Americans are so enamored of equality that they would rather be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.
Alexis de Tocqueville
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.... John Rogers
Hmm guess it's not such a bad thing to aline yourself with the tea party after all ..Turner, who ran as a staunch conservative embracing the tea party. Turner spent the final days of his campaign blasting Obama on the economy and on his perceived lack of support for Israel. Democrats worry that the apparent drag that the president had on Weprin could be repeated and amplified nationwide during the 2012 elections.
Turner campaign was a play right out of the democrats play book, don't run against your opponent, run against a very unpopular president. That is exactly what he did. So for any to say this wasn't an Obama defeat is just kidding themselves.“Make no mistake about it, the albatross around Weprin’s neck is named Obama, and Democrats who value honesty will tell you privately that the president’s 37 percent approval rating in the district is making it difficult for Weprin to win a race that in almost any other time would be a slam-dunk,” Stuart Rothenberg, an independent analyst and editor of the Rothenberg Political Report, wrote Tuesday.
IMO, the special elections offered a snapshot of how voters in two areas feel today. Much can change between now and November 2012, so today's results do not guarantee tomorrow's outcomes.
Having said that, what remains clear is that the state of the economy remains the dominant issue confronting the nation's policy makers. Given the structural changes that have taken place since the collapse of the housing bubble/financial crisis/steep recession and ongoing changes globally (shifting comparative advantages, patterns of trade, etc.), the economy will almost certainly be the biggest issue in 2012. At that time, if the economy remains sluggish and the unemployment rate remains elevated with little prospect of a significant decline, voters will likely choose new leadership, consistent with historic patterns under such circumstances. By that time, voters will be looking for practical solutions. Backward-looking narratives won't be an adequate substitute for vision/practical solutions that offer a way out of a situation the nation largely finds unsatisfactory.
Even if the policy makers have not yet discussed it, some paradigm changes are required. First, in an era of consumer deleveraging and, later, fiscal austerity, the consumer-led model of growth in which personal consumption expenditures accounted for more than 70% of GDP needs to be replaced by a model that is more balanced i.e. relatively greater roels for gross private domestic investment and trade. In addition, leverage will need to play a much smaller role in growth than it has in recent decades. An approach were every dollar of GDP growth is achieved by $2 to $3 in domestic nonfinancial debt is not sustainable. Second, a greater role for trade will depend on increasing U.S. competitiveness. The current practice of trying to offset barriers to competitiveness e.g., labor costs, by shifting operations overseas is, to be blunt, largely an imitation (of more competitive rivals) approach. Imitation is not a source of sustainable competitive advantages. U.S. firms will need to increase their innovation relative to the rest of the world. To support such a drive, policy makers will need to tackle the problems that inhibit success in the nation's education system, as an improved human capital pool is essential to innovation. Third, the nation will need to address areas in which it is vulnerable (energy supply) or areas where tomorrow's growth lies. Both the private and public sectors have roles to play in that area e.g., the federal government can develop a credible energy policy. At the same time, the private sector can innovate to develop substitutes for, let's say, rare earth minerals, for which scarcity and resource nationalism will dampen availability down the road. Fourth, the nation needs to address its long-term fiscal imbalances. Failure to do so will raise the risk of a medium- and long-term debt crisis. Health care reform will be central to addressing those imbalances. Fifth, policy needs to be long-term-oriented. The nation's policy makers have to challenge themselves to think in terms of opportunity costs: namely, what opportunities are being foregone by today's decisions and whether such trade-offs make sense for the long-term. There needs to be a direction that is clear so that policy choices can be made in that context and the private sector can operate in an environment in which political certainty is much greater than at present. That clarity can enhance the private sector's planning. Inflation, political uncertainty, etc., all make planning, an already complicated process, even more complex.
Today, the U.S. still has powerful advantages. It is a free society in which the latitude for choice is substantial. It has a relatively educated workforce, though the talent edge has been eroding for some time. It still has an macroeconomic culture in which innovation can thrive, but risk-aversion (some due to macroeconomic and policy uncertainty, some due to complacency, some due to other factors) is suppressing innovation. Right now, the U.S. still has the luxury to chart its own course toward fiscal sustainability. Inaction will strip the nation of that choice, leaving that challenge to be addressed by circumstances (a much more disruptive situation). The nation still has the luxury to choose a path that leads to sustainable economic growth. Policy inaction, even with the best of intentions, will impose on the nation an era of sluggish growth.
"He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)
Tired of elections being between the lesser of two evils.When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser. -Socrates