Saturday, November 17, 2012

Let's see, the GOP is arguing against raising taxes on the wealthy... and they're insisting that any tax hikes must be accompanied by cuts in entitlement spending.

The Democrats, on the other hand, are pushing to raise taxes and to resist any cuts in entitlement spending.

While raising taxes is going to hurt the economy, it nonetheless has the support from a lot of voters. most of whom has less understanding or market economics than a high school freshman.  And while cutting (at a minimum, the rate of growth of) entitlement spending is something that probably has to be done to restore long term sanity to the budget, it is nonetheless opposed by a lot of voters, most of whom couldn't distinguish between deficit and debt.

Can anyone figure the side that has the advantage politically?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Post-election thinking...

Romney lost because he failed to obey the most basic rule of marketing: sell benefits, don't talk features.  Romney didn't connect the dots for the 6 percent of voters who are up for grabs (each side has a lock on roughly 47%).  These voters, by definition, pay a lot less attention to the issues and don't have hard feelings on any of the so-called hot button issues (if they did, they wouldn't be in the 6%).  Romney needed to tell them why his winning would be good for THEM, how it would have made their lives better.  He failed to do so.  These voters don't care about the deficit or energy policy per se, they care about whether their jobs are secure, whether they can look forward to getting a raise, see their house go up in value and go to sleep secure that they'll wake up.  A basic rule of marketing is to not require the audience to do any thinking.  Don't make them connect the dots (hint: they won't).  Because he didn't talk benefits to the audience, Romney's message came across as static.  The audience couldn't and/or wouldn't figure out why their lives would be better with, for example, Romney's tax proposals, and as a result they stuck with the guy they already had.

Of course, nothing will change, the 'pros' who get hired to run campaigns will continue to push campaigns that touch on all the hot buttons for the party faithful, but fail to reach the people who are the difference between winning and losing.  The candidates hire marketers who sound good to them... the problem is that they are not the audience.

Yesterday was not as bad for the GOP as the media wants it to be.  The GOP won more Congressional districts than the Democrats.  Obama got less votes than he did four years ago.  A swing of less than 500,000 votes (out of 100 million) in nine states would have given Romney over 100 more electoral votes.

As such, the GOP has plenty of ground to stand on.  There is no need for them to buckle down to Democratic pressure and name-calling.  Of course, they will fold.

Monday, September 10, 2012

TITLE: At the rate we're going...

COPY:  President Obama has asked for four more years to, in his words, "complete the job".  Well, at the rate he's going, what will mean to you?

Almost 15 more million unemployed Americans will have gotten so discouraged that they don't even bother looking for work... Over 500,000 young Americans who have graduated from college will be unable to find a job... Gas prices will be at $6 a gallon... Health insurance will cost 75% more than it does today... More people going on disability than finding jobs... A national debt $6 TRILLION higher than it is today... Our allies under threat from a nuclear Iran... And a President who has played over 200 rounds of golf.

This is not the change we were hoping for... We can do better... We must do better...

* The numbers are admittedly roundish, I leave it to the data nerds to sort it out.

Friday, September 07, 2012

With Obama asking to not be fired, I think of my years and years of experience as a manager.... and I can count on one finger the number of times where a decision to give an under-performing employee more time has ended up working out.  With the exception of that one time, not once where I held off firing an employee who wasn't doing the job they were hired to do did I not regret firing them when I first concluded they weren't getting the job done.

Under-performers under-perform for a reason... because they're not the right person for the job.  Why they're not the right person for the job may vary - lack of talent, lack of interest or motivation, conflict with co-workers - but in the end, people who aren't producing the results they were hired to produce are not the right person for the job and no amount of extra time is going to change that.

And as much as Obama doesn't want to hear this, there are very few situations where it takes a long time for the employer to figure out whether the employee is getting the job done.  There's a reason probationary periods tend to run in the months and not years, it simply doesn't take years to conclude whether someone is getting the job done.

Managers know real soon whether someone is working out... and they know that problem employees don't all of sudden turn into star performers.  And smart managers know that everyone - with the possible exception of the problem employee - will be better off if they recognize their hiring mistake and deal with it quickly instead of keeping the underperforming employee around.  They know it and the other employees know it.

