2012 preview: by popular demand

We’vehad one commenter on M* ask me my opinion on the 2012 presidential race. That’s enough popular demand for me!

I’d first like to point out that I have come to the opinion this week that John McCain, the person I held my nose and voted for for president in 2008, would have been an even worse president than Barack Obama. McCain’s cheerleading for our ridiculous adventure in Libya has been nauseating. What would a McCain president have gotten us? Probably involved in a lot more countries than Libya and most likely a similar stimulus bill. He would have championed cap and trade (to get along with the left). The only advantages of a McCain presidency: better Supreme Court picks and no Obamacare.

A McCain presidency would have done no better on the vital issue of our national debt than Obama because, while McCain is supposedly a fiscal conservative, he would have expanded the military and supported some kind of stimulus. This is crucial because it means more long-term spending and more unsustainable debt.

I think Republicans like myself need to learn the lessons of a disastrous eight years under Bush and a McCain candidacy. That lesson is: our candidates have to offer a real alternative. The electorate does not get excited, nor should it, by choices between Tweedle-Dee and Tweddle-Dum.

With that in mind, here’s my take on the Republicans who may take part in the 2012 race.

I have four categories: unacceptable, meaning I will vote for the libertarian candidate if this person is the Republican nominee. Barely acceptable, meaning I’m not sure yet. Acceptable, meaning I would vote for this candidate. Real hope and change, meaning we can truly change history with this candidate.

Before we start, a few points:

1)The most important issue of our time is the national debt. If you don’t understand this, you won’t understand this post.
2)Because of our national debt, we need to all change our attitudes toward the government. We can no longer see the government as resolving all of our problems. We can no longer be the world’s policemen. We must accept a smaller, more limited government on all levels and rely on our own resources to deal with life’s vicissitudes.
3)Voting for a Republican who does not understand this is usually worse than voting for a big government Democrat. The reason is that such a candidate ruins the Republican brand by making voters feel they have no choice. Bush has done damage to the Republicans that will last for decades.

Here are the unacceptable Republican candidates:
1)Huckabee: a big government, pro-life, anti-Mormon, theocratic liberal. Need I say more? The man would be our worst president in history.
2)Gingrich: Womanizing, pandering, pro-ethanol, pro cap and trade. Gets in bed with environmentalists when he thinks it is trendy. Then he rejects them like one of his two ex-wifes after climategate. The guy has no spine. Horrible.
3)Palin: I hesitate to write this because I truly do think she has gotten a bad rap. Just compare the fawning press coverage of Pelosi, who is as dumb as a stump (“You have to vote for the bill so we can see what is in it”), and the coverage of Palin. Pelosi is easily more idiotic than Palin, yet that is not the popular perception. Nevertheless, Palin would make a horrible president. We would be invading every country on the planet. Everything with Palin is about her and her martyrdom. Palin has a place in the Republican party (she would make a good Energy secretary who could then wind down the Dept of Energy), but not as president.
4)Haley Barbour: Barbour has excellent instincts and is a good behind-the-scenes political operative. He has been a very good governor in Mississippi. He would be a horrible candidate, reminding everybody of Boss Hogg.
5)Trump. Trump is a protectionist who wants to resolve our fiscal problems by getting more money from our trading partners. Huh? He’s an idiot (politically — in business and entertainment, he’s a genius).

Barely acceptable:
1)Huntsman. I have to admit I don’t know that much about him, but he sounds like a typical Republican establishment moderate to me. I could be wrong, and perhaps he should be moved to the “Acceptable” group.
2)Romney. He’s still a sentimental favorite, but Romney has three huge strikes against him: Romneycare, his support of cap-and-trade and his support for increasing the size of the military. Politically, Romney has missed the small government boat and has decided to sail in the social conservative, big government dinghy. If he were the candidate, it would be difficult not to support him against Obama, but I wouldn’t be as enthusiastic as I was in 2008.
3)Michelle Bachmann. The left loves to make fun of Bachmann, and she has said some dumb things. But she is a small government type. She is against the Libyan war. She is a better candidate than many think. Probably unelectable, however.

