The Blanco Republic
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Some Observations on the Republican Debate in South Carolina

Stopping the housing crisis, cutting taxes for the middle class, becoming energy independent and investing in research and development are the methods Mitt Romney would use to stop the U.S. from sliding into a recession.

The embroglio of the “housing crisis” – in reality known as the sub-prime debacle – would do little to affect whatever recession the pundits may think we are in. In reality, it is the greed behind the lenders who have written mortgages to those whose credit are less than prime (hence, “sub-prime”) that has caused this “crisis.”

The crisis exists, not only for the lenders, but also for the home owners, because in the end, it is the home owner who suffers. The lenders are going to get their money — one way or another. Either through foreclosure, or through the sale of tax lien certificates.

The crisis was not created by the government, nor can it be resolved by the government. Perhaps the mortgage industry can clean up its own back yard by rethinking their lending practices. Perhaps the government can pass more legislation to enforce lenders to clean up their act, but “doing the math”… perhaps the mortgage industry can see the error of their ways and clean their own house.

Cutting taxes for the middle class, and for corporations, has worked in past administrations. It allows for more revenue to be kept by the wage earner and by the corporations. The wage earner, with more expendable income, will contribute to the treasury by making more purchases for needed assets. Corporations can take the added revenue to create new jobs, and invest in more Research and Development.

Becoming energy independent of those who would hold a sword to our throats ties in with the economic growth as it would create more jobs in the oil and gas industry. It may be hard and dirty work in some sectors, but it generally pays a lot more than what a police chief would make in a large (or small) community. The salary levels for a variety of the petroleum industry are considerably higher than your average wage earner in, for example, a cashier job in a convenience store.

The suggestions of the former Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, sound plausible for voters in Michigan and South Carolina until you see that economic growth is taking place in a different sector: Knowledge and Information.

Where are the job losses occurring in these states? Is it in the farming and service industries? It is definitely felt in the manufacturing and auto industries. And is the illegal alien component a factor in the job losses in the aforementioned industries? If the illegal alien issue isn’t the issue, then what?

“Recessions hurt working families and people across the country,” Romney said. “It’s time for us not just to talk about improving the economy, we have to do the hard work of rebuilding our economy and strengthening it.”

Again, this sounds good to working families and people “hurting” across the country, but it begs the question: Are we truly in a recession? Or, are the jobs that are going across the pond because corporations can get them done cheaper in an emerging economy like India or China? When businesses start paying a decent living wage to American workers, they would probably find more Americans filling out applications, rather than sending the work overseas.

But John McCain said he doesn’t think the U.S. is heading into a recession, despite the fact that states like Michigan and South Carolina are losing jobs. What the media pundits are not telling you is “the whole truth.”

He proposes re-education and training courses at colleges to “meet the needs of this information technology revolution that we are in” to help keep the U.S. competitive. Who is going to pay for that “re-education and training” Mr. McCain? Tuition in colleges and universities have sky-rocketed over 300%: much more than fuel and energy costs.

“I believe the fundamentals of this economy are strong and I believe they will remain strong. This is a rough patch, but I think America’s greatness lies ahead of us,” the Arizona senator said, adding that he would make permanent President Bush’s tax cuts, which he voted against in 2001 and 2003.

I wonder.

Mike Huckabee said he hopes the U.S. economy isn’t headed into recession, but four factors are creating challenges for the economy — subprime mortgages, health care and education costs and fuel prices.

“When gasoline gets as high as it is, and oil goes to $100 a barrel, it impacts the way people live.” says Mr. Huckabee.

Yes, that is true. But it also creates a whole new sector of jobs–many of them in the oil and gas industry.

“It may not impact people at the top, but people who barely make it from paycheck to paycheck know that it doesn’t just affect the fuel going to and from work,” the former Arkansas governor said.

I would have to surmise that the Honorable Mr. Huckabee doesn’t shop at the same stores as those “at the top.” If he does, and he sees that they have to pay the same prices that “people who barely make it from paycheck to paycheck,” he can then come back and say that money isn’t an “issue” for those “at the top.” Perhaps he would be correct if he were to assume that.

