert to days of being a low cost manufacturer. That belongs elsewhere in the world. And, this nonsense about "insourcing and outsourcing" is a sign of the times. Obama presiding over a country that was waist high in outsourced positions. What is he going to do, reverse the trend and inflate costs here? So he is full of donkey dust on this and Romney is too much of an elitist to recognize his damning lack of compassion for his fellow citizens.
You are part of the problem as well. Take what happens in our City. You allow B.S. to be spewed every time you passively hear the administration talk. You don't press on basic matters as you should and you seem very accepting of campaign donations, absence of the rule of law (City Charter) on roles, relationships and responsibilities.
But critics are not any better and that includes me. Someone will carp about the lack of parking and fail to count the number of automobiles or energy efficiency of each vehicle. We give free rides to many enablers on our blogging. I rarely read about Marc Jerome/Monroe, or Ralph Debart/BID, to mention two significant players in the City.
Cox provides a forum and this does not mean he has to initiate the conversation. We do.
Ok, this posting will likely amount to even fewer than my historical average in the 250-350 range, but I offer it for what it is worth.
I am going to work closely with Killoran to make some things less ugly and I am going to press forward with the notion that the City needs to change, to adopt new ways of doing things to conform to a radically changing political, economic and social universe.
I have a hell of a lot of growing to do even at this late stage in my life. There are some damn good people holding office on both sides of the aisle. I am staring at the face of Jim Maisano as I complete this long entry and I can see the impact that the gentle but strong Ivar Hyden has already made in the City. We need lots of that, less posers, divisiveness and a sense of being a single city.
Noam 325 years of gracing this good earth is coming up. You have all of the intellectual and I think, albeit somewhat latent, compassionate talent and will, to make this City unified. Do it and your legacy is secured.