Acceptable
1)Chris Christie. Not going to run. He is one of the few who could beat Obama. Watching him on the campaign trail would be a lot of fun. He is a lot more moderate than many people think, especially on social issues. I think this is a good thing because he would be focused on the debt, where he is not a moderate.
2)Mitch Daniels. He’s been a pretty good governor in Indiana. Very smart, unassuming. He also may not run. He is the anti-Obama: short, balding, soft-spoken. His call for a truce on the social issues is a good thing because he would also be focused on the debt.
3)Tim Pawlenty. The more I hear about Pawlenty, the more I like him. He got an A rating (Daniels got a B) from the Cato Institute. He fought for smaller government in Minnesota. He flirted with cap and trade but has apologized for it. He would be a strong candidate and give Obama a run for his money.

Real Hope and Change
1)Ron or Rand Paul. My prediction is that if Ron Paul doesn’t run, his son Rand will run. You want a real small-government candidate? Choose either of them. Rand has a five-year plan to balance the budget. It would work. You want to get out of these ridiculous foreign adventures? Vote for a Paul. You want protection of civil liberties? Vote for a Paul.
2)Gary Johnson. Johnson was a great governor for two terms in New Mexico. He decreased the size of state government while nearly every other governor was increasing it. He wants a 40 percent decrease in federal spending, an end to the drug war and a modest foreign policy with an end to the wars. He would make a great president, and he will never be elected.

What do I think will happen? Mostly likely we will get a Republican candidate in the first two categories, meaning unacceptable or barely acceptable. He or she will lose to Obama. Four more years of wars and stagflation. Sigh.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

41 thoughts on “2012 preview: by popular demand

  1. Good assesments Geoff. I would like the GOP to retire all people that were prominent in the 2008 election. I’m not interested in yesterday’s leftovers. I don’t know if I like any of the people you listed. Who ever gets the nom needs to be on the rock star side of things, otherwise, Obama and his story telling machine will win. I think they’re going to win anyway, but that’s another comment for another post….

  2. Geoff, I think you stretch your credibility (as a libertarian) here with the claim that McCain would be a worse president than Obama.

    McCain’s biggest weakness on the limited government front is/was cap and trade, an economic restructuring so huge that it couldn’t even pass an overwhelmingly Democratic Senate. And certainly he is an interventionist in foreign policy, and (worth noting) a major proponent of amnesty for illegal immigrants.

    The idea, however, that government spending would be anywhere near where it is now if McCain was president isn’t credible. And that is just the beginning. Obamacare style health care reform would have been dead on arrival, especially its massive unfunded entitlement program.

    We wouldn’t have two new liberal Supreme Court justices. The expansion of the regulatory state would be far more moderate, as would every piece of legislation to gain the president’s signature.

    In fact the best model for what a McCain presidency would be like is a Huntsman presidency. Moderate Republican, pro-amnesty, pro-cap-and-trade, big fan of John McCain.

  3. Mark D, the debt is the issue. McCain’s budgets would have been slightly lower than Obama’s, but not significantly so. And, even worse, he would have gotten us into even more foreign wars, which, as you know, are very costly. He would have been a disaster.

  4. McCain’s budgets would have been slightly lower than Obama’s, but not significantly so

    That is not credible. There is no reason to believe that budgets under McCain would be higher than budgets under Bush, and a straight line projection of Bush-style budgets produces numbers that are much lower than under Obama.

    McCain, if anything, is more of a fiscal conservative than Bush was. He is famously (and properly) opposed to agricultural subsidies, for example. He was also famously opposed to the Bush tax cuts because they did not come with corresponding spending decreases.

