Tag Archives: 2012

And yet … still I am voting Obama.

And yet … still I am voting Obama.

I wrote a piece the other day about the need for paying attention to the national debt, deficits, and paring expenses while balancing the budget.

Someone challenged me: how can I be concerned about these things ‘and yet’ vote Obama?

It is simple really.

I don’t see Obama as a great master of change. And no, I don’t believe that he has any grand plan for 2012-2016. He has disappointed me at times over the last four years — but I started out with lowered expectations since I’m a traditional Republican voter (70-80% of the time, maybe higher at local level).

So what do I see in Obama? Obama has lived up to his reputation of being ‘no drama Obama’ … which is good considering that the GOP has been after his ass since almost Day One with no intent of cooperating and working together for meaningful change and reform in any way on almost any issue. Obama has been a voice of stability working to bring most things to the center for resolution.

As for the incredible debt etc., every president develops each year a five year outlook into the future as to where budgets and debt are probably going. President Bush’s prediction for growth of our national debt has been Obama’s reality. Debt under Obama has barely differed from Bush’s prediction by 10% or less during his first two years in office.

—- As for Year 3 (2011) and Year 4 (2012), President Bush’s budget projection assumed that the war would be over in Afghanistan by 2011 and so no funds were programmed. Add the war expenses back in and accrued debt during Obama’s entire term is almost a straight line from where it was on Day One of his presidency, and in line with Bush FY2009’s Five Year Presidential Budget projection.

As for Obama’s legacy of debt to programs that started under his presidency: less new debt created by any president since Truman.

If you are a social conservative sure there are lots of reasons not to like Obama. If you are a fiscal conservative that understands basic math and understands the difference between ‘incurred obligated debt’ and debt due to new programs then Obama has been pretty good with a dollar.

My second reason for supporting Obama and essentially defecting from my GOP roots of almost 30 years: I really don’t think that the GOP gets it. They are not really so pissed off about Obama’s policies as they are that they lost in 2008. All this talk about ‘taking our country back’ is usually just empty, angry rhetoric that translates to ‘sure the country melted down on our watch but that was just a fluke. We like things the way they were’.

And so with just days to go until the election I do remain very concerned about America’s future, that damned fiscal cliff will be a much deeper drop than many suspect, and runaway debt seems endless. And yet … and yet I am voting for someone that I believe really has no plan, or any objective, that is any bigger or more grandiose than keeping America’s economy stable and just buying time to heal on its own. That is a classical conservative approach.

My choice may not be a brilliant choice. But for me it is a far better choice than voting for a return to what got us here to begin with.

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November 2012 – I am voting for …

Have decided whom I will support in November 2012: Libertarian Gary Johnson.

You may think I am throwing away my vote — but I’ve never regretted voting for Ross Perot in 1992, so I don’t mind throwing away my vote this time either.

As to those that worry that fiscally conservative, strong-on-defense but socially liberal folks such as myself may take away a few votes from your candidate — that’s your problem. Skip the nuts next time.

All are welcome to work for my vote. Being contrarian and being the devil’s advocate is my preferred path until the moment I cast my vote.

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Change before you have to. Oops, too late! 2017 cannot come too quickly.

“Change before you have to.”
– Jack Welch, CEO GE (Retired)

How Bill4DogCatcher.com sees the world:

I am not a dour pessimist. I am a pragmatic optimist — and this is about as optimistic as I can bring myself to be.

The economic pain of 2008-2011 will be looked upon one day with some sense of historical nostalgia.

It will be seen as the time of great change and the beginning of a very difficult period in American history. It will be both a tipping point and a turning point.

The challenges of 2008-2011 will be remembered as having far less turmoil and drama than will come within the next five years, 2012-2017.

And yet perhaps we didn’t need to be here at all. Now we find ourselves in 2011 living in the land of a Super Committee to negotiate our national budget woes, and having 18 competing Balanced Budget Amendments just two weeks prior to voting on having such an amendment proposed at all.

Not long ago, we were on the road to national financial solvency — just barely 10 years ago, in the late 1990s. Then we chose a different path.

