Actually, the “American voter” wasn’t as stupid, as Jonathan Gruber claimed, because, as he admits numerous times, they had to resort to outright fraud to get the ACA past those voters. Brian Faughnan summarizes:
So Gruber is previously on the record saying Obamacare subsidies are available ONLY in states that set up exchanges – not in all states. He has also said the law was sold in a deceptive way to fool stupid voters. Now we see him claim that the Affordable Care Act was actually a way to get rid of employer-provided health care, but it had to be done secretly so the American people would go along with it:
“It turns out politically it’s really hard to get rid of,” Gruber said. “And the only way we could get rid of it was first by mislabeling it, calling it a tax on insurance plans rather than a tax on people when we all know it’s a tax on people who hold those insurance plans…
Gruber explains that by drafting the bill this way, they were able to pass something that would initially only impact some employer plans though it would eventually hit almost every employer plan. And by that time, those who object to the tax will be obligated to figure out how to come up with the money that repealing the tax will take from the treasury, or risk significantly adding to the national debt.
“What that means is the tax that starts out hitting only 8% of the insurance plans essentially amounts over the next 20 years essentially getting rid of the exclusion for employer sponsored plans,” Gruber said.
But to these ethically crippled jerks, it’s not fraud, it’s “clever(ness)”:
A video that surfaced this week shows Gruber telling a Rhode Island audience in 2012 how the feds will collect a tax on high-end policies without families realizing they’re actually paying the tax via insurers: “(I)t’s a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.”
Basic “exploitation” – comforting to know that your government actually and purposely was deceitful with the aim of fooling the public into accepting something the law wasn’t. Name a fraudster anywhere who doesn’t think he’s “clever”.
Now tell me — what do we usually call such attempts?
And what do we do with those who attempt to defraud the public?
We put them in jail.
But, you know, that would be “accountability”.
We apparently don’t do “accountability” in the US. So fraudsters are free to brag about how they did what they did without worrying about facing any consequences.
And the left – well, here’s what they’re worried about:
Former White House press secretary Jay Carney told CNN that Gruber’s remarks in general were “very harmful politically to the president.”
You’ve probably seen this quote floating around, or at least part of it. You need to read the whole thing. It’s about how those without principles, who want something passed into law, calculate how to word it and present it so the American people can be fooled into accepting it. Everything is acceptable in terms of methods. In this case the person is talking about ObamaCare, aka the ACA:
“You can’t do it political, you just literally cannot do it. Transparent financing and also transparent spending. I mean, this bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes the bill dies. Okay? So it’s written to do that,” Gruber said. “In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in, you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed. Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical to get for the thing to pass. Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”
So we have the CBO which is supposed to score bills and tell us how much they’ll cost, whether or not it is a tax, etc. This crew intentionally wrote it so it couldn’t be construed as a tax. That gives you a little idea of how hard the Supreme Court had to stretch to make it one, and thereby “Constitutional”. Most importantly, it was the presentation that was important and about as opaque concerning the facts as possible.
Not everyone was fooled. Many understood that someone had to pay for this, understood that it was going to be the healthy and said so. Ignored.
What did the “architects” count on? “The stupidity of the American voter” – and now they’re crowing about it. They used it. They counted on it.
Finally read the last sentence. This jerk is pleased with the outcome because he’d “rather have this law than not”. So deceit and trickery are okay. “By any means necessary”.
Is that a principle your government is supposed to represent?
It seems like every pundit in the world is now ready to give the GOP Congressional majority advice on what they should do for the next two years. It would be nice if they’d tell the lame duck Dems and President how they should act as well. But I’m of the opinion these will be a very interesting two months.
The question I have, after the Republican victory, is what lessons they’ve learned from this big win? Here are a few that I think they should keep in mind:
1. While this was a big win, it doesn’t signal that the same will happen in 2016. We heard that sort of “wisdom” spouted after the impressive GOP win in 2010 – momentum from 2010 was sure to sink Obama in 2012. But it didn’t at all translate in the 2012 presidential race. Lesson: while there may be some momentum, what happens in the next two years is much more important than what happened on Tuesday.