    As far as foreign policy goes, the idea that we would be in any additional wars if McCain was president doesn’t have anything going for it. If anything McCain would be far more likely to get congressional support before doing anything like this Libya adventure.

  5. Gary Johnson is someone I haven’t thought of in a long time. Is he politcally active these days? A little story: In 2000, when New Mexico went for Al Gore unlike every other non-coastal Western state, my boss asked me about that. I told him a little about the social structure of the state, and then told him about my mother-in-law, a staunch Republican who told the party fundraisers not to bother calling her while Johnson remained in office.

    Following the concept of national debt being the highest priority, more important than everything else, how about the Democrats? Any heirs to Paul Tsongas you would like to see move ahead in his party?

  6. Interesting analysis Geoff. Unfortunately, I don’t really love ANY of the candidates you have discussed, and most of them I don’t even like. I like Christie for the reasons you mention, but I just don’t know enough about his actual political principles other than his wonderfully blunt style and his focus on unsustainable spending.

    Any feelings about Herman Cain?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Cain_presidential_campaign,_2012

    And there have been a few rumors about John Bolton. Any thoughts?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_R._Bolton#Possible_2012_Presidential_run

  7. Oh, and here is Herman Cain at CPAC. I don’t know if I like him at this point (still need to learn more) but he speaks well (and no teleprompter!)

  8. John M, I’m disappointed you don’t know that Johnson is a semi-active candidate. He has been traveling around positioning himself as the libertarian alternative if the Pauls don’t run.

    As for Dems, I’d love to see a fiscally responsible Dem candidate, but I haven’t seen any. Our most fiscally responsible recent prez was Clinton.

    Mark D, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the relative horror of our foreign wars. I feel most people don’t recognize the long-lasting effects of these wars (which the founders warned us about). Our unnecessary involvement in WW1 probably led to our necessary involvement in WW2. The greatest mistake a prez can make is getting involved in a non-defensive war. McCain is Mr. War.

    Jmax, I like Cain and would put him in the acceptable category. Bolton is a neocon and should be in the unacceptable category.

  9. Geoff: when you talk of “small government,” I wonder what you mean. Do you think it needs to be reduced across the board, or do you think there’s a bit of the “baby with the bathwater” with that approach? If the latter, can you identify which parts of government you think are the baby and which are the bathwater? Or maybe you just have some principle or measuring stick you would use to identify what needs to be thrown out….

    Thanks.

  10. BrianJ, really complex question. Google Rand Paul’s five-year plan to balance the budget. That is the best solution out there. No serious entitlement cuts, but cuts in all other areas of govt, including Defense.

  11. Okay. I’ll look for it and then come back if I have any questions.

    Another question right now though. I understand (and share) your concern with our foreign wars and the whole idea of being the world’s policeman. With that in mind, I wonder if you could flesh out your opposition to Obama’s response in Libya. Yes, he’s still got our military there, but I see it as a dramatic shift from how former US presidents have filled the role of policeman. As you suggest, another candidate (i.e., McCain) would have been all over Libya and elsewhere with troops within a week, but Obama waited until he had forced the Arab League to step up in support (albeit only verbal—lame) and forced the UN to back it. And he forced them by not doing anything, in contrast to how Bush got his approval for the Iraq War. So now rather then the US rushing in and taking the lead—and all the blame—we have at least the beginning of a new policy. Maybe.

    Also, we can also see how Obama is continuing to force other countries to play a larger role in Libya by withdrawing first our command of the mission and now withdrawing our ground-attack aircraft. Other countries now have to either “put their military where their mouth is” or back down and admit that they’ve enjoyed the US policeman far too long (in which case, they can’t continue calling on us every time there’s a crisis).

    To be clear, I don’t see this as a “sea change,” but it is a significant shift in US military policy—and is in stark contrast to the so-called Bush Doctrine where we charge right on in with a $2 trillion blank check.

    Response?

