• Democrats are more fiscally conservative than republicans. I was carefully raised to think otherwise, and probably it wasn't always so, but here is an astounding summary: From 1946 to today, Democratic presidents pushed the deficit up by 3.2 percent per year. Meanwhile, Republican presidents increased the budget deficit by 9.7 percent. In other words, since 1946, Republican presidents have outspent Democratic presidents by almost 3 to 1. The reference needs validation, and I will try to find some. Subjectively, I think NAFTA is the largest conservative activity of our time and as we recall, that's Clinton's. Meanwhile, the Fed housing give-away/bubble is a consequence of Republican policy years. How does pundit thinking assess the connection between low interest rates and high home prices: surely they are coupled. Was that good policy?
  • In partial support of the above, Gina provided this link which identifies numerous economic indicators such as GDP, disposable income & deficit, including assessments assuming various lag times (assuming a president doesn't instantly affect the economy). It's well supported in terms of identifying references (which look good to me) and critiques. In summary, I believe the "tax and spend" mantra is propaganda, and insupportable.
  • Besides just spending, and possibly way more important, is what you spend it on. Military (and space, I gotta admit) investments (beyond those needed to stay sovreign) reduce money to entropy, while school, infrastructure, technology investments leave something tangible in their wake. Both stimulate the economy. In the long run, the military method is worse.
  • We should lower military pay until we're short of soldiers, then start a draft. Our mercenary army removes the compulsion to be damn sure we really really want to have a war. (Obviously we need very strong legal setup to avoid a silver spoon draft: preventing people at the top (like me) from finding a nice safe field hospital for their special progeny. My suggestion is that the decisionmakers in our society must have their progeny at risk. I do not say we should drift to a mostly conscript army: our military is the most professional, humane, effective because of professional soldiers, but there should be an element of conscripts, just to force us to remember we all must share their risks in a very real way.
  • Income is unequally distributed (no surprise, and I am not suggesting inequity). The wikipedia article has a pretty good graph used to showing a growing spread, but the importance is not the time trend so much as the vertical distribution: roughly half the income is distributed amongst the top quarter of the households. While your reaction to the data is your own, the information is not good or bad, it is just unvarnished fact. Do we want it that way? What, if anything, should we do about this? Again, the trend is growing. Economic and taxation policies affect the curve: income EARNED is not the same as income KEPT after taxes & you should properly imagine that factor flattening the curve. I suggest, (and this is not a new argument) that where the government takes action, it should inject stimulus near the bottom. Living with less margins, those people will have to spend. Bubble up instead of trickle down.

1 comment:

  1. You may want to read the whole wiki article about NAFTA and how the democrats voted...

    NAFTA was pushed by the first Bush but had no chance of succeeding with the democrat congress that was in place.