2. Guess who focused on social issues? Guess who lost? “The war on women” was beaten to death. In fact, Colorado’s Mark Udall was being referred too as “Mark Uterus” with his almost singular focus on that. And then there was Wendy Davis’ attempt to cash in on it. Climate change was also a bust. Republicans were disciplined, focused on ObamaCare, the economy, jobs, etc. It paid off. You have to wonder if they’ll remember that. There are plenty of important and broad issues to campaign on. You don’t have to resort to divisive wedge issues to rally your base as those type issues tend to alienate badly needed independents. Lesson: stay focused on broad national issues and present solutions.
3. If I were to take anything from the election, it wouldn’t be Harry Reid’s interpretation. Reid now thinks everyone should “work together” because, you know, that’s what the American people want. Of course, Harry Reid knows next to nothing about what the American people want and has proven that time and time again. Certainly, if possible, bi-partisan is good. If not, then screw em. Yes, I know that with Obama in the White House, most of what they do is likely to be vetoed. But then it is up to him to explain why nothing is happening, not the Republicans. He becomes the “obstructionist“. Politics 101. Of course the GOP has flunked that course many times. Lesson: do your job and make the other party do theirs. If they do, then it helps build a very nice case that they need to go.
There are probably many more you can think of. I’m pitching these up here because they seem to me to be common sense lessons from this election. Yes, impressive win. Got it. Now what? What have you learned?
Well, if history is any indicator, many of the same lessons have been available to the GOP in other elections and they’ve essentially ignored them. The question of this day is “will they repeat history”?
Hard to call last night anything but a rout for Democrats as in “it was worse than they expected”. Pre-election polls seemed to indicate any number of tight races that could have gone to Democrats. But the results were certainly not at all in line with those polls. Nate Silver now tells us that many of the polls were skewed toward Democrats. When the results started coming in, they were shocking to many on the left. Mitch McConnell wasn’t really in danger at all. Perdue stomped Nunn in GA. Tom Cotton blew incumbent Mark Pryor away in Arkansas. Kay Hagen, a sure fire winner, down in flames. Those that predicted +8 GOP senate seats were right, even as the left had said that sort of a prediction was extreme.
And there were even more surprises in store. A 78 year old incumbent Republican senator in Kansas defeated a pseudo-independent handily. Colorado went red. Charlie Crist has now lost as Republican, Democrat and Independent. IL dumped an incumbent Democratic governor for a Republican. MA and MD put Republicans in the Governor’s mansion as well.
There were some firsts – Joni Ernst became the first woman to represent Iowa in the Senate – as a Republican (as well as the first female combat vet in the Senate). The GOP’s first black female, Mia Love, won Utah’s 4 district and represent it in Congress. And the first black Senator since reconstruction was elected in the racist South (just ask Mary Landrieu, D- LA about that) as a Republican from SC. An openly gay Republican was elected to Congress, and finally, the youngest women elected to Congress won an open district in NY that has been traditionally Democratic for the Republicans.
Democrat Mary Landrieu of LA faces a runoff she’s likely to lose and in Alaska it appears that Sullivan may edge Begich.
Wow. So what does it all mean? Well, we’ll see, but you know me, despite all this “change” I really don’t expect much to really change in today’s highly partisan atmosphere.
Maybe though, we ought to consider some other interesting things this election may portend. For instance, 24 Senators who voted for ObamaCare, no longer are Senators:
On the Senate side, going into Tuesday’s elections, 24 senators who voted for Obamacare were already out or not going be part of the new Senate being sworn in on January.
To be sure, it isn’t fair to attribute all of the turnover in the chamber to Obamacare. Many senators voted for Obamacare and lost re-election battles in which they were hit hard for their support for the law, and other Democrats were forced to retire because they had no hope of getting re-elected given their support for the law. But in some cases — such as John Kerry leaving his seat to become secretary of state, or Robert Byrd passing away — Obamacare clearly had nothing to do with it.
Obviously … but that’s still a large toll and certainly part of the political butcher’s bill. And then there’s the Immigration Reform Bill which most people viewed as an amnesty bill, and those who supported it:
Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas voted for the Gang of 8 bill. He’s GONE.
Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina voted for the Gang of 8 bill. GONE.
Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado voted for the Gang of 8 bill. GONE
Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska voted for the Gang of 8 bill. Almost certainly GONE
Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana voted for the Gang of 8 bill. She will probably be GONE after a January runoff.
