Thursday, September 8, 2011

Looking Over The Republican Debate Transcript

Which you can read at the New York Times in full.  (They may be Godless Communists, but at least they have the transcript like a real newspaper from my youth!)

1. Perry argues that he did a great job creating jobs in Texas--a position for which he seems to want to take all the credit.  Romney says he did a great job creating jobs in Massachusetts.  Perry says Romney didn't do that good a job; Romney parries Perry by pointing out that Texas has oil in the ground, right to work laws, and Massachusetts is a hard place to make jobs.  I agree with Romney's defense; being governor of Massachusetts, with a bunch of raging Democrats in control, makes it very hard to make jobs.

2. Both Perry and Romney engage in what I consider really stupid comparisons of job growth.  What makes them stupid is that they are comparing different periods of time.  Perry points out that Texas created more jobs in the last three months than Romney did in four years--but look at the years, and the total population of the respective states.  Romney's crack back at Perry that Governor Bush created more jobs than Perry is the same sort of stunt; Romney should have said that and pointed out Governor Bush had a very different national economic climate--just like Romney did.

3. Santorum, even though he can't be a serious candidate (there's still enormous rage among the people that run this country about his remarks after the Lawrence decision), raises an interesting idea about how to get jobs going again in the U.S.: eliminate the corporate income tax as a method of encouraging companies to put people to work here.  He doesn't point out that what we lose on the corporate income tax revenues is likely to be made up in increased personal income tax revenues and reduced unemployment payments and food stamps.

He also mentions the problem of repatriation of assets.  He has a good point, but I am guessing that almost no one in the audience knows what he is talking about.  (I read an article recently about how many U.S. corporations have foreign assets that they would like to return to America, but the tax structure strongly discourages that.)

4. Herman Cain is also not a serious candidate, but I have to give him credit for proposing what he calls a bold plan to rejuvenate the economy: "I call it my 9-9-9 economic growth plan. Throw out the current tax code, a 9 percent tax on corporate income, our 9 percent tax on personal income and a 9 percent national sales tax."  Maybe the percentages need to be adjusted, but wiping out the current complex and often corrupted tax code with something simple would do a lot of good.  A national sales tax would also discourage consumption and thus encourage saving.

5. I have not had much impression of Gov. Huntsman, but he sure left one here.  He thinks that pressuring China (where I used to be U.S. Ambassador) to stop their currency rate games would lead to a trade war.  I think Huntsman went native.

6. Bachman didn't say much, but what she said was important: ObamaCare is killing jobs.

7. Ron Paul gave one of those presentations about the virtues of the free market that will guarantee him the support of the 5% of the population that already understands libertarian ideology, and cause the 50% that don't have a clue to write him off as a hopeless kook.  I actually largely agree with him on this issue, but this format does not provide the opportunity to explain it adequately.

8. Bachman argues that getting the government out of the way would dramatically increase oil production and drive down gasoline prices.  Huntsman's response is that this is unrealistic, that this is a free market, and the government can't dictate prices.  He is clearly not listening to what she said.

9. Ron Paul has been talking to other hard money sorts so long that he doesn't realize that his point that gasoline can be ten cents a gallon, because he has a dime made of silver, and it was only worth ten cents when it was minted, just sounds stupid:
OK, you can buy a gallon of gasoline today for a silver dime. A silver dime is worth $3.50. It's all about inflation and too many regulations.
10. Ooooh!  Mean nasty Gov. Perry calls Social Security a Ponzi scheme!
It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today, you're paying into a program that's going to be there. Anybody that's for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids, and it's not right.
Well, it is!  The only way that it could work was if we had a continuously growing population.  That stopped some years ago; unraveling this mess is very important, but as long as the Democrats use discussion of it as a way to scare retirees, we are not going to be able to have an honest talk about it.  Romney's response, however, just makes my eyes roll:
We have always had, at the heart of our party, a recognition that we want to care for those in need, and our seniors have the need of Social Security.
This would be true if Romney was a Democrat.  Republicans opposed Social Security at the start, and for many of the right reasons.  Romney is also trying to make it sound as though Perry's criticisms are a case for abolishing the program.  Perry was very clear that for those who have retired or are about to retire, there's no way to end the program.  But something is going to have to be fixed going forward on this.  Romney either doesn't understand this, or is trying to scare people.

11. Cain points out that Chile switched from a system like ours to one that was fiscally sound:
Give them a choice with an account with their name on it, and over time we would eliminate the current broken system that we have. That is a solution to the problem. Rather than continuing to talk about how broken it is, let's just fix it using the Chilean model.
12. Perry claims to feel like a pinata as other candidates take him to task for writing an executive order mandating Gardisil vaccinations for 12 year old girls in Texas.  His defense is a reminder that at his core, he is still fundamentally a pragmatist, not driven by ideology:
I hate cancer. We passed a $3 billion cancer initiative that same legislative session of which we're trying to find over the next 10 years cures to cancers. Cervical cancer is caused by HPV. We wanted to bring that to the attention of these thousands of -- of -- of -- tens of thousands of young people in our state. We allowed for an opt-out.
I don't know what's more strong for parental rights than having that opt-out. There's a long list of diseases that cost our state and cost our country. It was on that list.
Am I disappointed?  Yes.  Am I surprised?  No.  I would prefer that he was more blunt in admitting that he let his concern about cancer take precedence over everything else.  Admitting mistakes is such an unpolitical action, it would do him some good.

13. Romney, to my surprise, says what I feel about immigration reform:

And they said, when employers are willing to hire people who are here illegally, that's a magnet, and it draws them in. And we went in and talked about sanctuary cities, giving tuition breaks to the kids of illegal aliens, employers that, employers that knowingly hire people who are here illegally. Those things also have to be stopped.
If we want to secure the border, we have to make sure we have a fence, technologically, determining where people are, enough agents to oversee it, and turn off that magnet. We can't talk about amnesty, we cannot give amnesty to those who have come here illegally.

We've got 4.7 million people waiting in line legally. Let those people come in first, and those that are here illegally, they shouldn't have a special deal.


  1. Romney, to my surprise, says what I feel about immigration reform.

    It's not that surprising, there's probably no issue/area the Republican base is more opposed to Perry than immigration. Recall how G. W. Bush shattered the Republican coalition and fatally alienated the base with his all in push for amnesty (if Republicans had voted for McCain like they did for Bush in 2004 Obama would be a footnote in history).

    As for the surprise, well, one of the worst things about Romney is that he'll say and do anything for political gain. Recall how he went out of his way to insult gun owners at the signing of a law that did a tiny bit of rationalization of the insane Massachusetts anti-AW etc. law?

  2. The Dime thing KINDa makes sense, if you leave the 10 cents part out of it. I have heard inflation explained this way. An ounce of Gold has always been enough to buy you a REALLY fine suit. Before the turn of the century, that might have been $20 for the ounce, and today it's around $1500, but the suit and the ounce of gold are the same.

  3. As of 09 Sep, Dr Paul's gallon of gas would be $3.00, with reference to a 1964 dime. But on 01 Jan 2008, his gallon would have had to cost about $1.15.


  4. Close the golden door. We're full. end H1Bs and start Operation Wetback II. No more immigration.