So here we are at the end of 2011 and less unified than ever as our economic fuel tank sits on ‘E’. Although that is not necessarily so true; huge record setting profits have been recorded for the last five fiscal quarters despite those profits not being positively felt by the average American.

The answer to our economic issues will not be found on either the left or the right. We cannot tax the rich ever enough to pay for the black hole of expenses that we’ve run up and locked ourself into for the future.

The answer will come through a shared pain of experimentation and reflection. Americans will come to reject both the answers of the left and right, because neither have answers. Both are beholden to special interests that would only prolong our economic problems, while enriching their own supporters.

The answer will not come soon for the very reason that people want an answer ‘now’. The only answers available now are A) screw the poor/tax them more or B) screw the rich/tax them more. Neither are an answer.

So we will just have to survive the battle of left and right until we get past pride and ego. When enough of America moves to the middle only then will a grand compromise be found — after all, the very word ‘compromise’ is an impossible word to even consider using in public places these days without being set upon by ranting partisans.

Compromise will not come next year, or the year after, or the year after that. My bet is that a grand compromise will not arrive until possibly 2016 or 2017 — once American demographics have shifted and the complete folly of left and right has had a chance to run its course, several times over.

Grand Follies – we cannot continue to pretend that taxes are the ultimate evil. We cannot continue to embrace the empty promise of economic trickle down. Cut taxes and grow the economy is a broken promise too, at least where we are in time and place.

I believe in tiered flat taxes, but am not simple-minded enough to believe that everything would all just magically work if we just cut taxes and equitably taxed everyone at the same rate — which just ends up screwing the people that do the dirty, thankless jobs in our society — with them actually paying far more than anyone else as a percentage of their income. Yet, there is plenty of room for many Americans to have a little more stake in the game by seeing their taxes at work because they pay them.

Am not sure how it will all end up. Our history has had periods of higher turmoil in the past and somehow we’ve gotten ourselves to today still as one country. Yet I anticipate that the next five years will be among the ugliest in American history as left and right both battle for a vision that will not come to pass by either. We will make it all work out. It will be painful and traumatic, however. Very painful. Very traumatic.

Please fasten your seat belts as the fun is just about to really begin. Hello 2012!

I am not a dour pessimist. I am a pragmatic optimist — and this is about as optimistic as I can bring myself to be.

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2012-2021 Federal Budget – GOP Aim: Cut $4 Trillion + Radical Changes to Medicare

From the Wall Street Journal:

“Republicans will present this week a 2012 budget proposal that would cut more than $4 trillion from federal spending projected over the next decade and transform the Medicare health program for the elderly, a move that will dramatically reshape the budget debate in Washington.”

“The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills. Mr. Ryan and other conservatives say this is necessary because of the program’s soaring costs. Medicare cost $396.5 billion in 2010 and is projected to rise to $502.8 billion in 2016. At that pace, spending on the program would have doubled between 2002 and 2016.”

Bill4DogCatcher sez: This article is full of important public policy items to think about. Surely most people will start running around with their hair on fire without first taking the time to read and to digest what  this policy would mean to most people. BTW – most of the policy recommendations were developed on a bipartisan basis over the last few years, although it is only now that these policy recommendations are getting the chance to be considered and to be voted upon.

Read entire article at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703806304576240751124518520.html

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The TEA Party can win primaries. Can they win general elections?

It would be nice if the TEA Party represented a definable belief system.

Yes, I know that the TEA Parties share three common beliefs:

  • Fiscal Responsibility
  • Constitutionally Limited Government
  • Free Markets

But this is a lot like saying that you believe in mom, apple pie and God. I fully support all of the above.

Reality however is that we mostly know what the TEA Party protests against. And we know about their willingness to trash fellow Republicans that are otherwise deemed conservative by virtue alone of their American Conservative Union (ACU) ratings.

As to WHAT the TEA Partyers actually believe and would like to see done in the real world: the reality is that there is no ‘there’ there.

If elected what would they do?

If elected what could they do?

At some point the TEA Party must come to terms that just as they dislike ‘policies’ they themselves must be willing to offer policies.

Policies require 51% of Congressional votes. If every TEA Party candidate was elected would they even have 2% or 3% of Congress’s members?

