Friday, July 20, 2012

Letter to a devout Republican

When we lived in Belmont my kids went trick-or-treating on Halloween and knocked on Romney's door.  He handed out toothbrushes. The man is clueless. If he didn't want to play he should have turned out his lights. He is also responsible for ramming the Mormon temple down the throat of the town. He is despised in Belmont, a mostly Republican town.

“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald. He didn’t just mean that they have more money. What he meant, at least in part, was that many of the very rich expect a level of deference that the rest of us never experience and are deeply distressed when they don’t get the special treatment they consider their birthright. "They think, deep down, that they are better than we are.”

Romney is not the creator of jobs he claims. Take Staples, for example, When Staples started they were a warehouse store, cheap and with every conceivable stationary item.  They paid well and trained their staff well ... and they lost money. That is until they put all the mom and pop stationary stores out of business. Then they stopped being the warehouse store they started out to be (they reduced their SKU's from over 100,000 items to under 10,000 ) and stopped most of their employee training and began paying McDonald's wages. If, for example, go into a staples today and ask for log-linear chart paper and you'll only get a dumb stare. Look in the catalog and you won't find it there either.  Some economists have estimated that Staples alone is responsible for the net loss of over 20,000 median income jobs. Romney did a splendid job of feathering his own nest at the expense of others. That is, of course, his right and one could say his duty to his stockholders as a businessman (he was the sole stockholder at Bain) but that is not the job of a president.

Romney is not your friend. Romney's stated policies would eliminate as much of the safety net. He would reduce or eliminate Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, unemployment, etc., as well as remove regulation from the financial industry and industry in general like ending the EPA, etc., while furthering the benefits to the very rich. American incomes have (adjusted for inflation) largely remained flat for almost 30 years (thanks to policies begun by Richard Nixon) while American productivity has more than doubled. Where has that added wealth gone? It has gone to the top 1% who have increased their income by 400% over that same 30 years.  The taxes on the top 1% are the lowest they have been in 85 years yet Romney wants to eliminate the capital gains tax and the corporate income tax.

Romney is not your friend. When he was Governor his stated reason for "Romneycare" was to save the state money. He has no interest in you or me. He just didn't want the state to pay for people going to the emergency rooms when they had nowhere else to go so he mandated that everyone had to buy insurance or pay a fine. What a nice Republican. He's against "Obamacare" simply because he thinks it will get him votes, no other reason. He is a man without convictions, without a moral center despite (or because of?) his Mormonism.

I can honestly say that I'd enjoy sitting down with any of the Bushes for a chat (or a beer), as well as Ronald Reagan and perhaps even Richard Nixon in his later years but I get the feeling that any "conversation" with Romney would quickly sink into a lecture about how father knows best. He is clueless both about policy (he doesn't have any except whatever he or his minions think will get votes) and the plight of the common man. His presidency would be one of the greatest disaster to befall the United States. I can easily imagine the United States devolving into a third world nation where the rich live in their isolated enclaves and the rest of us live in unsanitary slums. This is not the America I want to see, not the America my forefathers fought for, not the America my forefathers pledged their lives , their fortunes and their sacred honor for.

Our friend said:
I guess we should agree to disagree. You see we believe Obama is the absolute worst thing that can and did happen to our country, our laws, our prestige in the world, and another 4 years would finish us off. It is a case of voting for the one that will follow, not undermine our laws, start to bring back at least a modicum of trust in our government, and stop playing with the numbers - and that means jobs and finances! So to us, it is a case of choosing who will do the least damage and who do we trust. And since we have absolutely NO trust in Obama...

