My Thoughts on the 2016 Presidential Race
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders
Note: A discussion of socialism and my final conclusions are in Part 4
Hillary Clinton – I have to explore Hillary a bit more than the others. Hillary Clinton is a career politician. This is a big strike against her, almost the 3rd strike. She’s a political hack, in my opinion. She is popular with her party but only because of her name recognition. If we go back to the 1930’s, when Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for President, it was FDR and his advisors who first came up with the idea of “cohorts.” These cohorts (interest groups) included farmers, union workers, small businessmen, large businessmen, soldiers, women, children, senior citizens, people in poverty, New Yorkers, well you get the idea. Franklin and his advisors concluded that, during the campaign, they could promise every cohort something it wanted, thus picking up votes not just in general but specifically from each cohort. This has been attempted (usually with pretty good success) in virtually every presidential campaign since. Some historians say if you go back to this FDR period, this cohort created the modern entitlements that we struggle with today. Social Security is perhaps the best of the lot. Clinton is a strong advocate of this very strategy (groups over the whole) but is clumsy at it.
I think Clinton has mentioned every “cohort” in the United States and typically aims her speeches at every one of them. Her advisors have even invented some. Clinton is cohort-driven. She talks about helping women in a vague way. She talks about helping children in a vague way. She talks about helping the middle class in a vague way. She talks about helping poor people. She talks about helping black people. Same for the young and the old and the infirm and veterans and even those who haven’t yet come to the United States. She talks about “working hard for you”, whatever that means. Spread the tax dollars around. She hasn’t mentioned me, of course. Hillary isn’t running for president to help somebody, she’s running for president to BE somebody. I don’t think she’s been asked about the national debt or the concept of deficit spending or the economic impact of her promises, so I don’t know what her position is on these issues.
One important thing I want is a president who can compromise when it’s needed. Clinton has not shown any ability to compromise. Clinton can’t reach across the aisle. She’s never had to and clearly doesn’t want to. The people who surround her can’t do it either. Clinton constantly talks about “right wing” and “Republican” and “Tea Party” and “media” attacks on her or attempts to undermine her campaign. Is this a person who can compromise? As president, would she even entertain a discussion with a Republican? In my career, I have worked with a lot of Government people on large contracts. There’s an oath that Government people stand by: “Admit nothing, deny everything and make counter accusations.” This applies to Hillary Clinton. On every issue she talks about, she follows this mantra. Even in the Bengazi investigation. She blames someone else for her every problem. Even I don’t do that. She is not Bill Clinton. She doesn’t have his political instincts, his natural appeal or anything else. Hillary needs to be briefed, managed, scripted, and practiced. She constantly tests the way the wind blows before deciding on something. She needs to stay in specific areas and channels. She can’t stray from the plan. I haven’t yet seen her speak extemporaneously about any subject with any depth. Her ability to consistently evade difficult issues about herself by attacking the “right wing” is breathtaking.
One of my biggest fears is of the people Clinton would populate her administration with. Ever think about that? I can’t even imagine the cronies and friends and operatives she would appoint. I really don’t think she’s capable of serious independent thought. I don’t think she would appoint anyone who could objectively be an advocate for the United States or reach “across the aisle.” I would vote for a woman for president…..but not Hillary Clinton. Again, she can’t compromise. If she becomes president, we’ll be in for years of her complaining about being attacked. That’s what I believe. Sorry, Clinton. You weren’t, as you claim, named after Sir Edmund Hillary, who was the first person to climb Mt. Everest – you were born long before he did it). Maybe the people in New York like her. I haven’t researched her record as a senator but it doesn’t seem to have been outstanding. If you look up “partisan” in a modern dictionary, you’ll find her name. She claims to “take responsibility” and “be accountable” for things but never explains what that means and nothing changes as a result of these claims. She is not transparent either, not too me. She leans way too far toward socialism. I think she is an observer and really not a participant. Sure, there are other people in government just like her, but I won’t vote for Hillary. I won’t change anyone’s mind with my analysis, but this is my opinion.
Bernie Sanders – I’m against nearly everything he stands for. Sorry, Bernie. Coming from Vermont, I think he must be Amish. That’s what he wants the world to look like. We should all have small home-based businesses making wooden butterflies or tapping maple syrup. I think this is why he talks about Denmark. (See discussion of socialism in Part 4).
