The Trump slide has begun in earnest, with a quarter of the passengers jumping off the Trump train following the Simi Valley debate. The big question now is whether or not this is enough of a decline to pop free of the gravitational pull of crowdism, or if Trump can recover as he did after the first debate.
Meanwhile, Fiorina (+12) and Rubio (+8) were the biggest benefactors from the debate with massive movement upward into second and fourth place, respectively.
Finally, we could have tagged this post as a Dropout Watch, with Scott Walker’s once high flying campaign reduced now to an asterisk.
- Trump – 24% (32)
- Fiorina – 15% (3)
- Carson – 14% (19)
- Rubio – 11% (3)
- Bush – 9% (9)
- Cruz – 6% (7)
- Huckabee – 6% (5)
- Paul – 4% (3)
- Christie – 3% (2)
- Kasich – 2% (2)
- Santorum – 1% (1)
- Gilmore – * (*)
- Grahan – * (1)
- Jindal – * (1)
- Pataki – * (*)
- Walker – * (5)
- No Opinion – 3% (2)
Survey of 444 Republican or Republican leaning voters was done Sept 17-19 and has a margin of error of ±4.5% Numbers in parentheses are from the pre-debate CNN poll.
We have political campaigns to determine the future of the nation. Everyone reasons together, coming forth in a collective effort to identify our problems, perform triage to isolate the worst of them, and decide on a course of action to move our beloved country onto a better path for us and our children.
At least that’s the general idea. In practice it doesn’t quite work out that way. So we have this 3-hour debate and the chief moderator orchestrates a cat fight between the Republicans on the stage, throwing each of them into a duel with whoever has said the worst things about him or her.
Some of the candidates tried heroically to offer the 23 million people watching some idea of things they want to do for the nation. Rand Paul, for example, managed to briefly talk about his 14.5% flat tax. Huck got in a minute or two on his advocacy of The Fair Tax, and Ben Carson chimed in that he’s looking seriously at it too. Was there any serious dialogue about these or the few other mentions about solutions to major problems? In this case was there any back and forth about the stagnation of our economy under Obama? Even the candidates who managed to briefly mention essentially what their entire raison d’etre for running in the first place was had no opportunity to go into details or explanations.
And the moderators didn’t give them that opportunity or encourage serious discussion. It was 3 hours of gotcha journalism where the candidates themselves were designated to provide the gotchas and attack each other. One would suppose that most of the 23 million viewers went through this ordeal to get some answer to their number one political question: What are we to do?
And found out exactly what?
Missing Elephant Number One:
The most important issue to the vast majority of Americans is our deteriorating economy, and every poll consistently demonstrates that. And precious little light was shed on the matter. If you saw this travesty, what is Carly’s economic plan for the future? I cite Carly because she won the debate according to the after-debate consensus and was especially praised for offering specifics. She told us how many combat brigades to add to the Army and how many ships the Navy needs to build, but what’s her plan to reform the tax code? Does she have one? Is she for or against the Trans Pacific trade deal? Get the idea?
Jeb managed to fit in some of his economic plan in a powerful closing statement. He wants to achieve 4% annual GDP growth by his proposed tax code reform, removing the constraints that prevent us from developing our energy resources to anywhere near our latent potential, eliminating cost ineffective regulations that prevent economic activity, and changing immigration policy to allow an influx of skilled professionals, engineers, and technicians. He only had time to mention these, and no time to provide specifics on any others, much less get into the weeds.
Rand Paul has worked out detailed federal budgets for each of the next 5 years, balancing the budget in that time frame while eliminating wasteful or counterproductive items currently in our budget. Allowed less than 10 minutes of the 3 hours, and thrust into a meaningless confrontation with The Donald that took up much of it, viewers remain unenlightened about what he could do for America. Rand has a very specific plan for our future and 23 million people in the nation were left with no clue about what it is. If they thought about this in regard to any candidate in ‘the debate’ they would have to assume that they have no plan.
Missing Elephant Number Two:
This was a Republican debate, so the naive onlooker might imagine that the Republican candidates would have been given every opportunity to tell people what the Democrats running the country are doing wrong, and why they will do better. One might think so, but one would be wrong.
