What’s going to be missing in the debates: Perspective, Ideas

Presidential debates won't offer fresh perspectives or ideas, but pundits, using their shallow points system, will call a

WASHINGTON, October 3, 2012 –  Regardless of the efforts both candidates will make during the debates, neither will bring any true perspective to the enormity of the problems the election’s winner will face. Nor will they offer any but the polarized “solutions” both parties of Big Government always offer.

On the “perspective” thing: it’s hard to imagine a trillion of anything, let alone dollars. Dollars, in today’s fiat-money world, are whatever any government says they are. I disagree fundamentally that they’re “just worthless pieces of paper.” You can still exchange them for stuff, and the government will often let you pay dollars instead of spending time in prison. To the extent that dollars still can be exchanged for things we value, dollars have value.

But a trillion dollars? That’s a lot of money. It’s $100,000 for every man, woman, and child in the entire New York metro area (ten million people, for the sake of argument). And a trillion dollars is chicken feed to our politicians, who have spent a trillion dollars more than they take in, every year, since the end of President Bush’s reign. We’re four trillion dollars farther in debt than when we voted for “change,” and nobody’s feeling very much better off. A trillion dollars A YEAR – spread out over the whole country (330 million people, more or less), that’s an extra $12,000+ for everybody – of debt. And that’s not total spending. That’s spending beyond what they take in, each year.

During this recession, did you get your finances in order? Did you do without some things you really wanted? Did you delay repairs to the house or the car, or buy cheaper food, or skip restaurants or vacations altogether, or see the dentist less? Did you put the kids in public schools, when you had a better private school available, because you were trying to stay out of debt? Well, four years into the “change” administration, I hope you’ve saved an extra $48,000 or so by doing all that, because our politicians have heaped that much extra debt on you in that short time. And another $48,000 for your spouse, and another $48,000 for each of your children. And they’re not slowing down. They say their hands are tied; they have to put you in impossible debt.

The “solutions” the politicians offer are ridiculous, too. The so-called “fiscal cliff” looms because our rulers don’t know how to do anything useful; they got elected by getting along. This is reflected in the “sequestration” that they’ve written into the latest budget compromise: everybody gets the same cut. Sure, it hurts; but it’s “fair.” It hurts everybody the same. Bull! It hurts any entity that was already running efficiently! The sloppy departments can easily cut fat – they’re swimming in it. What sequestration does is teach everyone to pad as much into their future budgets as possible, because an “equal pain” will be imposed the next time our rulers want to appear as though they’re making hard choices.

But they don’t make hard choices. They won’t balance the budget; they won’t cut spending. They won’t look at the valid and necessary functions of government and support them, but they’re more than happy to keep entitlements and other vote-buying programs off the cutting table.


That brings us to another problem: our politicians won’t call things what they are. “Military spending,” for instance. As I wrote in a February column (http://communities.washingtontimes.com/neighborhood/talking-sense/2012/feb/17/what-does-cut-military-spending-mean/), “military spending” has two main components: a military one that funds, for example, bullets, training, arms, and active-duty personnel; and a “welfare” component, that funds all the things that do not contribute to warfighting capability: pensions, the Veterans’ Administration, survivors’ benefits, and so on. These latter need to be broken off and considered separately. In typically backwards ruler-speak, these non-military functions are sacrosanct, and cannot be touched – so our “military budget cuts” cut into the very things that the military needs to do.

The deliberate confounding of issues is also promoted by our rulers’ and our media’s desire to “show both sides,” when in fact there are multiple sides to most issues; and many of the sides not shown are superior to either of the positions taken by our Big Government parties. To make the point, I’ll deliberately jump on a land mine here, and bring up abortion. The (over-simplified) positions are “Government should guarantee an abortion to anyone who wants one” and “Government should prohibit abortions, or at least restrict access to abortion to cases of rape, incest, or cases threatening the life of the mother.” Other positions range from the Chinese one-child policy of forced abortion to the religious position against any abortions that do not seriously threaten the mother.

But none addresses the funding issue, directly. Even if “government should stay away from dictating morals,” government has the duty to guard the peoples’ wealth. (Wealth, not health.) Government, of course, earns nothing, so it is obligated, in order to foster the peoples’ prosperity, to spend as little as possible – and only on things that benefit the general public (not special interest groups). The abortion debate would be a minor skirmish, if government funding were not the issue for the providers of abortions.

We have become accustomed to hearing “rape, incest, or the life of the mother” so often that we don’t even challenge its logic – but what is there about criminal activity (rape and incest) that is different in the abortion sphere? In the case of incest, especially, we should be able to identify the perpetrator. Incest by its very nature requires such identification. But to get taxpayers to fund an “incest” abortion, no one needs to go to jail; no one needs to be arrested; no police report needs to be filed; no one needs to be accused. The same is true with a “rape” abortion.

All this non-reporting of rape and incest facilitates several things, all politically profitable. First, the abortion lobby gets paid by taxpayers – they don’t have to haggle with often-young girls. The abortion lobby generously supports the political system that feeds them. So far, that’s understandable. The girls are not inconvenienced because they don’t have to deal with the pregnancy and don’t have to pay for the abortion. They’re also not inconvenienced because they don’t have to make an accusation, go to court, or even fill out even a police report. The police are happy because they don’t have to investigate these rapes and incests; and local politicians are happy because these rapes and incests never show up on their towns’ crime statistics. Politicians also benefit from the votes of the recipients of the free abortions, and from the “women’s lobby,” which wants as many “free” things as possible.

Abortions are legal in the US. That’s been the case for forty years. The viable political issue isn’t whether a girl can get an abortion; it’s about who pays for it, and under what circumstances.

It’s strange how so many women I know vote for Democrats, because they’re afraid Republicans will turn off the money spigot and their daughters will have to pay for their own abortions! Discuss qualifications and requirements, and we can have an honest debate.

No thought; no perspective; no fresh approaches; no changed opinions: our media fiasco in the spotlight, passing for intelligent discussion.

These might not be subjects that even come up; I use them only as examples of tired themes that never get examined in any new light. There are plenty more subjects, but I’m going to be busy ordering pizza. When the pizza is gone or at least cold, we’ll want to know, “Who won the debate?” To get the answer, we’ll ask paid pundits, whose minds were made up years ago, by their respective parties or media organizations. What a crock.


Join the Communities as we live chat and debate the debate, tonight starting at 9:00pm EDT:


Daniel de Gracia

Daniel de Gracia



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Tim Kern

Tim Kern taught economics for fifteen years, and discovered that understanding life is easy; it’s recognizing reality that takes practice. He holds a music degree, and later earned an MBA in finance from Northwestern University. He has lived across the US, and now makes his home in Anderson, Indiana.

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