WI Senate Disappointment

The recent debate between the candidates for the GOP nomination to oppose Tammy Baldwin to become the junior senator from Wisconsin was notable for its lack of fireworks.  Bad manners are unrelated to political courage as Ron Johnson has shown us.  We were disappointed that neither Kevin Nicholson or Leah Vukmir disagreed with The Donald on trade or anything else.  Nobody needs to be unpleasant to disagree.  Strong support for free trade would be our number one criteria for picking a WI GOP senate candidate.

Sidebar: Does this mean we would vote for Tammy if she came out as a free trader?  Well, it seems extraordinarily unlikely as her website leads with “Building a made in WI economy.”  So Tammy is the problem and not the answer for us.  End Sidebar.

We understand the political problem that the media (and the moderator was a legacy  reader) is looking for divisions on the right and ignores them on the left.  For example when some Democrats attack The Donald on tariffs it signals a major conflict over there.  We also understand that The Donald is thin skinned.  Still, we think the way to victory is for Kevin or Leah to find a way of being on The Donald’s side without expressing their unquestioning support for anything is has or will do.  We suppose expecting for two versions of Ron Johnson from one state is too much to hope for.  Political courage is in short supply but there are folks like Ron.  He makes the current and potential junior senators look junior indeed.

Thanks Paul

Paul Ryan is retiring from the House.  He has made a big difference.  He has succeeded in reforming taxes.  He was unable to reform entitlements but surely he has influenced that debate and we will be thankful for him later.  Our fondest wish is unfulfilled: We wish he was in his second term as Vice-President.  We wonder if their will be a Churchillian second act for him as entitlements fester.

Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation gives us reason to be humble and proud.  We Paul in the House and Ron in the Senate we might have the best pair of any state.  Paul is leaving shortly and Ron not long after that.  We wish everyone would follow their lead by coming in and trying to make a difference, behaving well, and then moving on.  Paul and Ron have made a difference and been a credit to our state and the nation.  Thanks to both of them.

Thanks One Percent

PhD Comics makes us feel good about the One Percent.  The numbers show that Obama got the turnout that Herself was unable to muster.  Now it might be that Obama policies have something to do with the depressed turnout.

Will we decide to come up with policies that help the young and the poor or will folks spend their time trying to get them to show up.  We would suggest the former but Washington state increased its minimum wage to $13.50.  Arizona, Colorado, and Maine also voted to raise their minimum wage and some included mandatory provision of sick days.  So it seems like the latter.

Hello From Flyover Country

Today Henry Olsen has his election predictions in NRO.  Part or it is this:

Donald Trump has spent the last month crisscrossing America and stopping at places that normally never see presidential candidates, like Eau Claire, Wis. All the off-the-beaten-track places where he’s campaigning are bastions of whites without a college degree

One out of three is good for a hitter but not very good for reporting.  Yes, here on the west coast of Wisconsin we are a bastion of whiteness.

Sidebar One: The east coast of Wisconsin is Lake Michigan.  The west coast is the Mississippi and St. Croix rivers.  End Sidebar One.

La Crosse and Eau Claire share much more in common besides their two word French names, TV stations, and being river cities in western Wisconsin.  According to Wikipedia, La Crosse is 90% white and Eau Claire is 91% white.  Eau Claire is a slightly bigger city but La Crosse is a bigger metro population.  Henry is right we are a bastion of whiteness out here.  But he is wrong about college education and seeing presidential candidates.  We see lots of presidential candidates in this neck of the woods.  Tim Kaine was in La Crosse yesterday.  Trump was in La Crosse for the Wisconsin Primary.  The Lady de Gloves saw Obama here.  The candidates get exposure to three contested states by visiting this part of the world.

Sidebar Two: Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota all receive news from Western Wisconsin.  Both sides visited or planned to visit them (Tim Kaine cancelled Iowa after the police shooting) in the closing days so the candidates see uncertainty there.  End Sidebar Two.

According to the US Department of Education, Wisconsin is above average in the percentage of college graduates. Both Eau Claire and La Crosse are university towns.  The University of Wisconsin branches there are large (15-20%) compared to the population of the towns.  Neither one is the place you would pick to meet folks with a college education.

Henry is right that Trump will win the white vote and especially the white vote without college education.  Eau Claire is not a particularly good example of the latter.  Candidates seem to have a predilection for cities like Eau Claire.  We hope he is equally wrong about his Senate predictions.  Vote Ron.

Challenging Times For Pundits

The election is upon us.  Lots of people, perhaps too many, have voted.  This is the time for pundits to get in their ultimate (or for the busy ones, penultimate or antepenultimate) licks.  Some of them get a little excited at this late date.  We tend to agree with David Harsanyi that this is the least important [presidential] election of our lifetimes.  David comment of chill out seems apt.  We think the best choice is The Donald but it is rather like the quiz we took recently.  It asked what kind of music do you like?  The choices were roughly: Rap, C&W, and stuff we have never heard of.  We picked one that wasn’t our favorite just like we will do on Tuesday.

Sidebar: The WI Senate election is a real choice.  Vote for Ron.  End Sidebar.

We were surprised that one of the excited folk was Mona Charen:

Should we elect him [Trump] and then impeach if necessary? Who, exactly, would we trust to do that – this crowd of Republicans who (with a few laudable exceptions) have fallen into line for him? What would he have to do to merit impeachment if his thousands of offenses did not merit censure, a much lower bar? No, once elected, there will be very few checks on Trump. It’s Clinton who should fear impeachment — which might be the best we can hope for at this dismal, dispiriting moment.

