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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Typical talk with a fellow Progressive

This is a conversation on Thom Hartman. I begins with me trying again to make some inroad on a progressive blog:
This may be counterintuitive but what progressives need to do is support Ron Paul in next year's GOP primaries and caucuses and make friends with his supporters in the process. If enough of us do this, we can throw the GOP convention in Tampa Bay into chaos. It would probably result in a massive walk out by Paul supporters and possibly become the start of a third party coalition candidacy of Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders. Such a coalition in government would not allow for Paul's draconian wishes to be fullfilled in cutting domestic programs, but it would enable deep cuts in the military industrial castrophe. Paul has already designated any and all savings to go half toward debt reduction and half toward shoring up entitlements. He advocates this so he can fund his "opt out" proposal to allow young people to opt out of the system entirely. That proposal will go nowhere without 60 libertarian Senators. But with a coalition of libertarians and progressives in office, a deal could be struck to send that half of the savings to the states in block grants based strictly on population to be used as each state wishes. Not an ideal deal but one which busts up the gobal corporate duopoly and reframes the debate away from empire building and maintenance toward how best to build a peaceful green economy. For more on this idea see: http://progressivesforronpaul.blogspot.com/2011/08/this-blog-is-not-about-endorsing.html

Next I get a response, not an unusual one, a well meaning, one which tries to convince me that Ron Paul's policy are dangerous and naive:

Ron Paul is like a very fine grandfather clock that no longer runs.  He is right twice a day, profoundly so, but then there is the rest of the day and night.
Some otherwise intelligent people become Scientologists too.  There is an allure to the certainty of ideology, and Paul and the Libertarians love this utopian fantasy world of moral order and rationality too much to allow reality to get in the way.  I have heard Paul try to explain Austrian Economics, and it always goes to pure theory with no historical practical record of success.  In other words, this is a religion and trying to convert someone out of their religion is not likely to work or gain friends.
Practical alliances on points of policy contact are enough.  The idea of making Bernie stand by Paul with a straight face is cruel.  Comparing the two is ridiculous.  Bernie thinks and deals with reality without having a cult prescription ready to explain everything.  
The Fannie/Freddie meme is a serious lie contrary to the facts of the case.  In addition, it was Bush who tried to make them buy the bad mortgages, they resisted and barely figured in that market.  The federal policy was anti-red lining, not a subsidy program for people who could not afford a mortgage.  They had nothing to do with the private mortgage firms who committed these crimes.
Finally, the argument about money can have us all agree about the frauds of Wall St while we disagree about how to solve the problem.  Libertarian economics begs all the vital social questions that make democracy the real issue before us.
Next I respond in frustration because I am wanting to talk strategy, not policy:

I agree with your criticisms of Paul in particular and libertarianism in general, but I am not sure that you understand my point. It's about strategic voting, changing the debate, making sure it's not the same old story of the Democratic candidate trying to prove he'll put the pentagon budget on steroids as much so as his neocon rival will. It's about what can realistically be done given the rules of the Senate which neither party is willing to change. It's about a temporary alliance to gain the needed numbers to strike a mortal blow against a common enemy so that we can have a real debate about how to use or not use the government for puposes of economic growth and  justice. I am finding it extremely difficult to justify voting in a Democratic primary when thanks to gerrymandering and incumbency, there are no seriously contested races up or down the ballot between a progressive and a blue dog.
A coalition President Paul will never be able to do what a libertarian fantasy President Paul wants to do. I don't really believe that the GOP will nominate him even if he won a majority of the votes in the upcoming primaries. I don't believe our electoral college and congress will allow a plurality winning coalition campaign to occupy the White House, but I do believe that Paul and his supporters will welcome progressives on board when they see how much exposure it will give their candidate. And if by chance such a coalition wins, I believe it will be better for America than the present plan of populist rhetoric and premature capitulation.
Even if don't want to vote for him in the general election, do you not think it is wiser to have Paul in the general election debate along side Romney and Obama than to have the two corporatists alone on stage having the same tired old pissing contest over who's the most violent?
Do you have any competitive races between a liberal and a conservative in your primary anywhere on your ballot? If not, how are you not wasting your vote, casting it symbolically but not substantively? What possible harm could come from jumping ship to help drown the enemy when staying on board the current Democratic ship only solidifies the enemy's strength? I am very serious. Please convince me that I am wrong in terms of strategy. The only tenable argument I can think of is that the sectarian, libertarian Paul might win the general election and sweep 60 libertarian Senators into power, a possiblility I find to be highly improbable. Am I wrong to say that we are looking at a rare and epic opportunity in electoral politics for real change toward a peaceful, green and democratic direction? Am I wrong to think not taking advantage of this opportunity will be seen as an epic fail of immense proportions? I know that I am an unembedded, nobody amateur, but I would like one other good reason why this is not a strategy being talked about throughout progressive media and blogosphere.
 I apologize in advance if this sounds overly critical of you personally. I am trying to engage someone besides an opportunistic or naive libertarian in an honest discussion of this strategy. You personally are not at fault for what I see as a inside the box mutual political suicide pact made by those who have the most influence over the progressive agenda and strategy. I love Obama. I loved his "More Perfect Union" speech. I felt at ease with his moderately liberal platform but he has been outmaneuvered by a party hell bent on his destruction, and the economy is not going to make a comeback without massive stimulus, something that will not happen before November unless we go to war in Iran. I wish I could vote for him again and truly believe that real change was going to happen this time around. Something radical has to be done. Am I wrong? Somebody tell me why and how and what the alternative strategy is to get done what needs to be done.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Correction to previous post

In my post from 11/15/11 I concluded my prediction with President Obama and vice president Romney. After checking constitution, that seems impossible. The constitutional outcome would be: Romney/Biden. Anybody taking comfort in that?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Comment from Disappointed Reader, Michael

This site needs a million hits already...what the Hell have you people been doing??? You could have dealt a death blow to the warmongering Neo-Cons in the GOP by supporting Ron Paul. Epic FAIL on How to Make Meaningful Change Real, the Case for a Green Republican Strategy to Nominate and Elect Ron Paul

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Double Strategy to Victory: Committed but Friendly and Real Coalition

It's getting very close to crunch time in Iowa. Anything can happen but I am predicting a Ron Paul win the Iowa Caucuses. This is not a hard prediction to make and his victory there will mean less than his supporters hope. The question is: by what margin? He will get at least 25% of the caucus participants support.

