backtop


Print 92 comment(s) - last by SoCalBoomer.. on Sep 10 at 6:02 PM

Platform is rather nebulous in its language and ignores glaring gaps between actions and rhetoric

Much like their Republican colleagues, the Democratic National Party put out a policy called "Moving America Forward", on the eve of their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. North Carolina is a hotly contested battleground state where Republican challenger Mitt Romney enjoys a slim 4-point lead over the President in current pulls.  Unlike the Republicans' platform, the DNP's platform does not list any specific authors -- but one can assume the President's staff and top members of Congress all had some input into the document.

I. What's This Platform Noise?

The Republican platform was quite interesting in the sense that it ping-ponged between calling for essential a moralistic federalist police state on issues such as internet pornography, and on the opposite extreme called for reducing the size of the federal government and promoting liberty on the net.

By contrast the DNP's platform, as I see it, is a bit different in a sense that much of its problematic material lies less in cognitively dissonant language, but rather in the inconsistencies that go unsaid.

But before we dig in, let us recap what a party platform is.

It is somewhat of a myth to say that America does not have or has never had viable third parties -- President Andrew Johnson, the man who succeeded President Abraham Lincoln -- was effectively a third-party president after publicly renouncing the Democratic Party while in office, while also refusing to join the Republican ranks.

But in all practicality, the nucleus of political power in America today is largely binary.  And today it takes millions of dollars to get elected to office.  2008 marked the first race in which the average "price" of a seat in the House of Representatives passed the $1M USD mark.  The candidate with more money won 9 out of 10 federal races.  Much of that funding comes from the national party, which in turn receives a mixture of money from small donors and hefty special interests.
 
Moving America Forward

Against that backdrop, consider that the RNP's and DNP's platforms are non-binding, yet they do carry substantial weight and pressure.  Candidates who buck the carefully laid out talking points in the platform risk losing funding, and by proxy losing a job opportunity.  Of course there may be some element of pandering to the platform -- so it's not impossible to fathom that either party might adopt a plank (passage) that they have no real intention of enforcing.

II. Preaching v. Practice

President Barack Obama is no stranger to public relations.  Elected on a whirlwind of promises of "reforming" the government, the President disappointed some believers in his message of "hope" when he (or his staff -- in this day and age, it's hard to say which) fell back on the same old pandering to special interests.

But the tech savvy POTUS has been doing his best to put on a glowing spin on his pro-freedom message, taking to Reddit and other outlets to connect with potential voters.

The platform is equal parts boasting about his accomplishments, albeit in vague terms, and making equally vague big-sounding promises.

For example on internet freedom it writes:

The Obama administration has led the world to recognize and defend Internet freedom—the freedom of expression, assembly, and association online for people everywhere—through coalitions of countries and by empowering individuals with innovative technologies. The administration has built partnerships to support an Internet that is secure and reliable and that is respectful of U.S. intellectual property, free flow of information, and privacy. To preserve the Internet as a platform for commerce, debate, learning, and innovation in the 21st century, we successfully negotiated international Internet policymaking principles, support the current multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance, and oppose the extension of intergovernmental controls over the Internet.

But the Obama administration's track record on internet freedoms has been mixed.  

The President did help block the Orwellian "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) (H.R. 3261) in the House and "PROTECT IP Act" (PIPA) (S.968) in the Senate after being "reminded" of his "duties" by lobbyist friends. However, he turned around and squeaked through the international Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) [leaked 2010 draft; PDF] -- a treaty, in essence, with similar provisions that was notably not authorized by Congress.

The executive order to obey SOPA was passed last January.   SOPA's opponents have noticed that the President's Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been stepping up domain seizures in months since, in many cases abusing the rights of law-abiding citizens at the behest of big media.

In other words, "successfully negotiated international Internet policymaking principles" in reality means something like "brokered back-door treaties behind the back of Congress and the public, to stroke big media".

The truly problematic thing about ACTA is that it is unconstitutional -- Europe is treating it as a binding treaty.  And the U.S. Senate must approve all binding treaties according to the Constitution:  

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur...

But Obama is calling it an "agreement" to escape having to obtain Senate approval -- a move that would risk highlighting the issue before a relatively ignorant public who believes (by and large) that the President is opposed to such Orwellian measures.

In short, the administration's true definition of freedom isn't so free.  Essentially it involves promoting freedom when it's convenient, but throwing it under the bus when well-heeled lobbyists wish otherwise.

Unlike the Republicans, the DNP does not appear intent on enforcing federal obscenity laws, which according to the most recent Supreme Court rulings on the topic should ban most forms of pornography.  Of course, the DNP also is making no effort to repeal these questionable laws, so it's not wholly part of the solution, either, when it comes to freeing Americans from the kind of moralistic censorship that federal law calls for (albeit, which is also currently goes unenforced.

