Friday, February 26, 2016

US Politics In The Age Of Trivia

Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio ganged up on Donald Trump in last night's GOP "debate" which turned into a bar room brawl.  The media responded to the debate by describing the magnitude of the blows that each candidate inflicted on the other candidate.  Marco Rubio was declared the winner of the brawl and he was praised for finally showing why he would make a good president.  He landed the most solid blows to The Donald, who was stunned by the ferocity of the attacks, and was backed into a corner from which he failed to escape.

In case anyone wondered how any of these candidates would run the economy, which is less interesting to watch than a bar room brawl, this article provides a simple analysis of their economic plans.  It shows that each of the candidates has a serious problem in handling addition and subtraction.  Each of them rewards the electorate by cutting taxes substantially.  They also reward their followers by making a promise that is dear to many of them.  They propose to amend the Constitution so that the federal government cannot run a budget deficit.  That creates a real problem for which they will need to invent a new system of mathematics.  The tax cuts that they promise to their base that hates to pay taxes, create a huge hole in the federal budget.  They will have to cut federal spending by a similar amount in order to conform to the balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that they propose.  Furthermore, in order to demonstrate their commitment to strengthening the US military which has been weakened by a Democratic President, who is not really a US citizen, they will substantially increase the military budget.  They are silent about the government programs that they must cut in order to pay for their tax cuts and the increase in military spending.  Their only salvation is that their electoral base is more interested in the manliness that they put on display in their debates than it is about silly details in the federal budgets that they proposed.  The media also seem to share their interests.  They are better at judging the manliness of the candidates than they are at dealing with boring budget proposals.  After all, they have to attract large audiences to their columns and TV news reports.  That is how they are judged.

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