And if Obama had some real world working experience, he too would know this.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It is somewhat illuminating to see Obama refer to Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals as 'subsidies to insurance companies'.

Doctors and hospitals provide services to Medicare patients and get paid by Medicare according to the price schedule in effect at the time.  The amount they get paid is less than what they get paid for performing the same service to a non-Medicare patient, and so much so that doctors routinely refuse to accept new Medicare patients. 

Where is there a 'subsidy'?  A subsidy is money given to someone that is over and above the value of any services provided.  Where are the doctors and hospitals who are getting reimbursed money that exceeds the value of the medical care they've provided?  Does Obama not know medical providers are actually working for the money they get paid?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Two quick thoughts on Romney picking Ryan...

First, Ryan is the person to pick if you're trying to impress people who have already decided to vote for you.  From a conservative point of view, there's nothing to not like about Ryan.  He's an anti-Obama, solid on conservative policy, photogenic, speaks well and doesn't back down in the face of liberal attacks.

But Ryan isn't the guy you pick if you're trying to win over those who haven't yet made up their minds.  Despite the many reasons for voting against Obama, there's something about Romney that has kept these voters from deciding to vote for him.

And Ryan doesn't help Romney address any of these concerns.  If you think Romney is too white and doesn't care about minorities, Ryan doesn't help. If you think Romney is too-Waspish (Romney is a Wasp in all but religion), Ryan doesn't help broaden the appeal.  If you think Romney doesn't care enough for the middle class, Ryan doesn't help all that much.

That is why I think a Rubio or a Christie or a Jindal would have been a better choice... as all would have helped Romney overcome voter resistance in at least one area.  Christie?  The anti-Wasp, regular guy who isn't afraid to roll up his sleeves.  Rubio and Jindal?  Both would have shown that Romney isn't afraid to hang around with non-Whites.

Again, there isn't anything wrong with Ryan... other than the fact that others would have helped Romney more where Romney needs help.

Moving on to some constructive suggestions, there is a big opening for Romney to broaden his rebuttal to Obama's 'you didn't build that' riff.  While business owners were the direct recipient of Obama's disdain, his attitude applies to everybody - not just business owners - who works and strives to move up the ladder of success.  When Obama dismisses those who are smart and work hard, he isn't just speaking to business owners, he is saying that millions of workers who have made a nice living for themselves shouldn't get credit for their careers.  According to Obama, these people aren't any smarter or don't work any harder than those who they passed on the corporate ladder.  They didn't 'earn' their promotions and raises so they shouldn't expect to be able to keep the fruits of their efforts.

Romney needs to make sure these people know he is speaking up and defending them as well.   The guy who moved up in the ranks into management?  The woman who started as a paralegal and now is a staff attorney?  The guy who started in the mailroom and now is one of the top producing salesmen?  Romney needs to let them all know that he appreciates their effort and understands that - just like the owner of the business - they are where they are because of their brains and hard work.

Not only does this make sense from a theoretical point of view, it makes sense from a numbers perspective.  There are a whole lot more people who work 'for' a business than 'own' a business.  Obama has made it clear that he believes government is responsible for all that one accomplishes.  Romney needs to let these people know he disagrees with that.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Given Obama's whining about the criticism he's receiving over his 'You didn't build that!' riff, I wonder if Debbie Wasserman Schultz is going to advise Obama to put on his big boy pants?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Another aspect of Obama's 'you didn't build it' riff....

To the extent Obama is arguing that government plays a rather large part in the success American businesses enjoy, and so much so that he feels the need to downplay the role entrepreneurs and businessmen have in the success of their own companies....

And to the extent that Obama is the head of (arguably) the most powerful of the three branches of government, and isn't shy about using executive power to bypass any obstacles in the way of him doing what he wants to do...

And to the extent that the Democrats held working control of Congress up until 2011 and by virtue of their control of the Senate still have the ability to keep those evil Republicans from doing any more harm to the economy...

Isn't Obama pointing the finger at himself for his and his fellow Democrats inability to make American businesses any more successful than they are?

Put another way, even if Obama was right (which he isn't) about how big a role government plays in whether the economy is growing nicely, shouldn't our current economic troubles be taken as a sign that Obama is incompetent at the job he thinks he is supposed to be doing?

