This is purely nuts.
Romney is now proposing to drop the AMT entirely as part of his "political promise grab-bag."
Now don't get me wrong -- the AMT is a bad law and a bad tax. But Romney seems to think that we can't actually cut spending (because he can add and knows that GDP will go down) but that we should further cut taxes (aka Obama's payroll tax cut.) In other words, deficits don't matter.
But they do, because credit expansion = debt expansion and we're at the point now where more of this leads to debasement of capital formation, and that trashes both the economy in general and jobs in particular.
Then there's Santorum. He's gaining fast, mostly because the Republican "base" has determined that he's the "real deal" on social issues. But he has severe problems in the general election that will become manifest and trash him if he gets the nomination.
One of the more-serious is his 2008 claim that Protestants aren't "real Christians":
We all know that this country was founded on a Judeo-Christian ethic but the Judeo-Christian ethic was a Protestant Judeo-Christian ethic, sure the Catholics had some influence, but this was a Protestant country and the Protestant ethic, mainstream, mainline Protestantism, and of course we look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it.[...]
Whether its sensuality of vanity of the famous in America, they are peacocks on display and they have taken their poor behavior and made it fashionable. The corruption of culture, the corruption of manners, the corruption of decency is now on display whether it’s the NBA or whether it’s a rock concert or whether it’s on a movie set.
Oh yeah, the majority of Christians in the US will vote for a guy who says things like that, right?
The bigger problem is that the Republicans have nobody to offer who is actually (1) conservative, (2) will offer a real path forward on taxes, trade, energy policy, entitlements, the medical system, credit and money along with the budget (all of which are intertwined) and (3) doesn't have his head all the way up his ass on foreign policy. And none of them will do a damn thing about all the bank frauds.
The unfortunate reality is that with this as the backdrop Santorum makes a pretty damn good showing, despite being outspent by Romney at a monstrous rate.
If Romney is nominated we have Obama running against himself in two different colors. If Santorum is nominated he'll get pummeled with the ads going into the election trying to destroy his southern support, and it is likely to succeed (telling a bunch of bible-banging southerners that they're not really Christians is a great way to get their vote.) Ron Paul can't get the nomination as he won't (a) take on the bank fraud issue, (b) back off his idiotic foreign policy pronouncements, and (c) is still a gold bug, despite being dead wrong there. Gingrich, after looking like had something going, has faded back along with Paul as the Republican base has decided (for good or bad) that neither is electable.
Now maybe there's a serious third-party challenge here that works, but I'll tell you where it's not -- Gary Johnson. Let's not forget that he had a whole 1% (or less) among Republicans so exactly how does he get more than 1/2% of the general? Will he take votes from "independents"? Maybe, but I'm not buying it and the Republicans already told him to go to Hell (along with leaving him $200k in the hole at the same time.)
A true "maverick" candidate might make a difference, but let's be honest here -- in the general you're trying to sway policy when it comes to running for President as a third party this time around more than win. That's not say that every candidate doesn't say he intends to and thinks he can win (of course he does or he wouldn't run!) but the facts are, numerically, what they are.
This much I'm sure of -- the silly season is going to be extraordinarily silly.
But in terms of outcome I don't think there's anything funny headed our way at all.
Where We Are, Where We're Heading (2013) - The annual 2013 Ticker
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