El Debato

These are my limited observations from tonight’s debate, from the 10 or so minutes I saw before I nodded off for a nap.

Have you ever seen one of those letters composed from words cut from magazines? You know how the words are all different fonts and sizes and choppy? That’s how President Obama sounded to me tonight. I often couldn’t tell if the two words he just said were connected to previous sentence, the next sentence or stand alone.

I liked the first part of Romney’s response to the question about this country losing jobs overseas. He should continue to hammer this message home. The answer isn’t trickle down government, it’s to make the U.S. a more attractive place to invest.

Most economists agree, incentives matter. We — through government — chase those jobs away by making it less attractive to invest in America.

I didn’t care much for the second part of Romney’s response. If China devalues its currency to make its products cheaper, we benefit at the expense of the Chinese citizens. They should be up-in-arms about that. Not us. They will be some day.

The moderator seemed fair.

President Obama seemed surprised and a little disappointed that one of the questioners, Kerry, was not female, and judging from Kerry’s body language, not prone to be wooed Obama’s machismo.

Also, the President didn’t answer Kerry’s question, which was When did the Libyan embassy request extra security and who turned down that request? President Obama started his answer at the time of the attack.

I wasn’t clear on what Romney’s answer was on the assault weapon ban question. But, I don’t really care, either. President Obama said enough repeating the wisdom/ that guns kill people. He also demonstrated his lack of understanding of the second amendment when he said something about people having guns to hunt and (I think he said, I was nodding off) fish.

Yes. The 2nd Amendment protects our right to hunt and fish (who fishes with a gun?)./

No. It does not. It protects our right to protect ourselves from an oppressive government and other things that might encroach on our safety. It is one check-and-balance on power in a document that is full of check-and-balances.

I think the President also said something about eliminating mentally unstable people, or not eliminating them…not sure. It was one of those choppy moments. But, I think even he wished that he could ‘walk that one back.’

After I woke from my nap after the debate and was cleaning the kitchen, I heard some post-debate poll results.

One question was which candidate will help the middle class the most. If I heard right, the results were 54% to 30-something% in favor of President Obama.

Wow. I guess this may show the distrust some folks have for a rich guy and the love they have for a guy saying he’s going to pick that guy’s pocket.

However, I’d caution the 54% that you may want to favor the guy who is talking about making our country more attractive for investment. That will do more to help the middle class than any nutshell game. That makes as much sense as a football coach saying he’s going to win games by putting the best team on the field.

In case that 54% needs a little help with that, that makes a lot of sense.

3 thoughts on “El Debato

  1. Hi Seth:

    RE: China as a currency manipulator. I agree 100% with your points. The Chinese government is screwing over its own citizens and forcing them to take a pittance for their goods. This “deal” benefits Americans. The only ones that would benefit from a tariff are special interest groups, i.e. the US manufacturer of these goods. Even then, the US producers could not compete in the global market as US tariffs would only affect goods brought into the US. US consumers would suffer. Any anticipated increase in jobs would be offset by the necessity for US consumers to spend more of their income on these goods, thus destroying jobs in some other sector. The US doesn’t improve its overall well-being (wealth) by putting up barriers to trade. It does so by putting into place an environment favorable to business (lower taxes, fewer burdensome regulations, etc.) so that Americans produce more. Romney should have simply stuck to this and dropped the attack on China.

    RE: It (the 2nd amendment) protects our right to protect ourselves from an oppressive government and other things that might encroach on our safety. It’s a shame that most people not only don’t realize this, but they would also find it shocking.

    RE: Fishing with a gun. Tried it as a kid. Due to the refractive index between the air and water, it’s harder than it looks.

    RE: Obama evading questions. I’m sure he wanted to get his talking points in, but three things were evident: (1) he didn’t want to touch his actual record when it came to the economy, (2) he sounded like Obama 2008 with his rhetoric about favoring limited government, personal responsibility, etc., but the last 4 years have made it clear that he says one thing and does another, (3) Romney should have repeated more often the fact that Obama had two years with total control of both houses and didn’t fix things or even address some things he promised.