Alison Grimes supported the Gang of 8 bill in Kentucky. DEFEATED
Michelle Nunn supported the Gang of 8 bill in Georgia. DEFEATED
Greg Orman supported the Gangof 8 bill in Kansas. DEFEATED
Bruce Braley supoorted the Gang of 8 bill in Iowa. DEFEATED
Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia voted for the Gang of 8 bill and BARELY SURVIVED against longshot challengers.
Remember, this supposedly is Obama’s next priority. Does he really want to muddy Democratic 2016 election waters this early in the game?
Hillary Clinton put her political clout and even her political future on the line in this election — from Massachusetts to New Hampshire and in races clear across the country — and as the dust settles this morning we’ll see how it paid off.
The news that Republicans took control of the Senate despite Clinton’s best efforts doesn’t bode well for her desire to become the next president of the United States.
Because if you think Hillary Clinton spent all that time and money crisscrossing the country trying to get fellow Democrats elected or help them keep their seats out of the kindness of her heart — you are sadly mistaken. The goal was to have as many of them beholden to her as possible — and to show that she is someone who can get it done. “It” being to raise massive amounts of money and win votes.
The GOP claimed control of the Senate yesterday by picking off Democratic incumbents in Arkansas, Colorado and North Carolina and holding control of key seats in Kansas, Georgia and Kentucky, while picking up a vacant seat in Iowa. Hillary or Bill Clinton stumped in most of those states, and they wanted winning Democrats there who would owe them favors. She came out of the evening with at least one key win.
Not impressive. In fact, the Clinton’s couldn’t even stave off a loss in their “home state” of Arkansas. Perhaps the “inevitable” coronation of Queen Hillary isn’t quite as inevitable as she and the left might think.
So, certainly, lots to think about and lots to discuss. We’ve again seen a wave election. Past wave elections haven’t produced much in the way of positive change. Is there any reason to believe this one will?
Question of the day.
Oh, and in case you were wondering, this was indeed a repudiation of Obama.
Funny stuff from the “you just can’t make this stuff up” department. Retiring Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA):
“In this Senate race, I’ve been watching some of these ads,” Harkin said at the Story County Democrats’ annual fall barbecue last week honoring the retiring senator. “And there’s sort of this sense that, ‘Well, I hear so much about Joni Ernst. She is really attractive, and she sounds nice.’”
“Well I gotta to thinking about that. I don’t care if she’s as good looking as Taylor Swift or as nice as Mr. Rogers, but if she votes like Michele Bachmann, she’s wrong for the state of Iowa.”
“I believe if my name had been John Ernst attached to my resume, Sen. Harkin would not have said those things.”
I believe she’s right. It is kind of like if Nikki Haley’s name had been Nick Haley, she likely wouldn’t have been called a “whore” by her Democratic opponent, huh?
Harkin’s comments were met with loud applause from the audience.
A Democratic audience, it can be reliably reported.
So if we grade Harkin’s remarks as the left would had they been pinned on someone from the right, at a minimum you’d have seen him tagged as arrogant, patronizing, sexist and a soldier in the “war on women”, no? Ernst is getting the Sarah Palin treatment from Harkin, something perfected by the left in 2008.
Just for fun and to check on the acceptability of what Harkin said (before the left tries to tell us what he said isn’t offensive), let’s reword that slightly and make it say something no one ever said, but makes an instructive point:
“In this Presidential race, I’ve been watching some of these ads,” Harkin said at the Story County Democrats’ annual fall barbecue last week honoring the retiring senator. “And there’s sort of this sense that, ‘Well, I hear so much about Barack Obama. He is really attractive, and he sounds nice.’”
“Well I gotta to thinking about that. I don’t care if he’s as good looking as Sidney Poitier or as nice as Oprah Winfrey, but if he votes like Nancy Pelosi, he’s wrong for the United States.”
Any question about how that would be treated by the left?
When it comes to the mid-terms, I’m about in the same place psychologically as McQ. But we might as well have some fun with this election. So I sat down and thought about what I expected from it, and came up with the following list:
- The Republicans will do well. They will likely retake the Senate and add at least a dozen seats to their House majority.
- Lots fewer people will care about that outcome than in previous cycles such as 1994 and 2010. More people are now cynical that the GOP doesn’t really intend to do anything of consequence.