This low percentage might give Romney a boost with what will be interpreted by the media as a Romney victory, having spent so little time, money and effort in Iowa compared to other candidates. The Gingriches, Santorums, Cains, Bachmanns, Perrys, etc. will want to nudge ahead of Romney but that desire will only serve to keep Paul's victory margin low.

Johnson and maybe Huntsman and Roemer might decide to tell their supporters to go with Paul so as to make sure Romney does not win and to discourage others from hanging in the race after finishing behind Romney.

Currently Paul's campaign is focusing on likely Republican voters and that may be all he needs to win in such a crowded field; however, after the field clears for New Hampshire, the standard strategy alone will not work. Yes, Paul's campaign (both official and grassroots) must continue to seek out loyal Republican support. Nevertheless, with Romney having a good showing in Iowa, and Cain, Bachman, Perry, and possibly Gingrich or Santorum no longer in the race, he will dominate New Hampshire and head to South Carolina with only 2 challengers, Paul and Santorum or Gingrich. That will most likely be a very tight primary, with less than a thousand votes separating these 3.

If Paul finishes a distant third (I predict a close second), the campaign has to wake up and make the quick  shift to an all out coalition strategy or else all is lost. Waiting until after Super Tuesday keeps him in second or third at best the remainder of the campaign, and coming to convention in second or third virtually ruins his influence on the general election.

The sooner the shift to a coalition strategy begins the better. With all due respect to the important work that Robin Koerner and the Blue Republican movement are doing, their efforts are not aimed at building a coalition government but at converting independents and Democrats or at least convincing them that Paul is mostly on their side and that despite the obvious disagreement over economic policies, a Ron Paul presidency will serve their interests best. In other words, get them in with common ground issues and then put economic libertarian policy in place, and in 4 years, these disaffected Democrats will become libertarian themselves, having seen at last the glories of the Austrian economy at work.

Even if we assume the Austrian miracle will take place if we liberals would just stay still long enough, Ron Paul's campaign has got to realize that at best he comes in a close second at the convention and the 1st and 3rd place candidates will team up to keep him out of any real power. Maybe it will take SC or Super Tuesday for them to realize this, but they will realize it eventually.

I can understand the hopefulness. If Kucinich won Iowa and then finished 2nd in New Hampshire and SC in 2008, I would have been dizzy, no, drunk with optimism that America had finally seen the light and that all we need to do is to keep getting the unadulterated progressive message out their. And I would have been hugely wrong! On the other hand, had Kucinich tried deliberately to form a real coalition with Ron Paul in the 2004 campaign, we might have been looking at a very different political landscape today.

If Romney gets elected, there may be an opportunity for libertarians to come and join a progressive campaign in the 2016 Democratic primary. I would rather not wait another 4 years and I am sure libertarians would prefer to have the lead candidate now than the VP candidate 4 years from now. If you, my libertarian reader, think I am hard-headed with you, wait till I am screaming mad at my progressive comrades because they do not open the gates to you.

So indulge me once more. Imagine that this amateur has it right: Ron Paul never gets nominated or elected without a real and obvious coalition with progressives. I think you would want to make that shift asap. If the shift occurs before Iowa, you would increase his margin of victory and give him more momentum going into NH and SC. A close second in NH will be a devastating, if not mortal blow to Romney. A win in Iowa and a close second in NH, thanks in part to progressive infiltration, will embolden progressives to come out in greater numbers in SC and Super Tuesday.

 If Santorum stays in the race through Super Tuesday, the establishment will go into panic mode and pressure will mount in the form of a VP promise for him to pull out . Tea party elements will be ticked off because they will not be privy to the Santorum deal. Ron Paul will get a number of anti-Romney voters in a two man race, enough to keep the race close and maybe enough to secure a plurality of votes if not delegates. A two way race is still winnable within a coalition campaign, but all Ron Paul supporters should pray for a 3-way race all the way to Tampa Bay.

The aim should be: get the nomination by bringing out every voter possible. I want one person to show me how Ron Paul gets 10 million votes without at least 2 million progressives. He got less than 2 million in 2008. Let's say he triples that number and adds 2 million moderate or libertarian independents and Democrats. That means he gets 8 million. That barely gets him in range of a plurality of votes in a 3 way race and no where near enough in a 2 way. There will be at least 24 million voters in next year's GOP primaries and caucuses which means at least 8 million votes are needed to secure a plurality of votes (which would not, of course, guarantee a plurality of delegates). Getting 12 million will be even more difficult. Without a minimum of 2 million progressives, Ron Paul's libertarian cause is delayed another 4 years. I invite anyone who knows the numbers better than I to educate me and show me where I am wrong.

Here is my very practical question: why not have a phone bank to reach Democrats in Iowa? I know there are a number of people who will say his candidacy is fraudulent but most of those folks are never going to vote for him anyway.  Even if Ron Paul manages to get the nomination without progressives, Romney will go third party. In that case, if Paul has not done the necessary coalition building, Obama will walk away with the election.

I am sure Ron Paul would like to go totally libertarian and be elected and govern that way. Who does not long for unconditional victory?  It is an impulse common even among the most virtuous. But what if that impulse precludes victory? Ron Paul is principled but realistic as evidenced by his transition plan. He has the personality to build coalitions. This skill must be accepted and encouraged by his loyalists. If there is a weakness in Ron Paul, it is that he would like nothing better than let someone else take the baton. Unfortunately, neither his son nor Gary Johnson are ready to do this.

Ron Paul is in the race; let's make him win. Let's not allow him to squeeze out a close victory in Iowa only to see Romney get all the credit for a surprisingly good showing in Iowa followed by an overwhelming victory in New Hampshire. By now it should be obvious how the MSM will spin any Ron Paul victory. Iowa must be a knock out, not a split decision. Paul needs to win Iowa by more than 10 percentage points and finish second in New Hampshire by less than 5 percentage points. That will put him into strong contention to win SC, and if both Gingrich and Santorum ( or any other walking dead) remain in the race for SC, Ron Paul wins. If he wins Iowa and finishes second in New Hampshire, the establishment will put major pressure on all the anti-Romney candidates to get out of the race. If Ron Paul pulls off victory in SC,  there will be no more than 3 candidates the rest of the race. If Paul wins more than half of the Super Tuesday states, Romney and Paul will be all that remains.

