25 April 2010

tea parties and obama-nomics

So despite being a self-proclaimed liberatarian, I haven't quite yet joined the ranks of the tea partiers. Less is more when it comes to government, but there are too many scary people involved in the latest fad (read: palin).

I'll admit, i was charmed by the spell of Obama in 2008. He was so pragmatic, technologically savvy (I was impressed by his grassroots online platform), and seemed to "get" the new world from a new generation's perspective. As small government minded as I am, I thought he would take a practical approach to healthcare, world politics, and the new economy. Plus, I think everyone, including myself, was still reeling from the bluderous Bush years from ill-fated wars to the distarous "relief" in my homebase of Lousiana after Katrina.

A year or so later, I am disappointed in how foolish I was. I feel like a grandma who just bought some magazines in hopes of winning the $1M sweepstakes. Turns out, not only was Omama a Pelosi-esque "tax and spend" extremist liberal, he possessed the dangerous charisma and political knowhow to get bad legistlation passed. And the next generation will be left to suffer the consquences.

I, like most people, think universal healthcare is a good thing. I think all people (not just americans) have the inalienable rights of adequate health and education. Everyone deserves this much. But strong-arming a bill that makes no systemic changes to our broken system and doing so with outright misrepresentations (10 years of revenue and only 6 years of costs in their $1T 10 year estimated costs).

Who will be hurt the most ? In reality, all of us. Small businesses will employ less people or face stiff penalties. Everyone get ready for queues to your internist. Taxes will now see the same hockey stick growth unseen since the dot-com growth projections. Does everyone know that a VAT tax is not optional but imminent? This will happen. Can you believe it ? Obama actually sees Europe as a model for America. Has anyone looked at unemployment, prosperity, and GDP growth historically in the US compared to Europe ? There is no comparison.

Don't believe me that it doesn't work? Compare Texas to California. California is riddled with red tape, beauracracies, and a tax and spend governmental DNA so deep that even the "Terminator" could not change the state of affairs. Where are they now? Businesses can't find exits quick enough. The government is issuing "IOUs" because they are near bankrupt. Nice job Pelosi. Texas, on the other hand, is business friendly, has no income tax, and a free market system. How are they doing in the downturn ? Unemployment 2-3% less than the overall nation. 4 of the Top 6 growing cities last year. For the first time this year, Texas tied California for tops in the number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in a state (guess at who's expense!). Look at the Austin real estate market; Its propped up by all of the Californians planning their move. The only downside is that the recession highlighted the sucesses of Texas and now people are flocking in huge numbers. Stay out! Collect your IOUs and continue to tax others for your never-ending entitlements.

So Bush doesn't look so bad after all ? No, he still does. I can't put the federal deficit on just Obama. I think Bill Clinton had it right. I know he was fortunate that he governed during the boom times so had a big pile of tax revenues at his disposal. But he did good things in the right way. He protected the integrity of free markets, opened international trade, reduced spending, created welfare reform, and did generally "moral" things with respect to social issues. And never mischeviously or through brute political force that Obama and Bush did. I never thought I would say this, but perhaps we all should have voted for Hilary....Or maybe Ron Paul.


  1. fair take Rak. Texas is obviously a more business friendly climate (and on a personal level, I long for the days of not paying a state or borough tax). However, Texas' strength in the oil and gas industry puts it at a significant advantage versus Cali (during the past few years). Although the state has done a better job of diversifying since the early 80s oil bust, Texas still stands for oil and gas. The Fortune 500 companies in Texas are littered with oil and gas companies. And although, oil/gas saw a nose dive in 2008 - the price was still in line with inflation adjusted norms. I think most saw this "low" as out of whack with fundamentals and therefore, likely short-term and the companies did not have to make the sudden changes that financial services, etc. firms had to. And of course, it severely benefited from the amazing run up in price and subsequent bounce since the lows of 2008.

  2. Spoken like a former Houstonian :). Completely agree on the O&G concentration, I'm sure it hurt TX more than its peers in the early 80s during the bust. CA also got hit hard by the real estate downturn this time around, while TX barely felt it. However, I think even in the good times (ie late 90s), TX was on better fiscal footing than CA as it has a much lower fixed cost structure. Plus, if you look incrementally over the past couple of years, the outflows from CA (and other states) into TX have been across a broad spectrum of industries. Heck, they even make eyeglass lenses now in Texas...

  3. A follow up which echo's my disgust at the current state of affairs in politics. From "Leeds" (have a link on the site) :

    You Should Be Mad At Both Parties
    Great article by Jerry Seib in the WSJ. He said both parties need to confess their sins for the budget problems:
    The Republicans should admit that they launched a giant new entitlement program (prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients) under President Bush without really paying for it. In addition, under President Bush we pursued two wars without cutting other spending (or raising taxes).
    The Democrats “set out to trim billions of dollars in prospective Medicare spending but used the money to expand health care for others rather than to extend the life of Medicare itself.” In addition, he argued that the idea of not raising taxes on any family making less than $250K means that we will try to solve our problems by having 5% of taxpayers shoulder the entire burden.

    He concluded that we must ultimately decide that our tax system has to change (we can’t have the top 1% paying more than the bottom 95%) and we have to think about how we think about retirement (we can’t afford Social Security and Medicare).

    My comment to all this is “amen.” I am convinced that if you believe one political party is good and the other is bad, you’re a fool. Without question, there are issues on which one party is worse than the other. But we got into this terrible predicament as a result of the acts of both parties. Eventually, I plan on asking you all to join my party…the “Against Party.” If a politician thinks something is a good idea, I’m probably against it.

  4. obama, like clinton & bush, is presiding over the early stages of the decline of the american empire. it was simply masked with the credit economy during the clinton & bush years. obama, whether wittingly or unwittingly is laying the social framework necessary to catch the continual decline coming in the next 2 decades in the u.s and break the fall as best as it can be. Living standards as well as the psyche of the american dream will decline rapidly in the coming 2 decades. Place your money carefully in the economies of China & India. But once that downturn ends its cycle many years later, America will be the bargain of a lifetime.

  5. Ah - the post-american world, interesting take. Have you packed your bags yet ? I agree with you, although Clinton did preside when America created innovative and world-changing inventions such as ecommerce and internet technologies. If the US companies doesn't find other huge markets, the US will be continually climbing from the bottom of the well of the debt and tax burdens it has built for itself.