Palin’s Platform for the Presidency

On Saturday in Iowa, Sarah Palin showed a preview of what her as yet undeclared campaign for the presidency will focus on: crony capitalism. She called out as the number one problem, not the left vs right divide, not even the media, but the corrupt status quo in DC.

She unveiled a 5 point economic plan not simply as plan for growth but as a plan of attack on crony capitalism and the status quo. She calls it a “bona-fide pro-working man’s plan”.

Crony Capitalism is something that I, as an immigrant from a banana republic, have long seen as the major problem in the USA in this century, so as you can imagine I am very happy to see a Palin focus on this, and very interested in her approach to battling this. It is a problem that is not linked to party or ideology, but to culture and class stratification. So I think it is fair to conclude that there can be more than one way to attack this problem. In looking at her plan, I will take the position of taking it at face value and with what I hope is an objective, non-partisan point of view.

Here are the 5 points on Palin’s plan:

One:

“This is first: All power not specifically delegated to the federal government by our Constitution is reserved for the states and for we the people. So, let’s enforce the 10th Amendment and devolve powers back locally where the Founders intended them to be.”

Crony Capitalism, as we see it today, is government almost completely in the pockets of big business. The power of government is used to serve the interests of corporations instead of citizens. Government has lost the trust of the citizenry. Seen in that light, it makes non-partisan sense to limit the damage government can do by limiting its power. Swing the pendulum the other way for a bit.

Two:

“We must repeal Obamacare! And rein in burdensome regulations that are a boot on our neck. Get government out of the way. Let the private sector breathe and grow. This will allow the confidence that businesses need in order to expand and hire more people.”

Crony capitalism does thrive on excessive regulation — that is, on the loopholing and grease and bribes that can be harvested to be exempted from regulation. As soon as Obamacare was enacted, we started to hear about more and more corporations getting waivers. Corruption thrives when government has a way to pick & choose when to enforce and when to look away.

Three:

“Third, no more run away debt. We must prioritize and cut. Cancel unused stimulus funds, and have that come to Jesus moment where we own up to the debt challenge that is entitlement reform. See, the reality is we will have entitlement reform; it’s just a matter of how we’re going to get there. We either do it ourselves or the world’s capital markets are going to shove it down our throats, and we’ll have no choice but to reform our entitlement programs.”

I seem to remember the country doing well when President Clinton balanced the budget, so I have no problem with that. As to the the third rail, I am unconvinced that any GOP President, with an antagonistic Democratic congress, will have greater success at touching the third rail than President Obama with a compliant Democratic congress. In other words, wake me when it actually happens.

Four:

“Fourth, it is time for America to become the energy superpower.”

She’s been consistent about “Drill, baby, drill” since 2008, and her point about energy independence being a national security issue is a good one. With no manufacturing, few exports, and literally zero job creation, drilling and extraction may very well be the simplest, fastest way to reboot the economy.

Her last point is, to me, the most eye-popping, and I am including the entire context of it:
Five:

“Fifth, we can and we will make America the most attractive country on earth to do business in. Here’s how we’re going to do this. Right now, we have the highest federal corporate income tax rate in the industrialized world. Did you know our rates are higher than China and communist Cuba? This doesn’t generate as much revenue as you would think, though, because many big corporations skirt federal taxes because they have the friends in D.C. who right the rules for the rest of us. This makes us less competitive and restrains our engine of prosperity. Heck, some businesses spend more time trying to figure out how to hide their profits than they do in generating more profits so that they can expand and hire more of us. So, to make America the most attractive and competitive place to do business, to set up shop here and hire people here, to attract capital from all over the globe that will lead to an explosion of growth, instead of chasing industry offshore, I propose to eliminate all federal corporate income tax. And hear me out on this. This is how we create millions of high-paying jobs. This is how we increase opportunity and prosperity for all.
But here’s the best part: To balance out any loss of federal revenue from this tax cut, we eliminate corporate welfare and all the loopholes and we eliminate bailouts. This is how we break the back of crony capitalism because it feeds off corporate welfare, which is just socialism for the very rich. We can change all of that. The message then to job-creating corporations is: We’ll unshackle you from the world’s highest federal corporate income tax rate, but you will stand or fall on your own, just like all the rest of us out on main street.