In short, the GOP establishment will make it nearly impossible for Ron Paul to take first place. They will stop at nothing to preserve the status quo. Look for slanderous lies everywhere if Ron Paul threatens to go to Tampa Bay with a plurality of votes. This would be an historic blow to a major party, dwarfing the Republican southern strategy that put Nixon and Reagan in the White House. The only way that Ron Paul pulls off such a radical coup is through a coalition strategy.

Please do not get me wrong, the current committed but friendly libertarian strategy has much to be said for it. It can by itself get Ron Paul second place in the GOP primaries. I do not say abandon this strategy; I just say supplement it. I am also not claiming that the coalition strategy gets Ron Paul the nomination. The combination of coalition with progressives and committed but friendly strategies does not get him nominated either. We would need at least 6 million progressives to pull that off and that is not doable at this late date.  What is doable is going to the convention with a plurality of votes and delegates. The higher the plurality the better. In a two way race this becomes much more difficult because a majority of delegates is most likely needed, depending on how well drop-outs do in the early states.

If, in a 3 way race we have a plurality of votes going into the convention, then 2nd and 3rd place will be given the nomination. This should result in a peaceful walk out of righteously outraged Ron Paul supporters.  This becomes much more effective if that plurality breaks the 40% threshold. If this happens Ron Paul can become the most successful third party candidate in our nation's history. If he announces a coalition cabinet with a progressive running mate, American politics is changed for ever. Both parties will be shaken to the core. We will have for real a second American Revolution underway. This story will be told only if the new coalition strategy is put in place no later than SC. If it is not put in place, tell your grandchildren to look for Ron Paul in the footnotes of their history books (assuming we still have them).

Addendum: If we have a 3 way race in general election the outcome might look like this:

Popular vote: 
Paul: 34% 
Obama: 33% 
Romney: 32%
Other: 1%

Electoral College:
Romney: 266
Obama : 248
Paul: 24

The election goes to congress. 

January 20, 2013: President Mitt Romney and Vice President Joe Biden are sworn into their respective offices.  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Libertarian/Progressive Coalition Tax Policy: A Bridge to Political Victory and Economic Liberty and Recovery

Taxes. Everybody hates taxes! Libertarians hate taxes more than most. Progressives, real progressives, want to reduce taxes on the poor and middle income individuals and families. Both libertarians  and progressives understand that there must be some amount of taxes but taxing anyone beyond what is needed to responsibly fund the legitimate functions of government is unjustly burdensome to all.

Of course there are some huge differences between libertarians and progressives over what those legitimate functions are. While we may not be able to resolve that problem, there may be some ways that we can come to some agreements about the most broadly acceptable way to tax.

Progressives have traditionally favored a progressive income tax to provide revenue while not overburdening those at the lower and middle portions of the income scale. Libertarians have tended to favor consumption taxes because they see purchasing as a voluntary action.

With all our inside the box, tribal thinking, these two ideas seem irreconcilable.

For progressives, consumption taxes are regressive, forcing  poor and middle income earners to have less disposable income than they would otherwise have under a progressive income tax structure. For libertarians, the progressive income tax is punitive on people who are the most productive (I'll withhold my disdain for this assumption for another article...) and discourages investment (a much more tenable criticism with which I tend partly to agree).

What if we could we could address both sides of this issue in a a mutually acceptable way? What if we could have a tax policy which maintains progressivity and establishes "voluntarism" while encouraging work, savings and investment? Here are two elements of tax policy which I think could bridge one of the biggest chasms that divide us:

The first comes from Robert H. Frank, professor of economics at Cornell University. His idea of a progressive consumption tax advocates transitioning away from taxing income and moving increasingly toward taxing consumption. This plan would determine the amount of annual consumption by subtracting what one has saved from what one has earned. Additionally, it would exempt a substantial amount of consumption from being taxed and then taxing higher amounts of consumption at progressively higher marginal rates.

The benefit of this type of taxation is that it only taxes based on what people "voluntarily" purchase. Of course both progressives and libertarians would want the amount of consumption exempted to be very high. I would recommend at least $100K for a family of  four. Progressives would want tax progressivity enhanced, not undermined further. I would recommend taxing the second $100K of consumption at 10% and consumption above that up to a million at 20% and increasing the rate by 10 percentage points at each subsequent  million dollar margin with a cap of 80% for the highest marginal rate.

This would encourage savings and investments while curtailing inflation inducing consumption. I  have one question for Professor Frank, if anyone has his email: What about purchases for business expenses? Perhaps these purchases are exempted completely. I would be fine with that except I can see some clever trust fund kid incorporating himself and claiming all of his purchases as business expenses. Maybe a better method would be to exempt all business expenses up to $100K and half of them above that mark to $10 million and 25% for anything above that.

Some libertarians might still complain that 100% of business expenses should be exempted. I would agree if we could always agree as to what constitutes a business expense. Creative tax dodging is almost impossible to avoid, so I say exempt higher amounts of business expenses at lower rates so as to give big businesses some amount of incentive to keep costs down in order to fund more productive and real business purchases and expenses.

The second idea is my own. But allow me a brief interlude.

Some of the talk on the super committee (and I believe Ron Paul is right in calling this next hop on the road to tyranny as unconstitutional!!!) is about lowering rates while ending loopholes. You can be certain that with every loophole closed, two or more will open and no new revenue will be added unless an absolute cap is established on the total monetary value of all exemptions, deductions, rebates, credits and any other loopholes. A better and transitional deal would be this: Impose an absolute cap of $5 million in loophole value, reduce the number of marginal income tax rates to three (10%, 20% and 30%),  and establish a 10% annual consumption tax on annual spending above a million. That is a realistic compromise that the brain frozen, prefabricated policy making and political posturing duopoly has yet to think of.

My idea is to replace all tax deductions, credits, rebates and exemptions with a resident earned income tax credit voucher (REITCV) card. This card would be used for purchasing things like health care, public transportation, houses, education, solar panels, electric cars and whatever else congress deemed worthy of incentives.