The default strategy of the establishment GOP right now seems to be to give the Democrats a turn, knowing they’ll screw things up even worse. Then the voters will give the establishment GOP another chance, because they screw things up more slowly. Thus, the establishment GOP believes they are assured of another round of favoring their particular crony capitalists rather then the crony capitalists favored by the Democrats. Plus, they get the nice corner offices for a while.
- At least one Senate race will be close, and will go into protracted recounts. The Democrats will eventually win that race with questionable votes. (Bonus points on entertainment value if it’s Al Franken again.)
- The media will not report the questionable votes and tactics used to secure the Democratic victory in #3.
- The media will be surprised at the depth of loathing for Obama shown by the election. After all, everyone *they* know likes him.
- The media will only show a flicker of that surprise before they get back to covering for and pimping for Obama.
- At least one major media figure will use the phrase “temper tantrum” or a close synonym to describe what the voters did to cause the GOP gains.
- At least one incident at a polling place will involve blacks supposedly being denied the right to vote because of new voter ID laws. The media might have to manufacture, or at least exaggerate, that incident, but they’ll find one no matter how hard they have to search.
- There will be incidents of the opposite kind, like this one in 2008. Those will not be reported by the media, no matter how many there are or how egregious the violation of laws happens to be.
- November and December will see dozens of media stories on how the “ground game” failed for the Democrats. Some of those stories will infer that the Democrats’ ground game was sabotaged. There will be no stories in major media of how the Democrats and their ground game failed because Obama has become a laughing-stock.
- Opinion columnists in the major media will begin to excuse Obama’s almost total disengagement by blaming it on the new GOP dual majority in Congress. They’ll say things such as “Why should he even try, when they won’t cooperate with him?” (i.e. “bend over and do what he wants”) Some will push for Obama to use even more executive power to bypass the democratically elected majorities in Congress. Some of those will be the same ones who screamed about Bush’s “illegal war”, even though he sought and received authorization from Congress.
- Someone will attempt to spread rumors about an Ebola outbreak in key places to depress voter turnout by making people unwilling to go out in public. Either side is capable of this – both sides might do it.
- Ted Cruz will give a rousing speech shortly after the election on what the Republicans should do. It will be ignored by the major media, though they might run an out-of-context soundbite of it to try and make him look bad.
- Very stupid social science academics will shake their heads and wonder how the voters could dislike Obama since he’s such a great president. Then they’ll talk about how things go “back and forth” or “move in cycles” or some such meaningless blather, as if the GOP victories simply resulted from an inevitable force of nature and have nothing to do with Obama’s screwups.
- Allies of the establishment GOP, such as the bloggers at Hot Air, will immediately begin justifying why the new majorities can’t possibly do anything of consequence. I’m guessing their catchphrase will become “Don’t expect too much.”
- Allies of the establishment GOP will claim that the election results show definitively that the GOP needs to nominate a moderate for president in 2016. I can’t predict what tortured logic they will use for that conclusion.
OK, that’s enough for me. How about our astute and intelligent commenters add their own?
A short one today, but I thought it instructive to bring up the fact that despite the claims of Democratic operatives and media types, the GOP isn’t the reason that Barack Obama’s Surgeon General nominee isn’t in that office. Byron York explains:
There are 55 Democrats in the Senate. Since Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the rules to kill filibusters for nominations, it would take just 51 votes to confirm Murthy. Democrats could do it all by themselves, even if every Republican opposed. But Democrats have not confirmed Murthy.
In other words, the claim is worthy of 4 Pinnochios if fact checkers were doing their job.
No, apparently the job is still vacant (yeah, I know there’s an acting SG) because apparently Democrats have a problem with the nominee.
Meh. I’ve come to realize, given the last few wave elections, that if either of the two majority parties are in charge, little if anything will change significantly. Or said another way, for the next 2 years, we’re in for the same nonsense we’re suffering now and the only thing that will change is the name of the Senate majority leader.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of divided government. I like” do nothing” Congress, because divided government means fewer laws entailing government interference are likely to pass. However, that doesn’t change the fact that both parties are heavily invested in interfering with our lives. They simply have different priorities in that regard.