Wow and double-wow because she was using a historical analogy to motivate this.  Let’s review the impeachment history starting with Nixon.  The GOP went along with the Democrats and got Nixon to resign because they were going to abandon him.  Let’s review the impeachment of Clinton.  Bill turned back to hard left as impeachment approached, after a successful four years in the center, to consolidate his support on the left.  The left, including the press, supported him and he was not convicted by the Senate.

We see Mona as being exactly wrong.  There will be little pressure on Herself because she will follow Bill’s lead and keep her support on the left.  It will be good for the political left but bad for the country.  There will be much more substantial pressure on The Donald.  Much of it will come from the press.  If it comes to impeachment for The Donald it is win-win for the GOP.  They get rid of The Donald and they get Pence.  If the Democrats can find a serious charge we expect the GOP to go along.  We know what happens the other way around: No chance.

Well Said-Ron v. Russ

Joseph Rago at the WSJ on Russ of the Ron and Russ match here is WI:

If taxpayers continue to foot Mr. Feingold’s salary, at least as a senator, don’t expect him to do more to improve the condition of the poor in the next six years than he did in his previous 28. The careers of modern progressives like Mr. Feingold depend on keeping people in poverty. Then there is a need for another new federal program, or for more spending (or “investment”), and they can congratulate themselves for their benevolence, regardless of outcomes.

Do read all of it.  Most of it is positive stuff on Ron.  There might be a paywall issue.


Social Security Solutions

We haven’t hear much about Social Security this election.  Facebook posts say, incorrectly, that it is not welfare.  Today the WSJ discusses winners and losers.

Sidebar One: We don’t understand why there is a 7.3 percent increase in the Social Security cap for 2017.  It is much larger than inflation.  End Sidebar One.

The winners and losers help us understand why it is broken and how best to fix it.

A one-earner couple retiring in 2020 with low wages—$22,500 in 2015 dollars—would have paid the equivalent of $129,000 in 2015 dollars in Social Security taxes. That couple can expect to receive lifetime benefits of $309,000 in 2015 dollars, more than twice what the worker paid in.

By contrast, a couple retiring in 2020 in which both spouses earn the same pay and who have always earned wages at the cap or higher ($118,500 in 2015 dollars) will have paid in some $1,358,000. But on average they’ll receive benefits worth $1,020,000, or about 75% of what they paid in.

Sidebar Two: Social Security cannot be manipulated as easily as most defined benefit pensions.  Social Security is based on 35 years of indexed earnings whereas pensions are typically based on high three years times a factor for the number of years worked. Earnings are almost never indexed.  Thus, folks close to retirement often try to find ways to increase their earnings in the last few years when income is already high due to inflation and progression.  It can make a big difference as your humble scribe knows.  End Sidebar Two.

The solution to Social Security is conceptually simple: means test payments.  There will be more money for the low wage earner.  The high wage earner will have more money to invest for retirement.  Because the high wage earner get an awful return, less than zero, both the low wage earner and the high wage earner will be better off.

The challenges are how to means test, it can’t just be taxable income, and where the means start getting tested.  It is too bad the presidential candidates have so little to offer.  Only Ron is worried about your future.

Why We Need Ron

Kevin Williamson at NRO explains why we need Ron as a senator from Wisconsin in discussing the two Obama Administrations:

The first one produced results that were catastrophic, because the election of Barack Obama in 2008 was accompanied by Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate. That is why the grievously misnamed Affordable Care Act was inflicted upon the country, and that — not the 2008 financial crisis — is why we had gargantuan deficits in those years, the Obama-Pelosi-Reid triumvirate having complete control of the elected branches of government. Once Americans sobered up, Republican congressional majorities set about reducing those deficits and ameliorating the worst of the Obama administration’s excesses, but tremendous damage already had been done. There was damage done in the second Obama administration, too, but nothing like what happened under unitary Democratic control of the federal government.

Regardless of your views on Trump, we find this (another) compelling reason to vote for Ron Johnson.  Read the whole Williamson article.  Is not as if he thinks that Obama has not caused damage in the last six years.  He has.  It is not that the GOP has been perfect in resisting Obama and the Democrats.  It has not.  The issue is does GOP resistance make a difference?  Yes, a very large difference.  Regardless of where you are on Trump, you need to vote for Ron.


Obamacare Reporting

The Associated Press tries to support Obamacare as best it can.  First, it is a health report rather than news or politics.  Second, is the passive headline: Obama Health Plan Hit By Double-digit Increases.  As it happens, the double-digit that they report is 25.  As the WSJ data below on 27 year-olds implies, this is a massive wealth transfer from the poor (young) to the rich (old).

Sidebar: If the average is 25 percent and young people are often paying 50 percent more then somebody must be paying less than 25 percent more.  Those folks are likely to be old.  End Sidebar.

The other part is passive “hit by”.  Caused would be a better choice.  It would be less editorial but still have a little juice in it.

Third, is this from the first paragraph:

That’s sure to stoke another “Obamacare” controvery days before a presidential election.

So the problem with the disaster of Obamacare is that it will cause problems for Democrats.  A WSJ editorial (identified as such) gives us some more data:

HHS also disclosed the premium jumps for a 27-year-old buying the second-cheapest silver plan in individual states. Our condolences for such young people in Arizona, where their premiums will climb by 116%. Likewise for Oklahoma (69%), Tennessee (63%) and Minnesota (59%).

Obviously, the WSJ is picking the worst numbers for Obamacare.  Interestingly, the young people who are getting the pointed end of Democratic policies are voting for Democrats.  The old folk escape the brunt of this Democrat policy.  As the WSJ points out, it would be nice if the candidates were debating how to address the failure of Obamacare.