What Would Brave Voters Do?

You may think this is piling on, but I am okay with that.  Some things need to be jumped on.  Our national anthem ends with the following line, “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave, o’er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?”  I am seeing precious little freedom or bravery within the confines of this fair land.  I have written in a previous post about the perils of religious freedom in this country of late.  My fellow Bereans have done a far better job than I addressing the waning of our free market economy, but I wish to enter the fray.  Hillary Clinton was quote recently as saying, “Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.”  On its face, we could write this comment off as a misstep made in a public speaking appearance.  Perhaps she really didn’t mean that.  One of her aides has suggested as much, arguing that she meant that tax breaks for businesses don’t create jobs.  Well, I could accept the first explanation if the comment was not so in line with the Democratic talking points.  The Democratic Party is under the impression that free markets don’t work and the only way that jobs are created is by government action.  If they continue to have their way in hampering the free enterprise system through excessive regulations and taxation, they will turn their statements into self-fulfilling prophecies.  It does cause the historian in me to ask how America got along before the government interjected itself into the economy in its quest for creating jobs.  It seems to me that the approach the United States government took from the days of Sec. of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton until the Progressive Era allowed for quite a bit of job growth.  When one considers that the equivalent of the entire nation of France traversed the high seas to enter the country during the last half of the nineteenth century and this nation’s economy produced enough jobs to absorb them, I think there is an argument for the free enterprise system.

Nevertheless, there is another issue going on here.  Sec. Clinton tried to define the statement by suggesting her husband’s administration “had demonstrated why trickle-down should be consigned to the trash bin of history.”  Again, a quick history lesson would be in order.   First, there are four decades in the twentieth century that stand out as particularly economically prosperous.  They are the 1920s, 1950s, 1980s and the 1990s.  Interestingly, in each of those decades, we see economic policy designed to draw down government interference in the market place, reduce taxes, lower interest rates, and allow individual Americans to spend and invest more of their own money.  In short, these actions define the “trickle-down” economics Sec. Clinton was criticizing.  If she knew her history a bit better, she would also realize that Republicans are not alone in heralding the positive impact of this approach.  Her husband’s beloved icon, President John Kennedy, supported tax cuts as well because, he argued, such policies caused the entire economy to grow rather than taking from one group of Americans to give to another.  In essence, Kennedy understood that allowing Americans to do more with their own money benefitted everyone.  It causes me no small concern that a person seeking to run for the presidency has such limited historical understanding and such an inflated sense of what government can do.  Given the fact that we have had more government spending and regulation in the last six years than in any prior stretch of the country’s past, it would seem to follow that if Sec. Clinton was correct in her understanding of economics, we should be experiencing the greatest economic boom in the nation’s history.  Sadly, we are not.

Finally, I think it is worth noting the frequency with which Sec. Clinton fails to communicate accurately, honestly, or forthrightly (pick your descriptor).  The short list of recent comments includes the following:

  • The proposition that she had been named after Sir Edmund Hillary.
  • The suggestion that as Secretary of State she landed in Bosnia under sniper fire.
  • The conclusion that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was due to an internet video.
  • The assertion that when she and her husband left the White House in 2001 “dead broke.”

While I personally think that her handling of the Benghazi situation disqualifies her from being a serious contender for the presidency, others might disagree.  In addition, some might contend that the above comments do not rise to a level of seriousness that should cause us concern.  I beg to differ.  If one cannot be honest in insignificant conversations, how can we expect that person to be honest in the discussions that matter?  One is left to wonder if Sec. Clinton is not more like her husband than she might like to admit.  He was always very good at saying what was convenient, regardless of its veracity.

As we steam ahead toward the presidential election in 2016, I hope Americans will demand honesty from their candidates.   Such demands require bravery, the likes of which we have not seen of late.  We surely don’t see it from the media often, or Sec. Clinton would not make such inane comments.  It is too easy to blame the press, however.  We, the American people, are to blame.   We sit back apathetically and let politicians saw what they want with impunity and no regard for the truth.  We won’t get the truth until we demand it.  We can only demand it, by removing politicians from office, or preventing them from gaining office, when they do not speak the truth.  It pains me to suggest that voting for truthful politicians would be an act of bravery.  I am confident, however, that if we expect more from our politicians, we will get more.  Perhaps then, when we sing the National Anthem, the last lines will be more than mere platitudes.

3 thoughts on “What Would Brave Voters Do?”

  1. Dr. Mach, great thoughts on the politics of character. We have expectations for honesty in much smaller leadership roles in our community; we ought to expect the same level of integrity from our Commander in Chief.

    I am wondering, have you followed the situation up north in Michigan much?

    Governor Rick Snyder has done a fairly admirable job running the state, especially when it comes to tough decisions about spending and the Detroit bankruptcy. He’s getting my vote today. That said, he’s been implementing a classical-liberal approach to the economy by shifting the state-wide tax burden from business entities to pensioners. It’s reduced the corporate tax burden by almost two billion dollars. Again, it’s a brand new approach to taxation that’s been in play for the past four years.

    But each year since the new tax system has been in place, Michigan has added fewer and fewer jobs (see here. It would seem that his model isn’t working. Businesses have enjoyed an eased burden…and produced almost no jobs since. Snyder’s model doesn’t include any “clawback” provisions that would extend the tax breaks for actual job creation alone. Instead, his model removes income tax credits form middle- and low-income spenders that would otherwise spend likely to immediately purchase their way into the market.

    How would you explain that given the historical data? Is it the case that, during those decades, the primary benefactors of those tax cuts were middle- to low-income individuals (more likely to spend immediately) rather than business entities or high-income earners?

  2. You say that Hillary’s handeling of the situation in Benghazi disqualifies her from being a serious contender for the presidency. However, many voters will disagree with you. Hillary is the top pick for Democratic voters. Even though the next presidential election is still two years away, I believe that Hillary will still be one of the Democratic primary contenders.

  3. I agree with the main message of what you’re saying here. We need to make sure the politicians we elect are truthful. Sadly, I believe that a lot of the voter base is rationally ignorant when it comes to making their choice. It is much easier to listen to and act on the excessive promises made by each party’s candidates. Many people do not not understand that, although good change and benefits are assured across the table, politicians’ number one goal is not always to help the people. We can do our part to be educated citizens making educated votes, but I think the masses of short term, benefit-hungry voters will be a tough crowd to pull away from all the flashy political ads.

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