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News Obama vs Romney

  1. May 28, 2012 #1
    The threads on individual GOP candidates have pretty much died. Romney will be the GOP candidate. This thread is about any comparisons between Obama and Romney that would not have been appropriate in the threads pertaining to individual candidates. Personally, I don't like either one, but if I had to choose, then, at this time, I would choose Obama. The reason(s) for that will be part of the content of this thread -- and, who knows, maybe I'll change my mind as this thread develops. Voice your current opinions, and don't be afraid to change your mind because sometimes that's a good thing (as in, learning).
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 29, 2012 #2

    Astronuc

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    There is not a lot of excitement about the choice.

    And there's articles like - Why Obama, Romney threaten your retirement
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-obama-romney-threaten-your-retirement-2012-05-24

    I'd like to know how either would propose to balance the budget, or more preferably, how they plan to eliminate the federal deficit, because we can't continue to borrow indefinitely. What government expenses to they plan to cut, and how many layoffs will that produce?
     
  4. May 29, 2012 #3
    Thanks for the link Astronuc. I hope they both get a lot more into the details during the campaign. Currently, I don't like Romney's proposal of increasing the (SS) retirement age.

    It doesn't seem to me that either of these goals will be fully reached in the foreseeable future. But I think that at least reducing budget deficits and the rate of increase of the national debt are realistic goals for the next few administrations.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  5. May 29, 2012 #4
    For convenience, I think these are the official websites for the Romney and Obama campaigns.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  6. May 29, 2012 #5
    Yahoo is reporting that Romney has clinched the GOP nomination.

    Yahoo.com
     
  7. May 29, 2012 #6

    russ_watters

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    I share your concern (it is my biggest economic concern), but what is the difference between balancing the budget and eliminating the deficit?

    Since this is a democracy, we elect people based on promises of things we'd like to have happen. And since people like lower taxes and more government safety nets, that's what we get. It is a serious, fundamental problem with your system of government and for the first time (starting a couple of years ago) has me concerned about our long-term viability. I doubt either candidate will make a substantive change if [re]elected.
     
  8. May 29, 2012 #7
    The deficit is $15.7 trillion. It is the accumulated debt of previous years. Balancing the budget means keeping the deficit steady at it's current level of $15.7 trillion. Eliminating the deficit means paying off the accumulated deficit of previous years bringing it to $0.
     
  9. May 29, 2012 #8
    To elaborate. Balancing the budget means not spending more than than is taken in. Ie., not borrowing. If the US government doesn't borrow, and pays all of the interest on the national debt each year, then that debt won't increase ... unless the rate of interest does. If it also pays down the principle of the debt, then that portion of the budget that deals with the debt, assuming other expenditures increase or stay the same, will decrease.

    Balancing the budget and decreasing the debt seem to me to be clearly attainable goals, which I doubt will be sufficiently addressed by either prospective administration, as there doesn't seem to be the political will to do either.
     
  10. May 29, 2012 #9

    russ_watters

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    I'm reasonably certain you have "debt" and "deficit" reversed....
    ...and mashed together.
     
  11. May 30, 2012 #10
    Things are looking up for Obama.
     
  12. May 30, 2012 #11

    russ_watters

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    Oy, that's tough to read - can't tell if the wrongness is being generated by the reporters or astrologers!
     
  13. May 30, 2012 #12

    turbo

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    Obama and Romney would both have troubles with the current Congress. Presidents are administrators - not legislators. They have the ability to veto bills, but all spending bills have to originate in Congress, and by the time they get out of that morass, they are loaded with pork. It's going to be tough to get a handle on deficit spending without some adult behavior on the hill.

    The presidential election is secondary (IMO) to the questions of 1) who controls the house and senate and 2) will they cut spending to less than our revenue stream.

    In the end, I think that the presidential election will hang on whether the national economy is improving or not, which is pretty irrational, since the president cannot create jobs. If Congress would approve funding for infrastructure upgrades, we could have lots of new jobs (some estimates are in the millions of jobs) and those people would have money to spend, creating even more jobs in their communities.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
  14. May 30, 2012 #13
    OK, I get the vocabulary police part, but how come you couldn't figure out what he meant on your own?
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
  15. May 30, 2012 #14

    chemisttree

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    And just what guarantee do we have that the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act" or any of it's successors will actually employ americans? Sadly none! I'm sure that hits home, Turbo...
     
  16. May 30, 2012 #15

    Vanadium 50

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    I got some ARRA money, and the one thing I was absolutely not allowed to do with it was hire people directly. So I bought some computers - which I guess means that I hired some Chinese workers indirectly.
     
  17. May 30, 2012 #16

    russ_watters

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    [shrug] not a mind reader. If Astronuc was suggesting elimination of the DEBT, that's a multi-decade task that isn't even desirable and isn't on the table as a topic of discussion in the campagn. Seemed an odd point to raise. That's why I asked for clarification.
     
