Third Party

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 1st, 2011

Politics 101

Representative Government changed Government to Serve the People instead of the Other Way Around

Politics can be confusing.  And dirty.  Which tends to put most people off.  Many only get involved during big elections.  And even then voter turnout can be low.  In addition to the confusion and dirt there’s a feeling of apathy.  Nothing ever changes.  And they feel that it really doesn’t matter if they vote or not.  So many don’t.

They feel that it doesn’t matter who you send to Washington.  Because once there even the honest become corrupt.  Republican.  Or Democrat.  They’re both the same.  Rich and powerful.  Joining other rich and powerful.  In their little games.  So this feeling of apathy is understandable.

But politics matter.  Because it is and always has been a power struggle.  And understanding the essence of this power struggle is important.  For throughout time this struggle has been between competing oppressors who wanted to establish minority rule over the masses.  So the few could live comfortably at their expense of the many.  And it was like this for a long, long time.  Until representative government.  When government began to serve people.  Instead of the other way around.

Third Party Candidates often Rise up from Voter Apathy and Anger

Of the two major political parties, one is for the growth of government.  And one is for limiting the growth of government.  One is for higher taxes.  One is for lower taxes.  One is for higher regulation of the free market.  And one is for rolling back excessive regulation.  One is for transferring wealth from the private sector to the public sector.  And one is for leaving wealth where the wealth creators created it.  In the private sector.  One party serves those within the party (by growing government).  And one party serves the people (by limiting government).  Disagree?  If so I’m guessing you still know which party we’re talking about.  Even if you do disagree.

So there is a difference between the two major parties.  Sometimes it’s hard to see because of the game of politics.  Winning elections.  And many believe the way to win elections is by buying votes.  And both political parties do this.  Spend a lot of taxpayer money on projects for their home district to make their constituents happy.  Grateful.  And, hopefully, in a ‘return the favor’ frame of mind at election time.  But to get pork for your district you often have to let others get pork for their districts.  A little you vote for my pork and I’ll vote for your pork.  Which puts a lot of people off when it comes to voting.  Gives them the feeling that all politicians are the same.  And leads to all that apathy.  Setting the field for third party candidates.

So what is a third party candidate?  They are many things.  But one thing they are not is this.  Winners.  Because they don’t win elections.  Third party candidates often rise up from that voter apathy.  And anger.  Fed up with their party, they split and form a third party.  Thinking they know how best to beat the opposition candidate.  Because they know what single issue will carry the election.  Or so they think.  But all they do is help the opposition candidate they so loathe to victory.  By splitting the vote against the opposition candidate.  Because they don’t think.  They feel.  And let their passion for a singular issue overcome rational thought.

The Majority of Voters Vote to either Expand or Limit the Role of Government in our Lives

And then you have the fringe ideologies so far out of mainstream thought that they don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning a national election.  Such as the Green Party.  The Reform Party.  The Libertarian Party.  The Socialist Party USA.  The International Socialist Organization.  The Socialist Labor Party of America.  The Socialist Workers Party.  The Communist Party USA.  The People’s Front of Judea.  The Judean People’s Front.  The Judean Popular People’s Front.  And, of course, the Popular Front of Judea.  Splitter!

Okay, the Judean stuff is from a scene in the classic movie Monty Python’s Life of Brian.  But it illustrates as well as belabors the point.  Third party candidates are destined for failure.  Because there’re too many of them.  And they don’t differentiate themselves enough to make significant numbers of people leave either of the main two parties.  At least they haven’t yet.  And probably never will.  Though, surprisingly, Ross Perot came closer than most to winning a presidential election.  But he and his Reform Party soon faded to political oblivion.  Which was far less surprising.

You see, the majority of voters don’t base their vote on these fringe, single issues.  Or extreme ideologies.  Instead they vote to either expand the role of government in our lives.  Or vote to limit the role of government in our lives.  For more of a nanny state.  Or less of a nanny state.  For a Democrat.  Or a Republican.  It’s that easy.  And with the large amount of voter apathy and anger that’s enough politics in their lives.  Either the Democrat bum if you want more free stuff.  Or the Republican bum if you are optimistic but expect to be disappointed later.  When you see your limited government candidate expand government, albeit smaller than what the Democrat candidate would have done.

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Obama Says Judge him on his Dismal Keynesian Economic Record

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 21st, 2011

Are you Better Off than you were 4 Years Ago?

People who live in economic houses made of cards shouldn’t blow too hard.  Or boast about future successes (see Obama: Judge me on economic progress by Richard Wolf posted 8/21/2011 on USA TODAY).

“Things would have been much worse has we not made those decisions, (but) that’s not that satisfying if you don’t have a job right now. And I understand that, and I expect to be judged a year from now on whether or not things have continued to get better.”

