Saturday, January 05, 2008

On the Conservative Message

I, too, think the ‘Reagan Coalition’ is no longer the standard under which conservative politics can be marketed…


Because there is little left to fight for.

Taxes: Bush’s tax code is dead center for me and most folks in America. I am middle class. My 25% bracket just seems fair. I no longer pour over deductions – looking for every edge. I just pay ‘my fair share’. Under Bush my first $15,000+ is untaxed, the next $48,000+ is taxed at 15%, and anything over at 25%. Under Clinton my first $54,000 was taxed at 15%, and the rest at 28%. Why should a married couple making less than $15,000 pay tax. Why should a middle class chap almost pay 1/3 of his income in federal tax? The tax code is fair. We just pay. The corporate tax is much the same. The tax treatment of dividends wiped out ENRON style fraud. What is left – the 28% bracket. Small stuff…

Defense: Bush came into office with the DOD funded at about 2/3rd’s of requirement. Remember, we ran out of Tomahawk missiles when dealing with Afghanistan. Remember the flood of senior SNCOs leaving the military. Remember the officer corps exiting stage wherever. Remember the ammo shortages. Remember a 162 ship Navy. An 8 Division Army. A depleted Air Force. That was the Clinton Legacy. We are now a much more modern and effective military. We just need a bit more numbers – and, both the Army and Marine Corps are growing in a sustainable fashion. Clintons last budget appropriated $344 Billion (inflation adjusted). Bush’s last budget appropriated $450 Billion – excluding supplementals for the war. That is on target. And, it didn’t come with an unmanaged splurge.

Social Values: Tried ‘Faith Based Initiatives’ – public didn’t rally. Appointed quality judges – got no credit. Demonstrated healthy Judeo-Christian values in public – decried as a theocrat, an ignoramus, and/or a liar. How many 40 year old issues will move tens of millions? Abortion – not for me.

Those were the old issues. The new ones are:

Spending Responsibility: Bush had to fight a war. The Libs wanted bribes and the ‘Fiscal Conservatives’ wanted a big piece of the growing pie. I put ‘Fiscal Conservative’ in quotes because they proved not to be. They figured that since the pie (tax revenue) was growing so rapidly they could take bigger bites and still shrink the deficit in a timely manner. Well they misjudged. The folks in America figured that the $250 million dollar bridge in Alaska could have partially funded the supplemental. The folks figured out that income does not always go up in America. Sometimes there is an economic downturn. The credit card does come due. We are actually in a great position for a politician to remind the voter that we can run in the black for decades – and, do so with no pain.

Social Security: Bush fought the good fight – but powerful trust funders in the Senate squelched and mangled the message. On purpose – some. Out of complete ignorance – most. I mean, if you have $10 million earning 4% I think you can live off of $450,000 a year especially when you have a salary of $220,000 a year. So these ignorant louts think that a 30 year old ‘investing’ 12% of his/her income can do the same with the same interest. Safe and sound. The morons cannot do basic math. The results are about $11,000 in annual benefits. Now, we watch as the Rangel $1 Trillion dollar tax hike affects the way corporations and individuals account for their assets. Surprise. Oh, well. I think this is a solid angle with all the 401(k) investors out there.

American Values: Classic WASP values can be proposed and lived by Americans. Who cares about which faith he/she believes in. We really don’t need a ‘Baptist Based Initiatives’ project – but a ‘Faith Based Initiative’ or a ‘Values Based Initiative’. Yup. Good idea. Where would you rather send your money – the Salvation Army or the Federal Department of Education?

So, the message is still there. But we don’t have to surround the walls of Jericho anymore. We already have that city.


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