  12. Okay, I found Paul’s bill and his item-by-item justification for each cut. I of course jumped right to the area most important to me: the NIH. Paul would cut its funding by 37%. His justification for cutting funding: “Reducing federal grants in this area would realize billions in savings. Each of the HHS cuts called for in this proposal will stop the bleeding in these ever-increasing budgets.”

    No mention of how much the US has saved over the decades because of the increased health that came from medical research. We could suspend all road and bridge repair and save gazillions as well, right? I’ll look over more of the bill, but so far color me “totally unimpressed.”

  13. Geoff, a conservative appeal to military reductions is an interesting idea. With World War II and the cold war, we drafted men every year from 1940 to 1973 except for 1947. I think it left us with a distorted sense that being a nation of citizen-soldiers was the natural state of America. That third of a century was the aberration, though, like the much shorter Civil War.

  14. Geoff, when I asked for this post I said you are one of the few conservatives I know that can still surprise me, and you did not disappoint. It is so refreshing to hear a conservative talk about these candidates in a realistic way instead of lavishing praise on people like Palin, Romney, and Gingrich. Every conservative I talk to in my neighborhood is either gung-ho about Romney or Palin, and I don’t understand how they can complain about Obamacare while in the same breath talking up Mitt.

    Huntsman is the only candidate you mentioned that I would consider voting for over Obama right now, but mostly for the reasons you listed as negative ;). I look forward to your posts as the election creeps up on us.

  15. I hate libertarians and libertarianism almost as much as I hate politics. (Mind you I have no hate whatsoever for democrats or republicans.) But right now, I’d probably vote for one if the end result was a real drive to balance the budget and get out of debt.

  16. “I think Republicans like myself need to learn the lessons of a disastrous eight years under Bush and a McCain candidacy. That lesson is: our candidates have to offer a real alternative. The electorate does not get excited, nor should it, by choices between Tweedle-Dee and Tweddle-Dum.”

    I think most liberals/Democrats feel the exact same way after watching Obama these last few years. Nothing really different, and no real choices. Obama is continuing the assault on civil liberties, is pro-war and foreign intervention, and panders to special interests, etc.

    A matchup that looked something like Russ Feingold against Ron Paul would be just a lot of fun, and we’d finally get to make a real choice for president.

  17. So based on your lists and my perceived electability, would you choose Tim Pawlenty? Is there any realistic chance that Ron Paul, Rand Paul or Gary Johnson can get elected?

  18. Geoff, I don’t think I said anything in defense of an interventionist foreign policy. World War I was pointless, and everyone involved should have known better.

    As far as Libya is concerned, our mistakes started the day Obama said Qaddafi had to go. Once you say that you have to follow through or a lot of people will die unnecessarily.

    I can hardly imagine any Republican president making such a rash statement. Not without gaining congressional support first. It amounts to a declaration of war, a completely unprovoked one in this case.

  19. Why do conservatives say “amnesty” as if it were a dirty word? Don’t they believe in free trade anymore? And, if they believe in free trade, and free flows of capital, why is labor different?

    For the libertarian-leaning folks, don’t they realize that every law adopted to make life hell for illegal aliens applies to every natural born U.S. citizen as well? If an i.d. card is required for a Mexican to get a job, then every true blue American will need one too.

    And what part of “working without authorization” do they think makes sense? We’re going to punish people for working??

    It’s time for them to pull their collective heads out of the dark where the sun don’t shine on this issue. It’s a nativist issue, not a conservative one. And they risk losing all the children of those immigrants from their party’s ranks for several generations.

  20. Whether U.S. involvement in World War I was “necessary” or not, I don’t know. But suggesting that the U.S. might have been avoided World War II if it hadn’t entered the previous war requires a substantial rewriting of the history of the 1920s and 1930s. Japanese expansionism would have run afoul of American interests in the Pacific–the Philippines had been an American possession since the Spanish American War–whatever the American involvment in World War I.