He wants to make it easier to join unions. What is he talking about? It’s easy to join now. Besides, unions are too powerful. He loves unions. I don’t. I especially don’t like government unions. Who is it that negotiates for American citizens when federal unions demand more? The government doesn’t earn money. They shouldn’t be able to give away taxpayer money because a union wants it. Why can’t any citizen demand the same thing? Hey, I’m a union of one.
Unions were a great movement in the 1930’s and 1940’s. By the time the 50’s rolled around, unions were out of control, with massive corruption and leadership that completely controlled the membership. Can you say Jimmie Hoffa? Can you say Teamsters? I don’t like union strong arm tactics. They control what their own members can do far past reason. (Maybe Bernie wants this, because unions are like governments) Let’s hope the Supreme Court rules that union members can’t be forced to “pay-to-play” in unions. I don’t expect them to. But if they do, unions won’t be able to build up such huge amounts of cash for donations to political parties, even if their members don’t agree or even get to vote on these donations. Union-negotiated wages and retirement pensions are a major contributor to failing cities and corporations moving their factories overseas.
Another of Bernie’s campaign positions: Raise the federal minimum wage. It seems everybody aspires to make $15 per hour. You know what? That won’t do it. You need to aspire to a wage higher than that. Once companies that employ minimum wage workers raise entry wages to $15, what are they going to do with their employees that make $12 an hour now? They’re going to have to raise these people to $18 to $20 an hour or hire less people or lay some people off. There are people I know who work for The Salvation Army and have done so for years. This type of job can’t support high aspirations. It’s a charity, for crying out loud. Many Salvation Army employees will be laid off. Government likes to take a giant brush and make sweeping changes that make some people feel good, for a while.
I think people need to make at least $25 to $30 per hour to make a living wage, e.g., save money, raise a family, buy a decent car, buy a house, pay for gas, donate to charities, go to a college, etc. No one working a minimum wage job can expect to do all that. You need some skills to go beyond minimum wages, even if they’re just the ability to read, spell, perform basic math and solve problems. You need to invest in an education, pick a field of work that pays a decent wage, learn to study and don’t party. You need to take the long view and the harder road. If students take the easy path when they’re young, they’ll have to take the hard road later, when it’s harder.
What else does Bernie want? Medicare for all. That’s a socialist position and not really practical. I don’t pretend to like or understand the medical industry, and even though I didn’t choose a life of crime when I was young, even I could make a lot of money by cheating and exploiting a Medicare-for-all system. I just don’t think the government knows how to build and operate a Medicare-for-all program without massive corruption, incompetence, fraud and breathtaking inefficiency. We would need to raise income taxes enormously to make this happen. The Veteran’s Administration is an example of how government would run a single payer health care system, because it is a single payer health care system. Let’s all go to Sweden, for now.
Bernie also wants to expand social security (a system that was never meant to be the only source of retirement income). Where is the money going to come from to do that? More taxation on workers, I suppose. Bernie likes that solution. Think of Denmark and Sweden. He also wants to reform trade policies. I’m not sure what he’s talking about, really. I don’t think this would help us either. Other countries don’t care about helping the U.S. Trade policies always seem to be in favor of other countries.
He wants to reform the income tax code. When have I heard that before? Every presidential candidate since the 40’s has mouthed this and the tax code is more complicated and the IRS has simply gotten bigger. The IRS is an industry that is supported by taxation, it’s only source of income. The Government won’t let anybody change this. Too many jobs would be lost. Flat taxes, progressive taxes, tax the rich only, tax businesses, etc. Sorry Bernie. Sorry about all the other candidates as well, with their tax reforms. Maybe we could at least chip away at the tax code. Can’t anyone just say this?
Besides Bernie, who would you select as your Secretary of Defense? Your Secretary of State? What would your cabinet look like? Too many socialists could really spoil the broth. I think Bernie is in the race just to make Hillary Clinton look better. At least Bernie supported the breast cancer movement in the 90’s and 00’s.
End of Part 3
Part 4 is a discussion of socialism and my final conclusions