Feb 23, 2012, 8:47 am EDT
While the commentariat and pollsters may argue about who “won” Wednesday’s GOP debate in Arizona, let’s look more broadly down the road about how this Republican primary season will shape the general election.
1. It won’t be “just the economy” in 2012
One clear conclusion from this debate: This election won’t be fought only over the economy. While we all expected 2012 to be a referendum on President Barack Obama’s stewardship of the economy, the GOP candidates are ensuring that foreign policy and social issues will be front and center as well.
Feb 22, 2012, 6:21 pm EDT
After getting shut out of yet another Republican presidential candidate debate, it appears that former Lousiana Gov. and U.S. Rep. Buddy Roemer will go elsewhere to continue his run for president. The GOP candidate that almost nobody knew about released a statement today ending his candidacy for the Republican nomination.
What’s next for Roemer? A run at getting nominated by a third party. In the same statement, he declared he would seek the Reform Party’s blessing to run for president. Founded by former third-party presidential candidate Ross Perot, the Reform Party’s shining moment was when former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was elected as governor of Minnesota in 1998. Since then, they haven’t had much luck in influencing U.S. politics. Roemer might be a big name for them, but not as big a name as Perot or Ventura. It’ll remain an uphill battle for Roemer to get media attention, especially with the topsy-turvy GOP primary process still ongoing.
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor Read
Feb 22, 2012, 6:01 pm EDT
President Barack Obama’s proposal to lower the tax rate on U.S. corporations to 28% from 35% and to close dozens of tax loopholes does not go far enough to make much of an economic difference.
If enacted, the U.S. would go from having the highest corporate tax rate to the fourth highest, after Japan, France and Belgium, according to a blog post by Scott Hodge, president of the Tax Foundation. When the average tax rate of 6.4% is factored in, the proposed cut is even less impressive, since it would result in rates of 32.6%, still above the 25% average of the members of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development. Hodge writes:
“Let’s not forget that none of these changes are happening in a vacuum. On January 1st of this year, the Canadian corporate rate fell to 15 percent from 16.5 percent and the British corporate rate fell to 25 percent from 26 percent. And, as is well known, Japan will cut their overall rate to 38.01 percent from over 40 percent on April 1st.” Read
Feb 22, 2012, 12:44 pm EDT
Congressman Ron Paul correctly writes that “tyrants from Hitler to Mao to Stalin have sought to disarm their own citizens, for the simple reason that unarmed people are easier to control.” Paul rightly concludes that “only armed citizens can ultimately resist tyrannical government.”
President Barack Obama has appointed two Supreme Court justices, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, whose position on the second amendment makes me uncomfortable. They join wildly out-of-touch and scary Justice Stephen Breyer on the bench.
Ron Paul is the only candidate for president who offers a platform of Federal Republic thinking, including a strict interpretation of the Constitution and powerful support of the second amendment. There is an excellent summation in The New Yorker of Paul’s Federal Republic approach to governing. Read
Feb 21, 2012, 6:58 pm EDT
With the important GOP primaries in Arizona and Michigan just a week away, and with the absolutely critical Super Tuesday slate of primaries just two weeks off, it is looking more and more likely that the Republican presidential nominee won’t be definitely selected after these primaries. This has led to whispering about a “brokered convention”, with no one candidate receiving enough delegates through the primaries and caucuses, which would lead to a re-vote and release of all previously bound delegates.
It has also led some nervous Republican party members to suggest another candidate enter the primary fray.
Though no one has been brave enough to publicly discuss it, there is apparently a memo circulating around the Republican ranks discussing how another candidate might enter the remaining primary races, and who they might be. Granted, the odds would be stacked against someone who has missed out on the early primary season, particularly the momentum building events in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida. But a majority of delegates are still up for grabs, and many primaries and caucuses award delegates proportionally and not winner-take-all, giving a late-comer more of a chance to make up ground. Read
Feb 21, 2012, 1:50 pm EDT
Eurozone: Europe is bogged down with debt worries and austerity cuts, so a rise in oil prices could push more eurozone nations into recession. Eurostat reported last week that eurozone GDP contracted at a 1.3% annual rate in the fourth quarter. Italy contracted at a 2.9% annual pace last quarter, while Belgium, Greece, the Netherlands, and Portugal officially fell into recession with their second straight quarter of negative GDP growth.
These four eurozone countries are in a recession, and Italy is on the verge. Only France was able to buck the negative GDP growth by growing at a 0.9% annual pace in the fourth quarter.
Complicating matters further, insults are flying between Germany and Greece over payment of the second installment of the 130 billion euro ($171 billion) rescue package for Greece. Finland, Germany, and the Netherlands are pushing to delay Greece’s aid package until Greek political leaders make good on their promises for more austerity. Read