Did any Republican running get a chance to attack Bernie Sanders, the Democrat currently leading in both Iowa and New Hampshire according to the most recent polls, for wanting to increase federal government spending $18 Trillion over the next decade? That’s not total spending of $18 Trillion in that time frame, that’s additional spending as costed out by The Wall Street Journal. It makes Obama’s running of deficits of more than a trillion dollars a year before Republicans took control of the House look penne ante. In the past he has proposed top tax rates of 70% to 90%. He’s gotten close to the quandary Sweden found itself in a few years ago when someone noticed that if all its taxes were added together the top tax rate in the nation was 108%. Is anyone going to work hard to give the government every cent they make plus an additional 8% out of their savings? Little wonder that Sweden has a conservative government now.
Hillary wants to double the capital gains tax rate if the asset holding period isn’t long enough. Is doubling the tax rate on capital gains going to increase the incentive of people who have capital to put it to work? She seems to be unaware that higher Cap gains taxation necessarily eliminates production. That probably doesn’t bother her, but what might, at least if she were to understand economics in some alternate universe, is that less production means less tax revenue. And to get the revenue she wants for all the spending she wants to add to the government, that will mean that tax rates have to go up further, leading to even less production, followed by even higher taxes. Until no economy is left to tax.
I could add immeasurably to the economic sins of the Dems running and I venture to guess that so could almost all of the Republicans who are running. Chris Christie in the debate made a gallant effort to say that Hillary is the enemy and we should be united against her. Jake Tapper, good Democrat that he is, put a stop to that and set Republicans back to attacking each other before long.
Question: If Republicans aren’t allowed to discuss the main problems and enemies of the nation, how can you call it a Republican debate?
Special offer, this week only: The reader who posts the best item of Miscellany in the comments gets to read Sunday Miscellany for half-price.
What Jobs Are Robot-Proof?
If you were advising a young man or woman about which career to go into that won’t be taken over by robots, which would it be?
Never fear, R4 has your answers (with a little help from the BBC).
The Ongoing Media Malaise
We’re all well aware of the sickly state of the print media business, but broadcast is not a heck of a lot better off. This report is about stock market movements in August (I’ve been trying to fit it in the last couple weeks), but the factors behind those movements are longer-term.
The likes of 21st Century Fox, Time Warner, Disney and Viacom all took a shellacking amid investor anxiety about the long-term health of the television business. These concerns were inflamed this week after Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger wrote a blistering note that implied the cable and broadcast industries were in shambles. Cord-cutting will accelerate, ratings will erode and advertising is in a state of decline, he argued, all while downgrading Disney and Time Warner. Moreover, the fees that affiliates pay to air shows could also be at risk.
“When an industry is undergoing a massive structural upheaval, one major revenue stream is already impaired — and now there are signs the second one may be as well — investors won’t wait for final conclusive evidence to re-evaluate how much they are willing to pay for the existing status quo cash flow streams,” Juenger wrote.
It’s hard to work up a lot of sympathy.
Foreign-Born Share of Hispanics Declining
Those who look at Hispanics and see a bunch of immigrants (illegal or otherwise), need to think again. Pew has found that the percentage of people of Hispanic origin in the US who are foreign-born is dropping steadily.
This is true of all major Latin American nationalities, and is a function of the declining pace of immigration.
About 65% of US Hispanics were born in this country.
Where is the money coming from, and to whom is it going? The Jeb! map below, but more at the link.
Trump’s Declining Media Dominance
A picture that tells a story. The day after the first debate (Aug 9), Trump peaked at 22,000 media mentions (11,000 each on radio and TV). Now he’s down to about 3,000/day. Given that he lives on media oxygen …
A Dying Young Woman’s Hope in Cryonics and a Future: A long, touching story about a young woman facing death from brain cancer, who chose … no, not death – cryonics.
How Low Will Erdogan Go?: Turkey’s president didn’t like the results of the last election. Polls indicate he won’t like the next results any better. Then what?
Coming on the heels of another poor debate performance, the announcement that Walker will only be campaigning in Iowa, and that a major Walker donor is looking at other candidates to start backing, this day couldn’t get much worse for Governor Walker. As Allahpundit put it, the vultures are circling.
HotAir notes, with a hint of foreboding, that this sort of constant drip of bad news, including now an inability to pay people, is what happened to Rick Perry at the end of his campaign as well. This is especially interesting as it pertains to the Walker campaign, because Walker entered the race so late he hasn’t had to file an FEC report yet. We never knew what his financial situation looked like, and now it appears to be… well, less than desirable.
Below is a link to our Race rapid reaction poll for the second Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night. There are five questions and you have to be logged in with Google to vote.
