Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Support for Hillary Clinton


It would be easier to stay quiet and privately cast my vote in November given that many of my business  and other relationships are Republican. Due to my level of conviction and importance of the presidential election I am writing for the first time in my life about who I will vote for president. I will cast my vote for Hillary Clinton. I believe Clinton has the experience and the national-global relationships to be an effective president. Clinton has done a significant amount of positive work on behalf of the people of the United States and the world, while serving in public office as well as people in need through the Clinton Foundation.

She has impressed me as a strong leader during her long career. More recently she has demonstrated significant leadership and relationship building skills during the current campaign as evidenced by the depth and breadth of her campaign organization and the team of high quality individuals she has assembled. She has also been endorsed by leaders that I deeply respect. As an aside, I also appreciate the fact that she has not turned over her campaign manager three times in recent months. I was very impressed with the professional organizational level of the Democratic convention as well as the overall positive-hopeful tone and message. The convention audience and platform was diverse and reflects the long-term demographic trend of the country. The campaign message of "We"  as opposed to "I" speaks to the spirit of cooperation and community and the fact that significant accomplishments come from groups of people who work together. I believe she possesses and has demonstrated the necessary attributes to serve as President of the United States.

Clinton has published detailed policy information and has stayed the course of sticking to her agenda during the campaign. I agree with the majority of her policy agenda and understand that implementation will be influenced by control of the U.S. Congress. I believe her Vice President is an experienced high quality man of character.

Her opponent who is not qualified to be president has run a disastrous campaign that appeals to the worst instincts in people. In the current fractured, hostile and tribal political environment she is winning the race by a significant margin as the voters get a good long look at her, her opponent and Republican party. Despite kid like taunts and the daily ignorant display from her opponent, she has maintained composure. My effort now is to do all I can do to get the vote out in an effort to elect the first women as President of the United States.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Trump Makes Race More Competitive in Select States


The race tightens in traditionally red states like Arizona and Utah among others with Trump's poll deficits widening across the country. Battleground state deficits also increase for Trump. The GOP convention bounce is long gone as Trump displays daily ignorance and negative traits on the campaign trail that turn off the center and others. In response Trumps blames the media. Voters have a hard time imagining Trump as president except for his most ardent supporters who appear to be displaying cogitative dissonance.
No surprise here as Fox cable TV casts doubt about the polls in their mantra to their rightwing audience along with the other serious issues the entertainment network faces. The reality here is that Fox has zero credibility on this issue owing to the consistency in poll results among a wide variety of independent pollsters and the fact that the network's talking head/pundits batted zero percent in their 2012 prediction of a Romney victory. On the opposite end of the forecasting credibility spectrum is a statistician from the University of Chicago by the name of Nate Silver. In 2012, Silver correctly predicted the winner of all 50 states in the Presidential election after going 48 for 50 in 2008. Believe it or not, Silver actually based his forecasts on empirical-analytical techniques and no doubt humble non hedgehog like hard work. Silver is not perfect but he has gone two for two in his presidential general election predictions. Based on my recollection, Silver was consistently criticized by Fox during the 2012 presidential campaign cycle. Silver's recent prediction models  indicate that Trump has an 80%+ to 90%+ probability of losing the race. There is a way to go to election day and things can change but as of now the situation now looks grim for Trump and his followers who are in denial. Elite members of the GOP who have not defected from the party or Trump are thinking about their options, and to say the least, the future looks dicey.

Other Campaign Musings
Trump recently rolled out the long standing standard Republican economic message in a teleprompter speech that sounds like it was written by the Heritage Foundation (the conservative think tank) and Arthur Laffer, the former member of Reagan's economic advisory team and author of the Laffer curve. In case you missed it, the Laffer curve gained prominence during the Reagan administration as a justification for GOP economic dogma. The Laffer curve is a representation of the relationship between rates of taxation and the resulting levels of government revenue. Laffer curve theory says government taxable income changes in response to changes to the rate of taxation. The Laffer curve is used to justify the argument that tax cuts help the economy and increase tax revenues. (1) Part of the trickledown theory of economics. In general, economists have found little support for the claims here. The Laffer curve is controversial to say the least. Folks on the right argue for tax cuts per GOP economic theory. For folks that make right wing economic arguments to justify the core of their political/economic philosophy, it would not be a bad idea to learn the basic theory here (both pro and con) that is the basis for their argument, if they have not already done so. An easy place to start is by googling the topic. It is hard to say how many right wing folks who make or believe in the low tax increases income tax economic argument understand the basis for the argument (i.e. the Laffer curve)? I have an opinion here, but I will keep it to myself.  

Trump's heated rhetoric aimed at non-college graduate white victims of globalization is not credible as it avoids deeper and bigger issues that swamp his rational ( I use the term loosely here) and 4 year U.S. presidential cycles. The concepts include the long-term multi-year worldwide labor arbitrage and automation trends that will continue to wipe-out jobs for non-skilled workers in the U.S. and abroad. The U.S. continues to fall in worldwide rankings of the top countries for K - 12 educational achievement (a serious problem in a long-term high skilled job environment). The U.S. now ranks about 30th in the world. Countries at the top of the world include China, Finland and Korea, among others. The world and U.S. economy will continue to demand highly skilled labor that requires education. Occupations that do not will continue to wither or go out of existence killed off by automation and jobs that can be performed anywhere due to modern day logistics and communication systems, among other factors. The GOP and Trump  continue to pander to their audience by blaming teacher unions and trade/globalization. Not long ago the GOP supported globalization. But today the party is a mess that arguably may have seen its best days. Credible experts close to the issue know that bringing back low skilled jobs is not easy or likely. Trump's rhetoric avoids the key issues here and does no more than feed anger, without helping the people who truly need help here. Trump argued for less regulation in his recent economic address at the same time arguing for more regulation here that would stop or limit companies from moving overseas. Good luck squaring the logic here.
My guess is that Trump will not make his tax returns public. I obviously do not know the details and cannot say for sure, but given the fact that he is in the real estate business and by outward appearances not afraid of leverage and bankruptcy, I assume that he has paid little tax owing to real estate related tax deductions. I also assume he has followed the tax code. This is based on guesswork and personal opinion only so read with caution realize there is more to this issue than I am addressing here along with the fact that I could be wrong.

Trump's argument that the U.S. economy is dismal is not credible as are his recent stock market comments. Ditto for the arguments about government debt levels and cause & effect. Facts are not likely to change any minds here as wild *ss uninformed opinions have been set for a long time.
Trump's campaign hits new lows but my best guess is that we have not seen the bottom. In response his actions and rhetoric get crazier. At this point I have run out of words to describe the daily ridiculousness. It's scary!  Serious issues exist here.

Have a nice rest of your summer, now back to Copacabana.


(1) Sourced from Wikipedia.