That said, let’s look at the mood of the country prior to the selection. POLITICO starts us off with a handy chart:
Too bad we don’t have the “none of the above option”. Me thinks the gray wedge would be significantly larger. As with most recent elections, there’s a large “hold your nose and vote” segment at play here.
However, that particular part of the poll isn’t the most interesting to me. These results say more about the “mood” than any:
– Terrorism: Eighty-four percent of voters say the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant poses a “serious” threat to the U.S. homeland, including 43 percent who say it poses a “very serious” threat. Just 12 percent said the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is not a serious concern.
This is an Obama made problem and he and the voters know it. And if it is an Obama-made problem, then it is also a problem for the Democrats. But more importantly, it reflects a belief is how poorly this administration has handled the terrorism problem. They didn’t buy the “JV” wave-off and, it seems, are much more able than our security experts to see the type and possibility of the threat ISIS poses to the US homeland. When you have an enemy that will go to any extreme to get to you and doesn’t mind if they die doing it, you have a formidable threat facing you. And while you may have more of a chance of being hit by lightning or winning the lottery than being a victim of ISIS terrorism here, please don’t try to sell these people on ISIS not being a threat here. This also reflects a tremendous amount of distrust the public in general have for anything this administration puts out there.
– Health care: Most voters believe their health care costs will go up under the Affordable Care Act. Fifty-seven percent said they believe their personal costs will increase, while only 7 percent said they will decrease. A third said their costs would remain the same. (At the same time, support for repealing Obamacare has continued to drop, now down to 41 percent.)
Here’s another huge trust in government issue that has been a disaster for Democrats. This is one they own lock, stock and barrel. Thus far they’ve been able to mostly manage the bad news to fall after elections. But that’s unlikely to help them when 2106 rolls around. ObamaCare has, for the most part, failed in every way possible. We now have reports of less people availing themselves of routine health care because the deductibles are so large they can’t afford the visits. If you don’t think this is a part of the mid-term calculations by voters then you have to believe there’s no reason to withhold the increases for insurance until after the election.
– Presidential management: Voters in the midterm battleground states are evenly split on whether President Barack Obama or George W. Bush was more effective at managing the federal government. Thirty-eighty percent named Bush, while 35 percent preferred Obama. A quarter of respondents said the two men were equally competent.
As hard as the left and Democrats worked to make Bush the poster boy for bad government, this one has to hurt. All hail the new poster boy, and the GOP hasn’t had to even break a sweat selling this one. Most, if not all of Obama’s failures have been via self-inflicted wounds. Will there be a portion of the voters who use the mid-terms as a referendum on the President? You bet there will. This guy is about as bad as we’ve ever had, and voters are going to make that point in November.
That brings us to this last issue in this particular poll which pretty well makes an important point I want made:
– Ebola: Only 22 percent of respondents said they had a lot of confidence that the government is doing everything it can to contain the contagious disease. Thirty-nine percent they had some confidence, while a third said they had little or no confidence. The poll concluded Oct. 11, before the hospitalization of the second nurse who treated an Ebola patient in Dallas.
Confidence in government and the competence of this administration are at rock bottom. I welcome that. Ebola just happens to be the latest issue to demonstrate both executive and bureaucratic fumbling and incompetence. The only consistent thing this administration has done is demonstrate that. The guy whose goal it was to make “government cool” again, has failed miserably. I welcome that as well. I’d like to see the point understood by more. Instead of success, we’ve seen an increasingly intrusive but ossified bureaucracy fail time after time when tasked to do their job. They may not know it, but that’s one of the reasons, perhaps the main reason, that 64% of Americans believe “things in the U.S. feel like they are out of control right now.” We’ve seen how politics has subverted our public servants into servants of the party in power. And we’ve also seen various government agencies hold themselves to be above the law in certain instances. How changing parties at midterm will change any of that remains a mystery.
Usually at this point before an election, analysts have decided who will decide the election. You remember “Soccer Moms” etc. Well, this year it’s simply “women”. Women will decide this. And the implication is that women have always been more of a Democratic constituency than a Republican one … for various reasons. Well, that may not pan out for the Dems this year and of all people, Tina Brown explains why:
But, you know, the fact is that Obama’s down with everybody, let’s face it, there’s a reason,” Brown said. “And I think that particularly for women. I don’t think it makes them feel safe. I think they’re feeling unsafe. Economically, they’re feeling unsafe. With regard to ISIS, they’re feeling unsafe. They feel unsafe about Ebola. What they’re feeling unsafe about is the government response to different crises. And I think they’re beginning to feel a bit that Obama’s like that guy in the corner office, you know, who’s too cool for school, calls a meeting, says this has to change, doesn’t put anything in place to make sure it does change, then it goes wrong and he’s blaming everybody. So there’s a slight sense of that.”
