Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Money Matters

Confession time: I hate thinking about money. I hate thinking about the details of investing and taxes and really, generally, anything that’s got to do with my lifelong enemies: numbers. I don’t think that makes me an unusual person or even a deeply flawed person. Indeed, in most ways, I think that makes me a healthy person. In any event, I’m pretty sure that if nothing else, it makes me a typical person. Still, even healthy and widespread habits (of body or mind) can be overdone. You can exercise yourself to death and you can "not worry" yourself right into poverty and all the evils that come with a state of financial embarrassment.

The last week on Wall Street has had a way of re-focusing the mind on the details of one’s financial future--rather like the proverbial two-by-four across the forehead might have a way of waking a person out of pleasant slumber. But leaving aside the details of this or that investment and bromide filled promises to "stimulate" the economy, the big picture remains that economies and markets cycle, things (particularly housing prices) were puffed up, and all the old rules about having appreciation for the real value of your dollar will always apply--no matter how creative your financing is.

But given this reassertion of the old rules of economy into the forefront of our minds, which presidential candidates are best equipped to help us see the bigger picture in these times? We know what the Dems are going to say and it’s certainly going to be something that enhances their power and our dependence on government. Steve Forbes, on the other hand, thinks Rudy Giuliani is exactly the man with exactly the proposals that will help Americans understand that "self-government, not centralized government, makes America great." His combination of tax cuts and tax reform with strong incentives for middle class savings is, indeed, a breath of fresh air. Much, much more needs to be said to Americans about savings these days. Conservatives have been derelict in neglecting that aspect of conservatism (at least as long as I can remember). Tax rebates may get the economy going for a short hop . . . but all we’re really doing is hoping that people spend more money they may not need to spend. Spending is important to keep the economy moving. But savings and investments are important to keep the economy healthy in bad times and to keep the people self-governing rather than dependent.

This article also argues that Rudy has an opening in tonight’s debate in Boca Raton to show his strength on this issue against McCain, especially, but also Romney who is likely to be mired in detail. If Giuliani can keep his message on the economy and taxes focused on fundamentals that are clearly understood and appeal to an old-fashioned sense of justice and economy, it could help him. Also see Michael Barone’s very good piece on the ways in which our understanding of the state of the economy has become very partisan based instead of experience based. This has to do with that generational shift we keep talking about. The Depression is less and less a factor. The 70s and disasters of the Carter administration are becoming a dim memory. The median birth year for today’s voter is 1963. In the end, he argues, the realities of this economy call for new and clear thinking not old partisan prescriptions.

Discussions - 8 Comments

Rudy should zero in the value of the Dollar. The Dollar has iconic value, not just economic.

Steve Forbes, on the other hand, thinks Rudy Giuliani is exactly the man

Forbes has officially endorsed Giuliani, so it would be a bit of a shock if he said any different.

Interesting piece on McCain here.


Your infatuation with Rudy remains a mystery.

Yes the dollar . . . but more generally, why not just start talking more like Ben Franklin? I do like that Rudy points to personal responsibility but doesn't just leave it at that . . . he offers a way toward it. It's not just "Go pull yourself up by your own boot-straps!" it's more "Here, grab on here and pull like so . . . yes, that's it! You can do it! Good. Now when you lose your grip, come back at it like so. That's it!" Is this patronizing? Maybe a little. But people do have to be taught how to govern themselves. If there's been a generational move away from that teaching (especially in fiscal matters) then it has to be reasserted somewhere. It would be better if people had a habit of saving and not over-spending. But they don't. Government can teach through example and incentive and penalty, I think. It has been so doing in the opposite direction for quite a while.

I supported Forbes in 2000. Forbes is an economic adviser for Rudy's campaign.

As for the "infatuation" for Rudy, check out Dennis Prager's endorsement over at TOWNHALL.COM, and check out David Frum's article, over at NR. Those columns lay it out.

The essence of the "conservative" endorsements of Rudy is this: Rudy can be most reliably counted on to kill as many Muslims as possible in far off countries. That's it. Nothing more. Nothing less. No mystery. That is certainly why Dan likes him.



And Dan, what exactly is Rudy going to say about the dollar? One reason the dollar is dropping is because the Fed is churning out the Federal Reserve Notes to pay for war and empire. There is only one candidate who is going to do anything about the root causes of the problem with the dollar, the Fed and fiat paper money. And we all know who that is.

No, actually it's beyond killing the enemy in the numbers necessary to achieve victory. It's the competency factor, it's the fact that when he answers questions, you'll never have to cringe waiting for the answer. He'll never embarrass you, he'll never mortify you, he'll never do what Bush did during this nightmarish 2d term.

And you're wrong too when you say that it's the war that's hurting our economy. Defense expenditures combined with wartime costs don't add up to more 5% of the federal budget. WE'RE STILL FAR BELOW THE PEACETIME BUILDUP during the Reagan years. It's a Ron Paul exaggeration to say we're spending ourselves into problems BECAUSE of the war. And as for the dollar, there are all kinds of ways to defend it, and Forbes has said as much with Neal Cavuto.

As for Paul, he wants to coexist with enemies I want wiped out. I don't like our enemies. I'm not interested in parley, I'm not interested in ridiculous diplomatic gimmicks, I'm not much interested in anything other than hitting them as hard as I can with as much as I can, ......... and as often as I can. I want them destroyed. I'm livid with Bush because he ran for reelection to the post of Commander in Chief, but he refuses to exercise the responsibilities of his command. He allows our dirtball enemies to pick off American men in his command, all the while sending lost Condi on one worthless diplomatic voyage after another.

But savings and investments are important to keep the economy healthy in bad times and to keep the people self-governing rather than dependent.

I wonder if this were true, why has it not helped Asia where the savings rate is at the opposite extreme as ours. I think the Japanese are sitting on a cash horde equal to a year or two of their GDP. Yet, theirs is one stagnant economy.

I think there might be something to the assertion that Rudy might have economic conservativism down better than the rest - certainly better than Mitt who has been making some very liberal promises in Michigan & Florida. Still, from what I understand, McCain may have him beat here to. I wonder how long it will be before the GOP intellectuals love affair with Mitt is over. Will NR live up to their mistake, or is it simply their idea of the lesser of several evils…

Dan,



"enemies I want wiped out. I don't like our enemies. I'm not interested in parley, I'm not interested in ridiculous diplomatic gimmicks, I'm not much interested in anything other than hitting them as hard as I can with as much as I can, ......... and as often as I can. I want them destroyed."



Exactly who are these enemies? Was everyone who we have killed in Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11, your "enemy?" Give me a break.



I guess there is something about your combative spirit that I admire, but it is woefully misdirected. You sound like a professional wrestler cutting a promo. You seem like you are picking a candidate based on who is best prepared to "step into the octagon."

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