So... if you disagree with Obama, his comments indicate a lack of understanding of the economy, and who wants a President who so clearly doesn't know what he is talking about?

Or... if you agree with Obama, our economic problems are a clear sign that he's failing, and who wants a President who isn't any good at the job?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Not only do I disagree with John Podhoretz's claim that Obama's 'You didn't build that' riff was the Mistake of the Campaign, I am not sure it was a mistake at all...

Obama's comments not only resonate with bog-government loving liberals, they resonate with those who aren't as rich or as successful as they want to be... and who desperately want to avoid having to take responsibility for that.

Romney and the Republicans are responding to Obama by claiming that success is a function of brains and hard work (and perhaps a bit of luck).  According to conservative doctrine, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates earned their success, their millions of dollars and their stature by being smarter and working harder than just about everybody else.  So too, albeit on a somewhat more limited scale, did the guy who owns a local construction company, the local Coke bottling franchise or a computer consulting company.

But the flip side of this viewpoint is that, by definition, anyone who isn't rich is stupid, lazy and/or getting screwed by someone else.

And people don't like or want to accept that view of themselves.  Whether in sports, business or life in general, it's never their fault that they're not as successful as they think they should be.  It's never their fault that they're not as rich as someone else.  It's never their fault that someone else is higher up the corporate ladder.  It's never their fault that they failed while someone else succeeded.

And when Romney responds to Obama by defending American entrepreneurs and business owners, what these people (subliminally) hear is Romney blaming them for their lack of money and success.  And in listening to Obama, these people hear someone telling them that it isn't their fault that they're not rich.  Per Obama, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and the guy who belongs to the country club and drives a new car aren't rich and successful because they were smarter or harder working, but rather because they got help.  And per Obama, someone who isn't successful and rich isn't dumb or lazy, they simply haven't gotten the help that others have.

And who is it that offers these folks more of that kind of help?  Not Romney with his championing of 'traditional' success, but Obama with his exhaustive list of the ways in which government can help people get further in life.

It's a shame that so many people refuse to accept responsibility for their fate.  Not only for all sorts of philosophical reasons but also because there are a whole lot more people who aren't rich and famous and successful than those who are.  Romney may win all the votes from businesspeople who feel (rightly, in my view) that they did build their business... but he's not going to win the election if he can't also win a whole bunch of votes from those who think otherwise.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Beanbags?  Beanbags?  Beanbags?  Beanbags? 

You've got to be kidding me.  Border Patrol agent Brian Terry died in a shootout that, according to Fox News, at some point involved "Terry and and an elite squad of federal agents fir(ing) bean bags -- not bullets -- at a heavily armed drug cartel crew"????

How stupid is that?  What in the world could they have been thinking?  What kind of idiotic rules of engagement is this?  You're approaching people you suspect of being heavily armed criminals and instead of firing real guns at them, you fire bean bags at them?

This is worse than bringing a knife to a gun fight. It's a wonder Terry was the only one killed that day.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

I wonder how this will affect the MSM campaign to depict conservatives as less than bright...

Monday, July 02, 2012

Something doesn't smell right with the various post-decision analyses of Roberts' decision.  Roberts isn't stupid, yet most of the rationales offered up sure seem to be based on him being so.

Some claims have him wanting to maintain some limit on the federal government's power under the Commerce Clause.  First, he didn't need to vote 'yes' on the tax issue to do so, there were already four votes to do so, and Roberts would have made five.  He would have had his desired limit.  It wasn't as if Kennedy was going to change his mind if Roberts didn't vote 'yes' on the tax issue.  And Roberts had to have seen Ginsburg's opinion that made it clear that the liberals were not quietly acquiescing that such mandates were improper.

Second, as has been pointed out, there's no effective limit on the federal government's behavior if Congress can simply impose a 'tax' on anyone not engaging in the desired behavior.  Roberts is too smart to not have realized that... and if he wasn't, someone - whether one of his clerks or one of the conservative justices - would have made that point for him.