Why? The rest of the world has a greater respect for the US now than at any time in the past quarter century. Obama has attempted time and time again to enact laws that would encourage employment only to be blocked by a Republican congress. The Republican Congress has voted 33 times to rescind "Obama/Romneycare" but won't allow the "Jobs bill" to even come to the floor. This is a bill that was originally filed by Republicans back when Bush was president and had bi-partisan support. Now the Republicans engage in what I consider a treasonable game of destroying the economy so that Obama and the Democrats looks bad. Here is a litany of other complaints:

Obama said he would close Guantanamo Bay and try all the inmates in American courts. The Republican congress passed (over Obama's objection) a law forbidding the Guantanamo POW's from American soil. Apparently American laws are valid all over the world but the protections of the American Constitution are not.

The TARP program (which was administered by Elizabeth Warren) was a Republican program designed to bail out the banking system. Most economists agree that it wasn't big enough to bring us out of this recession. Since it wasn't big enough to really work and  the Republican congress won't enact another one, they, the Republicans, have the temerity to blame Obama for the economy when it is they who have opposed every measure that might help for purely political reasons. Again I personally consider that to be treason.

The Republicans say that Obama has spent us into oblivion. No, George Bush and Ronald Reagan got us here. When Ronald Reagan came to office the national debt was $2 trillion, total. At the end of George Bush I, the national debt was $6 trillion. Under Bill Clinton the national debt (remember Newt Gingich's closing of the government) actually went down and would have been paid off in 10 years. George Bush II started 2 wars that went unfunded AND reduced taxes so that by the end of his term the US was $12 trillion in debt and he left us with a tax system that Congress refuses to amend that will soon have us over $20 trillion in debt. This is a crisis purely of Republican making.

The Republicans say that under Obama government spending has risen dramatically. If you take out, unemployment, social security and the rise in Medicaid and Medicare (due to people becoming more and more impoverished) then the Federal Government has actually shrunk. Just wait until the Republican mandated reductions in the federal budget go into effect. You think we have a financial disaster now, just wait until all government agencies from the Military to the State department have to reduce their budgets by 10-20%. That means that companies like Boeing, Ratheon, United Technologies, and General Dynamics will suddenly have to fend for themselves and compete in the real world. They can't so sell your stock now while you can.

Unless the Republican Congress backs down this will be a disaster of unprecedented proportions. I won't argue the benefits of getting rid of the Military/Industrial complex (coined by Ike) but I've read that about 20 million people one way or another are dependent on Federal spending. Cut the Federal budget by 10-20% and you loose 200,000 soldiers, 1/2 the Marines. The Navy drops to 6 battle groups from 12 leaving less than a 100 ship Navy (about the size of Frances). That means that instead of the 3 aircraft carriers in the Middle East that we have at all times right now we'd be hard pressed to keep even one. War with Iran, forgetaboutit. Check the Chinese in Asia? No. Keep North Korea isolated? Yeah right. What do you think will happen to American prestige around the world if we don't have the military or financial muscle to stand up to even someone like Iran? What would Japan or the Philippines do if they didn't feel the backing of the US? What would Israel do if they didn't think we had their back?

The mandated reductions also mean that to keep the military staffed even at that reduced level there will be no more big ticket items. no new ships, aircraft, tanks, missiles or satellites.  We are apparently down to one working weather satellite over the US with no new ones on order. When that goes you can forget about watching the weather on the evening news. But that's OK because one of the agencies slated to be reduced to impotence is NOAA - those great folks that warn of nasty things like hurricanes and tornado's. What does Romney want to do, outsource it of course. Perhaps we can buy or rent satellites from China and meteorological services from India. We would have to pay for it by subscription instead of getting it free. For all we know Romney may have a financial interest in such things. We'll never know unless he releases more of his tax returns. What is he hiding?

The bottom line is that we are dependent on the Federal government for many things from Interstate Roads to meat inspection. So far there are no viable alternatives proposed by the Republicans for our health care crisis, the crisis in education or the looming crisis in our national debt. We all want and assume the services provided will always be there but we (I mean our elected representatives) are unwilling to pay for them. The 2 wars have cost almost $10 trillion. We have no choice but to raise taxes to pay for them and the very rich can pay more than their fare share. After all they are the very ones that have benefited the most from the Federal governments largess.