Thursday, October 11, 2012

a few notes on the first presidential debate, 2012

over the past week we've heard a lot about obama's performance at the first presidential debate and mitt romney's surprising and supposed victory. tonight the nation will watch ryan paul talk against vice president biden, two men who often put their foots in their mouths. so before we watch what could be a great disaster, i thought i'd share some thoughts i had about the presidential debate we watched last week.

last week in denver, colorado president obama met republican presidential candidate mitt romney to spend an hour and a half setting up distinctions between their politics. i watched the debate from portland, oregon with john and mikiel, relaxing on john's couch. after the debate pundits, both democrat and republican, declared for romney a win after this first face-off. i had commented to mikiel that romney's dialogue seemed bullish; that it made him seem strong, confident. mikiel thought americans must see that romney is bellicose, bullying. obama's speech seemed slow, sputtering whereas romney talked away at a quick, aggressive clip. romney faced his opponent most of the time, addressed obama directly; obama looked to jim lehrer, the moderator, or to the audience watching on their televisions. obama was subquently criticized as being too professorial.

the dials showed that romeny's performance during the the debate helped dial down worries from undecided or undeclared voters that romney seemed out of touch with the concerns of average americans. however, though obama's rejoinders seemed sluggish or absent, hopefully the commonsense obama promoted made it through, seemed clear to american listeners. romney can repeat all he likes that he does not want to add to the deficit no does he want to raise taxes, but he does want to lower the tax rate on businesses and close tax loopholes and deductions manipulated by the wealthy. obama is exactly right in countering that even if the wealthy pay more taxes should the tax code be strengthened, if revenue is lost from business and defense spending remains high, how can not either the deficit or taxes on the average american household increase? intuitively, romney's vague proposals do not seem to balance, and economists (contrary to what romney insists) criticize the romney/ryan plan as idealistic, vague, and ineffectual.

if mitt romney is confused about savings from his tax and budget proposals and his healthcare plan for those with pre-existing conditions, obama seems not to have a concrete plan for promoting employment and the creation of jobs in this country. he harps on the revival of the auto industry, but those results are not seen nationwide and the tend there may still be short lived. the president talked about encouraging and strengthening education, but did not concretely explain the correlation between education and combating massive unemployment. obama, like morst democrat politicians, tends to demure from fully endorsing keynsian government expansion to encourage job creation and economic growth. the american people love to believe that the american government's budget should be treated like a household budget; it's hard to see how much more intricate a national budget and an economy are. money is not just spent by the government; the effects of any expedinture cannot be just counted against revenue. romney was right to imply that government spending can create a trickle down effect. but the difference between money flowing outward from a central government and money trickling down from big buisness is profit. the government does not have to make a profit; it feels no pressure from its shareholders. the governments objective is not to create profit for its owners but to aid the country at large. and as we know, greater profit and income does not usually trickle down; it is accumulated, kept, saved. it does not circulate. it is not spent or reinvested.

there might be more discussion on the economy tonight as paul ryan is known for being a budget wonk. though no matter where the discussion turns, no matter how substance-less you could say any of these debates will be, this vice presidential debate could at least be more entertaining than the last. john fell asleep right in the middle of the romney/obama scrap, snoring softly over their posturing.

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