Others claim that he acted to 'protect the Court from assault'.  What assault?  From p***ed off liberals?  When in the past has Roberts ever indicated that he was concerned about what the editorial pages thought of him (note: Roberts wasn't all that bent out of shape when the Washington Post criticized him in the 'Metro french fry' case.  In fact, he stood proudly behind that vote).  And what kind of assault would he have been worried about that he would have also thought he could repel with his vote?  Roberts wasn't born yesterday, he surely knows that caving in one day doesn't immunize you against attacks tomorrow, that on the contrary, caving in makes more attacks even more likely in the future.  Voting to uphold Obamacare wouldn't have given him any room to make a future 'anti-left' decision.

Or what about claims that he wanted to improving the Court's reputation?  I don't think so, at least not by coming up with something as convoluted as this.  Again, Roberts is not dumb, this isn't his first trip to the decision writing rodeo, there's no way Roberts could ever have thought that this decision would be viewed as great legal reasoning.

Maybe he switched votes so that the court wouldn't be seen as political by overturning Obamacare?  Again, this doesn't make sense, I just don't see him thinking anything but the contrary, that switching would be viewed as the political move.

The same logic holds for his wanting to protect his reputation.  He had to have known that voting the way he did would kill his reputation on the right.  Nor would have helped his reputation on the left, as he knows the left doesn't actually respect so-called conservatives who change their stripes.  On the contrary, they're viewed as malleable and without conviction.

A further nail in these theories is that in order for him to accomplish any of these goals, his wavering would have to have remained a secret, and it makes no sense that he could or would have ever thought that.  As much as the justices don't like to think it happens, there are leaks of confidential discussions.  He had to have known word would get out (as it did)... and when (when, not if) it did, rather than protecting the court's reputation, he would have harmed it.

I really have no clue as what led him to do this, but I'm sure it isn't something that requires him to be that stupid.

Who knows, maybe his family was threatened, the kind of stuff that can make even a tough guy like Harrison Ford back down?  A gun to the head of a loved one can make someone do all sorts of things they otherwise wouldn't do.

Maybe he's a closeted gay and he was being blackmailed?  (and he gave in, even knowing that he would never be free of the threat?)

Maybe he's broke and took a bribe? 

Maybe, figuring that Kennedy would be the 5th vote to support the mandate, Roberts bet heavily on that... only to be caught by surprise when Kennedy announced that he was a no vote?

I am not saying that any of the above is what is happened.  But just as they are (hopefully) ludicrous to contemplate, so too are explanations that require Roberts to be dumb, dumb, dumb.

Maybe some day we'll actually find out what happened... and why.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It could be worse.... and there are some silver linings...

The Supreme Court could have ruled in favor of the mandate based on the Commerce Clause.  That they didn't do so preserves at least some hope that there are limits to what the federal government can and can't do.

Obama 'wins'... but only by raising taxes on people he claimed he would never raise taxes on... and by imposing a tax he claimed wasn't a tax.  I'm not sure how, but I would bet both of these angles get featured in GOP ads this fall.  Being portrayed as either clueless and/or a liar can't help him maintain his likeability ratings (and without those ratings, what reason is there for undecided voters to give him another four years?)

And I don't think public dislike of the mandate is going to dissipate because Roberts decided to call it a tax.  Tomato, tomato, the public didn't like the idea of being forced to do something they didn't want to do... and I figure it doesn't much matter to them how the mandate is justified.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I wrote the following in response to a NRO post on Obama attacking Romney for his actions at Bain Capital...

I think the better approach for Romney is to note that the way one acts as President is different than the way one acts before taking the oath of office.

Perhaps something along the lines of this:

"I know that the responsibilities and priorities of the President are different from those who work outside Washington. And I know that President Obama knows this as well. Just as he knows that it wouldn't be appropriate to use cocaine while in office, I know that the responsibility of the country as a whole takes precedence over the priorities and policies of any individual business".

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hoping for the Supreme Court to toss the entire health care law...

Grudgingly okay with them tossing only the mandate...

And an uneasy feeling that they're going to uphold the law entirely...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Romney and the GOP don't need - and shouldn't - try to debate the merits of the policy, nor of the arrogant way in which Obama went about it.

Rather, the best - and only - response ought to make to Obama's granting amnesty to a whole slew of illegal immigrants is to shake his head in disbelief. that with the economy in as bad shape as it is, that Obama is devoting his time to an issue that will not lead to a single job being created.

While the swing voters who support is crucial are somewhat split on the issue of immigration reform, one thing they're pretty united in is their feeling that fixing the economy ought to be job #1 for both the President and Congress. 

