We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

How much will Kerry cost?

My former flatmate Drew Johnson has estimated what a John Kerry win in the US would cost American taxpayers (but also points out that Bush’s record “includes a 29 percent increase in the size of the federal budget during his first term”).

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VK

12 comments to How much will Kerry cost?

  • R C Dean

    Lemme float a question to the commentariat here. I am certainly no fan of his domestic agenda to date, and a number of you are anti-Bush for a variety of reasons.

    Leaving aside the war, is anyone willing to make a case that Kerry’s domestic policy doings will be less damaging to liberty than Bush’s over the next four years?

  • Hank Scorpio

    Well, leaving aside the war I don’t think Bush would have felt the need to ram through as many programs as he has; prescription drugs, illegal alien amnesty, No Child Left Behind, etc. I think in most of those cases the GOP decided to steal the liberal’s causes and implement them themselves. It’s an old trick, I think Bismarck’s social welfare schemes are probably the best example.

    And no, I don’t think Kerry would be any better (and most probably worse) with regard to expanding the size of the government. I’m no fan of Bush on the domestic scene, but he understands the war, he understands the importance of the UN (it isn’t), and he understands just how seriously we should treat international opinion (not very).

    It’s the biggest issue we face as far as I’m concerned, and in this regard Bush is so much better than his competition that I’d be a fool to vote for Kerry.

  • toolkien

    I don’t know if Kerry can be much worse as far as fiscal sanity. The size of the problem we have is huge, a soon to be 10 trillion dollar deficit by 2009 (and is likely to higher), a generation of dependents, and the incremental rise of Statism overall. I am of the opinion that we are on a crash course with destiny, that the confiscation of the credit market cannot go on, and foreign adventures can’t go on forever either, so the day will come, no matter who is in office, when the masses will be confronted with cause and effect, and there will be nowhere to hide where the ‘gains’ are coming from. In a warped way, maybe Kerry will be better, as he will raise taxes, the quality of government transfer will continue to decline, and the ponzi scheme will be revealed. Even if it doesn’t happen under Kerry, he will speed it along nicely. I’m afraid the patient is going to have to get a whole lot sicker before the majority realize that something is wrong. As a last thought, if the economic ‘reckoning’ is to occur, I’d rather it happen sooner than latter, as I am still in my productive years, and I’d rather have the shake up happen while I still have a chance to produce and keep the rewards before I am unable to produce anymore. It will do me little good to have my equity disintegrate at a point where I can’t replace it.

  • R C Dean

    toolkien, toolkien, trotting out that old Trotskyite tactic “the worse the better.”

    In a warped way, maybe Kerry will be better, as he will raise taxes, the quality of government transfer will continue to decline, and the ponzi scheme will be revealed.

    Higher taxes are bad. Period.

    Not sure what you mean by the quality of government transfer, but if taxes go up the quantity of government transfer will certainly increase.

    The ponzi scheme is already quite apparent to anyone who cares – making it a bigger ponzi scheme will not make it any more apparent to those with a vested interest in not seeing what is in front of their noses.

  • Related to what Hank Scorpio has to say…

    A good deal of the administration’s actions are related to compromise to push through essential strategies for the war.

    The war resolution, the money to support it, measures like the PATRIOT act, etc., all required compromised for other agendas.

    Also, with measures like the perscription drug benefit, there was a tiny point of medical savings accounts. Go here (Link)to learn why MSA are the best choice.

    With NCLB, there was supposed to be a voucher scheme introduced, which was later taken out. Now that a majority of minorities are in favor of vouchers, I don’t understand why they aren’t being adopted more rapidly.

    That said, I am optimistic that Bush will do better in his second term, where he doesn’t have much to lose. Given that Cheney won’t be on the ticket in 2008, he can take measures which are normally anathema, such as social security reform, complete welfare reform (if that is even possible), and the measures removed from the health and education bills.

    Given Kerry would be worse, without a doubt (even with the lies he is telling to paint himself as a centrist), I see no reason to reject this optimism.

    Either way, I agree with the comment above: Bush understands the war, Kerry doesn’t. Go here (Link)to hear more about that point.

  • Shawn

    I’m a war supporter, not a Bush supporter, but that makes me a Bush supporter by default. While not perfect, Bush’s foriegn policy is vastly better then we have had for decades (saying no to the ICC, Kyoto, the UN, old Europe), and on foriegn policy and defense Kerry would be a disaster. Having said that, Rumsfeld’s plan for military “transformation” scares the hell out of me and strikes me as insane, and the concept of fiscal responsibility does not seem to be in this administrations vocab. In an ideal world science would ressurect Barry Goldwater and the voters would elect him, with due change to the constitution, as President For Eternity.

    On a more serious note, are any other War/Bush supporters worried by the polls? Is it just me or are things looking a bit grim for November?

  • R C Dean

    On a more serious note, are any other War/Bush supporters worried by the polls?

    Not me. Dukakis was up by about 20 points at this stage of his race. Kerry has been getting unrelentingly positive press, Bush unrelentingly bad press, and they are basically tied. The Kerry bounce from Edwards would embarass a dead cat.

    In financial market terms, I would say that Bush has tested the floor of his market, and Kerry has found the top of his. The big issues (Iraq and the economy) are both breaking Bush’s way. Absent some major negative new development, Bush wins in November.

