Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Why Φ Doesn’t Support Ron Paul (and Other Tales)

Mangan looks up the top contributors to Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Mitt Romney
Goldman Sachs $367,200
Credit Suisse Group $203,750
Morgan Stanley $199,800
HIG Capital $186,500
Barclays $157,750
Kirkland & Ellis $132,100
Bank of America $126,500
PriceWaterhouseCoopers $118,250
EMC Corp $117,300
JPMorgan Chase & Co $112,250

Ron Paul
US Army $24,503
US Air Force $23,335
US Navy $17,432
Mason Capital Management $14,000
Microsoft Corp $13,398
Boeing Co $10,620
Google Inc $10,390
Overland Sheepskin $10,350
IBM Corp $8,294
US Government $7,756


Goldman gave a cool $1M to The One in 2008, along with $400K to Hillary! and $240 to the McCainiac.  It will be interesting to watch what happens to Goldman’s contributions once Romney has the nomination.  These numbers from Mangan’s post are from mid-January.  I note that Ron Paul’s contributions from the armed service have trebled in the last 3 weeks, Romney’s have only increased by 50% from his big donors.

Like Mangan, I believe that Paul’s donor base speaks better of him than Romney’s speaks of Romney.

But I don’t support him.

. . . .

Newt Gingrich, objectively, is a moral dirtbag. The exact contours of his dirtbagginess have of course been the subject of debate, but even contruing the facts as we know them in the most favorable possible light, the essence of the man's character remains firmly in dirtbag territory. Yet I understand the frustration of South Carolina voters who, having listened to the mainstream media spend the '90s insisting that Clinton's sexcapades were irrelevant, and knowing now that it actively covered up John Edwards' misbehavior, watch Gingrich's private life picked apart as a matter of national importance. Understand, that is, but do not concur with them that the appropriate response to that frustration is giving him the Republican nomination.

. . . .

Paul has done some annoying things this campaign.  I’m not bothered by his infamous newsletters so much as by the implausible denials.  And I’m not happy about his attacks on Michelle Bachmann in Iowa.  But I might be able to overlook these things if I thought his presidency would be a net benefit to us.

. . . .

In light of Mitt Romney's "gaffe" in organizing his policy priorities on behalf of the middle class rather the underclass, conservative pundits have been lining up to intone about how the "primary victims of welfare are the recipients" and, more specifically, how the benefit structure disincentivizes economic mobility. This last is almost certainly true: most of the poverty programs all start to phase out at the same income level, leaving the poor with a marginal tax rate of often greater that 100% through a fairly wide bracket. But it's time we were honest with ourselves and stated the truth plainly: the evidence for a significant segment of aspirational poor ready to join the "ownership society" but for welfare-as-we-know-it is vanishingly small. The reality of the underclass is that there is no policy mix short of natural selection capable of brining them to middle class norms and outcomes. Romney is right to ignore them; his only gaffe was to be honest about it.

. . . .

What would a President Ron Paul accomplish? I don't mean what he wants to accomplish; Paul has been most forthright on that. I mean, assuming he was elected president, but given the Congress and SCOTUS that he would actually deal with given the actual and prospective office holders, what policies would he be able to enact.

It's pretty easy to list the ones that he would not enact:

  • He would not abolish the federal reserve and return to the gold standard (a proposal about which I am in any case deeply apprehensive). These were created and maintained by Congress, and Congress would never dissolve them.

  • He would not abolish affirmative action or the civil rights laws. These are held in place by the federal judiciary. Paul might be able to make the EEOC a little less overtly anti-white, but the laws would remain as they are.

  • He would not abolish welfare. Congess again.

  • He would not meaningfully advance the cause of states' rights. Again, Congress and the Judiciary would thwart him at every turn.

  • He would not remake the judiciary. If anything, his nominees would enjoy less presumption of confirmation given his stated view.

What would President Paul accomplish?

  • He might redeploy our troops and ease the burdens of the security state. These are primary executive branch functions, and Paul would enjoy broad latitude here. But there are some important caveats. First, our liberties would not actually be restored; President Paul would merely exercise more restraint than his predecessors. The laws would remain on the books. Second, even these are not guaranteed: Obama, after all, swept into office planning to do these same things, but lacked the fortitude to bend the bureaucracy to his will rather than the other way around. We should not assume that Paul would behave any differently.

  • Did I miss anything?

Oh, yeah, that's right: immigration. The problem is that Paul's positions on immigration line up perfectly with the Democrats, and are measurably worse than Romney's positions. And unlike his other agenda items, here he would come into office with a Congress eager to do business.

Let me pause to state the obvious: long-term, white America is boned, and none of the candidates presently running is able or willing to stop it. This is about the least bad alternatives. The good that Paul would actually accomplish I don't especially care about. And the bad would be worse than Romney is offering us.


Anonymous said...

The Paul campaign makes a lot of mewling about those two lists. But look at the raw numbers. If you go down the list far enough, you will likely find similar donations from the armed forces for the other candidates too.

Point 2: There is deliberate misrepresentations regarding where the donations are coming from. The banks are not giving the money. Their employees are. The armed services are not supporting any political candidates, individual members are. When people give cash donations, federal election laws require that they list their employers. That is how those numbers are tabulated.

point 3: Since people in the armed forces don't make all that much compared to investment bankers, it makes perfect sense that the total value of all their contributions will be a small number.

point 4: What the lists really means is that Romney has more financial support from everyone than paul does, by an order of magnitude (or two).

point 5: I suspect that paul's largest donor group is "all others", from which you also get students and the unemployed

Elusive Wapiti said...

I am pre-disposed toward Paul but am not a Paulbot.

That said, I think your analysis of what a Paul adminsitration would accomoplish is sound.

The problems we are facing, by and large, started in the legislature. And only that branch can fix them.

He may be able to force some marginal changes (e.g., bringing troops home, balancing the budget by "impounding funds", etc). But on the whole, at the end of the day, he won't be the Savior we're looking for. We won't get off that easy.

Then there is the immigration issue. This is approaching a deal-breaker for me, and I find his fealty to open-borders libertarian purism to be destructive and naive and counterproductive.

Dr. Φ said...

Prof Hale: Yes, I get the difference between corporate giving and employee giving, and between raw numbers and percentages. No one (or at least neither Mangn or I) has claimed otherwise. But it's clear that Paul's support skews military, while Romney's skews bankster.

EW: Quite right. President Paul's accomplishments would require support from one Congressional faction or another. I see more "liberaltarian" agenda items passing that conservative ones.

Anonymous said...

Rons support skews "no one with any real money", of which military are a part. It is perfectly likely that Romney gets even more military donations than Paul. What would that mean? It would mean that "The Army" supports Romney? Just because they are not in Romney's top 20 doesn't mean they don't support him at all. Without the raw numbers, we just don't know. But I see a whole lot of Ron Paul guys taking advantage of this statistical anomaly as if it were an endorsement by the military.

It is also highly likely that military members gave more money to Obama than to Paul. What would Paulistas think about that?