How much would each individual have on her card? That amount would be based on her previous year's earned income. Let's look at 2 workers, one making $30K and the other making $90K in the previous year.  Worker 1 would have the first $25K matched at 40% and the next $5k matched at 30%, meaning she gets $11500 on her REITCV card. Worker 2 would receive 40% on the first 25k, 30% on the next 50K and 20% on the next 15K, meaning her REITCV card has 28K on it. The margins and rates could be adjusted as negotiated and perhaps increased during recessions, but here are my suggestions:

Earned Income      REITCV match
0 to 25K               40%
25+K to 75K        30%
75+K to 200K      20%
200+K to 500K    10%
500+K to 1M        5%
Above 1M             1%

The REITCV would encourage work and savings while giving incentive to socially redemptive behavior and spending. It does so in a progressive way, assuring underpaid workers just compensation for their hard work while giving small businesses a wage cushion to empower them to compete with larger companies. It would, if combined with compassionate and merciful immigration policies, bring workers out of the underground economy, thus further increasing revenues and preventing slave conditions. Finally, combined with Frank's idea, it would  move our country towards greater economic justice while encouraging more long term savings and investments. During our ongoing recession/depression, if phased in over 5 or 6 years, the REITCV and the PCT would encourage faster spending among wealthy consumers, thus providing a much needed boost to a depressed economy.

There might be one downside: millions of CPAs, tax attorneys and IRS agents filing for unemployment.

Libertarians will probably balk at the idea of such steep marginal rates favoring the "least productive," but they cannot say these ideas discourage investment. Much the opposite is true, and both would go a long way toward reducing governmental, business and personal debt. If enough spending is exempted at the bottom end, these two elements would be almost totally voluntary forms of revenue collecting. Everyone would still be required to file taxes but with a lot less headache. And this is already required. I do not think most libertarians are going to whine about a 99% increase in tax freedom.

If the top rate of 80% is still emotionally vexing, we might soften the sticker shock by lowering the top bracket(s) and establishing a value added tax while increasing the percentage for and broadening the margins of the REITCV.  We might kick it down another notch by tying tariff rates to human rights, labor, environmental and currency standards. Throw in a 60% tariff on Chinese imports, and we might get the top rate down to 50% on spending above 5 million.

We might even replace payroll taxes with the VAT for funding Social Security and Medicare. We might even be able to make that exchange of an opt-out for a public option. Oh... or better still, a hybrid system of Medicare for all supplemented by private catastrophic insurance. OK...I'll save that one for the 2016 campaign. But how about we cooperate now? Come on...sweeten the pot your way if you like. Again...you already know the alternative.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mixed blessings on the way...

...when RP wins the Iowa caucus, if it further emboldens the unconditional surrender crowd. Nevertheless, you heard it here first: Ron Paul has already won Iowa.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

At last!

When I began this blog last February I was fairly certain that it would not become anything huge. I am a pastor by trade and an amateur in politics (at least outside of the parish). What I did hope for was to inspire someone much better known with a larger platform to take up this cause. I have no idea if Robert Naiman has ever read my blog but he has read my mind. In this Huffington Post article he sets forth my thesis precisely and many instances much more clearly than I have. (I love the Syrian election analogy!) To my knowledge this is the first Ron Paul endorsement by a progressive writer for a major news and opinion publication. It carries much more weight than all that I have written. Go to this post, vote it up, make comments and share it with every Democrat, independent and third party progressive you know, especially if they reside in Iowa:


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 7, 2012 Wouldn't this be....?!

Imagine this scenario, one I believe is not impossible, but improbable, given the tribalism of our politics.

Ron Paul works hard and finishes 1st in Iowa thanks to Gary Johnson and John Huntsman's supporters trying to keep Romney in third place. Sarah Palin gets a phone call from Rand and then another from Ron. She decides to roll the dice and go rogue for real, believing a cabinet post is within reach. 

Romney takes first in New Hampshire with Ron Paul coming in a distant second, and John Huntsman barely reaches double digits, nudging out Newt by less than a hundred votes for third with Rick Santorum nipping at their heels. Suddenly Ron Paul ascends to  28% in national polls, but Romney also moves up to 35%. Seeing an opening and returning favors, Ralph Nader, Cynthia McKinney and Bob Barr come on board. 

Newt and Rick go all in for SC and the primary ends with the choir boy barely pulling off an upset. A recount gives Ron Paul second, Newt 3rd and Romney a close 4th. Huntsman finishes 6th behind Cain. 

Huntsman receives several phone calls, all of them offering him Secretary of State. He's running out of money and Romney is doubling down everywhere. One of the phone calls comes from Paul who says in a very convincing way, "I want you to be my Secretary of State."  

Huntsman surveys the field. Gary Johnson and Buddy Roemer have just dropped out and endorsed the leading outsider. Rick Perry is a ghost and Huntsman sees Newt as capable but full of himself, Santorum as insane, Herman Cain as a hurricane waiting to happen, Bachman as Rick in drag, and that leaves only two. Endorsing Romney will look like a Latter Day conspiracy and Ron Paul's age makes getting Romney out of the way his best bet for 2016. Besides that, Huntsman’s endorsement will be viewed as the first mainstream, centrist approval of Paul. Doing so kills a second bird, his being perceived as overly cautious and too statesmen like. Nevada is his last chance but the Mormon machine is coalesing around Romney. He goes bold, knowing that Secretary of State is a sure thing and VP is a possibility with Paul

Newt and Rick remain as the only viable alternatives to Romney that the establishment can live with. Backroom deals are in the works. Ron Paul has moved up to 32% in a poll conducted before the Huntsman endorsement. Romney has fallen to 34%. Rick and Newt each have 13% with the remaing 8% percent divided among various hangers-on. 

More backroom conversation…. Newt gets a phone call. He is reminded of opposition research percolating. A deal is hatched. Newt will drop out before Super Tuesday. Rick will be allowed to represent the anti-Romney crowd. There is a grey elephant loose and the unimaginable is starting to look all too plausible. Newt is, despite his mammoth ego, a loyal Republican. The rest of the deal looks like this:

After Romney wins, Santorum gets the VP slot and Newt helps Mitt with his conventionality problem. Romney announces that he will combine five cabinet offices, commerce, energy, health and human services, labor, and transportation into a new Department of Economic Security and Development. Czar Gingrich is content and disaster is averted…, or so they think. Santorum's continued presence in the race to appease the anti-Romney crowd backfires. 

Primaries and caucuses come and go and Tampa Bay is two weeks away without a nominee. To compound things Ron Paul has 35% of the popular vote and 34% of the delegates, both pluralities. Second place Romney and third place Santorum combined constitute a majority. This will not be pretty so Ron is offered Interior with EPA under his thumb and Energy shifted away from the Czar G. Ron Paul appreciates the irony and laughs as he walks out the door.