As a liberal, my first reaction is what? Aren’t corporations already getting a free ride, and now they won’t pay any income taxes? Isn’t it bad enough that GE paid no federal income taxes – now all corporations get excused too? But the more I think about it, the more it starts to make sense. GE for example, got its free ride as one of the many benefits of it’s close relationship with Obama – other benefits include no-bid contracts, CEO Immelt being selected as jobs Czar, etc. Halliburton enjoyed a similar cozy relationship with Cheney. This obviously harms the public through bad policy and federal fund misuse; but it also, less obviously, harms the public through it’s impact on competition and the market. Maybe there could be something to this idea of both leveling the playing field and detangling government and business in one stroke. There’s certainly more that can be said and debated on this point, probably worth another post or ten, so I’ll stop here for now.

Palin at the moment, yet to begin her official campaign, now has a more detailed economic plan than Obama 3 years into his presidency, can produce. More than that, she has focused her platform on the very real problem that assails the country, which no other candidate has the credentials to address. Whether her solutions are worth trying is something that needs to be discussed in the public square, away from the media that is complicit in this cronyism.

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46 Responses to Palin’s Platform for the Presidency

  1. votermom says:

    Thanks for scheduling this myiq.
    (So 0600 is 9am for me – now I know).

  2. votermom says:

    In really important news:
    http://news.yahoo.com/giant-crocodile-captured-alive-philippines-134625838.html
    Giant crocodile captured alive in Philippines
    giantcroc
    I hope we don’t have any of hose in our fishing hole!

  3. Palin at the moment, yet to begin her official campaign, now has a more detailed economic plan than Obama 3 years into his presidency, can produce.

    But I thought she was stupid. /snark

  4. DeniseVB says:

    Sarah really puts the pressure on Obama. Run Sarah Run 😀

    His Detroit speech was a freaking campaign speech…..we paid for, especially the tax paying working stiffs on the right that he’s blaming for all his problems. Hence, Hoffa’s warm-up “SOBs” and Biden’s “barbarians” comments. I worry for my country 😦

  5. susiepuma says:

    Compare this plan to what I hear will be a 160 page plan coming from Romney today – another crony capitalist wiith good hair – snarc

  6. WMCB says:

    I said on a previous thread that I could consider eliminating corporate income tax IF we could tie it to employment. Companies that have 100% American employees get the zero rate, because even though you may be losing the revenue of taxing them directly (which gets passed on to the consumer anyway), you gain the broad tax base and economic activity of all those employees.

    Companies with 80% American employees pay 5%, and so on up the ladder. Make it attractive to hire American workers. This set-up would also favor smaller American companies vs. the big multi-nationals.

    As much as I hate the idea of giving the corps a break, our biggest problem right now and in the future is JOBS, and rebuilding our manufacturing base. Unless we can get close to full employment, both for social reasons and for the very broad tax base and thus more revenue it would bring, we are boned.

    What we’ve tried so far has not worked. And for all the yelling about certain big corps paying no taxes, the result is that aside from the favored few, smaller mom and pop operations and the non-connected DO pay that “highest in the world” rate. In reality, it hits the companies we’d like to encourage, and the companies that we’d like to see pay never do anyway, in the end.

    We need to look at this coldly logically, not emotionally. What will a) produce revenue, and b) get us jobs? Whatever that is, we need to DO IT, whether some company we don’t “like” benefits or not.

    • votermom says:

      I have read, but not verified, that last year the federal govt only got 9% of its revenue from corporate income taxes.
      If that’s true, and then you deduct from that the stimulus that wen’t back to corporations, it doesn’t sound like positive revenue at all.

