Friday, November 16, 2012

The presidential election is over. One of the interesting outcomes of the contest is the use of the Super PAC money and corporate donations set in motion by the Supreme Court's ruling in the Citizen's United case. Donors like Sheldon Adelson spent over 50 million dollars in support of a candidate who lost. This is a tremendous redistribution of wealth. Mr. Adelson has recycled a significant amount of money to media outlets, copy writers, admen and political consultants. This amounts to a private economic stimulus program. I assume the wealthy donors are concerned with tax policy and part of their contribution was to ensue US tax policy would remain friendly. Just how much extra tax will Mr. Adelson have to pay on an annual basis that would justify a 50+ million effort?

After every election half the country is disappointed, I understand that because I have only voted for the winner 4 times out of 11 presidential elections. We owe the winner, who represents the majority of the country some leeway to implement their campaign promises. The American people generally vote the economy, if the incumbent is reelected the people are saying the economy is OK, if the economy is not OK we elect the challenger. Whoever loses needs to accept the result and go gracefully into the good night. Mr. Romney does not need to vilify the electorate by impugning their motives. We are not all on the dole, most people want to work and create a good life for their family so we need to stop the talk about how half the country are moochers and somehow the Administration ladled benefits on part of the population for their votes. Mr. Romney did not convince enough voters that he was a better alternative to Mr. Obama, period.

Speaking of going gently into the good night Alan Greenspan who as chairman of the Federal Reserve could not have been more wrong or have chosen a worse policy for the US needs to disappear from the airwaves. We should have some minimum standard for past performance before we allow a person to air their opinions in public again. Whatever standard we decide is right Mr.Greenspan will certainly fall short.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hurricane Sandy has landed in New York and New Jersey. Amid the destruction some very positive things have emerged. Andrew Cuomo, Michael Bloomberg, Chris Christie and Barack Obama once more showed us that public servants work for the public. The governors and the mayor marshaled the forces at their disposal and got out in front of the storm with warnings and evacuations. They are working tirelessly to help their citizens come back from the devastation which will take a long time. The President has visited the area and is bringing the full resources of his office to provide what the states need. It is nice to see politicians of different parties forget the rancorous verbal jousting and concentrate on getting something done for the public. The national debate has been hijacked by blithering idiots like Grover Norquist, Glenn Beck and the like who would have you believe the secret to happiness is carrying a gun and shutting down the Federal Government.  For the love of God just shut up!

Better people are better. That silly little expression is what we tell ourselves when we look to hire a new employee. If you appoint an incompetent like Michael Brown to head FEMA you will be unable to get a 12 oz bottle of water delivered to a major American city short of 4 days. Likewise if you appoint a failed congressman like Christopher Cox to head the SEC Wall Street will drive the banking system off a cliff  fueled by greed. Pop quiz: Who is currently head of FEMA? Answer: nobody knows and that is how it should be, because when it works correctly we do not need to know.

The impact of the storm is enormous in the tri-state area. One of the great things about people is their willingness to help their neighbors. They just show up with a broom or chain saw and with a brief nod pitch right in. I believe this is true in all disasters in the country regardless of the region and it doesn't matter what your religion or politics are, it is just people helping people. We need leaders who will focus on this aspect of our national character and not seek to exploit petty differences.