Diatribes of Jay

This is a blog of essays on public policy. It shuns ideology and applies facts, logic and math to economic, social and political problems. It has a subject-matter index, a list of recent posts, and permalinks at the ends of posts. Comments are moderated and may take time to appear. Note: Profile updated 4/7/12

07 November 2016

Give the Gal a Chance!


Like a zombie that will not die, this awful campaign lurches toward a greatly desired end. The contenders are looking for closing arguments. What will move the undecided at this late hour?

It sure won’t be facts. We are all tired of facts and lies that pose as facts. Our heads hurt. I know this because my detailed factual comparison of Donald and Hillary has fallen flat; it’s one of my least-trafficked posts in months.

Whatever moves us at this late date certainly won’t be practical plans to save the world from itself. If anyone really thinks that Donald’s 35% tariffs on goods from China and Mexico will make us all better off, they’d better talk to their parents or grandparents, who lived through World War II. Wasn’t it the Smoot-Hawley tariffs that started that terrible war off? Didn’t some fifty million people die prematurely because of it? And didn’t our species spend the last fifty years building the postwar economic system just to keep that from ever happening again?

And if anyone has an easy and brilliant plan to stop the Syrian Civil War, defeat IS, bring Syria back from the dead and send all the refugees home, no one has revealed it. Syria is a testament to human stubbornness and stupidity: empty, broken, bleeding and dead. If the Russians, Iranians and Assad’s butchers continue to do what they’re doing, there will be nothing left in Syria but a few Alawites, vast fields of rubble and rotting corpses, and a bunch of jihadis hiding in holes and coming out regularly to kill.

It’s easy to rant and rave, curse the darkness, and promise to break all the rules. It’s harder to work hard with the rules, or change them cleverly, in order to make slow and steady progress.

Donald does the one: he says and does whatever comes into his mind at the moment. Hillary does the other. She has a bunch of plans that she will work hard, steadily and quietly to fulfill. Which kind of leader do you really want—a bull in a China shop, or one who will do the hard, steady work of making our world and our lives better?

Worried about economic inequality? Well, here you don’t have to wonder or guess. Donald will make it worse; Hillary will make it better.

How do I know? By looking at Donald’s own website—one of the very few things he’s ever bothered to put in writing. He’ll lower the top individual tax rate from 39.6% to 33%—a total of 6.6%. So a guy like him, who may have earned as much as $50 million per year but paid no actual taxes because of loss carryovers, would have had his taxes reduced by over $3 million per year, even without the loss carryovers.

In 2014, only about one out of every 100,000 Americans reported that much gross adjusted income. But Donald would give that much more money to himself as an extra freebie, and to every plutocrat who makes as much as he does. Hillary will lower taxes on the middle class and workers and raise them on the rich. So much for equality.

Worried about global warming? Donald thinks it’s all a Chinese hoax. His energy plan is all about more coal and fossil fuels. He doesn’t even mention wind, solar or nuclear energy. In contrast, Hillary sees global warming as “a defining challenge of our time” and will face it with investments in clean energy and the millions of jobs it will create.

Want to make America great again? You don’t have far to go. America is great! Who invented the electric light, the phonograph, motion pictures, the transistor, the integrated circuit, controlled flight, high-altitude flight, atomic weapons, and the Internet? Who put men on the Moon? Who invented vaccines to prevent polio, pushed to eradicate smallpox, tamed AIDS with retroviral drugs, mopped up ebola in Africa, and invented the DNA-clipping and editing technologies known as PCR and CRISPR-CAS9? We Yanks did! Who proposed and arranged for the UN, the GATT, the WTO and the WHO and the modern global economic and legal order that Donald wants to tear down? We Yanks did!

We are a great nation already! We have been at least since about a century ago, when Europe began to rely on us to clean up its messes. And our own economy is finally on the mend from the Crash of 2008 that our bankers and Republicans’ lax regulation caused. Unemployment is down to 4.9%, half what it was in the depths of the Great Recession. Hourly wages have jumped 2.8% year-on-year. Under much-maligned Barack Obama, we have created 15.2 million new jobs since his first full year on his job.

Sure, it’s an insecure world out there. Sure, several nations, such as Germany and China, are nipping at our heels. But we Yanks are still the global leaders—the ones whom everyone else watches for ideas, leadership and guidance. If Donald tells you different, he’s just blowing smoke to delude you and steal your vote.

But the last argument is the crusher. You don’t have to have been born (as I was) in an era when men were trained to open doors for women and let them go ahead, to know that deference to females is deeply engrained in our culture. You don’t have to have been born in the South and trained to say “Ma’am” and “Sir” to your elders to know that bashing women is wrong. However you express appreciation and kindness toward females, they’re deeply engrained in our biological and social evolution.

Women bear our next generation. They make our lives happy. They give us kids and joy. They take care of us men when we are sick or disconsolate.

So where the hell does Donald get off bashing our women, insulting them, making them his sexual playthings, and belittling them at every turn?!?!?!

You know in your heart that doing so is wrong, just wrong. It’s wrong at such a basic level that it chills our bones. You know it no matter what your gender or sexual orientation.

We all have mothers. Most men have sisters and wives or sweethearts, too. We all know that this and this are wrong, just plain wrong.

And then there’s the so-called “October Surprise”—the supposedly “new” e-mails on Andrew Weiner’s computer. Remember how they put Donald within snapping distance of the White House?

Well, they turned out to be duds. All of them. Every one of the “new” e-mails was one the FBI had already seen before. Or it was a personal message having nothing to do with Hillary’s job as Secretary of State.

So we now we have had a “November surprise.” Every one of the lengthy, expensive investigations of Hillary has come to naught. Every single one.

In the end, the “surprise” is not that outcome. It’s how doggedly the GOP Dobermans have pursued a good and diligent woman who, while sometimes careless, has never been as evil as they tried for two decades to portray her. Maybe they always saw how progressive and smart she is and wanted to head her off at the pass.

So when you get into that voting booth, don’t turn to the Dark Side. Don’t go for the guy who’s all about hate, blame, darkness and doom. Don’t go for the guy who’s made a career of breaking all the most basic rules of civility and civilization, including respect for women.

Go for the woman who’s spent her life making women’s and children’s lives better and trying to take care all of us, one by one or group by group. Go for the woman who thinks and plans for us regular folk and the middle class, and who has done so for thirty years. Give the gal a chance!

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