Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Will Absolute Power Corrupt Democrats Absolutely?

Latest polls indicate Democrats are maintaining significant leads in the big ten battleground states such as Florida and Ohio, in addition to Michigan and Pennsylvania. While it is understandable after eight disastrous years of Bush-Cheney administration, it is ironic that John McCain, a moderate and maverick Republican, is being tarred and feathered as another Bush. The latest financial crisis has clearly added to the Republicans woes. Based on all of the polling data, it appears that a super majority of of 60 or more Democrats in the US senate and Democrat Barack Obama in the White House together will enjoy absolute concentration of power, unhindered by the fear of fillbuster or the veto pen of the president to stop misguided spending and legislation.

Can the US afford total control by Democrats at a time of huge national debt and large budget deficits? The history tells us that Social Security and Medicare, the two massive entitlement programs, were created during Democratic administrations of FDR and LBJ. Now, more than half of the $3 trillion budget is allocated to these programs. Another $250b pays for interest on the national debt, but it is growing rapidly with the debt. The rest covers everything else. The discretionary spending accounts for less than one-third of total US spending. Such figures limit any reasonable options open to the incoming administration. However, given the absolute control over both the executive and the legislature, will Democrats exercise restraint? Given their past record, the chances are that Democrats will go for big spending programs, including new, popular entitlements such as a massive national healthcare program for all. Cutting discretionary spending will not free up enough dollars for it. Ending Iraq war or cutting military budget will not do it either, particularly if Obama makes the expensive mistake of following through on his hawkish statements to send troops in to Pakistan. Of necessity, Democrats are going to have to dramatically increase taxes or heavily borrow from foreigners. Either of these two options will hinder economic recovery.

Democrats, like Republicans before them, will likely abuse their power in the executive and the legislature to enrich themselves and their friends at the expense of ordinary Americans. After having given George W. Bush almost a blank check for most of the last eight years, Americans appear ready to make an even bigger mistake: Give Democrats total control of the U.S. government for the next several years.


Unknown said...

any system without checks and balances is always a worry. this entire election ironically enough has centered itself around several issues that's been heavily debated in America for hundreds of years. consider Obama's tax plan, its outline first appeared in American politics in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to James Madison,in it he described his encounter with a French Women who was poor. from that conversation he felt that debt on a national basis should not be the responsibilities of the next generation. also all goods and services should be based around the wages of the lowest class. Jefferson was a firm believer in building the country from the bottom up. the idea was also the basis for Roosevelt's "New Deal".
Ronald Reagan developed the real heart of trickle down economics. Hence why fiscally Clinton didn't stray too far. the new york times stated it well. here's the excerpt.
"To understand where Obama stands, you first have to know that, for 15 years, Democratic Party economics have been defined by a struggle that took place during the start of the Clinton administration. It was the battle of the Bobs. On one side was Clinton’s labor secretary and longtime friend, Bob Reich, who argued that the government should invest in roads, bridges, worker training and the like to stimulate the economy and help the middle class. On the other side was Bob Rubin, a former Goldman Sachs executive turned White House aide, who favored reducing the deficit to soothe the bond market, bring down interest rates and get the economy moving again. Clinton cast his lot with Rubin, and to this day the first question about any Democrat’s economic outlook is often where his heart lies, with Reich or Rubin, the left or the center, the government or the market."
the discussion of regulation popped up in the 1900'S(maybe even earlier).
"In the autumn of 1907, near the beginning of the 20th century, a financial panic swept the United States. Although the cause of the panic for farmers was one of oversupply, many blamed the reform activities of President Theodore Roosevelt. Farmers especially believed that too few eastern banks had too much influence over
credit and the money supply. Roosevelt, in his messages to Congress in 1907 and 1908, called for federal regulation of interstate business, federal regulation of the stock
market and personal income and inheritance taxes". variations of this discussion always followed every crash in American history.
Ayn Rand's biggest novel Atlas Sh rugged was at its time the prevailing philosophy behind capitalism and little government intervention.
This election is the accumulation of all those discussions. they are all on the table. outside of both Roosevelt's most of what we call democratic ideals have actually never been implemented. anything that followed was "defanged" making it useless or over costly. the blame doesn't belong to any party there's enough blame to go around. its just in the quest to compromise everything always has to have a little of both sides. creating gridlock, inner-party bickering, and the constant redefining of our political parties.democrats only have the reputation of overspending because of LBJ and Carter, which only drove home the idea that a Democrat is only effective at a time of crisis.
I'm voting all Democrat for their majority. I want to see them implement their ideas to finally put these debates to an end. if they fail then these presiding debates won't be so one-sided, considering that republican's have been dominating politics for 40 the modern era we have very few "democrats" with the authority of president to quote from historically.
Also nationalized medicine has worked for every other democratic nation and it shows with higher life spans, better pre-collage education, and in some countries 4 day work weeks followed with three weeks paid vacation. I think some American's are tired of being in pain, forced to go to dirty low cost walk in clinics(its like we're creating a class separate medical system) and starving while being surrounded by the best of everything from medical care to technology. take it from me it creates a division that can't so easily be bridged. budgeting in the past forced me to drop to one meal a day. not so bad considering the world but in America with new restaurants opening daily its a tease and shameful. the deltas and the Epsilons of this, our brave new world, are no longer satisfied.

Unknown said...

Please get your facts straight. "More than half of the $3 trillion budget" is NOT allocated to Social Security and Medicare.

Riaz Haq said...

You are right. Social security and Medicare is not over half but very close to a half of the budget, if you include veterans health benefits. Here is the breakdown for FY 2008:

1. 25% Social security retirement and disability
2. 24% Medicare, veterans health and other veterans support
3. 20% Defense
4. 8% interest on national debt
5. 23% on everything else.

The share of entitlements is growing with aging US population and interest on national debt is growing with mounting debt. The bottom line is that the discretionary spending is shrinking rapidly as percent of budget, limiting options for the presidents and Congress. This realization is sinking in rather slowly in Washington.