In fact Democrats have been a key proponent in past moralistic "anti-obscenity" pushes such as Tipper Gore's famous effort to block Dead Kennedys musician Jello Biafra's Constitution right to free speech:


For that reason it's hard to take all of the Obama camp's proclamations of internet "freedom" and anti-censorship at face value considering the past actions of the administration and past actions of the party.

III. Taxation: DNP is Full of Nebulous Promises

Another section where nebulous language abounds is in the portion discussing taxation -- something that intimately affects the tech industry (see the $3B USD taxpayer-funded payout to General Electric Comp. (GE) on a year when the company turned a $14B USD profit) and exacerbates the problem of lobbyist special interests.  A recent University of Kansas School of Business study [PDF] found that $1 given to a federal politician was worth $243 USD of tax breaks, if you contributed over $1M USD.

The DNP states:

We see an America with greater economic security and opportunity, driven by education, energy, innovation and infrastructure, and a tax code that helps to create American jobs and bring down the debt in a balanced way. We believe in deficit reduction not by placing the burden on the middle class and the poor, but by cutting out programs we can't afford and asking the wealthiest to again contribute their fair share.

...we helped American families who are working multiple jobs and struggling to pay the bills save a little extra money through tax cuts, lower health care costs, and affordable student loans.

His Recovery Act represented the largest education investment since President Johnson, the largest infrastructure investment since President Eisenhower, the single largest clean energy investment ever, and the broadest tax cut in American history.

That's why President Obama and the Democratic Party have cut taxes on American workers and businesses and made sweeping reforms to the unemployment system to help get people back to work.

In other words, like the RNP, the DNP claims it's all about cutting taxes.  But the problem lies in the ambiguity (similar to that of the RNP platform).  The reality of the situation is that neither party supports a zero-exceptions flat tax.

Until that kind of policy takes hold, the race for the presidency will essentially be a spending game for corporate lobbyists to try to fund the winner, and in exchange receive favors in the tax code.

Was the Recovery Act the "single largest clean energy investment" (by the government) "ever"?  Absolutely.  But the question is whether the government should be funneling grant money to people who paid for their candidate to get elected.

As mentioned above, 9 out of 10 times in Congressional elections the candidate with more money wins.  And as long as tax exemptions, credits, grants, or any other form of tax breaks can be inserted into legislation -- as long as taxation is treated as an arbitrary nebulous sliding scale controlled by Congress and the White House -- invariably taxation will favor those with lobbying influence, when all is said and done.


The DNP adds in the twist of attacking the "wealthy", but to be real most of these people will simply do what Mitt Romney does if taxes are raised -- shelter their income off shores.  Meanwhile the DNP is perfectly happy to hand out grants and tax holidays to big wealth investors who they pretend to admonish (see Solyndra, EnerDel, General Electric, et al.) via inconsistent and arbitrary corporate taxation.

Obama bribery wide
President Obama is beating Romney in the special interest cash race.
[Image Source: Politically Incorrect]

In many ways the two parties' platforms, while differing on key moralistic issues, offer remarkable similarities when it comes to the economy.  Both parties support nebulous modifications to an already nebulous tax code that can and is actively exploited by special interests.

At the same time both parties promise (to quote the DNP) "tough spending cuts", but both sides are a bit vague as to exactly what is getting cut.  And both sides have essentially have non-verbally acknowledged that they will deficit spend if elected (though you won't find this in either platform).  Thus looking at the hard numbers both candidates share a similar hope for balancing the budget -- that wild GDP growth will raise tax revenue at current collection rates and allow the spend-thrift federal body to break-even.

The DNP platform arguably has more in common with the RNP platform than either side would be comfortable to admit.  Substitute a select few nebulous talking points and flip on a few moral issues and one side is essentially looking at the other's reflection in their mirror.

Ron Paul
Ron Paul argued last night that both parties are essentially full of the same hollow promises.
[Image Source: NBC]

Thus perhaps it's best to close with the words of Ron Paul on the Jay Leno Show last night, "Democracy isn't all that healthy in this country because if you're in a third party... you don't get in the debates... And if you ever come to the conclusion -- heaven forbid -- that the two parties aren't all that different, then what is left really?"

Source: Democratic National Party



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Ryrod on 9/7/2012 3:04:24 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes except that was overnight. The cost of the wars were spread out over 10+ years.

Oh, I'm sorry. I completely forgot that if it's long term and done by a Republican then it's ok for it to cost the American public a lot more. And if you really want to play that game then we can say the stimulus only cost the public 840 billion over 2.5yrs and technically only 472-537billion because that's what was spent on entitlements, loans, and grants. So 215ish billion a yr vs 2.3trillion total over 10 years which comes out to 230billion a year. But it's ok because a Republican decided to invade Iraq, right?
quote:
The 4 year period after the Bush Tax cuts went into effect the IRS grossed all time high tax receipts. All time, as in highest ever in the country. Tax cuts ALWAYS stimulate the economy, which increase tax revenues.