    Would Hitler have still declared war on the U.S. a few days after Pearl Harbor? I don’t see that U.S. non-involvment in WWI would have made a difference. Hitler knew that it was support from the U.S. that provided Britain with the foodstuffs and weapons and materiel to continue the fight. I don’t know what was going on in his twisted mind that seond week of December 1941, but I doubt that it was a desire to avenge the German losses at Belleau Wood, or in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

  21. Mark B, revisionist history is one of the most difficult things to argue out because you never really know with any certainty. However, keep in mind that Europeans had been having bloddy internal wars for centuries without U.S. involvement. In the grand scheme of things, World War I was not that much different from all of the 19th century conflicts. If the U.S. had made it clear from the beginning that we would not get dragged in no matter what (and, for example, we did not get dragged in when Napoleon rampaged through Europe), history would have been changed substantially. It is impossible to say for sure what imperial Japan would have done, but it is pretty easy to see that a resurgent Germany would have had a completely different attitude toward the United States. And, yes, Hitler was concerned about the U.S. but that was precisely because we were already doing lend-lease and sending food and weapons to the UK. What if we had not been doing that? What if we had not started an oil embargo against Japan (which was really the cause of the Pearl Harbor attack)? I think it is easy to imagine a scenario where things would have turned out very differently as far as U.S. foreign policy goes.

    I agree with your point about libertarianism and immigration. I am in favor of immigration reform precisely for the reasons you mention, and I will add another one: immigration restrictions get in the way of employers’ rights to hire the people they want to hire. Where in the Constitution does it say that only U.S. citizens can work in the United States? Where does it say that companies can only hire U.S. citizens (or residents)? The 14th amendment was written in an environment where immigration was completely libertarian. We had completely open borders, with a booming economy and people flooding in to help this country grow. I would prefer that environment to our current mess.

  22. Rich Alger #20, I think you read me correctly. I actually think Rand Paul is as electable as anybody if his father bows out and throws his support behind his son. Pawlenty could be the best Republican choice if he avoids becoming a war-monger. There is at least a year before I have to vote in the caucuses, so let’s see what happens between now and then.

  23. Jacob S, you get a gold star for consistency. The anti-war left has been strangely silent with Obama turning into a war-monger. Where are all the demonstrations and comparisons between Obama and Hitler on the left? Obama has basically continued Bush’s horrible policies on the war and civil liberties. Why is he getting a pass?

    Brian J, let me answer your war question this way: you have to have a definable set of principles regarding U.S. foreign policy so you know how to respond when crises happen (as they always do). The principle I support is: it is clearly constitutional for the U.S. to have a military that defends the country. When we are attacked, we should respond quickly and massively. I have no problem in general with WWII (except for the revisionist view that it may not have been necessary without our involvement in WWI, but if we are attacked, we should respond). I have no problem with the initial phase of the Afghanistan war. We were attacked by bad guys hiding in caves in Afghanistan, who were supported by the Taliban. It was a legitimate use of force to go get them. I have problems with every other use of military force in the 20th and 21st centuries. Libya is a classic case of a quixotic, romantic war where we are “protecting” people against Qaddafi, who clearly is a tyrant. Do you know that the rebel forces really do include members of al Qaeda who fought against us in Iraq? What is the end game? What is the goal? How do we know if we have won or not? Libya is going to be a complete disaster — mark my words. It will end like Somalia, another disaster of well-intentioned intervention. Anybody who has studied two weeks of military strategy will tell you that if you are going to fight a war you must use overwhelming force, have a clear goal and fight it to win. This is what we did in World War II, and this is why it is still considered a “good” war. You cannot dabble in war.

  24. BrianJ, the single greatest threat to the poor in this country is inflation. The poor suffer the most when prices rise because they pay the highest percentage of their salaries for food, shelter and energy, which are the items that are currently increasing. The reason we have inflation today (noticed that gas in increasing? Noticed that milk and bread are more expensive?) is that the Fed is “printing” money to cover our $1.5 trillion deficit. The deficit is hurting the poor much more than cutting government programs hurts them. You have to cut something. If you don’t want to cut your pet program, fine, I am open to another proposal that balances the budget while keeping your favorite programs financed. Could you tell me what that budget balancing program is?

  25. Geoff: it has nothing to do with NIH being my “pet program” and has everything to do with me knowing that the NIH is a sound investment. I realize that this analogy is over the top, but cutting NIH funding is like killing the golden goose because you want to save money on feed. How is cutting a good investment going to reduce inflation?

    (As for the poor in particular, they benefit substantially from the results of biomedical funding because they get treatments for disease that would otherwise leave them incapacitated and out of work. And now I’m not being over the top.)

    I don’t have an alternate budget proposal. But when I see a proposal that doesn’t differentiate between money-saving and money-spending government programs, I’m right to be skeptical and reject it. Otherwise, why not just go whole hog and cut all spending altogether? Oh, I know: because some spending is actually good.

  26. Geoff: I see what you’re saying about war. But perhaps you missed my point. You criticize Obama’s response to Libya as though it were just as bad as every other American president’s military policy. I’m simply trying to point to ways in which Obama is different. His policy is not perfect—it’s certainly not what you ultimately want—but you should be able to recognize that it is better than what we’ve had previously and could pave the way for what you’re really after.

  27. BrianJ, dude, you gotta cut something. Fine, keep that program. What are you willing to cut? Anything? What does it add up to in terms of yearly savings?

    I don’t want to sound argumentative, but Libya is the absolutely worst kind of war we could get into. It is the classic quagmire situation. First, we should not be going into war without having the Congress declare war, which is right there in the Constitution. Second, we should only use the military for defensive wars. Third, we should have clear, defined goals when we go to war. Fourth, we are setting a horrible precedent, especially given all of the turmoil in the Middle East.

    Let’s look at a very real scenario. Let’s say Assad in Syria starts killing his own people (just like his father). Let’s say we try to impose a no-fly zone in Syria, just like we did in Libya. Let’s say Assad responds by firing missiles at Israel, his long-time enemy (which is what Saddam Hussein did in the first gulf war). Let’s say one of those missiles hits a school and kills hundreds of kids. Do you see how our well-intentioned actions could lead to unnecessary death? We could also fire missiles into Libya and Syria and kill innocents (we already have). I just can’t see how anything good can come from this, although I understand your point that Obama is trying to do this in a different way.

  28. Mark Brown, on Jindal, I think he has probably been the best Louisiana governor in history, but his national profile is small and he has not indicated interest in running. He is also kind of geeky (although a good speaker when behind the podium). He has a very awkward walk that reminds you of the worst nerd in high school. He is the classic brilliant guy who would make a good president but probably never will be one because of reasons that are somewhat unfair.

  29. Geoff,

    Simple: I’m willing to cut anything that is actually contributing to the deficit or that is otherwise wasteful. Just a few weeks ago I wrote to my state congress, then participated in a conference call, where I urged them to cut funding for a school program that my daughter is in. I’m not gun-shy on cuts.

    For the sake of argument, suppose I’m right about the NIH, that it effectively saves more than it spends. Why would you want to cut it? Why would you be whole-heartedly in favor of a budget proposal that wants to cut it? Why shouldn’t that ring alarm bells that the rest of the proposal is similarly haphazard or over-zealous?

    As for Libya: I was really worried that you weren’t seeing my point until your last sentence. You started off arguing against a bunch of things I never said. Your last sentence captured my point: Obama’s approach is different, so it should not be lumped into the approaches of past presidents. Instead of fighting against him, you maybe could encourage the direction he’s headed and thereby see if you can help push him further and further in direction you want him to go.

  30. Mark B., I don’t use “amnesty” as if it was a dirty word. It is just reasonably accurate shorthand. I brought it up with regard to John McCain because I understand that Geoff has a similar position on the subject, i.e. in favor of immigration liberalization.