    RE: Equal pay for women. For obvious reasons, Romney didn’t want to tell it like it is. He did touch indirectly on the fact that many women favor time off, flexible hours, etc., but he didn’t explain that these non-monetary payments are payments nonetheless, i.e. there is no gender pay gap when all factors are considered. In today’s competitive business environment, businesses don’t discriminate based on sex – they discriminate (as they should) on who’s going to benefit their bottom line.

    RE: Libya. Romney let an opportunity slip. I’ll bet he fixes this in the next debate. Romney also could have been more succinct on Obama’s energy policies, e.g. Keystone pipeline and Obama’s well known statement about energy prices necessarily skyrocketing under his cap and trade policy.

    RE: Contraceptive coverage. Someone needs to point out that it’s inefficient (costly) to have insurance coverage for goods/services that are virtually endemic. If everybody or nearly everybody is going to use the service, all insurance does (for practical purposes) is add a layer of administrative costs. As with all insurance, the idea that “someone else” is paying for your medical care is naive, but socialism gets cheered by the same naive proletariat.

    RE: Immigration. I did think that Romney made a good point in clarifying that his policy does not involve actively rounding up illegals. Personally, I think the “immigration” problem is rally two problems: (1) border security, and (2) immigration. It seems that most people complaining about illegal immigration are primarily concerned with illegal aliens using welfare/entitlement benefits in the US and my solution to that is to address welfare/entitlement benefits as this is the real problem, not immigration. Curtail entitlement/welfare regardless of national origin so that we can cut back on domestic and foreign moochers. When the “free cheese” is gone, the rats that don’t want to work will stop coming. Then we can deal with the border security issue which will involve a much smaller number.

  2. RE: Energy. When Obama stated “That’s why we doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars. That means that in the middle of the next decade, any car you buy, you’re going to end up going twice as far on a gallon of gas,” Romney should have seized the moment and brought up the Chevy Volt. If achieving improved fuel efficiency is as simple as issuing a government edict, why not demand that all cars get 200 MPG. What Obama left out – and what Romney should have pointed out – is that while any care you get “may” get twice the miles per gallon, (1) it hasn’t happened yet, and (2) the price of the car may offset any savings from fuel. Obama’s agenda is not saving consumers money. His agenda is less gasoline consumption even though it will likely cost consumers more. Remember, “under my plan, energy prices will necessarily skyrocket.” His goal is not reduced costs for Americans. It’s reduced consumption of gas and he aims to do this by making gas consumption MORE expensive.

    Obama stated, “we’ve also got to continue to figure out how we have efficiency energy, because
    ultimately that’s how we’re going to reduce demand and that’s what’s going to keep gas prices lower.” Improving efficiency will not necessarily reduce demand. In fact, it may even increase demand. As the price of gasoline drops, people will have less incentive to curtail travel and will use more gasoline. While it’s true that there’s probably an upper limit on how much more people will actually travel even with “free” gas, it’s not at all certain (as Obama implies) that either the Demand curve will shift in the direction he imagines or quantity demanded will drop as he predicts.

    As far as other countries, e.g. Germany, already making investments in clean energy, maybe that’s because of the sky high gas prices in Europe – a situation Obama evidently wishes for the US.

    RE: WHOSE MONEY IS IT. Maybe my perception is skewed and I welcome any correction, but here’s my rough take on the $5 Trillion issue that keeps popping up: Obama keeps complaining that Romney’s proposed tax cuts will cost the government $5 TRILLION. What that really means is that the government will take in $5T less in taxes (if we assume Obama’s prediction is correct). But what that means is that American citizens will get to direct the spending of that $5T rather than Obama getting to determine how it’s spent. I suspect that US citizens will spend and invest it in ways that are much more conducive to their own well being and that have greater positive impacts on the economy than if the government spent it. As such, we will get a double bonus in terms of tax revenues – first, from the fact that consumers are spending, and second from the expansion of our economy with even more consumer spending. Because of the increased tax revenues from an expanding economy – as well as cuts in government spending that Romney will hopefully make (but that Obama certainly won’t) – it is quite conceivable that this $5T deficit that Obama imagines will instead become a surplus. Now, Obama will make the claim that by putting an additional $5T in the hands of the government, the government can also spend and invest this some money to encourage economic activity, but we’ve seen how well that’s been working. The money has largely been wasted on Obama’s corporate cronies and special interest groups (welfare/entitlement recipients) giving them incentives to remain unproductive.

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