And they're not going to respond favorably when they see Obama taking time away from the economy* to instead spend it on an issue that doesn't matter as much to them.

That's the plan Romney ought to follow.  Let's see if he and his advisers are smart enough to do so.

* the irony is that Obama doesn't have an economic plan, so that he really isn't taking any time from it.... but he'll still rub people the wrong way by spending time on something that is less important to them.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Here, in somewhat more than 20 words, is an explanation of why Obama's stimulus failed:

First, and most important, one needs to understand that the ultimate goal of a stimulus is NOT to 'create' jobs (shovel ready or any other kind), but rather to persuade businesses and consumers that they no longer need to worry about the future.

An economy falls into recession when something happens that makes businesses cut back on employment and investment and consumers cut back on their spending.  The 'something' can be almost anything: the popping of an economic or technological bubble of some kind, a tightening of available credit, a terrorist attack, an outbreak of disease, a fear of having less money than one needs in the future.  The actual substance of the event doesn't matter as much as that it be sufficient to make enough people worried.
While unpleasant on its own, the real danger is that these cutbacks in spending and investment will trigger another round of angst and further cutbacks, both on the part of those initially cutting back as well as those who weren't worried to begin with... and on and on and on until there's a total collapse of the world's economies.

To keep this from happening, government steps up with a 'stimulus'.  As I wrote at the top, the goal of a stimulus is to break this self-fulfilling run of fear and cutback.  Per Newton's laws, an object in motion stays in motion unless and until enough force is applied to that object to change its motion.  In this case, the stimulus is that force.

In order to succeed, a stimulus has to convince people that it okay if they don't cut back on their investment and spending.  The actual composition of the stimulus matters less than the fact that people believe that it will keep the world from coming to an end.  If they do believe in the stimulus, they won't cut back and the economy will soon resume its natural growth. 

If, on the other hand, the stimulus doesn't persuade us that things are going to be okay, then we won't stop worrying and we won't stop cutting back.  And even worse, a stimulus that makes us more worried about the future than we were before the stimulus was put into effect will not only not help, it will aggravate the worry and the severity of the cutbacks.

And this, unfortunately (and predictably), explains why Obama's stimulus failed. Rather than reassure us, it made us even more worried.  The combination of:

(1) The huge amount of spending and the areas in which the money was being spent,
(2) The concern that this increased spending would be permanent rather than temporary,
(3) The arrogance on the part of those putting together the package, along with
(4) Obama's other policies (such as the threat of tax hikes, anti-employer regulations and his wanting  to raise the price of gas)

all played a part in making businesses and consumers more fearful about the future. 

And with predictable results: we haven't increased our hiring, we're still looking to do more with fewer people, we're not re-investing our profits and consumers are not dramatically increasing the amount of money they're spending.

That is why Obama's stimulus hasn't worked.  And that is why the economy isn't going to get any better... not unless and until either puts forth some different proposals... or until someone else sitting in the White House does.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Here's a slightly different take on what happened in Wisconsin...

Voters don't want to give up anything they think they're getting. They prefer that 'someone else' pay the price. When faced with budget deficits, they don't want their taxes to go up and they don't want cuts in the services they're getting. They want someone else's taxes to go up and/or someone else's benefits to be cut.

Up to now, the 'someone else' voters looked to were the more successful members of society. Voters were a sucker for (liberal) claims that raising taxes on businesses and the so-called rich would make up whatever deficit the state was facing. And up to now, public workers have been able to fend off attempts to cut government spending by making voters afraid that any such cuts would result in fewer police and firemen, overcrowded classes in schools, libraries being closed, longer lines at the DMV, potholes not being repaired and so on.

The beauty of Walker and his reform package was that he (1) was able to convince voters that raising taxes would hurt the state more than it helped, and (2) he didn't try cutting gross government spending on constituent services. He didn't attempt to cut either the number of government workers or the gross amount of their compensation. Instead, he targeted their net pay by increasing the amount of money state workers would have to pay for health insurance and pensions. Put another way, Walker didn't try to balance the budget by cutting from the top, but rather from the bottom. He also made a point of making sure voters knew that government workers had a pretty sweet deal, both in absolute terms and especially in comparison to wages and benefits of those working in the private sector. And just as liberals have been able to claim that all would be well if only the rich gave up some of the 'excess' money in their pockets, Walker was able to convince a majority of Wisconsin voters that all would be well if only state government workers gave up a bit of the 'excess' money they were getting.