“Everything they reach for on the shelf of their store costs more because it took more money to transport it to that store.”

What Mr. Huckabee has failed to realize is that, at the same time prices increase at “the shelf,” wages in certain sectors have also increased to offset that “inflation.”

So, my question to Mr. Huckabee is this: Is this really a recession, or the makings of one? Or are we really seeing some economic growth here?

Rudy Giuliani said tax cuts would stimulate the economy, and discussed his proposal for tax cuts unveiled on Wednesday.

“If you cut something like the corporate tax at 35 percent, you bring it down to 30 percent, you will get more revenues from that cut, because our corporate tax is the second highest in the world. If you cut some other tax, you might not get those kinds of revenues. So, the question is: What tax are you cutting? Is it anti-competitive?

“You also have to cut spending as significantly as you cut taxes. You have to be willing to impose cutbacks on each one of the federal agencies, the civilian agencies. I would do that the way I did as mayor of New York City, the way Ronald Reagan did it as president of the United States,” Giuliani said.

Here, it appears that Mr. Giuliani has answered his own questions. Cutting corporate taxes can put more revenue into their coffers to provide more jobs. Not all the corporate Big Wigs are giving themselves bonuses and raises. Some of those revenue gains are being put back into the job market. There is nothing wrong with making an honest buck and profit, because it lends itself to the economic growth of the working stiff.

Federal spending is the crux of the matter. Over 500 billion dollars are “earmarked” into grants and subsidies, many of them going overseas, and not being invested here at home. The few grants and subsidies that are, indeed, being invested here domestically, are being put into programs that we could probably do without. There is no question in my mind that a lot of it is being wasted on frivolous programs and “pork” for special interest groups, and minorities.

Who is the minority here? That’s another issue that must be taken up in a later edition.

Ron Paul said he does believe the U.S. is in a recession. I truly believe that Mr. Paul is wrong. Certain demographic localities are suffering job losses in one sector, only to see growth in other sectors. (See above.)

“I think it’s going to get a lot worse if we continue to do the wrong things that we’ve done in the past, that it’s going to be delayed, just as what happened in the Depression,” Paul said.

I am not scared by the “Chicken Little Syndrome” Mr. Paul. And I’m not buying your story that “the sky is falling.” And neither is a lot of the voting bloc.

The 10-term Texas congressman said he would not use the government to appropriate money to prevent a recession, but he would support a reduced tax burden. He added that the Federal Reserve propping rates help create and prolong recessions, and is responsible for the housing market “depression.”

The economy, much like the weather, goes through cycles. As is the case of global warming being a total hoax, the impending doom of a recession is only cyclical.

Has anyone forgotten the Big Chill of the last decade, when we were going into the “Ice Age?” Or has mainstream media lost its memory all of a sudden?

“Artificially low interest rates is what causes the bubble, which allows the inevitable recession to come,” he said.

Low interest rates are not artificial, and low interest rates are what helps the economy to grow. Sure, we could do with a lot less borrowing on a lot of fronts, from the wage earner to the Federal Government. Borrowing puts you into a position of debt, when saving and investing in sound proposals tends to put your money to work for you and gains value.

Fred Thompson said that speeding up the depreciation schedule for businesses, and counting capital expenses differently could help businesses more accurately foretell their ledgers. He added that the economy also needs some certainty.

“We would all be a lot better off if people knew that these tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 was not going to expire in 2010,” he said.

Now, here is some sound advice! If businesses in this country had some certainty about the economy, they would probably be less hesitant to invest in new jobs. Because it is the corporations and Big Business that creates jobs, not the government. People, and corporations, create jobs: not your “down and out” who have their hands out. It is the one with ingenuity who creates revenue with their inventions and new ideas put into useful products and services for the consumers.