The GOP principalities and powers are left with no choice. The old man will not compromise, so they offer him 15 minutes at 3pm on Monday. The exodus happens during Santorum's prime time address. Ron Paul convinces his people to make it peaceful, but a zealot in the upper deck shouts, "Traitor!" Somebody from an unknown location follows with, "Treason!" A fight nearly breaks out but cooler heads prevail until the libertarians start shouting, "Liberty! Li-ber-ty! Li-ber-ty!" They take it outside as they were requested but no one's heading back to the hotel. Police are called in as onlookers linger larger and longer.

Dennis and Elizabeth are watching TV in Cleveland. Bernie is already on the phone to Ron Paul. Talking heads are spinning. something real and big is happening in American politics. Asian and European stock markets are diving. Futures for the next day are really looking bad. The markets are in wholesale panic. The Dow and Nasdaq loose 7% over two days but Romney gives a good speech, and discount artists bring the markets almost all the way back by Friday close.

Talking heads find a narrative the next week. Anderson and Perot are suddenly near the top of Google and Yahoo. Maddow and O'Reilly agree; 35 in the primary means no more than 25 in the general election. But then comes the announcement: Paul/Sanders have formed a new party called, “Jubilee.”  Red, white and blue bell-shaped placards read in gold lettering, "Proclaim liberty throughout the land."

Talking heads are spinning and the markets are bopping up and down. Polls for all three candidacies fluctuate between 28 and 38 right up to election eve. Election night is long and on Wednesday morning no one wants to say the obvious. The popular vote goes: 

Paul: 34% 
Obama: 33% 
Romney: 32%
Other: 1%

However, the Electoral College goes:
Romney: 266
Obama : 248
Paul: 24

The election goes to congress. 

January 20, 2013: President Barack Obama and Vice President Mitt Romney are sworn into their respective offices.  

February, 2013: Ron Paul reminds us that liberty will win and peace will prevail at last. He settles in for the well deserved retirement he has so longed for.

March, 2013: 
The new unity cabinet includes Gary Johnson as OMB Director. 

Markets are steadied. Defense Secretary Santorum and Secretary of State Biden hold a joint press conference to talk about Iran and North Korea.

A real big stimulus is on the way.

Order up!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Response to a Progressive's Objection (at OpEd News)

Thanks for your response. I am certain you read the part where I said explicitly that Ron Paul is not a progressive and the part where I said that if Paul's economic policies were fully implemented our economic woes would only deepen. 

I think that you and I are pretty much on the same page when it comes to economic policies.

I am not sure that I would be in line with you on foreign policy. For me military non interventionism is usually a good policy and it does not have to be supplemented with isolationism. Much foreign aid has unfortunately ended up enriching dictators rather than the people it is meant to help. I think a draw down in our military presence combined with a healthy skepticism toward foreign aid would be good for us and others right now. I see Ron Paul most likely trying to find ways to positively engage other countries through support of open trade and positive involvement through NGOs. (Not a fully adequate foreign policy but certainly better than the bombastic solutions we seem addicted to now.)

He has proposed half a trillion spending annually on defense, which still puts us way ahead of all of our enemies. I think you are right that he would like to put much of the savings from reductions  in military and foreign spending into tax cuts. The question is: can he get 60 Senators to agree with him? 

I think that he will have to make a deal to form a coalition government with progressives if he is to stand the slightest chance of getting elected. In such a case he gets only tax cuts which are progressively structured and reductions in spending with the condition that half of it goes to debt reduction and and half to block grants for states to spend on their much pressing needs.

I plan to vote for him in the GOP primary. I have checked my Democratic primary list and down ballot there are no viable races between progressive Democrats and blue dog Democrats in any race for any office. I plan to give money to some progressive Democratic candidates like Elizabeth Warren, and in the general election I will most likely vote Democratic for every office. 

If by chance Ron Paul wins the nomination, I will consider voting for him against the President, but he will have to show clear evidence that he intends to govern in coalition with progressives. If the President reconsiders and decides to cut military spending by as much or more than Ron Paul, I will definitely support Obama again. 

Do you see what I am doing in the primary as in any way harmful to progressive Democrats? Do you not think that it would be better for the president not to have to contend with the outrageous accusations that he has gutted our defense when he faces his opponents in the general election debates? Don't you think it will be much better for our country to debate how much to cut fake defense and false security spending and how to use the savings from such reductions instead of hearing  how we have to cut entitlements and leave the Pentagon alone or worse yet feed it more budgetary steroids? 

Would you rather see Paul v. Obama or Romney v. Obama in the general election? I think there are several reasons for progressives to vote for Ron Paul, at least in the GOP primary, don't you? Wouldn't it be fitting for the GOP convention to be divided with no candidate having a majority of delegates until Romney and the other neo-con gang up to overtake the winner of a plurality of delegates and voters, Ron Paul? 

Actually, I am finding it very hard to find a good reason vote in the my Democratic primary when the outcome is all but predetermined all the way down the ballot. I think I can do progressives much more good by causing problems in the GOP primary and if enough progressives join in the fun we could make a huge change in the general election debate and in how we deal with debt and unemployment over the next 5 years.

I am very interested to hear more from you and thank you for your thoughtful response thus far.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Where This Could Go IF....

In my previous post I may have been a bit overly polemical, so please allow me to clarify. All that I charged the Republican party with is true. I say this though primarily about the leadership of  the GOP. Most of the rank-in-file believe in loyalty, hard work, generosity and self-reliance. They also want lower taxes and a much simpler tax code. They despise fiscal irresponsibility whether it's found in individuals, businesses or governments. They also know that there is evil in the world and believe that America needs to be fully equipped to defend itself against those who would do our country harm.

Many of the GOP rank in file are authentically religious. Their religious beliefs are sometimes confused, mistaking naturalism for science, human sexuality as mostly selfish and hurtful, and other religions as false or even demonic. They are often readers of the Bible who unconsciously interpret it inconsistently. They love and trust their preachers and don't understand how illiterate many of them are. Hence, they mistakenly believe that America is God's country and capitalism is God's economic system. They struggle with universal human weaknesses: pride, fear, greed, lust, etc.

Much the same can be said about the Democratic rank-in-file, but there are some differences. Increasingly, Democrats are becoming more secular minded. Few ever read their Bibles, if they even remember where it is on the shelf. They have no idea that their sense of economic justice is rooted in biblical tradition. Racism  and sexism often take on different forms from how it is manifest in the other party, but these two bigotries are present nevertheless. Democrats tend to be economic nationalists but as consumers they are as globalistic as anybody else.