      • WMCB says:

        Full employment, or close to it, would actually generate more revenue than taxing the current employers more. Plus the multiplier effect of all those employed people SPENDING in the economy.

      • ralphb says:

        $191 billion according to IRS data in 2010. Chump change compared to what all the favors, subsidies, and no bid contracts are costing us.

    • WMCB says:

      IOW, this country is in such a mess that I’m willing to listen to any plan, and have sane, logical discussions about what the benefits/drawbacks may be. We need to throw out the hidebound ideological playbooks on either side, and start brainstorming some solutions. Give me some “wild” ideas, and let’s discuss.

      We may decide that some ideas are crazy. Or we may decide that some are so outside-the-box that they might just work. But one thing is for certain – tinkering at the edges of the system that got us here is not going to do squat.

      • votermom says:

        Yep. It’s like Hoover vs FDR. Hoover kept staying the course even while the ship was sinking, then FDR came on and started trying a bunch of things until something started working. Then when it started working people looked back on it and called it a program as if it were all part of a grand plan – but actually at the time it was a lot of disparate, and frankly desperate, legislative bills. What FDR provided was the courage and leadership to start trying things without worrying about covering his ass or about who would get blamed if it failed.

    • WMCB says:

      I also agree to some extent with the old conservative saw that “whatever you subsidize you’ll get more of, and whatever you tax you’ll get less of”. Some try to apply that to things like welfare, often in ridiculous ways, but there is a kernel of truth there.

      Capital gains taxes, for instance. That’s a tax on investment, and the conservatives cry that we shouldn’t tax it, because we WANT investment. Well, yeah, we do – but what kind of investment? Long-term investment in productive and job-building enterprises, or flipping and stock speculation? On the other hand, liberals cry “Tax those capital gains! They are all rich people who are just making money on money!”

      Both are right, and both are wrong. Because there are two types of “investors”.

      We want investors to invest in productive enterprises rather than just playing the stock market like a casino. So make the tax code reflect that difference. People smarter than me can figure this out. The rate should be much lower for long-term funds invested in a productive business, or and much higher for mere rapid trading of stock. We need to differentiate between making a profit from productive investment (which we want, which helps our economy, and creates jobs), and making a profit from just manipulating and playing with money. They are not the same thing.

      • WMCB says:

        IOW, the profit motive IS, and will always exist. Money flows where profit is to be made. You will NEVER change that. Ever. It has never happened in the history of the world. Changing that constant is a pipe dream. Trying to punish profit-making here will do nothing but drive it elsewhere. The problem is not the profit motive (which is as constant as gravity), it’s a system that funnels where the profit is to be made in unhealthy directions.

        The only thing governments can do is set up the playing field so that it is MORE profitable to build our economy and provide jobs than it is to gamble with meaningless numbers, and outsource. Rich people and corporations and banks are going to make a bundle no matter what we do. We can either get a piece of their gravy train or not. Letting them do their thing unfettered doesn’t help us, nor does trying to prevent or squelch their profit-making. Both are exercises in stupidity. Don’t rail against the profit motive — USE IT.

      • ralphb says:

        The tax code used to reflect that difference to some degree. It’s really only common sense to reward behavior that is productive. We seem to have forgotten that somewhere along the way, 🙂

    • myiq2xu says:

      Why not treat all corporations like “S-corps” and treat profits as taxable stockholder earnings?

      • ralphb says:

        I hate thinking about that much accounting. In a tiny way that happens now. When corporations pay dividends on their stock, you get taxed on them.

      • WMCB says:

        That might be a valid possibility, myiq. As I said above, I’m open to discussing all kinds of ideas.

  7. votermom says:

    Mitt Romney also has a plan — 160 page jobs plan. 🙄

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20110906/D9PIVJF80.html

    I hear he wrote the whole thing himself, too, in cursive. So there, Mr. Teleprompter!

