Mitt Dukakis

I read a column in the Wall Street Journal by Bret Stephens which expressed something about the last election results that I have been meaning to say but couldn’t quite find find the words. Some of what he has to say, I agree and some I do not but I am struck by his description of Mitt Romney‘s weaknesses.

Though conservatives put themselves through the paces of trying to like Mr. Romney, he was never a natural standard bearer for the GOP. He was, instead, a consensus politician in the mold of Jerry Ford and George H.W. Bush; a technocrat who loved to “wallow in data”; a plutocrat with a fatal touch of class guilt. His campaign was a study in missed opportunities, punctuated by 90 brilliant minutes in Denver. Like a certain Massachusetts governor who preceded him, he staked his presidential claims on “competence.” But Americans want inspiration from their presidents.

That was my thought in the aftermath as well. The real problem with Romney was not that he was a moderate, or not Conservative enough, although that was part of it. the problem is that Romney does not seem to have a core set of political principles. His whole argument was based on “competence”, just like Michael Dukakis‘s campaign was back in1988. Perhaps it should be otherwise, but Americans are not looking for a competent manager in the Presidency, but a leader who inspired them to aim for something higher. To give the devil his due, Barack Obama is very good at that sort of thing. It is his one major talent. If only he had any talent in actually leading, the country would be a whole lot better off.

I think Stephens also has some worthwhile things to say about the immigration problem. The Republicans, and the country as a whole is going to have to come up with a just and reasonable solution to this problem.

On the subject of idiocy, can someone explain where’s the political gold in demonizing Latin American immigrants? California’s Prop 187, passed in 1994, helped destroy the GOP in a once-reliable state. Yet Republicans have been trying to replicate that fiasco on a national scale ever since.

If the argument is that illegal immigrants are overtaxing the welfare state, then that’s an argument for paring back the welfare state, not deporting 12 million people. If the argument is that these immigrants “steal” jobs, then that’s an argument by someone who either doesn’t understand the free market or aspires for his children to become busboys and chambermaids.

And if the argument is that these immigrants don’t share our values, then religiosity, hard work, personal stoicism and the sense of family obligation expressed through billions of dollars in remittances aren’t American values.

I don’t like giving amnesty to illegal immigrants because I do not favor rewarding people who have broken the law. It seems to me to be unfair to the people who have waited in line and filled out the paperwork to come to this country. Yet, aside from political considerations, we ought not to demonize people who want to come to this country to better themselves. We are going to have to find a way to allow those who are here illegally to earn legal statue and eventually citizenship. We will be a better country for it.

 

 

Should Only Taxpayers Vote?

taxes
We all pay them, whether we know it or not.

 

There has been a lot of commentary on the Right since last week’s disaster some of it useful, and some not so useful. Some of it, I have to say, is just a little bit, well, dumb. Among the latter is this proposal I read at conservativebyte.com, that only those who pay taxes should be allowed to vote.

 

Our republic, in its current form, cannot continue forever. The old adage that once the peasants learn that they can vote themselves bread is rapidly proving itself to be true. Any but a fool can see that no government can continually spend more than it takes in can last. We can see it… the fools can’t. The point is that we must desperately attempt to educate them before they run the entire American experiment into the ground. Otherwise we will go the way of Greece, into insolvency, massive inflation and turmoil.

Whenever enlightened people gain control of our government or in the next republic, if it comes to that, the vote must be restricted to those who pay taxes (which will be most people) and the government should be required to balance its budget except in time of declared war. The idea that all men are created equal and should therefore be able to vote is baloney. All men should be treated fairly and with compassion, but only those who pay some amount of tax, regardless how small, actually have some skin in the game and should be able to decide how much they are willing to spend.

 

I think that the writer needs to reread the Constitution, especially the Twenty-fourth amendment which states.

 

Section 1.The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

 

The right to vote does not depend on the ability to pay a tax. Maybe it should, but that is beside the point. There is no way that the twenty-fourth amendment will be repealed and no way that any means-testing for voting will be permitted. It does not seem to me that discussing disenfranchising large segments of the voting public is a way to win votes.

I would like to take issue with the statement that only those who have “skin in the game” should have a say. It seems to be a common belief that only about 50% of the citizens of the US currently pay taxes. This is true, if you only consider the federal income tax, but that is not the only tax that people in the US pay. There are  also Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes. There are state and local income taxes. There are sales taxes and excise taxes, and more. I doubt there is anyone in this country who doesn’t pay any taxes at all. Granted, many people are unaware of just how much they actually pay, but that is a matter for education. The point I want to make is that if the right to vote is restricted to those who pay some form of tax, than the right to vote cannot be restricted at all.

And, anyway, every citizen of the United States does have some skin in the game, whether they pay taxes or not. If the economy collapses because people are voting themselves goodies out of the treasury, than everyone is affected, rich or poor. Let’s try to come with with sensible ways to solve our country’s problems and not waste time on nonsense like this.

 

 

 

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