As usual in any Republican debate, Ronald Reagan was paid ample homage, and rightly so. At the debates, a lively argument ensued when the candidates were asked whether the Reagan coalition — one that supported limited government and strong national security — could still exist.

It is definitely one that we should be getting back to soon.

Mr. Paul said that Reagan’s principles have been abandoned because Republicans have lost their way.

“We finally got control of the government and we became big government people … we turn around and talk about liberty and we’ve undermined the Fourth Amendment and personal property and privacy,” he said.

I’ll have to agree with Mr. Paul here: the Republicans have abandoned the Reagan Doctrine and have become like drunken, “free wheeling” big spenders. It’s hard to tell the difference between them and the Liberals.

But this begs another question: who is proposing these entitlements, and who is signing off on them?

Thompson accused Huckabee of ignoring the principles of Reagan.

“This is a battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party,” Thompson said, adding that going the way of Huckabee would endanger Reagan’s formula for a strong U.S.

“He would be a Christian leader, but he would also bring about liberal economic policies, liberal foreign policies. He believes we have an arrogant foreign policy … he believes that Guantanamo should be closed down … he believed in taxpayer-funded programs for illegals, as he did in Arkansas. He has the endorsement of the National Education Association, and the NEA said it was because of his opposition to vouchers.”

Huckabee responded that if Reagan were governor today, he’d be lambasted for raising taxes in his first year as governor of California. He also suggested a way to return to a strong coalition and strong GOP.

Truth be known, Reagan had to compromise with a majority Democrat legislature, like he had to work with a majority Democrat Congress. Perhaps his charm and charisma overshadowed his flaws amongst his fellow politicians, but in essence, his policies did, indeed, work.

“The Founding Fathers knew a government can’t control the economy without controlling people. And they knew when a government set out to do that, it must use force and coercion to achieve its purpose. So we have come to a time for choosing.”(Ronald Reagan, speaking in a campaign for conservative presidential contender Barry Goldwater. – October 27, 1964)

Truly we have come to a time for choosing.

We can choose to have a strong national defense, or we can weaken ourselves and allow our enemies to inflict harm on us. Do we really want another 9/11?

The candidates also offered their post-mortems of an incident earlier this week when several speed boats approached U.S. warships in international waters in the Straits of Hormuz.

Asked whether the commanding officers made the right decision in not firing back when told that they were going to be bombed in minutes, the candidates agreed that the captain of the ships responded appropriately.

But when Paul said he thinks America is just looking for an excuse to go to war with Iran, Romney responded: “I think Congressman Paul should not be reading as many of (Iranian President Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad’s press releases.”

What Mr. Paul and Mr. Romney fail to understand is that extremists understand “brute force.” They respect it. The “neighborhood bully” will stop bullying when someone bigger comes across the street and kicks his ass.

Romney said he did not agree with claims that a few rogue elements within Iran’s forces started the brinksmanship.

“I believe it was a very serious act, and if the Iranians continue to take acts like this, it points out that we’ve have in Iran a very troubled nation and we’re going to have to have a comprehensive strategy with our friends and others who we need to pull into our circle of friendship to put extraordinary pressure on Iran.

I would extend the premise to Mr. Romney that, if our “friends” do not pull into “our circle” of friendship and influence, then we have to act unilaterally.

Remember the recent incident of Israel’s retaliation for its two soldiers taken hostage? Israel has a lot more experience dealing with radical elements in the Middle East than we do. Perhaps it is the 4,000 plus years experience that has taught them to “take out” their aggressors with at least 5 to 1 odds.

To date, even though he’s only showing 4th or 5th place in the polls, methinks Fred Thompson is more equipped for the task as presidential nominee for the Republican party.

The Democrats? They have yet to grasp the importance of the issues. They are clueless. They continue to “bait and switch” with the changing winds, and wish to make you a victim so that they can come in and be your saviour.

No thank you Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hillary and Obama. The rest of you, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel: do you really think you have a chance? If by some sheer stroke of luck, do you even think you have the answers?


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