  8. SYD says:

    Love this! Thank you for summing up her plan…. and for being objective/ inquisitive about the same parts of it that I have questions about.

  9. Ditto what SYD said. It helps me to have it all laid out on a page to read. And Re-read, ponder and question.
    One thing is for sure- at least SHE laid out a plan.

  10. Dario says:

    If people respond well to Palin’s platform, Obama will steal each one of those ideas. Trust me on this.

    • votermom says:

      That would be hilarious. I can just see the media whiplash.
      “Palin’s zero corporate income taxes is CRAZY talk!”
      Matthews: “Is she just dumb or downright mental?”

      “The President is taking historic bold courageous action by asking congress to eliminate corporate income taxes!”
      Matthews: “I feel a tingle!”

      • Dario says:

        Corporations are not paying that much money anymore. If one looks at all the subsidies, and the amount of taxes that’s paid, Palin is correct. It’s almost a wash. Not exactly, but if dividend are taxed at a higher rate, then Palin’s proposal would work.

    • “I agree with Sarah.”

  11. ralphb says:

    zerohedge on Eurozone: Bring Out Your Dead

    UBS Quantifies Costs Of Euro Break Up, Warns Of Collapse Of Banking System And Civil War

    Someone needs an economic plan badly.

    • ralphb says:

      Deutsche Bank CEO Just Gave A Terrifying Speech In Frankfurt

      Josef Ackermann just gave a terrifying speech about the fragility of the Euro banking sector right now.

      At a conference in Frankfurt he said, “It is an open secret that numerous European banks would not survive having to revalue sovereign debt held on the banking book at market levels.”

      Can’t wait for Obama’s jobs speech now.

    • Dario says:

      I think it’s b.s. Dropping the euro would be extremely disruptive, but it’s manageable if it’s done thoughtfully. The banks are simply wetting their pants because the debt from the PIIGS is huge, and that loss would mean the destruction of wealth from bondholders. But it’s not going to be the first or last time that bondholders are left holding the bag. It’s part of the risk they take.

    • Looks like the German legislature is going to require that they get to rule on future EU bailouts. Decision coming Wednesday and will probably mean regional fiscal union is a non starter, so no eurobonds like our treasuries. Looks bad.

  12. yttik says:

    Sarah is absolutely right. The relationship between big business and government is a real problem. We opened the door to that unethical relationship with the corporate income tax. The Gov wants something from corporations, taxes, so now corporations want something in return from the Gov. They get it too, big time, in the form of tax wavers, environmental wavers, corporate welfare. Pretty soon they’re getting so many bennies from the Gov, they start funding people’s campaigns.

    We do have a high corporate income tax, but it’s not really an effective way for the Gov to collect revenue. What it is is a bargaining chip for government and corporations, it becomes this negotiable thing that power is exchanged over. It creates deals, it brings big business into government, it bypasses the people.

    • votermom says:

      Sarah is absolutely right.

      Barbarian!!!!! 🙂

      What it is is a bargaining chip for government and corporations, it becomes this negotiable thing that power is exchanged over. It creates deals, it brings big business into government, it bypasses the people.

      Seriously.

      What I have not considered before though, which I think may be behind Palin’s strategy, is that a lot of businesses hate Pay to Play too. So she may be inviting support from the not-so-big, not favored businesses who are not big enough to play in GE & Halliburton’s sandboxes. In terms of money, she is very much an underdog, so if she can pull in small to medium business support, it may make the difference in winning.

      • yttik says:

        Small businesses really do have a hard time competing with big corporations who own themselves a personal US Senator. That’s why a lot of people cringe when we talk about how “corporations have to pay their fair share.” That’s not how it works in the real world, the big guys get the tax breaks and corporate welfare and the little guys go out of business because they can’t carry the burden of all the regulations and the taxes.

      • DeniseVB says:

        My twitter feed was in hysterics earlier because Rush was playing The Godfather theme over Hoffa’s speech. It’s exactly what our country’s become, little guys are the pawns of the greedy.

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