If you’re not feeling unsafe with this clown in office, then you have no fear. Security – safety – is one of the key reasons women consider a vote for a candidate (or so the experts tell us). If that’s the case and we go with the “women will decide the vote” meme, then Dems are in even worse shape than I thought.
And I welcome that as well.
The Obama economy is a mess, with median incomes retreating, fudged employment numbers and generally the usual mess you can expect from a over-regulated and highly manipulated “market”. In other words, it stinks because of government as much as anything else. Our betters seem not to understand the very basics of human nature – humans respond to incentives. So they continue to cobble together more and more feel good projects (i.e. they make the “elite” feel good) that backfire. Why? Because humans respond to disincentives as well – and their feel good projects are long on disincentives, something they can’t seem to wrap their heads around.
By design, the next example of that will take place after the November mid-term elections:
Starting this year, the United States’ working population will face three major employment disincentives resulting from the very benefits the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides: (1) an explicit tax on full-time work, (2) an implicit tax on full-time work for those who are ineligible for the ACA’s health insurance subsidies, and (3) an implicit tax that links the amount of available subsidies to workers’ incomes.
A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University advances the understanding of how much these ACA taxes will reduce overall employment, and why. It concludes that the reduction will be nearly double that projected by previous analyses. Labor markets ultimately will reduce weekly employment per person by about 3 percent—translating to roughly 4 million fewer full-time-equivalent workers.
4 million more jobs in an economy already suffering one of the lowest labor participation rates in its history. Why have “middle class” wages stagnated or dropped? One major reason has to do with disincentives like this. Its like the $15 minimum wage trope. Force it on business and they have a “disincentive” to hire people for jobs that aren’t worth that and an incentive to automate or go short handed and double up the work on someone else.
That’s precisely the type of disincentive that ObamaCare is about to inflict on the economy. We’ll then hear the usual nonsense about greedy and uncaring companies and how the “market” has failed us. It is as predictable as the next blizzard being somehow blamed on global warming.
Meanwhile, these 4 million that may join the currently unemployed are real people who will suffer real problems because of the disincentive provided by a very poorly thought out law that won’t effect those who passed it. All Democrats can hope is that enough people will drop off the unemployment roles by the time the next presidential election rolls around that the fudged unemployment stats look acceptable.
What a hell of a way to run a railroad.
“Economic patriotism” is the new meme that Democrats are throwing around to demonize companies that try to avoid taxes here in the US, i.e. you’re not a patriotic company if you attempt to avoid taxes the Dems think you should be paying. Kevin Williamson covers it:
Jack Lew, late of Citigroup and currently of the Obama administration, has issued a call for “economic patriotism.” This phrase, which is without meaningful intellectual content, is popular in Democratic circles these days. Ted Strickland, the clownish xenophobe and nearly lifelong suckler upon all available taxpayer teats who once served as governor of Ohio, famously denounced Mitt Romney as a man lacking “economic patriotism” during the 2012 Democratic convention. President Barack Obama has used the phrase. It’s not that I do not appreciate lectures on “economic patriotism” from feckless former executives of dodgy Wall Street enterprises, guys who get rich monetizing their political celebrity, and second-rate ward-heelers from third-rate states; it’s just that nobody ever has been able to explain to me what the term is intended to mean.
The proximate cause of Mr. Lew’s distress is the fact that many U.S. firms either are up and leaving the country entirely or are acquiring foreign competitors in order to reorganize themselves as companies legally domiciled in friendly tax jurisdictions.
Now we’re not talking about 3rd world countries here … just countries that are much friendlier to business and have a lower tax rate. For instance:
U.S. pharmaceutical firms in particular have been in a rush to acquire partners in order to escape punitive U.S. corporate taxes for the relatively hospitable climates of Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. Walgreen’s, a venerable firm that, like the lamentable political career of Barack Obama, has its origins in Chicago, is considering abandoning its hometown of 113 years for Switzerland. Eaton, a Cleveland-based manufacturer of electronic components, moved to Ireland. The list goes on.