  • toolkien

    The ponzi scheme is already quite apparent to anyone who cares

    But apparently not enough people care. The Pols have successfully blurred the effect from cause by impounding the credit market. That can’t last forever. Between Bush’s making a big dip into the credit bucket, and Kerry’s obvious plan on increasing taxes and payouts, will only tax (pardon the pun) the economy even more. There are obviously too many people (the vast majority) who are still convinced they can get something for nothing. The sooner all the crows come home to roost (high taxes, high regulation, high debt, high interest, low quality infrastructure, low quality Statist care, low quality property protection) the sooner the system will collapse. So call it what you will, but more than anything it is fatalistic in that the collapse is inevitable, and since there is little or no motivation to change it at large, then the only other option is to take what will come and move on, and it might as well be sooner than later. Can I be blamed if the ‘fiscally conservative’ option of the two party system has chosen a position just to the left of JFK? Both parties, who represent 90+% of the mass, can’t hand over property fast enough (on account of course). The die has been cast.

    I agree that higher taxes aren’t good, but if the option is simply borrowing and putting off until tomorrow the forceful impounding of resources, it is not really a better option. Massaging the credit market, the money supply, and inflation does have an outer boundary. And if we aren’t going the retreat, then we might as well charge full steam ahead. The worst possible scenerio is the system crashing when I’m too old to mitigate the results. I’d rather have it happen sooner than later.

    I am all ears as to the solution. I’d much rather we start a systematic payoff of the debt we have while reducing the size of the Federal and State governments. But that doesn’t seem to be in the offing anytime soon. If we are merely on the brink, then I’d say we are then very near to falling over. We would have to do something NOW. Four more years of Big Government Conservatism or Big Government Liberalism will definitely put us over the edge. As is, with no new increases in spending over ‘revenue’ the debt is soon to be 10 trillion, or one year’s total GDP. How would the people like to feel that they are really one year’s take home pay in unsecured debt? But I guess they don’t care. But the sooner the bill collector comes and makes their acquaintance the sooner people might start to care.

    Articles like this don’t make me sleep well at night.

  • Thorley Winston

    My former flatmate Drew Johnson has estimated what a John Kerry win in the US would cost American taxpayers (but also points out that Bush’s record “includes a 29 percent increase in the size of the federal budget during his first term”).

    Let’s assume that the 29 percent increase figure is true, how much of that:

    a) Was from the increase in spending for the military and homeland security
    b) Was supported by John Kerry and/or John Edwards

    It seems to me that since John Kerry voted for most if not all of that spending it ought to be on his head as well. The only exceptions I can think of was for the $87 Billion in Iraq and the $534 Billion Medicare prescription drug benefit (but IMO that also isn’t a plus for Kerry since he wanted the $700-900 Billion plan instead).

    In which case the 29 percent figure ought to be the baseline for both candidates and any additional spending is on top of that. In which case since Kerry seems to want to spend more than Bush during the next presidential term and unlike Bush doesn’t favor any sort of Social Security reform (except for a tax increase), Bush is still the better candidate.

  • Jake

    You ignore the real cost of a Kerry victory.

    Kerry wants to raise the income tax on small company income from 35% to 45%.

    At the same time Kerry want to lower income taxes on large corporate income to 33%.

    In the US half of all Americans work for small companies and 60-80% of all growth in employment is from small company hiring.

    This tax increase will decimate small companies and cause mass unemployment.

    What will a 12% unemployment rate cost American taxpayers?

  • I think much of the reason that Bush has been so horrible on domestic government issues is that the 2000 election was so close. In order to get anything out of the obstructionist Democrats (especially after the Jeffords defection), he at least had to appear to be a big bleeding heart. Half a loaf and all that jazz…

    Hey, it’s an explanation, not an excuse…wait…why are you pointing that at me? ;)

  • Hanoi John Kerry is so much worse than Bush on issues that should count to us classical liberals and libertarians (I hate using that word).

    Kerry supports raising taxes on the evil rich. Just who are some of the evil rich? The evil rich as Hanoi John labels them are anyone who makes $200,000 a year. Problem is, small buisnesses pay personal income taxes in the US. Kerry wants to raise taxes on small businesses who employ the majority of Americans, including myself.

    Kerry opposes Social Security privitization while Bush supports at least partial privatization.

    Bush has been better on the issue of environmental regulation than Kerry will be. I cite Bush’s decision to allow the states to manage their Roadless areas as they choose.

    Bush supports school vouchers, while Kerry opposes them.

    Bush is the only candidate as many have already mentioned that understands the War and international affairs.

    Bush supports free trade, while Kerry pledges to fight all new trade agreements.

    Bush has taken action to crackdown on America’s porous borders, while Kerry has come out for a complete amnesty for illegal immigrants.

    Bush will have the support of the NRA and possibly the GOA and will not seriously push for new gun control measures while Kerry has a consistently anti-gun voting record.

    While Bush has done a poor job with No Child Left Behind, the Patriot Act, Department of Homeland Security, the TSA (though airports can now opt out of the Federal screening program), free drugs for seniors, fighting medical marijuana on the state level with Federal funds, the administration has been too secretive, supporting the Gay Marriage Amendment, and given way too much away in foreign aid. Kerry will not seriously oppose most of this on this list and will only spend more.