  18. May 30, 2012 #17

    russ_watters

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    A strong President with an amicable Congress can push through exactly such legislation, which is what Obama did. The real question is whether he can sell that to the voters as a positive thing. It won't be easy.
     
  19. May 30, 2012 #18

    Astronuc

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    I should have been more careful in my wording. I was refering to going beyond eliminating the deficit (stopping at a balanced budget) and actually reducing the debt, which means generating a surplus and pay off the principal, not just the interest. At this point, it would have to be over decades.

    Some folks think that reducing taxes will some how free up investment which will be used to generate more jobs, and more jobs means paying more taxes while reducing unemployment payments. However, that magical thinking hasn't been working very well. It seems to me that a lot of capital has gone off-shore from where is loaned back to the US economy. Similarly the US trade balance is still in a huge deficit.

    The only reason that the US economy is not officially in a recession is because the government continues to borrow money to buy goods and services.

    http://money.cnn.com/2012/04/06/news/economy/mid-year-budget/index.htm

    "The 2012 budget plan was instead projected to reduce deficits by $1.1 trillion over the next ten years." Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_federal_budget#Early_proposals
    Simply reducing the deficit by $1 trillion over the next decade ($100 billion per year) is not going to help very much.

    :uhh:

    We need a strong leader who will have to change the way it's done in Washington, and frankly I don't see either presidential candidate being a strong leader or changing/fixing how Washington works. I don't this we got the 'change' we expected from the current president, hence the disillusion among many of those who were Obama supporters 4 years ago.

    The way I see, either we change course to fiscal responsibility, or we crash at the point that the government defaults on debt/interest payments. Either we adopt austerity voluntarily, or it will be imposed exogenously. Perhaps that's a topic for another thread.
     
  20. May 30, 2012 #19
    The problem though is whether or not that would actually stimulate the economy, because it would require taking on a lot of additional debt in order to fund. In addition to our infrastructure, our military also needs upgrading. The vehicles of the Army and Marine Corps in particular for example have been driven way beyond what their original estimated service life was supposed to be. If stimulus spending was an easy cut-and-dried thing, we could have a huge bipartisan spending bill consisting of buying lots of brand-new military vehicles and equipment and also loads of infrastructure spending and projects, and then out of it we get a totally revamped military, great infrastructure, and a stimulated economy. But the reality is always more complicated. Politics comes into play over who gets the money and what infrastructure projects and military projects are really necessary versus which are just so some Congressperson can spend money on their constituents. In Obama's stimulus bill, one requirement was for infrastructure projects to be performed using unionized labor. That's an example of a political requirement that hampers things. And of course, we don't know for sure if it would all really stimulate.
     
  21. May 30, 2012 #20
    Paying off the debt isn't really a problem unless the debt is large enough to the point that it literally starts hamstringing the growth of the economy (which at this point it may be). But otherwise, to shrink the debt, all one needs to do is maintain a balanced budget, achieve healthy economic growth, and the debt, as a percentage of the GDP, will shrink over time. For example, a $15 trillion debt with a $15 trillion economy is a problem. But a $15 trillion debt with say a $25 trillion economy, would be fine.

    This policy could work if taxes were at restrictively high rates, but they aren't right now, so it probably wouldn't. I do wonder if reducing, or even eliminating, the capital gains and corporate tax rates could work however, as the U.S. has among the highest corporate tax rates and capital gains tax rates in the world. Since income tax rates are really incredibly low when you take in the various credits that result in 50% of the country ultimately paying no federal income tax and various write-offs and so forth, we could maybe reduce the corporate and capital gains tax rates while increasing the income tax rates back to what they were in the Clinton years. Unfortunately, this would appear as "cutting taxes for the rich while raising them for everyone else," and thus wouldn't be politically popular.

    The trade deficit I do not see as a problem. A trade "deficit" is not the same as a budget deficit, no more so than a "strong" dollar is better than a "weak" dollar. Remember, during the Great Depression, we ran very small trade deficits and even a trade surplus for some of the years!

    Most people didn't realize that Obama was not really any change from Bush in terms of government and spending, he was just Bush taken up to a new level. Real change would have been a president who implemented fiscal responsibility to our government in the form of some kind of long-term plan that would be workable. Instead we got a blatant attempt at stimulus and a big healthcare bill and thus far no serious addressing of the debt issue, which I find really shocking.

    I don't think our government will ever default on our debt/interest payments, I think we will end up seeing a combo of three things:

    1) Higher taxes out of necessity
    2) Large cuts (that would be unthinkable and politically not doable right now) to various aspects of government
    3) Inflation (which acts as a tax)

    The middle income will get pounded but that's what would/will occur to prevent the country from going over a cliff.
     
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