John Zogby: “…one of the people who could face extinction tomorrow is Scott Walker…”
Scott Walker gained national esteem by beating public unions like the proverbial rug in Wisconsin. His premise: “Collective bargaining is not a right. It is an expensive entitlement.”
Early in his first term, Walker faced down public sector unions and tens of thousands of their members and compadres by making the payment of dues to said unions totally voluntary. This led to a massive de-funding of those unions and a decline in their membership of more than 60%. By the time he signed the bill turning Wisconsin into a Right To Work state it was anti-climactic. His war with unionization in the state had already been won.
Having lost his early lead in Iowa and his status as one of the front-runners nationally in the Republican 2016 nomination struggle, he returned to the fertile ground that started it all for him. To wit:
Is this enough to revive a flagging campaign? According to a poll last month, public approval of unions is up to 58%, up 10 points from 5 years ago. Union membership is down to 11% overall nationwide, and in the private sector it’s down to 6.6%. Unions have been losing elections in company after company for decades now. The general zeitgeist concerning unions seems to be that people don’t want to have any part of them, but they’re OK if others want them.
What the numbers hide is that many Republicans, and far more than the low single digits currently supporting Walker, have an intense antipathy toward unions. Something that has benefited Scott before, and even more than it benefited Christie’s rise to prominence in New Jersey when Chris reduced union pensions retroactively.
One possible major benefit is that Sheldon Adelson has said he wants to abolish collective bargaining. Scott could really use a sugar daddy right now, particularly one who’s worth a reported $26 Billion. Also, there’s room for contrast. Donald Trump in 2000 said “unions still have a place in American society.”
There are currently 26 states with both a Republican Governor and a Republican Legislature and 25 of them are Right To Work states. The only exception is John Kasich’s Ohio, and there too there is room for contrast. If Walker gets his way, there will be a lot more than 25. In my state of Missouri, e.g., the legislature has passed Right To Work by large margins because Republicans control the legislature by large margins. But we don’t control the legislature here by large enough margins to quite override a veto. A state like that could never pass a closed shop bill.
This is a debate that needs to be on the table, and kudos to Scott for attempting to place it there.
Hat tips to Ryan and Martha for their links to articles in Reason Magazine online and Politico, respectively!
Do you want to put an end to anemic GDP growth, jump start middle-income wages for the first time in lo these many years, and dramatically slow down rising income inequality? And accomplish it while making our tax code fairer and simpler?
The Bush tax reform plan unveiled yesterday will accomplish all that and much more. First, the details:
If this looks familiar, it should. It’s very similar to Mitt Romney’s plan during his 2012 campaign. Spend some time analyzing it and it’s even better. Having failed to seize a golden opportunity to create a better future, America has another opportunity to get it right.
Reagan was able to stimulate economic growth for a couple of decades by slashing tax rates down to approximately where they are now. They gave us a marked advantage over the rest of the developed world. So much so that they were widely imitated, then lowered still further so that other nations in the OECD (The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) would have a competitive advantage over us. We went from having some of the lowest rates in the organization until, as we have now, the highest corporate tax rate in the industrial world. One result has been an ever-increasing number of corporate inversions; companies moving outside of the United States to take advantage of lower taxes elsewhere.
Moving the top corporate rate to 20% will give us a lower corporate tax rate than China, and lower than pretty much every other country we trade and compete with. Hence, no more corporate inversions, except when companies move TO America. Lower rates will also mean more repatriation of profits made by U.S. companies overseas, and parked there to avoid the confiscatory taxation that would occur if they brought them back.
Letting businesses fully expense investment will mean a lot more long-term investment will take place, which will mean, in turn, more job creation and more advanced infrastructure. Replacing so much of the tax code, and so many of the 73,000 pages that constitute it, will make filing taxes far easier, and seriously reduce mistakes on returns that require tax attorneys and accountants to straighten out when audited. It will also make investment far more likely to produce goods, services, and jobs and a lot less likely to be unproductive, made for tax avoidance only.
OK, then. So how does all this tax reduction keep from blowing a super massive black hole in the budget? Very cleverly, it turns out. For example, Jeb wants to limit itemized deductions, capping them at 2% of aggregate gross income. Harvard economist Martin Feldstein has estimated that the cap, given the Bush tax plan’s features, will add $54 Billion a year to the treasury. Loopholes will, with very few exceptions like charity write-offs, be eliminated. And with lower tax rates, there will be less reason to look for loop-holes anyway, and then bear their expense: they’re never free.
