First and foremost I want to extend my congratulations to our re-elected President, Barack Obama. All political differences aside, that was a long campaign and I am sure you are exhausted. I hope these next few days are enjoyable and recharging, but get ready to work, this country still needs you. Being a Libertarian, I had the luxury of watching these election unfold without the fear that my candidate would “lose.” While Gary Johnson didn’t get the 5% we needed him to get to qualify for campaign finance support, he ran a campaign that spent (roughly) only $2 for every one vote obtained. That’s not a bad ratio at all when you consider President Obama and Governor Romney were spending closer to $20-25 per vote (estimation based on projected spending). The results of the Libertarian Party or even the re-election of President Obama are not the important stories from last night and I’ll tell you why: I watched the Republican Party die.
So what exactly happened? Well, a lot of things, each as important as the next, but let me first start with a simple quote by a famous Republican:
Talk about an accurate prediction. Look, Liberals/Democrats/Progressives and Libertarians can disagree about the economy and the role of government in the economy all day long, but we both resoundingly believe in the progress of Americans. The current Republican Party (or should I say the “late”) does not. They believe in a fundamental Christian platform and disguise it as morality, they don’t believe in science, they don’t believe in gay marriage, they don’t believe in rape, and worst of all, they believe that religion should always trump logic and reason. I’m sorry, but (science + logic + reason) > religion. I don’t apologize for using math to prove my point either.
Let’s be frank about all of this. The Republican Party marched out people like Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and Todd Akin as “viable” candidates for office over the past 6-8 years. These people would have done nothing but inhibit the progress of the American people and alienate the rest of the world. I am glad they lost and I hope the message is loud and clear: the American people would rather take a chance on the economy and protect civil liberties then marry ourselves to a restrictive and oppressive religious ideal.
I am all for that rejection (of the Republican Party) because I believe we have enough capitalists remaining in this country to continue creating companies and building businesses. The American people don’t want a stone-aged culture. The American people don’t want a stone-aged culture. I repeat, The American people don’t want a stone-aged culture. Sometimes things need to be said three times for them to hit home with certain people. They want to invest in science and research without having to prove that evolution is real. They want to live their lives without feeling guilty about the personal decisions they make. They want to be accepted no matter who they are or what they believe in or HOW they were born.
Last night, the American people proved this point and now the Republican party is dead. They rallied behind Mitt-the-Directionless-Moderate to express their disgust with the past four years of economic stagnation, as they should have, but this election was never in question. Although, the popular vote was closer then I thought it would be, in my gut I always assumed President Obama would take over 300 electoral votes, but let’s be clear about this: the country has not given the President their approval to remake the country into a huge, warmer version of Sweden, so I think we need to take progressive extremism off the table.
There are, however, three things that President Obama should do right now that will cement his legacy as one of the most historical and effective Presidents to ever hold office.
1. Ask Congress to modify the tax law to allow American corporations/businesses to repatriate profits.
The current estimated “jackpot” of profits sitting on the sidelines in foreign banks is around $1 Trillion dollars. That is an undeniably significant sum of money. These companies are keeping it out-of-play because they believe (and rightly so) that it is unfair to have paid taxes on the money in one country and then have to pay taxes again on the same profits just to bring the cash home. This is a huge, easy win for President Obama. Dropping this absurd tax law could bring hundreds of billions of dollars back into the country which could be used to invest in new businesses or in hiring more workers. This is a free stimulus packaged and the move wins a lot of brownie points both on Wall Street and on Main Street. To Wall Street, the President would be warming up to business. To Main Street, he would be allowing American companies to invest in American jobs. The message and the execution are easy and the President would get 100% of the credit.
2. Lower the Corporate Tax Rate
This is on the same path as point number one: kick starting the economy. The Republican Party has misrepresented how “job creation” works and garbled the impact that 100 rich guys have on the economy over the past 8-10 years. Thankfully, a non-partisan report came out last week that shows changes to the top end marginal tax rates do no stunt economic growth. Why? Rich people don’t spend 90% of their money on an annual basis, they accumulate it like Scrooge McDuck so they can dive into pools of gold coins. Let the Bush tax cuts expire for top end earners and the only thing you will see is some Republican Party cheerleaders will throw a hissy fit. The economy will not implode.
That all being said, taxes directly on businesses do impact hiring and investments. Lowering the overall cost of a worker (wages + benefits + taxes/compliance) means more people can get hired. Again, I think this is an easy win for President Obama. Lowering the cost of an employee in America will result in companies keeping jobs in America and, as such, hiring more workers. President Obama’s goal should be to get the unemployment rate down toward 4-5.5% over the next four years. I think it is doable despite the slow down globally. Not only will he look like a superhero, this kind of improvement will mean that the Democrats will take more seats in the House of Representatives during the 2014 elections giving them the holy trinity…like that reference Santorum?…of power between the Presidency, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. Again, this is an opportunity to take a freebie. This type of move costs the President nothing and gets him so much.
3. Move money out of the Defense budget and invest in Research, Education, and Development
Killing our sons and daughters fighting a pointless war and investing 700 billion dollars a year into the “Defense” of the nation is going to drive us to economic ruin. Cuts to defense will not result in Iran suddenly turning into a global superpower and threatening our very existence. This is a lie, told by our friends the Republicans, to keep those dollars flowing to the Defense industry. We don’t need this type of waste in our government, but we also can’t flatly cut this money out of the budget (I know all my Libertarian friends just passed out). I’m not a fan of a large Federal government, but I’m also not a fool. Drastic short term cuts impact the economy with extreme severity. What President Obama should do, though, is take a hefty percentage of that Defense budget and reallocate it toward internal “Nation Building.” If it is going to be spent then rebuild schools, rebuild roads, and fund next generation sciences and technologies. The impact of extensive R&D can be mind blowingly beneficial to the economy – do a quick Google search on the topic and you will see a long list of products and services that originated in government R&D labs. If you are dead-set on spending the money, invest it here, not in bombs to drop on women and children on the other side of the world.
If the President can accomplish those three points then this country will be charging ahead. The Republican Party is already dead so he should have no significant barriers. There is real opportunity to get a lot of things done without the unreasonableness of people who don’t believe in fossilization getting in the way. President Obama, I wish you luck, I think you have opportunities on the table to make a huge impact without violating your core political beliefs. I encourage you to take them and in doing so, you will drive the final stake into the heart of the Social Conservative disaster that is the current Republican Party.
A Gary Johnson Supporter.