There are within both parties' leadership people of good will and personal integrity. Their sins are generally not greater in number or quality than are those of the rank-in-file they represent, however, their ethical failures are more consequential due to the scope of their influence. Many of them are caught in a systemic trap, believing that a better bargain is just around the corner, and can't find their way out of this maze of obstacles and opportunities. Detestable as their behavior is, most all of us would behave the same if we resided atop this same pile.

In my previous post, I wanted to affirm the rage that Democrats feel at the GOP to motivate them to fight back in a clever way with weapons their opponents are not prepared to defend against. I also wanted them to recognize that their party leadership was doing them little good, causing them to settle for much less than adequate policy responses to major economic problems.

In order to break this jam we are all in, the two major parties need to be shook up and maybe even destroyed completely. I am not arguing for the ontological impossibility of ending ideology. Nor am I saying that we should not have political parties. What I am saying is that we need political parties which truly represent its members' ideas, ideals and aspirations.

What we need to get to this state of political parties accurately representing their memberships is not to replace corrupt leaders with virtuous ones (although that is a laudable and partially achievable goal). What we need is to recognize that the two major parties are two different composites of ideological factions. The Democratic party holds together green-peace, labor, cultural libertarian and global coporatists ideologies. The Republican party binds together cultural conservatives, economic (and a few consistent) libertarians, and global corporatists.

We have then basically 5 ideological factions at work: libertarian, green-peace, labor, cultural conservative and global corporatist. The global corporatists compose the smallest faction but hold controlling power over both parties.

There are different points of agreement and points of conflict among all of these factions. Many in the labor faction would closely identify with values of the cultural conservatives. Green-peace democrats are largely cultural libertarians but some cultural libertarians hold to interventionist economic views, whether of the labor or the global corporatist sort. Labor just wants good paying jobs with good benefits, and this desire  frequently puts them at odds with green-peace and in alliance with cultural conservatives, global coporatists, and less often, libertarians.

Most green-peace and libertarians  of both parties are global in outlook but not corporatistic. Libertarians and global corporatists  share a common trust that investors should drive the economy even though libertarians often agree with labor, green-peace and cultural conservatives that many investors gained their station through significant government patronage.

What we have within the Ron Paul phenomenon is a candidacy which is trying to kick the global corporatists out of the GOP while convincing cultural conservatives that their noble work is best done at state, local and personal levels. Additionally, the Paulinians are trying to convince the cultural and economic libertarians from each party and among independents and alternate parties to join the cause of taking over the Republican party and making it into a consistent libertarian party.

I am predicting that unless Sarah Palin endorses Ron Paul, there is no chance that Ron Paul and his supporters can pull off this coup, and even then, it's a long shot. The more realistic strategy would be to persuade at least 2 or 3 million progressives to drop out of predetermined Democratic primaries to vote for Paul in the GOP primaries.

If Ron Paul succeeds, the Republican party will fracture to the temporary benefit of the Democratic party. I say temporary because much depends on whether or not Ron Paul decides to run a coalition campaign in the general election. If he wins the GOP Primary he will probably attempt to stick close to an exclusively libertarian agenda. If he gets gang shafted at the convention in Tampa Bay, he is more likely to adopt the coalition strategy. The former choice will most likely mean we have Obama in the White House 4 more years while the latter choice makes Paul the probable victor in a three way general election race.

If Ron Paul leads a real libertarian/progressive coalition to victory a revolution in American politics begins. This revolution is completed when these 5 factions become 5 parties and 4 of them agree to dilute the strength of small states (and hence giant multinational corporations) in the Senate. All of these potential parties currently have defensive interests in keeping the current Senate membership and rules largely the same. Only the global corporatists have a substantially positive reason to keep the Senate functioning as it is. Their agenda has become the default agenda of plutocratic government controlled by the already rich and powerful.

This plutocracy with their two tribal magicians will continue to keep the 4 potential parties who represent at least 90% of the voting public out of power, alternately cheering and jeering from the sidelines they mistakenly identify as a seat at the table. This reality can change in a major way, creating a cascade of greater change, if libertarians and progressives would suspend their battle and think creatively together for just 4 years. Alas, I fear this will never happen.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Choices for Progressives: 1.) Occupy the GOP or Stay the Course