And this presents the GOP with an opportunity.   Yesterday's results show that voters are willing to target the money spent on public workers... but only as long they don't think doing so would result in the cuts in services I described a couple of paragraphs earlier. The GOP needs to target the pocketbooks and wallets of government workers in its attempts to reduce the nation's deficits. But not by targeting government workers as lazy or unneeded... but rather by lowering their effective net pay to something closer to private sector workers.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Silly me, I would think that Facebook's stock price being relatively unchanged during its first day of trading would indicate that the underwriters priced the stock appropriately. If there had been a huge jump, that would indicate that Facebook and its initial shareholders got less for the stock from the underwriters than it was worth. And if there had been a drop, that would indicate that the underwriters had over-priced the stock.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reading Romney's comment on Obama, "The last few years have been the best that Barack Obama can do...", I can't help but think of the line from the Twisted Sister's 'We're Not Going To Take It', " ...if that's your best, then your best won't do"... One is about rebelling against a egotistical know it all who seemingly wants to control every aspect of our lives... and the other is a rock song sung by a guy wearing a lot of makeup...

Monday, April 16, 2012

As bad as Obama has been, I don't think things would have been that different had McCain won.

Let's start with the economy. McCain has no more of a clue about the economy than does Obama. McCain doesn't understand the psychology of the market, he lacks any underlying conservative economic philosophy and is a big believer in big government manipulation of the economy.

Thus, McCain is no more likely to have instituted any free market reforms or done anything to stimulate real economic growth. He would have been just as likely to sign on to the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul and to have spent billions upon billions of dollars attempting to 'stimulate' the economy. He would have thrown billions into bailing out GM and Chrysler and would have probably twisted the bankruptcy laws in favor of the labor unions just as Obama did. McCain wouldn't have been able to resist Democratic cries to raise taxes on the wealthy.

As for government spending, there is no reason to think that federal spending would be measurably less with McCain. As Obama, McCain believes the federal governments exists to spend money. Perhaps the rate of growth might not have been as high, but we'd still be facing trillion dollar plus deficits. We'd still have wasted billions of dollars on 'smart' investments in infrastructure.

Moving on to health care, while McCain voted against Obamacare, as President his solutions would be just as unwieldy, expensive and unlikely to work as Obama's policies are. Why do I say this? Because there's nothing in McCain's background to indicate that he has any clue about this issue... and if you don't understand a problem, you can't solve it. He wouldn't have resisted Democratic pressure to both raise mandates and put pricing pressure on health insurance companies. Medical costs would have risen just as much.

McCain would have been more aggressive in both Iraq and Afghanistan. But since I don't like the idea of our guys being in either place, this isn't an area where I would welcome a departure from Obama's policies. And like Obama, McCain would not have done what it takes to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

McCain might not have jumped into the race issue as did Obama, he wouldn't have jumped to criticize the Cambridge policeman, nor have said that his son would have looked like Trayvon Martin. But as McCain is rather contemptuous of most of Americans, he no doubt would have found numerous instances of times where we were not living up to McCain's standards.

There is a couple of areas where his tenure would be markedly different. The first is vacations and living it up on taxpayer money. (even if his arm weren't mangled) McCain would not have been trying to set a record for the number of golf rounds in a four-year term. He wouldn't have had his wife spend millions jetting around the world on taxpayer paid vacations.

The second is that McCain wouldn't have been as harsh towards gas and oil exploration. While I think McCain would have over-reacted to the Gulf oil spill, I don't think he would still have the moratorium im place. He wouldn't have pushed to take as much federal ground out of play as Obama. As a result, gas prices wouldn't be quite as high as they are now.

So all in all, a McCain presidency would have an awful lot of similarities to what we have had to suffer through for the past three plus years.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

It amazes me that for all the advice Romney is getting on how to beat Obama, NONE of it drives home the point that his entire campaign has to be built - and explicitly so - on the foundation that Romney's policies will lead to more jobs, higher pay, higher home values, lower gas prices and more security than will Obama's policies.