How responsive would western Republicans (non social conservatives) and New England Republicans (moderates) be when it comes time for cooperation?

The general elections will be very different than the Republican primaries. It is not like anyone believes the TEA Party to be any more than an element of the Republican Party. Surveys of TEA members show that they plan to vote 90-97% Republican … so TEA itself makes no effort to reach out to the center.

November will be interesting.

STRONG TEA Party primary victories could actually cause the Democrats to make a comeback in November — heresy I know but with 99% of Republicans being RINOs in their own party then I’m sure that all of the (dis)unity will cause people to think twice.

I write this as a libertarian conservative independent. Identifying wrong and bad is good. Getting people to believe that you are the right person for the job to fix the problem is harder. Since we have no clue what TEA Partyers are offering as policy, my vote will go to those that offer details.

As an independent some of my votes are going to Democrats and to RINOs. I am not willing to trade normal gridlock for even more gridlock and more chaos. Five minutes after the November elections are over, TEA Partyers and their ultraconservative allies will immediately start their 2012 campaign with intent to evolve the Republican Party from the Party of No to the Party of Hell No!

No thank you.

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Want a third political party? 46% of Americans say they do.

Want a third party? Lots of talk making the rounds about forming a third party.

You may even see some news stories saying half of all Americans want a 3rd political party. See page 13 of a recent NBC/WSJ poll that says 46% want a 3rd party (1).

Wanting is different than WANTING. It is no small task to start a third political party. The odds are also stacked against you being successful because you actually have to win elections or receive a huge number of votes before you become a full participant in the political process. Example: Ross Perot was able to participate in the 1992 presidential debates but was disqualified in 1996’s debates due to many factors that place special challenges in the path of third party success (2).

This question about wanting a third party has historically gotten a 45-51% support response. And “strongly” wants has always averaged 30%.

My Prediction

Republicans will run alternative candidates on as many “existing” third party tickets as possible in 2010, mostly against moderate Republicans. End result: Either a split vote leaving moderate Republicans losers or just the threat of a third party run scares off moderate Republicans that don’t have a firm storyline about what they believe and a strong relationship with their constituents. Third party end runs will only work in the South and the eastern seaboard.

Sources:

1 – http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/MSNBC/Sections/NEWS/091027_NBCPoll.pdf

2 – In Ross Perot’s case, despite having got 18% of the presidential election vote in 1992, America’s Commission on Presidential Debates placed many hurdles in his path in 1996: he needed ballot status in all 50 states, his standing in the polls needed to reach a certain percentage, attendance levels at his rallies indicating he was a viable candidate with real supporters, a consideration of the likelihood that he will ever be president, and the opinions of a host of pundits on the value of his presence on the political scene (if he is just a spoiler then inclusion would be free publicity for a non-serious candidate).

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Sarah Palin Says Enough Of Partisanship … Will Campaign For Moderate & Conservative Democrats Across the USA In Areas Where Republicans Have All But Lost

Governor Sarah Palin (R-AK) said earlier today that she shared former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s view that Republicans, now trailing Democrats and Independents in registration in many states, should back moderate to conservative Democrats in congressional districts and states where Republicans stand almost no chance of winning.

This is indeed a new Palin.

Sarah Palin should be congratulated for putting country before party.

Governor Palin views the electorate as embattled and fatigued by nonstop partisanship, and she is eager to campaign for Republicans, Independents and even Democrats who share her values on limited government, strong defense and “energy independence.”

It appears that she is joining her husband and son who are not Republicans, and are officially registered as “nonpartisan”.

This will put further pressure on the Republicans to become relevant.

Prediction:

If Sarah Palin follows through on this it will set back the Republican party 8-10 years in its efforts to reemerge as a national leader. This move would so strengthen the Blue Dog Democrats, who are currently doing a better job of being good conservatives than the majority of Republicans, that we could find ourselves once again in a land where you can be anything you want to be just so long as it is a Democrat … I’m not exactly predicting the generational reemergence of the Democratic party but Sarah Palin could contribute to that effect if she follows through. We’ll see.

For more info, see Washington Times article
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jul/12/palin-stump-conservative-democrats

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