Very Brief Musings on Democracy

Talking Points for Fox News Business This Afternoon (September 15, 2016: 2 PM)...

(1) How well does HRC do her job, really?

  • Consensus judgment well-expressed by Donald Trump:
    • “she really works hard, and I think she does a good job...”
    • “I know Hillary and I think she’d make a great president...”
    • “smart, tough and a very nice person...”
    • "I like her… just really terrific people...”
    • "a terrific woman..."
  • Last big mistake in 1993-1994: The HillaryCare campaign:
    • What was that big mistake?
    • Fresh from Arkansas, she was snowed by Acela Corridor consultants...
    • Who had no plan for how to actually pass the health care bill...
    • She learned...

(2) How should we evaluate candidates economic plans and promises?

  • Two questions seem most important:
    • Do they tend to overpromise or underpromise?
    • Do they have the organization you need to plan to actually make calculations and plans?
  • Trump overpromises, and doesn't have the organization...

(3) Trump overpromises:

  • Look at his Atlantic City prestige properties...
    • The Trump Taj Mahal is closing October 10...
    • The Trump Plaza closed two years ago...
  • Overpromises, collects his money up front, disappoints, and moves on...

(4) Trump doesn't have a policy-planning organization any more:

  • What is the state Trump's policy planning and analysis staff in Alexandria?
  • There isn't one.
  • Trump policy grunt staff in Alexandria is no more (Erick Ericsson:
    • Trump and Lewandowski promised Rick Dearborn (Jeff Sessions former chief-of-staff) and John Mashburn (Thom Tillis's former chief-of-staff). They hired people
    • Manafort came in, and Trump and Manafort then told them--after three months of "the checks are on the way"--that they were volunteers.
    • They quit.
    • Stephen Miller, Dan Kowalski. Walid Phares--all that are left doing any grunt-work, as opposed to phrase-spinning...

(5) Is Hillary overpromising?

  • Since the mid-1980s when Charlie Schultze read people the riot act, Democratic candidates have underpromised...
  • Look at all the forecasts Obama's people have made since he took office
    • Never predicted unemployment would get this low: 4.9%
    • Never predicted job growth would be this high: payroll jobs +14.9M in this recovery, +11.3M since start of term
  • Obama ranks 4 out of 12 post-WWII presidents in job creation during his term:
    • Johnson
    • Clinton
    • Reagan
    • Obama
    • Truman
    • Carter
    • Kennedy
    • Nixon
    • Ford
    • Bush I
    • Eisenhower
    • Bush II

(6) Three different views of Donald Trump:

  • People who have let Trump manage think he's a lousy manager
  • People who have let Trump control think he takes everything that isn't nailed down--on the "you messed up: you trusted me!" theory...
  • People who have used Trump as a pitchman--they are happy:
    • Not despite, but because he overpromises
    • And overpromises in a way that convinces enough people...

(7) How well does Trump do his job, really?

  • Suppose he had just taken his inheritance and put it in the markets as a passive investor
  • He would be three times as rich as he claims he is...
  • And I haven't found anybody in New York real estate who thinks Trump is as rich as he claims he is:
    • In one respect it looks a little like Bernie Madoff
    • If he were making the results he was claiming...
      • A lot of people should have run into his operations
      • They haven't...

(8) Trump's big Idea: tax cuts for the rich:

  • For 35 years the claim has been that our rich are overtaxed
  • And if only taxes on the rich would go down
    • We would boost entrepreneurship and enterprise
    • We would unleash massive extra economic growth
  • No sign of it so far:
    • Tax cuts for the rich make for a richer rich
    • No sign of them boosting anybody else

(9) One thing in government policy looks like it is boosting entrepreneurship:

  • RomneyCare!
    • Set up by Romney in Massachusetts in mid-2000s
    • Afterwards people could start a small business and still buy not-incredibly-unaffordable health insurance
    • It is working as hoped...
  • ObamaCare does the same thing nationwide…
  • Preliminary signs that it is working in the rest of the country as well...

(10) Could we get 4%/Year Growth?

  • Yes, but only with greatly increased immigration.
  • We need 2%/year growth in workers to get 4% growth over the next five years--and people growing up only gets us 1%/year these days.
    • Beyond 5 years we can boost growth by starting massive investment now...
    • Throwing 11 million people out of the country would push growth over the next four years down from the 2.5%/year we are currently expecting to 1%/year...

(11) Should we scare people by threatening to default on our debt?

  • Donald Trump says we should
    • Then we could buy our debt back cheaply.
  • The problem is that our national debt is not a cost but a profit center.
  • The rich of the world buy our bonds because they trust the U.S. Treasury to keep their money safe.
  • Do the accounting properly and that is worth $600 billion/year to us.
  • The profits from being in the safe assets business over the next generation vastly exceed what we could get by scaring people.
  • Worries about the debt are not worries about what the debt is now, but about what the debt will be in 40 years.
  • Over the next generation Trump's debt plan would be a huge mistake
    • But he doesn't have the policy planning staff in Alexandria any more to tell him so
    • And even if they did, would they?
    • Surrounded by yes-men.