Note that in spite of the would-be class warriors’ “race to the bottom” rhetoric, these firms are not moving to relatively low-wage countries such as China or India. Switzerland is not a Third World hellhole — especially if your immediate point of comparison is murderlicious Chicago, which endures more homicides in a typical July than gun-loving Switzerland sees in a typical year. The Netherlands is not Haiti, and Ireland is not Bangladesh.
Got an ironic chuckle out of his point about Chicago. Maybe some might consider they’re moving out of a 3rd world country if they’re Chicago (or Detroit) based.
Anyway, all of these places have one thing in common – lower taxes, less regulation and a friendlier business climate than exists in the US. What they face here is the reason they’re becoming “unpatriotic”. It is more than just taxes:
Mr. Lew is correct in his assertion that relative tax rates are a main driver in the desire of firms to relocate, though it is not the only driver — arbitrary and unpredictable regulation, a lousy tort environment, and unstable public finances surely play a role as well. The United States has the highest statutory corporate-income-tax rate in the developed world, and though effective rates are typically lower than the nominal rate, that is more of a bug than a feature: Our corporate-income-tax regime is riddled with handouts and political favoritism. Crony capitalism is not an inspiring condition for firms looking to make long-term investments.
The point of Democrats and their use of “economic patriotism”, of course, is to demonize and attempt to shame companies that seek relief from the business crippling effects of this government. If the company doesn’t stay to be bled dry by the Dems to finance their utopian and big government schemes, well, they’re just “unpatriotic”.
“Economic patriotism” and its kissing cousin, economic nationalism, are ideas with a fairly stinky history, having been a mainstay of fascist rhetoric during the heyday of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s favorite “admirable Italian gentleman.” My colleague Jonah Goldberg has labored mightily in the task of illustrating the similarities between old-school fascist thinking and modern progressive thinking on matters political and social, but it is on economic questions that contemporary Democrats and vintage fascists are remarkably alike. In fact, their approaches are for all intents and purposes identical: As most economic historians agree, neither the Italian fascists nor the German national-socialists nor any similar movement of great significance had anything that could be described as a coherent economic philosophy. The Italian fascists put forward a number of different and incompatible economic theories during their reign, and the Third Reich, under the influence of Adolf Hitler’s heroic conception of history, mostly subordinated economic questions as such to purportedly grander concerns involving destiny and other abstractions.
Which is to say, what the economic nationalism of Benito Mussolini most has in common with the prattling and blockheaded talk of “economic patriotism” coming out of the mealy mouths of 21st-century Democrats is the habit of subordinating everything to immediate political concerns. In this context, “patriotism” doesn’t mean doing what’s best for your country — it means doing what is best for the Obama administration and its congressional allies.“Economic patriotism” and its kissing cousin, economic nationalism, are ideas with a fairly stinky history, having been a mainstay of fascist rhetoric during the heyday of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s favorite “admirable Italian gentleman.” My colleague Jonah Goldberg has labored mightily in the task of illustrating the similarities between old-school fascist thinking and modern progressive thinking on matters political and social, but it is on economic questions that contemporary Democrats and vintage fascists are remarkably alike. In fact, their approaches are for all intents and purposes identical: As most economic historians agree, neither the Italian fascists nor the German national-socialists nor any similar movement of great significance had anything that could be described as a coherent economic philosophy. The Italian fascists put forward a number of different and incompatible economic theories during their reign, and the Third Reich, under the influence of Adolf Hitler’s heroic conception of history, mostly subordinated economic questions as such to purportedly grander concerns involving destiny and other abstractions.
Which is to say, what the economic nationalism of Benito Mussolini most has in common with the prattling and blockheaded talk of “economic patriotism” coming out of the mealy mouths of 21st-century Democrats is the habit of subordinating everything to immediate political concerns. In this context, “patriotism” doesn’t mean doing what’s best for your country — it means doing what is best for the Obama administration and its congressional allies.
Another adventure in short-term political gain trumping a coherent economic policy that is pro-growth, pro-jobs, etc. Nothing new in that, but I think the summary helps focus it’s purpose. And it has nothing to do with “patriotism” or “economics”.