    As for me, I recognize that an amnesty policy of some kind is both necessary and inevitable. I would favor granting probationary status to nearly anyone who has been in the country for seven years, for example.

    Probationary meaning you can stay here indefinitely as long you pay a fine, are willing to learn English, pay your taxes, not commit any felonies, and so on.

  31. BrianJ,

    I think that what Geoff says about the deficit being the number one priority answers your question about NIH funding cuts. The deficit must be reduced quickly and substantially or totally eliminated. Across the board cuts in spending or increases in revenue are the only ways to do this. Since the second option is unlikely, spending cuts are the only way to accomplish the goal. Much of the NIH money goes to long-term research that may only payback in a decade or two. Cut that stuff for a couple of years and then reinstate it when the budget is balanced.
    By the way, total life expectancy has not increased a lot in the last 50 years, but the NIH budget really has grown. (This can be said about many different programs, education, defense, etc.)

  32. Marvelous post and discussion. I truly wish Gary Johnson was better known or that Rand Paul had a couple of Senate terms under his belt.

    Unfortunately the two GOP frontrunners are Huckabee and Romney, with Huckabee having the edge and the only Republican who currently polls higher than Obama. I have little faith that 2012 will turn America in the right direction.

  33. It would take a miracle for Rand Paul to get elected president; an event that defies the laws of politics–not that he doesn’t have any good ideas, but there is no way he could get even a minority majority of voters to give up so much.

    The NIH budget and imigration are great examples of a concept that is lost on the vast majority of Americans. We could spend as much as we wanted on health care every year and save many more lives. Similarly we could invite ever person from every country that is making less per hour in their country than they would in ours and we would be providing jobs and higher standards of living for millions AND companies would be able to pay even less than the paltry amouts they are paying now. The effective wage that has decreased almost every year for the past 30 years could continue to drop. Unemployment would continue to rise and “Employment of the Most Desparate” would continue to supplant survival of the fittest.

    BALANCE is the key, but it’s nearly impossible to reach in a society where the squeakiest wheel gets the oil.

  34. I also have to defend Mitt Romney on one point. The health care system instituted in Massachuesetts is a completely reasonable system for a state to resolve those issues at the state level. Considering the majority of voters in Mass. elected their legislature and governor and implicitly wanted health care legislation, I don’t see what the problem is. If you don’t want it in your state, then you shouldn’t have voted for Obama.

    Romney would not have signed anything similar to Obamacare, though I’d hope he could have worked with the Democrats in congress to reform some of the health care laws.

  35. I don’t understand why have 50 Different health programs across the country and have one main health program in the country.. United States no? .. Not that I’m for Obamacare, but I find it a bit funny to defend Romney’s Health care plan and utterly trash Obama’s.

    Anyways Geoff, great post.

  36. I don’t understand why have 50 Different health programs across the country instead of one main health program in the country.. United States no? .. Not that I’m for Obamacare, but I find it a bit funny to defend Romney’s Health care plan and utterly trash Obama’s.

    Anyways Geoff, great post.

  37. “By the way, total life expectancy has not increased a lot in the last 50 years,” …

    This isn’t actually so. Five years ago, I was doing some longevity calculations involving men across different decades of the 20th Century. It was surprising to see the degree to which mortality rates had improved significantly for all ages over even the last thirty years. For example, 25% of sixty-year-olds in 1960 died before reaching seventy (in 1970), compared with 16% in 1990. For more detail go to the Human Mortality Database, a joint project of the University of California, Berkeley and the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research. Available at http://www.mortality.org or http://www.humanmortality.de.

  38. @John Mansfield: right on. Also, we shouldn’t discount quality of life, which has improved substantially for great numbers of people suffering from chronic disease. In many cases, that quality of life improvement has meant the difference between being able to work versus going on disability.

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