Progressives have a choice to make in 2012. Some progressives live in districts where a progressive candidate needs their support in a primary race in which the progressive faces a tightly contested but winnable race against one or more Blue Dog type Democrats. For progressives residing in such a state and/or district, their duty is very clear: support the progressive so he or she can face and defeat the Republican in the general election next November. We need as many consistent progressives in local, state and national offices as possible.
For many progressives their Democratic primary or caucus has no race where a progressive faces a serious contest with a Blue Dog Democrat. In this scenario, Democrats have a rare opportunity to do severe damage to a political party which has blocked nearly every substantial effort that President Obama has made to boost our economy by creating more jobs than the private sector is prepared to or willing to create.
This is not just any party. This is the party that has used racial hatred and fear of human sexual diversity to get tens of millions of people to vote against their own economic self interests. This is the party that lied to start a war which has killed and disabled tens of thousands of American service personnel and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. This is the party that has whored itself out to the richest bidders to keep people unemployed or underpaid and scared out of collective bargaining. This is the party that has feigned piety and patriotism while shipping millions of jobs overseas to a country that persecutes Christians along with people of other faiths, steals American technology, and uses slave labor inside and outside its national borders to produce cheap products of often questionable quality and safety.
This is the party that lies about global climate change to subsidize oil from nations that breed and fund terrorists who kill Americans along with people from every nation and religion on earth. This is the party that talks about energy independence in terms of “drill baby drill” and “all of the above” when what they really mean is “spill at will and give the people the bill” and “oil of the above.”  This is the party that refuses unemployment benefits and minimum wage increases unless its super rich patrons can get or keep an unneeded tax cut to invest in overseas quick bucks, garnered through slave wages and anti-environmental practices.
This is the party that believes that freedom of speech means that if you have money, you get the megaphone and if not, you can talk on Rush Limbaugh or blog on the internet to nobody but those who agree with you. This is the party that loves to kill criminals and to deny them retrials which might prove their innocence. This is the party that hates abortion so much they’ll not hesitate to order aerial terminations of Muslim mothers and their born and unborn children.
This is the party that believes the fox is the best guardian of the henhouse when it comes to pension funds and home mortgages. This is the party of oil slurpers and lying birthers. This is the party of Fox News and countless handsomely funded propagandists. This is the party that hates science and sex and you and me and anyone else who gets in the way of their duty to defend and protect the outlandishly opulent through any means of deceit or dissemblance.
 This is the Republican Party and they deserve to suffer, and for the sake of our nation’s future they need to suffer the pain of permanent political exile or be divided into legitimately representative factions.
All that said, our own Democratic party needs to suffer as well because its leadership has chosen to ignore the clear intentions and desires of the rank-in-file members of our party. Instead they have chosen to push our party in the direction of a kinder, gentler global corporatism. They have chosen to play defense and dish out piecemeal, toothless and fruitless reforms, inadequate for the task of decapitating a systemic monster of unrestrained and insatiable greed.  What we can do this coming year is to put Democratic Party leadership on notice by occupying the GOP into total turmoil in Tampa Bay.
Progressives have a choice. We can vote in the 2012 Democratic primaries and rarely, if ever, change the outcome of any race in a progressive direction or nominate any progressives other than those already predestined for the general election. Or we can switch parties in closed primary states or register unaffiliated in open primary states to occupy and vote in the GOP primary for Ron Paul.
Before your eyes roll out the back of your head, let me state the obvious. Ron Paul is not a progressive. His economic policies, if enacted in full, would only deepen the depression our economy is still unable to come out of. However, his nomination would undo the corporate grip on the GOP and send them running, begging to be let into our Democratic Party. We might choose to use such opportunists next November but that is a choice that the GOP establishment will fight tooth and nail to prevent us from making.
Progressives have a choice.  We can vote for Obama again and hope that he really means it this time and that, if he really means it, he has 60 consistently progressive Senators to help him make it happen. We can vote for Obama in an uncontested primary to give him our thumbs up for what he has done or tried to do. We can vote for him because he will certainly know that with our vote in the primary, he will be empowered to revisit and rewrite the healthcare law so that we have a universally available public option to purchase Medicare before retirement and without disability.
With our primary vote, President Obama will know that he can demand that Congress send him a 3 trillion dollar investment package to build all the elements of a peaceful green economy, including an interstate and truly high speed rail system, and a state of the art, high efficiency fiber optic cable grid connecting every home, business and not-for-profit organization to super high speed internet service and cleanly produced electricity. We can vote for him in the primary so that he will make sure that teachers get paid like lawyers, and doctors and nurses get to treat patients rather than fight insurance companies. We could vote for him in an uncontested primary for exactly the same reasons we voted for him the last time and get exactly the same results in his second term.
Progressives have a choice. We can choose to occupy and vote in the Republican primaries and caucuses for candidates who, like Ron Paul, will work and vote to dismantle the military industrial catastrophe and all its cash sucking empire building and maintenance. We can vote for a candidate who will stand opposite President Obama and ask him why he will not completely de-fund drug and other endless and senseless wars and occupations. We can vote for a candidate who is proposing to cut the Pentagon by 600 billion dollars below what President Obama plans to spend on and through it.
We can choose to occupy and vote in a primary for a candidate who rejects NAFTA and CAFTA and most favored nation status for China. We can vote in a primary for a candidate who wants to scrap the Patriot Act, end torture and close Gitmo at least as much as Obama wanted to do when he ran for president in 2008. We can vote for a candidate who wants to end no bid contracts for Cheney’s gang, and who plans as president to remove all American funded military contractors from Iraq and Afghanistan.  We can choose to vote for a candidate who will not decrease Social Security and Medicare benefits for seniors.
Admittedly, Ron Paul wants to cut all these things we progressives despise so that he can reduce debt (something we want to do as well over the long run) and cut taxes on everybody (something we think needs to be done for almost everybody). He also proposes to use half of the savings from reduced militarism spending to shore up entitlements (a laudable goal) and to enable people under 25 years of age to “opt out” of the entitlement system entirely (a myopic plan which would  boost consumer spending in the short term and impoverish millions of seniors in the long term). Fortunately and ironically, our dysfunctional upper chamber will do the right thing and reject this “opt out” the way they nuked the public option, inspiring some clever combo to propose a good trade of “opt out for opt in,” a better idea which will also never see the light of day.
When the “opt out” is put out of commission (the sooner the better), a President Paul would have to make a deal to do something different with that money. He ought to do (and could be persuaded to do with enough progressives coming to his side) a politically astute deal right now: agree to send all of that money to the states exclusively according to each state’s population to do with it as each state chooses. Progressive states like California could invest that money into building high speed rail and modernized schools with well compensated teachers. Conservative states like Texas could choose to give billionaire oil slurpers another tax credit to “drill baby drill.”  This would not be the ideal deal but it would empower depression defunded states to choose to do what the federal government will not do. It’s a choice that will not bring us all that we need to build the peaceful green economy right away, but it will set up an interstate contest which proves once and for all that progressive governance produces more and higher paying and safer jobs than does laissez-faire economic permissivism.
Progressives have a choice to help replace neo-cons with libertarians in the leadership of the Republican Party. Progressives can choose to occupy and  vote in primaries for libertarians to face down Blue Dogs in the general election. Progressive can choose to vote in primaries to send unelectable extremists up against solid progressives in the general election. In short, progressives can choose to turn the Republican Party into a libertarian party while setting up an election that puts a coalition of libertarians and progressives in charge of congress. This would include 60 Senators who will vote together to free up trillions of dollars to pay down debt and empower states and individuals to make better choices than they can now.
If progressives make the right choice to jump ship and infiltrate the GOP primaries and caucuses, we will turn a major party upside down and set our country on the road toward peace and, its younger sibling, prosperity. But this good decision would have the added benefit of giving us other choices. For once we can have a Democratic presidential candidate facing an opponent who does not demand the Democrat prove he is not weak on defense by agreeing to put the Pentagon on more budgetary steroids. For once, we can have a Democratic presidential nominee debating how much to cut the Pentagon and how to use the money saved from ending endless drug wars and other deadly, forever self-defeating wars. Progressives have a choice of punishing Blue Dogs by voting for libertarian opponents or of letting Blue Dogs lie and Democratic progressivism die. Progressives have a choice of making life a little bit better over four years or letting life go on with the same old song and dance, bait and switch routine of rhetorical flourishes covering legislative flushes.
Progressive have a choice that can lead to better choices. We can waste our primary votes affirming half measures and premature capitulations or make them count for something for a change. God help us if we don’t make the choice we need to make now!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Choice for Libertarians

The libertarians I know personally and the ones I've gotten to know through this blog and other websites are mostly friendly folks. That goes a long way in holding a sincere and respectful conversation about issues. I share their hope that mutual agreement will engender greater cooperation in electing Ron Paul president.