Doubling the standard deduction will make it less financially onerous to have children and raise families. And increasing the EITC for single people will cause more Americans to enter the work force. They have to be employed to get that regular check from the government, and by becoming so, they will become taxpayers. It’s a feature that will increase labor force participation.
To quote Jon Hartley in National Review:
“By combining serious corporate tax credits for the working poor, Jeb Bush’s plan could be just what’s needed to help lower and middle-income families improve their take-home pay and employment opportunities–and help nurse the American economy back to health.”
Most Americans don’t want to get into the weeds when it comes to policy, and NO policy is more important than the tax code, but if we want to get America back on the right track we have to. As Donald might say, the bureaucrats who have devised this code are killing us.
There is a consensus on the Right that our current tax code, which is expressed concisely in a little more than 73 thousand pages, needs to be simplified. It takes us literally billions of man hours a year to fill out the paperwork, keep detailed records, and deal with IRS agents when audited. And it takes hundreds of billions of dollars in total costs as well. Much of this goes to specialists such as tax attorneys and tax accountants, and employs lots of experts at every major company in America. Maybe all of this could be avoided and all those man hours and billions of dollars could be reallocated toward more productive pursuits? Or just to leisure or family life?
The three types of plans that have been talked about or proposed are The Fair Tax, a flat tax, or a simpler and fairer version of our current system that combine lower rates per tier and fewer tiers with fewer loopholes. I’ve already written two FPPs on The Fair Tax, espoused by Mike Huckabee, and which is pending before both the Senate and the House.
Jeb Bush is going to come out with his specifics on tax code revision next week, which will flesh out part of his plan to increase economic growth to 4% and above. He’s said he’s really excited about it, and people will see a lot of ads for it later in the campaign.
Sometime this month, Donald Trump has promised to reveal a specific tax code reform. Marco Rubio has already proposed a 3-tier plan, designed by Senator Mike Lee of Utah, that deserves its own FPP.
Other candidates on our side have hinted or weighed in on the subject. Ted Cruz has suggested we need a flat tax that allows a citizen to file his return on a post card. In a similar vein, Ben Carson has suggested a Biblical tithe of 10%, but hasn’t addressed the obvious questions pertaining to one, such as how to reach a balanced budget, ever, with a 10% flat tax.
The most appealing flat tax proposal comes from Rand Paul. He calls for a 14.5% flat tax that would eliminate the payroll tax, and most deductions. More than one Economist who has analyzed it asserts that it would be the most pro-growth tax cut in history.
Rand says “I want to see an America where our business taxes are the lowest in the world, not the highest. I want to see an America where regulations wither away and we can compete again worldwide.” He stressed that his plan is not revenue neutral because government is so big already that it’s strangling the economy . What he wants to do is make government smaller while moving toward a balanced budget within 5 years. He is the one candidate who has actually drawn up a series of successive federal budgets that will balance while less revenue comes in. “If we want the economy to grow again…if we want America to be great again, our government must become significantly smaller,” he says.
“I believe that the only way to rein in big government is to starve the beast.”
Statistics have long shown that every time the government takes in a dollar, it spends more than a dollar. Thus, his proposed reform of the tax code would usher in the largest tax cut in history and it proves that Rand is unafraid to take on the leviathan state.
George Bernard Shaw: “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”
So far in the campaign, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, and Rand Paul have all gone after Donald Trump. None have fared well, to put it mildly. After weeks of Donald smearing Jeb Bush, Jeb ran his first counterattack ad this week, and to quote Trump: “Will Jeb sink as low in the polls as the others who have gone after me?”
The reason for Trump’s seeming obsession with attacking Jeb is obvious. Donald’s campaign is essentially a reality show and every good reality show needs an enemy. Jeb is the obvious choice, for a campaign based on the exclusion of Hispanics, to characterize as the enemy. He’s married to a Mexican immigrant, fluently speaks the language of the undesirables, and has even said that the motivation for Hispanics immigrating to the United States is love. Besides, most major prognosticators consider him the odds on favorite to win the nomination.
Ana Navarro of CNN said “Knowing Jeb, I’m sure he’d prefer to be talking about policy proposals rather than trading verbal jabs with Trump…but what: Is he going to do? Let the guy mischaracterize his record and positions and attack him daily? Enough is enough!”
