Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mouse Clicks.... The New Brute Force in Politics

With the election of Scott Brown to the Senate in Massachusetts, internet- enabled voters have given the political parties and their machine politicians the same bruising that a whole host of formerly successful business models have received, while barely lifting a finger in the process. They have bested the legions of campaign workers and party bosses by going straight to the candidate digitally (note: none of these puns are intended;) a political progression that has rendered the power structure of the Political Parties irrelevant. Politicians can no longer count on the machine to protect them. What's in store for Representatives who refuse to represent is going to rock their worlds!

It's no coincidence that the Big City Newspapers have experienced this same digital beat down; they are a glaring example of a industry that has also lost it's focus: reporting news. As a result, their business models and bottom lines that rely on the continuing trust and confidence of their readers have been crushed. More and more, people get their news on line these days, with fewer and fewer of them perusing the offerings of the MSM. Newspaper Editors are left seething in a state of denial as they watch their circulation numbers and ad revenue continue to plummet. So too, the C's as in the ABC, NBC, CBS , CNN and MSNBC who have suffered similar losses in viewership and ad revenue. Why have they fallen so far, so fast? The answer is simple. Their own voters, the readers and viewers who vote daily with their remote controls and pocketbooks, are no longer confident that they are reporting the truth to them. They have been punished in the market place because they stopped representing the truth to their readers.

Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate election is just the latest example of the incredible power of the internet to organize and flatten distribution channels. The money-bomb posted on Glen Reynold's Instapundit and elsewhere to solicit campaign contributions first met, then exceeded, then nearly doubled Scott Brown's Campaign fund raising goal as contributions poured in from all over the country. A couple of lines of code had replaced the many hundreds of bodies of the party's machine and nullified two of the biggest advantages of incumbency: name recognition and the ability that comes with it to raise money. This new way to political prominence is brought to you Courtesy of ordinary people and their mouse clicks. Ouch, that's got to sting!

Martha Coakley and the political elites, who were trying to save "Ted Kennedy's seat" by flying to Washington and holding a wine and cheese party for the big Pharma and the Health-care lobbyists ( tell me again, who was she representing?) were no match for the ordinary people who voted first with their visa and debit cards and then when it mattered most: their ballots on election day. Poor Martha, having to go all the way to Washington to scoop up campaign contributions. It just seems so inconvenient.

This new Digital Revolution is being fought by patriots armed not with pitch forks and ax handles but by voters armed with PC's using visa and debit cards as ammunition to defeat those who claim to represent their interests, but instead serve their real masters: the special interest groups and the party. They organize in digital Town Hall meetings, and gather at rallies to show their support for candidates who will truly represent their values.

And so, the latest business that has been forever changed by the power of the internet is Politics, an Industry whose business model had for too long counted on brute force instead of brain power to carry the day. Mouse clicks are the new brute force in this unfamiliar Political paradigm. It's about to get real interesting.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Jobs Created ZERO, Jobs Saved or Imagined Make Up Your Own Number That's What They Do!

It's time for this administration to fold up their wishful thinking that the country can spend it's way out of economic problems, put it back on the shelf, and get in the game by doing something effective on the Job Creation front. Their singular accomplishment, if you can call it that, since taking office has been to pass a boondoggle of a Stimulus Bill, and that was a year ago. Their gigantic spending bill that was going to keep the economy from going over the cliff has been, by any measure, an abject failure; so much so that they had to invent an unmeasurable new measure in an attempt to quantify how many jobs were saved or imagined. Oh please!

Who cares how many jobs were saved or imagined? Am I really supposed to congratulate them for taxing me to give government employees (employee: one who is employed) who already have a job, a raise. Where I come from that's not creating jobs; but then again, I wasn't one of the folks under the illusion that the so called stimulus bill would actually create any jobs.

Perhaps I'm being to hard on them. Passing the stimulus bill is not their only accomplishment. They have managed to make possible the election of Republican Governors in NJ and VA, and a REPUBLICAN SENATOR to represent the good people of Massachusetts, so I guess they have done some good!

A real Jobs recovery can start tomorrow or not; all that need happen is for the government to give up on their current wish list of job destruction legislation and pursue policies that are pro growth and pro entrepreneur instead. The President can announce that he's ditched his favorite job killing bills like Health-Care Reform, Cap and Tax, the Bank Tax, the 250 thousandaire tax and all the other business choking regulations he wants Congress to enact.

He can instead champion tax reform that rewards the job creators by increasing the return on successful risk taking. Why not cut the corporate tax rate to 25% so that American corporations are not at a competitive disadvantage to foreign firms . Making American firms more competitive means more production and more jobs in America.

While he's at it, he can give give all those evil 250 thousandaires he's been verbally persecuting as though they were the Jihadist a break; a tax break. Many of them are owners of S-Corps who are paying a 35% marginal tax rate that will soon be 39.6% or more. The balance of them are a part of the top 5% that are picking up the tab for his massive government spending spree.

As Jack Kemp was quick to remind us, you can't have Capitalism with out capital.Taxing capital out of the hands of Entrepreneurs who would use it to create more jobs is no different than eating the farmer's seed corn. The next crop of jobs will always be smaller as a result.
Larry Kudlow inadvertantly illustrated the real problem while calling for a cut in the capital gains tax rate on his show the other night. Larry is a Free Market Capitalist to the bone, but he has made the mistake of letting the Democrats frame the debate. He spoke of a study which showed that the optimal rate at which to tax capital to maximize revenue is 10%, and called for a reduction in the rate.

Here is where Larry's went wrong: it's not about the government and it's revenues, it's about the citizens of this country and their well being. The optimal tax rate on capital is 0%, that's the rate at which the most capital is available to finance the most businesses to create the most JOBS. Our Government has lost it's way, it's needs now take priority over those they govern; they are more worried about their budgets and programs, not your well being. To this government, it is all about how much revenue they can squeeze out of you. It's time for you to squeeze back!