Our Presidential Choice is between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Well, the first presidential debate is over and the candidates did nothing that fundamentally changed my perspective. We have a couple of very bad contenders from which to choose.

Hillary Clinton is the product of decades within the political machine. She supports the people in power and would seemingly continue on a path of patronage to the few, subsidy to the many, and regulation for all. The burden to support that program falls squarely on people who work and businesses that create jobs.

Donald Trump on the other hand is a political outsider and a master deal-maker. He has also been ruthless in his pursuit of self-interest. He appears pro-business, at least the ones that he likes. While a fresh perspective can be refreshing, he has shown very little understanding of how a global economy works and has not appeared to substantively “refresh” his rhetoric in the face of new information. He almost seems stubbornly intent on not learning.

I am distinctly unaligned with much of Clinton’s philosophy and while supportive of many of the policy positions that Trump has espouses, I find myself constantly disappointed by his utter lack of a coherent program to carry them out.

There is one rather disturbing position on which both candidates agree. This is the notion that “they,” that is their government administration, will create jobs.

This idea is totally and utterly bankrupt. It is antithetical to everything I have witnessed in business, with one exception. The government is very good at creating “institutionalized” labor like the military, government bureaucracy and even incarcerated individuals. While in some circumstances they provide a critical function, like the military and police providing for our security, by-in-large, these are effectively “unproductive” assets when it comes to creating economic growth.

In effect, they siphon off resources from activities that can create long-term economic growth. The more we spend on expanding government bureaucracy, the less money we have to purchase goods and services for ourselves, which is what sustains the economy.

We see that locally, where our City government has imposed franchise and utility fee increases in order to hire additional personnel to do good things for us. However, that removed money from the individuals’ pockets that we could have used at our discretion to do good things for ourselves. They have taken away our freedom of choice.

Unfortunately, both presidential candidates have assured us of “four more years” of government extracting our hard-earned money to waste in a vain attempt to bureaucratize prosperity. It hasn’t happened and there is no reason to believe either of these people will make it happen in the future.

Having said that, Trump at least advocates a roll-back in taxes and regulations, but that only makes sense if you restrain spending as well, which he does not propose. He just wants to spend money on different things than Clinton does.

Business is strangled by a never ending stream of ever more stringent regulations: environmental, safety, etc. While they seem to “make sense” on their face, they are simply yet another method by which the government restricts our freedom. It is increasingly difficult to build “affordable” housing in this region because the building codes and regulations continue to impose higher costs without a commensurate benefit to the consumer.

They do it because of a belief that they know better than we do. Apparently, we are too ignorant to make rational choices for ourselves and must defer to the bureaucrats to ensure our well-being. I am sick of watching the slow decline of our great country while we cede ever-more freedoms and resources to government.

At what point do we say enough is enough. At what point are we willing to risk something to take back our country. King George must be laughing in his grave. We fought for our freedom from British tyranny only to give it back to our own government.

In this respect, the rise of Donald Trump is the manifest expression of the frustration. Hillary is the establishment candidate. Donald is the wild card.

A Clinton administration will continue the downward slide. More regulation. More erosion of traditional values. Greater tax burden. A society more and more dependent on the government for its subsistence. It is the path ever-closer to socialism and moral and economic bankruptcy. On the other hand, Wall Street will breathe a sigh of relief and the stock market might rise for a bit.

A Trump administration might be utterly catastrophic. His foreign policy could result in a United States isolated and friendless while countries like Russia and China increase their spheres of influence. Economically, Trump could begin to turn the ship around with more pro-business policies, but he could also start a trade war that could leave us even more isolated.

He is the guy with the hand grenade in the room. The threat to pull the pin could push us to truly re-evaluate our path and say, “We simply cannot continue like this.” It could create the impetus to cooperate and make our government more responsive to its citizens. But he could also pull the pin and crash the system.

Some may feel that is the way to go. Anything is better that what we have.

Personally, I would prefer a person with vision who can paint a brighter future, not just one based on broken institutions. Reagan once painted a picture of a “Shining City upon a Hill,” a beacon of hope. He made us believe in ourselves an American exceptionalism. Our current candidates simply make us despise each other.



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