I also understand the impulse to convert. I would  like nothing better than to convince  libertarians to see things my way on economic issues as much so as they want to convert me to their Austrian ways. Perhaps, one or the other will happen one day but I think we both can see the unlikelihood of that happening before November 2012, if ever.

I will not here belabor the point I have made continually throughout this blog that Ron Paul secures the nomination and the election only through establishing a real coalition strategy with the promise of a real coalition government. I do not say, forget the cultural conservatives or other elements of the Republican party. I do say, do everything reasonably possible to woo them and win the nomination with them on your side. I doubt very seriously you can win by only reaching out to progressives or by only reaching out to other stripes of conservatives. And it is very clear to me that Ron Paul stands a much better chance of being elected if he is the GOP nominee.

For the last 50 years libertarians have chosen another coalition and have had some success within that coalition. Libertarians have forfeited their desire for total cultural liberty and their commitment to non-intervention foreign policy to gain a modicum of economic liberty. That has not yielded them less government but it has given them marginal victories in terms of tax and regulatory policy. I am sure many of you will slap your head at this last comment. I did say "marginal" but if you wish to say "minuscule," I will not argue the fine point as it makes my major point all the more relevant.

That point is: libertarians must now choose whether they wish to stay within their current coalition or join with progressives in a new coalition. At first this may seem like an easy decision. Of course, libertarians are happy to join with progressives to end drug wars, the military industrial catastrophe and the assault on our constitutional rights and civil liberties.

However that choice is made more complex by the reality that some amount of compromise on economic issues will need to be worked out if we are ever to move us beyond our current confinement. A real coalition will involve agreement on foreign policy, cultural, constitutional, and economic issues.  The first two are rather simple and the third would require a little bit more work. The fourth seems all but impossible.

The need to solidify the terms of an economic agreement is essential to establishing a true coalition. Robin Koener, founder of the Blue Republican movement, has been instrumental in calling for about 70% of what is needed to form a coalition. What he and other libertarians have not ventured into  is the differences on our interpretations of the commerce clause and economic issues.

Libertarians might think, "Why would progressives refuse a deal that gave them 70% of what they want?" A rational question, but one has to imagine the shoe on the other foot. Let's say Mitt Romney was already our president and Bernie Sanders was the progressive favorite in a Democratic primary full of progressive posers.  We would have much the same problems we have now. You would find the polite section of the Bernie Sanders' entourage begging you to jump ship and come on board. You'll get 70% of what you want, but the commerce clause will be interpreted our way with a 3 trillion dollar public works stimulus and higher marginal rates on the top 2%.

This is an exact analogy to what polite Paulians are offering us now. As hard as it would be for most libertarians to swallow the compromise I just described, progressives feel the same way when they look at Paul's budget. We like the huge cuts in militarism spending and would love to see more. We are glad to join with you in ridding the nation of the unpatriotic Patriot Act. We want the US Constitution respected and unlawful and counterproductive wars and occupations ended.We appreciate Ron Paul's sincere willingness to make sure that current recipients of social security and medicare get the full benefits they were promised.

However, his opt out plan seems as dangerous to us as the public option does to you. His promise to gut several cabinet departments scares us like any tax increase scares you. We are as skeptical of the commitments and abilities of state and local governments and private businesses and organizations to provide for the needy as you are of the federal government solving their problems. We fear that banks and businesses self-regulating will be giving the the proverbial fox the key to the hen house. We value private property but do not think that small land owners can compete with larger ones in the court house and that our national parks ought to be property of all the people collectively and not put up for sale to oil slurpers.

We progressives may need our heads examined and healthy dose of Hayek and an abundant ameliorative of von Mises. You may think that if we just give you guys a chance, we will be overwhelmed with the turn around in the American economy. You may be absolutely right on every economic issue, but you must account for our obstinacy in a politically realistic way. Of course, we must also make the same calculation and reach the same conclusion about you. Neither of us has a majority or large enough plurality of the electorate to convince 60 Senators that one of us is right and and the other, wrong. American political history is filled with this tension between libertarian and interventionists elements in economic, military and cultural affairs. This reality is not going to change in 2012.

And so you and we both need a partner. Fortunately, we don't have to get married; we just have to room with each other for 4 (or maybe 8) years. That means we are both going to have to compromise on economic issues and agree to do so ahead of the primaries, or given a third party run, before the general election.

The basic agreement looks like this: whatever deal we make on reductions in spending over the the term of 2013 through 2016, we need also to agree that half of the savings is used to reduce federal debt while the other half goes to the states in block grants according to the population of each state.  There is where the contest can unfold. Let's see which states fair the best under our policies or yours.

Dr. Paul has already agreed to a transition plan that calls for most of the savings to come from reductions in overseas spending and for half of that savings to go to shore up entitlements. He does this for the moral purpose of taking care of those already in the system and for the ideological purpose of giving young people the opportunity to opt out of the system. This proposal, as much as you like it and and as fair as it may be, will fail to pass congress. And anyone who tells you differently, is using something we and  Dr. Paul want to make legal. As soon as the opt out is out of legislative options, the more realistic block grants deal needs to be put in place.

I am optimistic that if we could strike this basic deal there are other areas of economic policy on which we can make good, principled and mutually acceptable deals. We can legalize pot if we tax and regulate it like we do tobacco and alcohol. We can raise tariffs on countries who do not play by the rules that we and other democratic societies do. We can lower the pay roll tax rate substantially and permanently on both employers and employees if we eliminate the cap or find a better way to raise funds. We can significantly and permanently lower everyone's income tax rates below the Bush rates if we put an absolute limit on the dollar value of all deductions, credits and exemptions and add an annual consumption tax on individual spending above a million dollars. And this is a longer shot... we might just find a way for you to have your opt out in exchange for us getting our public option.

The clearest signal that Ron Paul can give us that this is an acceptable deal is to name a running mate like Bernie Sanders or Dennis Kucinich and begin to name a coalition cabinet ahead of the election. That's a tact he might have to wait to take until after the bosses run him out of Tampa Bay despite a plurality of votes and delegates (which would be most easily obtained if he became more public and intentional in his courting us).

I know you, my libertarian friends, have, like I and all my pollyannish progressive partners, grandiose dreams of complete victory, of triumphant policy shifts, of an America finally just and free. Wouldn't it be wonderful?!!!

Now let's be real, and make the deal before it's too late. You already know what the alternative is.