I’m hearing reports that nearly $1 billion has already been spent on US House elections alone. Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics predicts “$3.7 billion will be spent on this midterm election.” That’s 30% more than last time. It’s no surprise that the more legal plunder government is able to redistribute, the more people are willing to spend to gain control of the state. Obama is making Bush the Younger look thrifty and the next president will likely do the same for him. The increase in electoral spending will continue apace.
Such a distraction and waste of money political elections, especially national elections, are. As I explained in Voting, Moral Hazard, and Like Buttons: “The very existence of [a] centralized voting system for deciding public matters of moral importance encourages citizens to focus their energies on this formal democratic process, which is to say that it encourages the wasting of time and money on vote getting (or buying), at the expense of getting anything actually productive done in a timely fashion.”
There’s no shame in Paul Volcker’s being confused. It’s common for men his age (82) to slip into an afternoon slumber and wake up discombobulated — it can take a little while to reorient. And that’s when the memory is working well; but, let’s face it, an elderly man’s memory isn’t always fully functional. So that’s why I think it’s only fair to cut the Chairman of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board some slack for his comments yesterday when he announced that taxes were likely to rise in order to “tame” the deficit:
The United States should consider raising taxes to help bring deficits under control and may need to consider a European-style value-added tax, White House adviser Paul Volcker said on Tuesday. Volcker, answering a question from the audience at a New York Historical Society event, said the value-added tax “was not as toxic an idea” as it has been in the past and also said a carbon or other energy-related tax may become necessary.
Though he acknowledged that both were still unpopular ideas, he said getting entitlement costs and the U.S. budget deficit under control may require such moves. “If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes,” he said.
See, he has to be confused because my memory still works really, really well, and I remember this from the campaign:
Old “joke”: Know how you can tell if a politician is lying?