You shouldn’t boast about a successful track record before you have one.  That could come back to haunt you at the next election.  I mean, when your last three years or so in office haven’t been successful economically, why would you think year 4 would be any better?  In fact, the odds are good that someone will Ronald Reagan you if current trends continue.  When that candidate will ask the people, “Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?”

Businesses never, ever hire New Employees while the Economic Outlook is so Dismal

If the judges are American businesses their verdict is already in (see Moody’s chief economist: Lawmakers need to ‘get it together’ to save economy by Meghashyam Mali posted 8/21/2011 on The Hill).

Zandi pointed to positive signs for American businesses. They are “getting their cost structures down, getting their profitability up, getting their balance sheets in order,” he said.

While businesses are still reluctant to start hiring new workers, they had little reason to layoff employees, a sign we would avoid a second recession according to Zandi.

They’re doing things now that a business does during bad economic times.  Cut costs.  Increase productivity.  Avoid new debt.  Stockpile cash.  And never, ever hire new employees while the economic outlook is so dismal.

The Nice Thing about Bonuses is that you can pay your People Less 

And the bad jobs outlook isn’t just on Main Street America.  It goes all the way up to the fat cats on Wall Street (see Layoffs sweep Wall Street, along with low morale by Lauren Tara LaCapra posted 8/21/2011 on Reuters).

The planned cuts at Bank of America have pushed the number of financial sector layoffs this year to 18,252 — 6 percent higher than in the comparable period in 2010, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement firm that keeps a daily tab on layoff announcements.

Some companies began the culling earlier this year — HSBC has already axed about 5,000 employees, with 25,000 more set to get pink slips by the end of 2012 — and others, such as Goldman Sachs, said that cuts will come by year’s end.

Even the Wall Street bailouts couldn’t save Wall Street.  Or all that quantitative easing.  The economy is tanking some three years later despite all of Obama‘s best efforts to stimulate a recovery.  In fact, it turns out that their best efforts are complicit in these Wall Street purges.

Changes in pay structures mandated in part by the Dodd-Frank financial reform laws have exacerbated the problem.

Banks that used to pay modest base salaries supplemented by opulent stock-and-option packages that encouraged meeting short-term performance goals now are weighting compensation toward base salary…

The shift erodes Wall Street’s former flexibility to lower end-of-year bonuses in bad times and forces a heavier reliance on layoffs.

The nice thing about bonuses is that you can pay your people less.  If you have a bad year, you don’t have to lay off your employees.  You just cut year-end bonuses.  Their base salaries are more than enough to live on.  And they are tickled pink to still have a job after a bad year.  Of course, when you remove bonuses from the picture that only leaves one way to cut costs to reflect declining business.  You have to cut people.  Which is never a good thing in a ‘relationship’ business.

It’s hard to build a level of trust and confidence in a relationship.  And the higher the dollar amounts the harder it is to build that trust and confidence.  It’s scary letting other people into your balance sheet.  Once you do you don’t want to see that person leave.  Because you don’t deal with a bank.  You deal with a person.  That person.  And when they leave there’s nothing but more uncertainty in an already uncertain economic climate.

Keynesian Economics was always about the Growth of Government

So it looks like the chances are good President Obama may get that question next year.  Because indications are that it won’t be better than when he took office in 2009 (see Mises on the Business Cycle by Dennis Sperduto posted 8/21/2011 on Ludwig von Mises Institute).

The economic and financial events of the last few weeks indicate that the economies of the United States and most of Europe remain quite weak, if not in outright recession. This situation comes after unprecedented fiscal and monetary “stimuli” by many governments that were strongly supported and recommended by the large majority of the economics profession, media commentators, and politicians. And of course, with economic conditions showing renewed weakness, the mainstream calls for additional stimuli of even larger magnitudes. The mainstream is unable or unwilling to abandon its Keynesian foundation, a system of thought that has been shown by many individuals associated with the Austrian School to be one of the great retrogressions in scientific economic thought in modern times.

Obama is a Keynesian.  His administration has adopted Keynesian policies.  And all of their Keynesian policies have failed thus far.  No matter how they try, try and try again, they will always fail, fail and fail again.  For Keynesian economics was never about economics.  Not to those in government.  For them it was always about the growth of government. 

Recessions never End because of Keynesian Stimulus, they End Despite Keynesian Stimulus

But the one flaw in their grand design is that the private sector funds everything.  Economic activity.  And government.  So the more government grows, the more wealth is transferred from the private sector to fund it.  Meaning that if the government grows the private sector must shrink.  For here it is simple zero-sum.  Which is why recessions never end because of Keynesian stimulus.  They end despite Keynesian stimulus.

So if the Obama administration moves forward with more of the same it should make the 2012 election come down to a simple question.  Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?  Even Obama is admitting that if things don’t improve over the next year he will be a one-term president.  And right now there’s nothing in the economic forecast that bodes well for a second term.  If he’s judged for his economic performance.  Which he is telling the voters to do in 2012.  As I’m sure they will be more than happy to oblige.

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