Wow you are good at cherry picking facts. You are right that they had the all time highest but with the help of an increasing GDP and inflation. Hell, by those measures Obama will far exceed Bush with even lower taxes in a couple of years. So that must make Obama the most successful in increasing tax receipts while lowering taxes, right? A better indicator is how the tax receipts compare to GDP, and in that case Clinton wins at 20.6%. Not Bush.
No matter how you look at it, you keep cutting taxes and you'll hit a 0% tax rate. Can you tell me how that is going to increase tax revenues. Tax rates and receipts make a curve not a diagonal graph. I suggest you look up the Gaffer curve, since you seem to be confused

quote:
When Bush left office he had a $430 billion deficit. Not great by any means, but lets compare that to Obama's FIRST year in office shall we? Hmmmm, the billions somehow turned into trillions!

You're joking right? Are you forgetting about the bank bailouts that got tacked onto FY09, which Obama had little impact on besides adding the reinvestment act. So it's not as much of a gap as you are implying. So a better comparison would be FY09, which was Bush's budget minus 800 billion, and FY10 which was Obama's first budget. So 1.4trillion - 700bil = 700bil was Bush's last deficit vs the 1.3trillion of Obama's first budget - the 400bil loss in tax receipts = 900bil. So Obama didn't go on a spending spree as you suggest. Furthermore, deficits are always higher during recessions, that's just how it works.
quote:
Do you just enjoy rewriting history or something?

I love reading histories and biographies, but it seems like you're more suited to historical fiction yourself.


By knutjb on 9/9/2012 1:05:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Oh, I'm sorry. I completely forgot that if it's long term and done by a Republican then it's ok for it to cost the American public a lot more.
You're convoluting the issues. Either your for the war or against it and that is fine, but irrelevant. The war was approved by congress just as the stimulus, the difference is both parties voted for the war in big numbers. The stimulus was full tilt democrat.

The stimulus is still more expensive than the war. The over $800B is the CBOs recent assessment which grows to over $1.1T when interest and other issues are factored in. The reason it goes so high was the overly optimistic projected revenues from a recovery that never happened for the economy. Because the economy didn't produce jobs, hence income tax revenues, it will become more costly over the initial projections. No additional money coming in to pay it off extends the impact on the deficit.
quote:
Tax rates and receipts make a curve not a diagonal graph. I suggest you look up the Gaffer curve, since you seem to be confused
That is the Laffer curve, but look up the Hauser curve at the Hoover Institute at Standford University. In summary, the Hauser curve relates % of GDP to revenues received by the IRS. It floats around 18-19% regardless of tax rates. When tax rates go up there is a short spike in revenues, then they fall and then the economy weakens from less money available to invest. That is how it's been with a few exceptions. Taxes are emotional, when people feel they are over taxed or government isn't spending properly they will do what they can to pay less in taxes, even if that costs more money than just paying the increased taxes in the first place.
quote:
You're joking right? Are you forgetting about the bank bailouts that got tacked onto FY09, which Obama had little impact on besides adding the reinvestment act. So it's not as much of a gap as you are implying. So a better comparison would be FY09, which was Bush's budget minus 800 billion, and FY10 which was Obama's first budget. So 1.4trillion - 700bil = 700bil was Bush's last deficit vs the 1.3trillion of Obama's first budget - the 400bil loss in tax receipts = 900bil. So Obama didn't go on a spending spree as you suggest. Furthermore, deficits are always higher during recessions, that's just how it works.
What turnip truck did you fall off? The 1.4T was not the budget, that was the deficit ALONE. The FY09 budget you want to attribute solely to Bush is incorrect too. The Dems, Nancy Pelosi had complete control of Congress from 2006, only passed a budget that lasted to the end of Bush's term. So you are very wrong in that assertion. Yes, normally a budget is passed for a fiscal year, but that is not what they did. The reason Harry Reid won't bring a budget from the House up for a vote is to keep spending levels high. They have passed spending bills but not a budget. The last budget set percentages not dollar levels. So to prevent the conservatives from massive departmental budget cuts they did this. The other thing that passed was the bill that would massively cut $500B from the military and $500B in other spending. It was done to force both sides to agree to a budget. The only reason there is not a budget is Harry Reid has not allowed it to come to conference. Even if Reid did allow one to be passed, Obama has clearly stated he would veto it. A veto would work because of the majority of democrats in the senate, a veto could not been over-ridden.

Stop listening to the usual suspects and do some of your own research. The kool-aid is lethal.


"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki