27 July 2011

Herman Cain

How would he deal with the debt problem?
"We will not default ... . (P)ay the military people and their military families, make sure we pay the interest on debt, pay Medicare bills, and then make sure we pay the Medicaid bills. (E)verything else should be on the table."
Cain says government is not only too big -- it's too complex. To change that, he said congressional bills should be no more than three pages. He's taken a ribbing on that from Jon Stewart
"(T)hree pages was a number to exaggerate a point. Make sure bills are short enough and understandable enough for the American people to understand."

I’m not entirely sure what he means when he says to pay the military people.  It could mean that the government should only feel obliged to take care of service members or it could mean that defense spending in general is untouchable.  Since he’s a Republican candidate, I’m inclined to believe the latter.  And if that’s the case, I’m not sure his debt solution is very serious.

This year’s current federal budget is expected to be around $4 trillion, federal revenue is projected to be $2.5 trillion, which means that the federal government will be taking on additional $1.5 trillion in debt.  At this point, any more debt, even a penny’s worth, is simply unacceptable.  America cannot afford any more deficits, period. If Herman Cain is serious, and if Herman Cain is disinclined to cut military spending, then his proposal is simply not going to work.

Interest on the debt is going to be around $400 billion this year, Medicaid and Medicare combined are going to cost around $1 trillion, and the military budget is going to be around $1 trillion as well.  The sum of these three obligations is $2.4 trillion, which is $100 billion under projected revenues.  Everything else is not only going to have to be on the table, it’s going to have to be cut.

The current military and health care spending is unsustainable, and will eventually have to be cut, even if all other federal spending is cut today.  The fun times of imperialism are over, and the promise of free unlimited health care is lie. Better to recognize this today and adjust the budget now than to stick one’s head in the sand until everything blows up.  Unfortunately, Herman Cain would rather do the former, and, as such, is not worthy of being considered a serious candidate.

Of course, the suggestion that congressional bills be no longer than three pages should also show that he’s not a actually a serious candidate, for the president cannot exactly implement this as law on his own volition (although it can be informally instituted if the president has the guts to veto any and all bills longer than three pages, which, it should be noted, is not something Cain promised to do).

Plus, the belief that the American people would actually care enough the read the laws Congress passes strikes me as absurd.  If elected officials represent their voters’ interests, then it would appear that the American people simply aren’t interested in reading legislation.  As such, Cain’s proposal is nothing more than frivolous political pandering, and does not behoove a serious politician.


  1. The art of government is easy when you have the military on your side, hence the need to ensure they get paid.

  2. Hmm. Interesting interview.

    Cain is clearly ensuring he doesn't tee off key constituencies that will sink him. Seniors. And flag-waving Republicans who love the military and consider any/all military spending sacrosanct. Both key to his base, I think.

    PS - the captcha is "bonsess"..."bonuses"...lol
    Slashing military spending would, by necessity, require us to bring troops home from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Korea. How many millions of dollars a minute are consumed with having troops in all these places?

    Far cheaper it would be when those forces come home. And without forces all overseas, there isn't a need for such a large standing army...and then not a need for such large retirement/medical bills to pay 30 years later.

    But good luck bringing these guys home. He'd get called "soft on defense" or something for not wanting to maintain this huge overseas empire.

  3. Meh. My PS somehow made it to the middle of my comment.

  4. @SP- Anyone serious about leading needs to focus on what's necessary and right, not what's easy, which is why I don't like Cain. I would much rather have a serious leader who is intent on actually solving the problem than on scoring political points and staying in power. And yes, I know that my desires are nothing more than idealistic dreaming. Still, a boy can dream, can't he?

    @EW- One of the reasons I have little sympathy for the Americans about to be screwed over by Washington is that they are as unserious about addressing the problems facing the nation as their political leaders are.