As promised, today's post (and each Tuesday's from now on) will be about politics and economics: two things I follow closely, and two things that most people don't spend much time really investigating. Too many people are comfortable letting others tell them what's going on in these arenas, and that's how you get right- and left-wing parrots who just regurgitate what they hear. My goal is to present opinions based on facts, regardless of which side I'm discussing. The only problem is that I'm so opinionated- we'll see how it goes.
Again, the myopic concentration on national security and Iraq is NOT the platform Bush needs. Social issues are what will gain him votes. The good news is that a Gallup poll showed that most people see him as decisive, which I agree with. The bad news is that they also see him as arrogant. I think his unapologetic and unwavering stance on his decisions since 9/11 have led to this dual opinion. At the same time, I don't think he owes the nation an apology. But even to hear him say that he's human and makes mistakes too would be a nice touch. A little fallibility is nothing to fear with most voters.
The big news is the NAACP's reaction to Bush declining to attend their annual convention. Come on, people- the NAACP has done nothing but attack Bush, not only on policies but personally. Would you go to a meeting of people who mock you and call for your head on a stake on a regular basis (figuratively, of course)? What's the point? This is the same group that was upset at Bill Cosby (and still is, no matter what their official statements say) for calling out the black leaders in this nation for not doing anything to advance the black community. Instead, as he stated in more general terms, they spend their time fighting for lower standards and the right to fail with impunity. Good for Bill Cosby. It's about time somebody with his voice stepped up and called a spade a spade, regardless of which side of the figurative aisle they speak from.
I'm so glad John Edwards carried his "Two Americas" concept to the national forum he now participates in once again. If the Republicans can get people to actually think about this concept, the sheer ridiculousness of it should sink in pretty quickly. Two Americas? Even if there were two, which there aren't, which one do you think Kerry and Edwards live in? Which one do you think they're concerned with? I love how the Kerry/Edwards campaign keeps jumping on the "Edwards' father was a millworker" bandwagon as if it will make us all ignore the fact that Edwards is one of the rich people that Democrats supposedly are there to protect the rest of us from. And how has he done it? Suing companies and driving up costs for everybody else. Wealth redistribution via lawsuit. And who walks away from these class action suits that Edwards loves so much with the most? The lawyers. Every time. But facts aren't important- Edwards' father was a millworker.
The only thing funnier than that is the Democratic platform on economics. Hey- let's raise the minimum wage to protect workers. Only problem with that is little things like the fact that higher minimum wages will price more workers out of the market, creating a labor surplus in the non-union labor market. And higher minimum wages will really go well with Kerry's goal of decreasing overseas outsourcing of jobs. And his goal of creating jobs in the US. Brilliant.
News today that the trade deficit decreased "unexpectedly." Really? Most economists I know expected it. Economics 101- as your currency value decreases, exports become cheaper and imports become more expensive. Couple that with the slower summer retail sales (Wal-Mart is the biggest importer in the US) and why would we not expect a decrease? Second half economic forecasts received a boost based on the report, so by November Kerry and Edwards' "the economic sky is falling" cry should sound even more ridiculous than it does now.
I love election years- we who study economics roll our eyes at most of what we hear. To be fair, the eye-rolling is directed at both sides. Interesting stat though- the stock market averages higher gains in months following a Republican election win than a Democratic win, even more so when incumbent Repubs win. Why might that be? Well, people realize that a political party who doesn't demonize capitalism and call for businesses and those who run them to pay higher taxes so those who don't want to work can be paid to sit at home (or call for people to make $10/hour flipping burgers) will probably do more to stimulate growth. And when businesses have more money, guess what happens- they produce more, hire more people, give people raises, and reward stockholders. And before you jump on investors as more of the "rich folk," keep in mind that over 50% of Americans invest in the stock market. Wall Street- not just for the evil 1930's-style tycoons anymore. No matter what Dems would have you believe.