Thursday, May 1, 2008

Extreme optimism, socialism, and Obama for perspective on socialistic policies. Grounds for "extreme optimism" even in the worst case scenario. (Again, "extreme optimism is defined as a belief that civilization will probably survive, even if it doesn't take my advice." Extreme optimism makes it possible to watch politics without experiencing mood swings. <grin>)

If I assume that every one of Obama's tax and spending proposals are enacted, and if I use Wayne's Allard's estimate of their cost , Allard being a conservative Republican from Colorado, a rough guess would be that it would increase the Federal take by about 10%: from 20% of GDP to 22%. Allard claimed that those proposals would cost 1.4 trillion over five years. Since this year's budget is 3.1 trillion, the Feds are on course to spend 15.5 trillion over the next five years (assuming no spending increases under current or similar management - ha ha ha ha ha ha !). So more like a 9% increase in Federal spending. That also assumes that we don't leave Iraq, which would save ~150 billion a year.

For perspective, total US government spending (federal, state, and local) is about 32% of GDP: moving up to 34% is what we're talking about. Max.

For even more perspective, you might consider why Obama is getting more donations than anyone ever has: he has the hedge fund guys sending him the preponderance of their political donations, and that isn't because they think he's going to end capitalism. Of course they could be wrong. In fact, he's going to do without federal funding in the general campaign.

Those increases in taxes and spending might be a bad thing, but it wouldn't make us a socialist state: certainly less so than anywhere in western Europe.

Gregory Cochran

I don't think Cochran is an extreme optimist per se, but he is a pretty good crank-the-numbers-first skeptic, and worth listening to. On the other hand, I worry at least as much about Supreme Court appointments as I do about explicit policies. Look at how one little case (Thor Power Tool Company v. IRS) impacted the book industry. ( if you're interested.) Obama has explicitly declared that he's not interested in appointing "rule of law" judges, and Obama's professed shock at discovering that his 20-year pastor actually believes the nonsense he's been preaching for years does not give me confidence in Obama's judgment. Wright by himself is relatively harmless outside the black community, media outrage notwithstanding, but I don't want to discover that Obama "accidentally" appointed a radical social reformer to the Supreme Court because he was moved by the fellow's "empathy." ("We need somebody who's got the heart, the empathy, to recognize what it's like to be a young teenage mom, the empathy to understand what it's like to be poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old--and that's the criterion by which I'll be selecting my judges." Hooray for the fallacy of intentions.)


"The presentation or 'gift' of the Holy Ghost simply confers upon a man the right to receive at any time, when he is worthy of it and desires it, the power and light of truth of the Holy Ghost, although he may often be left to his own spirit and judgment." --Joseph F. Smith (manual, p. 69)

Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you. 

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