Friday, May 02, 2008

McCain Promises Them the Moon Because It Won’t Happen Anyway Strategy

Ross Douthat slams John McCain for his slew of mutually irreconcilable pledges. Mr. McCain, if he’s honest, will be thanking the gods for the “twisted” Congress, which won’t allow him to do the things he’s promised to do.

Which, of course, reminds me of the DPJ promises. My money says it can’t square their circle. I’ll be more than happy to be proven wrong, since the coalition doesn’t look like a good bet either. And it’s too late to emigrate.

BTW it’s funny how “twisted” works differently; here and there, parliamentary and presidential. This calls for a taxonomy.


ross said...

While it is ugly when political parties pander on tax and spending pledges in ways that can't possibly be squared with the cyclical goal of fiscal responsibility, what really matters are not so much the pledges but the actions. On average in the US, debt as a share of GDP declines at a rate of 1% of GDP per year when the Democrats control government and rises at a rate of 2% a year when we have a Republican president. Yet, the conventional wisdom posits the Republicans as the fiscally responsible party. It is not true in contemporary America (defined as post-Vietnam, so 1975) in any way, shape or form.

In Tokyo both parties are pandering shamelessly in their pledges but one hopes Japan's parliament can be captured by a party that holds itself accountable on fiscal matters. We all know that that party is not the LDP.

You may be concerned about the DPJ on fiscal issues because of the policy positions it has publically espoused, but I dare say that if one really cares about fiscal balance (over the business cycle) then there is absolutely no risk that the DPJ will be more profligate than the LDP over the long term.

Of course, I don't expect either party to survive in their present forms for more than a couple more general elections.

Jun Okumura said...

You have a point there, Ross. But the DPJ has made promises that are net weight gains, unless it can cut fat from the road and other budgets. Let's wait until autumn and see which game the two sides play, high-ball, low-ball, or hi-lo.I'm beginning to think that we need a generational change that happens to take the form of a massive realignment.

As for the myth of the fiscally virtuous Republican, I think that George Bush the Younger laid it to rest for a long time to come. Well, at least two presidential election cycles. Some small-bore Republicans are even flocking to Barack Obama, in an act of conservative triage.

OperationNorthwoods said...

It's never too late to emigrate. If you choose the US as a destination, though, it might be better to wait until after the collapse, as prices will look a lot better. Not sure about the safety, though.

Jun Okumura said...

I can always rent in the meantime, can't I, Northwoods? And I worked three years in Manhattan, and never got mugged. Now how about that?