It isn't enough, as Paul Ryan and others seems intent on doing, to discuss the issues in abstract theoretical terms. Yes, they're right, but in a riff off the old cliche, if they don't talk in terms that resonate with people, then it is as if they haven't said anything at all.

Most of the voters who are up for grabs don't spend time thinking about the practical implications of Keynesian policies... or the Laffer curve... or the ratio of debt to GDP... or exactly what is an unfunded liability.

Thus, if you want to grab their attention, you need to speak in terms that resonate with them. We need to use their language and speak to their concerns. They're not siting around the patio talking about the proper ratio of taxes to the size of the economy, they're talking about home values falling... and why they haven't gotten a significant raise in five years... or how gas prices are so high that they're cutting back on going out to the movies. Those are their concerns... and we need to offer them hope that our policies will help.

We're not proposing to cut the size of government because of some abstract theory, but rather because we think excessive government spending is the reason that there aren't more jobs. We're not putting forth plans to revamp Medicare and Social Security because we like toying with people, but because doing so will ensure that people get checks. We're not advocating drilling for oil because we like oil wells per se, but rather because we want to lower gas prices.

Likewise, we're not complaining about Obama's policies (strictly) because of some theoretical disagreement, but rather because his spending is the reason the job market is so weak... and because his environmental and energy policies are the reason gas prices are higher than they would otherwise be... and because his failure to really address the housing crisis is the reason people aren't able to more easily buy and sell houses.

For the life of me, I can't figure out why the GOP hasn't figured this out. Perhaps GOP politicians and political advisers live in their own cocoon... and don't get out much.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Despite the dueling experts, I think it a bit of a no-brainer to conclude that George Zimmerman was the one screaming for help and not Trayvon Martin.

Let's stipulate that one doesn't scream for help if one is winning a fist fight. The guy losing the fight is the one screaming and yelling and looking for help.

If Martin was the one screaming for help, presumably that meant that Zimmerman was the one having the better of the physical contact. If this were the case, there would have been no reason for Zimmerman to have shot Martin. Zimmerman would just have kept beating on Martin until either Martin was physically unable to respond or someone showed up to stop Martin from continuing.

If however, Zimmerman was the one screaming for help, that meant that Martin was the one getting the licks in. At this point, Zimmerman's choices are (1) to keep screaming, hoping that someone will come to his rescue or that Martin will stop pounding him, or (2) pull out his gun and shoot Martin.

I don't see any other scenario which ends the way it did. Case closed... at least as to who it was that was yelling.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Here's a prediction: the Supreme Court strikes down the individual mandate AND doesn't toss out the entire law.

All four liberal Justices will vote both for the mandate and for allowing the law to stand. A number of conservative Justices will vote to toss the entire thing.

As is usually the case, it will come down to Kennedy. While he might not like the vitriol directed his way if he was the deciding vote to toss Obamacare in full, he might very well like the idea of tossing out the most problematic part of the law, the individual mandate, yet voting with the liberals to allow the rest of the law to stand.

This way, he avoids getting tagged as the Justice who killed Obamacare... and at the same time reclaiming a bit of his reputation with conservatives for killing the individual mandate.

Monday, March 05, 2012

I'm sorry they lost their daughter, reportedly as a result of texting while driving, but that doesn't keep me from calling them dumb and silly for lobbying for a state ban on texting while driving...

There are three groups of people. One group is made up of people who don't text at all, whether in a car or sitting on a park bench. They don't text while driving anyway, so a ban would have no effect on them. A second group is comprised of people who, like this poor girl, know texting while driving is dangerous, but unlike her daughter, aren't texting while driving. A ban would have no impact on these folks either. The third group is comprised of people who don't think texting while driving is dangerous (if not to everybody, at least not to them). I include in this last group people like the poor girl who acknowledged the danger but did it any... in the end, actions speak louder than keystrokes.

What percentage of this last group would stop texting while driving because there's now a law that prohibits doing so?

Yeah, pretty close to zero. There really isn't much of an intersection between the group of people who think an activity is safe and those who will stop the activity because of a law that they are ever likely to be cited for.

In other words, the law will have no impact whatsoever on the number of people who are killed or injured as a result of texting while driving.

And anyone who doesn't realize this... or who realizes it and still pushes for it... is dumb.