Bush associate Tim Miller observed that “there’s no path for success in cowering into a corner and hoping for the best. When he released his ad, Jeb said “He attacks me every day with barbarities. They’re not true. What we did today was to put out in his words to show that he’s not conservative.” The ad signaled that he will try to take Trump down in the coming weeks. The debate on the 16th should be interesting.
Josh Kraushaar in the National Journal notes that fundamentally, Trump’s attacks on Jeb have been on his personality. “He’s a very low energy person” he charges. Translation: He won’t fight for you, but I will. “He’ll find out it’s not an act of love.” Translation: He’s about to pay big time for his coddling of Hispanic immigrants. Even on his wife: “Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife.” Translation: What would you expect from someone who would marry one of them.
So it’s on. Under similar circumstances Mitt had to take out Gingrich after Newt won the South Carolina Primary, and he obliterated Gingrich in the Florida Primary debate, and in the primary itself as it shaked out. Kraushaar, in his article in the Journal article entitled “Jeb Bush’s Donald Trump Distraction” says that Jeb’s real adversary in the campaign isn’t Trump, it’s John Kasich and Marco Rubio. He has to get past them to emerge as the establishment candidate before gong on to win the nomination. It’s inconvenient that Donald is in the race, but there it is.
You might think that Jeb going up against Donald is like David going up against Goliath, but Ed Rogers in the Washington Post disagrees: ” I think Jeb Bush wins this exchange.” He reasons that in the long term it’s beneficial to the Bush campaign for Trump to acknowledge that Jeb is his chief competition. And Trump’s recent anti-Jeb ad linked Jeb’s “gentle tone and practical approach to immigration reform” with “the actions of a few horrific murderers everybody knows Bush would actually send to the chair if he could.”
Rogers goes on: “Trump and his campaign probably don’t get this–at this stage in the game, the Republican Primary race is actually composed of a relatively small number of informed observers and participants. Most Republican activists won’t buy the message that this ad is selling.” In fact Bloomberg did a focus group featuring 10 Trump supporters that ultimately revealed that only 2 of them would actually vote for Donald when push comes to shove.
The Primary will determine whether Jeb’s coming battle with Donald will achieve what Mitt achieved in his battle with Gingrich, or whether it’s a kamikaze mission; one where you destroy the target and die in the process. But whatever happens the pig will enjoy it while it lasts.
He lives for that stuff.
Since it had dropped off the front page and I wanted to re-post the weekly readers poll for anyone who has not yet had a chance to vote.
Hello Race family. Below is a link to our weekly readers poll. There are 12 questions this week and you have to be logged in with Google to vote.
Last week we got a whopping 141 responses! Thanks to all who participated.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio continues to lead the pack among Race readers for their top choice for the Republican nomination for president. Mr. Rubio garnered 27% support, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul placed second with 21.3% and Ohio Governor John Kasich received 12.8%. Governor Jim Gilmore and Senator Rick Santorum were the only candidates to receive zero support in this week’s poll.
Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (40.4%) and
businessman Democrat Party contributor and Planned Parenthood supporter Donald Trump (21.3%) were the top two vote-getters when respondents were asked whose campaign has been the biggest, positive surprise this cycle. Mr. Trump and Mr. Paul (18.4%) were listed as the biggest disappointments while Governors Jeb Bush (17.7%) and Scott Walker (14.2%) also reached double-digits on the “biggest disappointment” question.
Mr. Trump was the candidate who the most Race readers, 66.4% to be precise, said they could NEVER support. Mr. Santorum (52.2%) was the only other candidate who a majority could never support. Only 17.9% said they could never support Mr. Paul and 18.7% said likewise about Mr. Kasich.
Taxes/fiscal policy/government spending appears to be the most important issue to Race readers with 79.4% responding that such issues are “very important” to them and only 2.8% said the issue is “not very” or “not at all” important to them. 55.3% said foreign policy is very important, 26.2% said the same about social issues (though it is worth noting that the exact same number listed social issues as “not very” important) and 25.7% said illegal immigration was “very important” to them. Unsurprisingly, 73.3% of those who chose Mr. Trump as their first choice said illegal immigration was very important to them.
In a hypothetical general election match-up featuring Hillary Clinton (D), Rick Santorum (R), Bernie Sanders (G) and Donald Trump (I), Mr. Santorum won a small plurality (29.8%) while Mr. Trump was picked by 22.7% of respondents. 23.4% of us said that, when faced with such a putrid roster of candidates, we would pack our bags and move to Canada.